house of dates.
the house of song; the house of affliction
(house of dates, or house of misery ), a village which, scanty as are the notices of it contained in Scripture, is more intimately associated in our minds than perhaps any other place with the most familiar acts and scenes of the last days of the life of Christ. It was situated "at" the Mount of Olives, ( Mark 11:1 ; Luke 19:29 ) about fifteen stadia (furlongs, i.e. 1 1/2 or 2 miles) from Jerusalem ( John 11:18 ) on or near the usual road From Jericho to the city, ( Luke 19:29 ) comp. Mark 11:1 comp. Mark 10:46 and close by the west(?) of another village called Bethphage, the two being several times mentioned together. Bethany was the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus, and is now known by a name derived from Lazarus--el-Azariyeh or Lazarieh . It lies on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, fully a mile beyond the summit, and not very far from the point at which the road to Jericho begins its more sudden descent towards the Jordan valley. El-Azariyeh is a ruinous and wretched village, a wild mountain hamlet of some twenty families. Bethany has been commonly explained "house of dates," but it more probably signifies "house of misery." H. Dixon, "Holy Land," ii. 214, foll.
In the Revised Version for BETHABARA, ( John 1:28 ) where Jesus was baptized by John. It was probably an obscure village near Bethabara, and in time its name faded out and was replaced by the larger and more important Bethabara.
(1) A village, 15 furlongs from Jerusalem (John 11:18), on the road to Jericho, at the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29), where lived "Simon the leper" (Mark 14:3) and Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:18). This village may justifiably be called the Judean home of Jesus, as He appears to have preferred to lodge there rather than in Jerusalem itself (Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:11). Here occurred the incident of the raising of Lazarus (John 11) and the feast at the house of Simon (Matthew 26:1-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:36-50; John 1:2:1-8). The Ascension as recorded in Luke 24:50-51 is thus described:
"He led them out until they were over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven."
Bethany is today el `Azareyeh ("the place of Lazarus"--the L being displaced to form the article). It is a miserably untidy and tumble-down village facing East on the Southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, upon the carriage road to Jericho. A fair number of fig, almond and olive trees surround the houses. The traditional tomb of Lazarus is shown and there are some remains of medieval buildings, besides rock-cut tombs of much earlier date (PEF, III, 27, Sheet XVII).
(2) "Bethany beyond the Jordan" (John 1:28; the King James Version Bethabara; Bethabara, a reading against the majority of the manuscripts, supported by Origen on geographical grounds):
No such place is known. Grove suggested that the place intended is \BETH-NIMRAH\ (which see), the modern Tell nimrin, a singularly suitable place, but hard to fit in with John 1:28; compare John 2:1. The traditional site is the ford East of Jericho.
E. W. G. Masterman
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