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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Beth´any (place of dates). 1. The place near the Jordan where John baptized, the exact situation of which is unknown. Some copies here read Bethabara, as stated in the preceding article. 2. Bethany, a town or village about fifteen furlongs east-south-east from Jerusalem, beyond the Mount of Olives (John 11:18), so called, probably, from the number of palm-trees that grew around. It was the residence of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, and Jesus often went out from Jerusalem to lodge there (Matthew 21:17; Matthew 26:6; Mark 11:1; Mark 11:11-12; Mark 14:3; Luke 19:29; Luke 24:50; John 11:1; John 11:18; John 12:1). The place still subsists in a shallow wady on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. Dr. Robinson reached Bethany in three-quarters of an hour from the Damascus gate of Jerusalem; which gives a distance corresponding to the fifteen furlongs (stadia) of the Evangelist. It is a poor village of about twenty families. The only marks of antiquity are some hewn stones from more ancient buildings, found in the walls of some of the houses. The monks, indeed, show the house of Mary and Martha, and of Simon the leper, and also the sepulcher of Lazarus, all of which are constantly mentioned in the narratives of pilgrims and travelers. The sepulcher is a deep vault, like a cellar, excavated in the limestone rock in the middle of the village, to which there is a descent by twenty-six steps. Dr. Robinson alleges that there is not the slightest probability of its ever having been the tomb of Lazarus. The form is not that of the ancient sepulchers, nor does its situation accord with the narrative of the New Testament, which implies that the tomb was not in the town (John 11:31; John 11:38).





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Bethany'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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