Bethpage and Bethany

Leaving Bethany, He sends to Bethphage for an ass Matt. xxi. 1-11.

upon which to ride, and sitting upon it He enters Jeru- Mark xi. 1-10.

salem amidst the shouts of His disciples, and of the Luke xix. 29-44.

populace. As He looks upon the city from the Mount John xii. 12-19. of Olives He weeps over it. All the city is greatly moved, and the Pharisees desire Him to rebuke His disciples. He visits the temple; but, after looking Mark xi. 11.
around Him, leaves it, and goes out with the Twelve
to Bethany, where He passes the night.

Placing the Lord's arrival at Bethany on Friday, the supper and anointing on Saturday, His solemn entry into the city took place on Sunday.1 As to the hour of the entry nothing is said, but from Mark xi. 11 it appears that it was late in the afternoon when He entered the temple ; and, as no events intermediate are mentioned, the entry into the temple seems to have been soon after the entry into the city. It was, then, probably near the middle of the day when He left Bethany. Luthardt, who puts the supper on Sunday, makes the entry to have been still later upon the same day; but this would have brought it to the verge of evening. Greswell puts His departure from Bethany about the ninth hour, or 3 p. M. ; his arrival in the temple before the eleventh, His departure before sunset.

The position of Bethphage, " house of figs," which is mentioned by the Synoptists in connection with Bethany, is much disputed. It may be inferred from Mark, (xi. 1,) " And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives," and the like expression in Luke xix. 29, that they were two distinct yet adjacent villages; but their relative positions to each other are not defined. From the fact, however, that Bethphage is first mentioned, the journey being from Jericho to Jerusalem, or from east to west, it is supposed that it was first reached, and therefore east of Bethany.5

1 So Liechtenstein, Robinson, Wieseler, Bucher, Friedlieb, Wichelhaus, Meyer.

8 Winer, i. 174; Robinson, Meyer.

Others, however, maintain that the Evangelists in their narratives take Jerusalem as the centre, and mention Bethphage first, because first reached by one going to the east.1 Another reason for this order is given by Greswell, (iii. 75 :) " Bethphage lay upon the direct line of this route, but Bethany did not; so that one travelling from Jericho would come to Bethphage first, and would have to turn off from the road to go to Bethany." Lightfoot, (x. 76,) relying upon Talmudical authorities, would put Bethphage just under the city walls, and ascribe to it the same privileges as if actually within them. " The first space from the city, toward the Mount of Olives, was called Bethphage." He also speaks of " Bethphage within the walls and Bethphage without the walls." In like manner Alford speaks of it: " A considerable suburb, nearer to Jerusalem than Bethany, and sometimes reckoned part of the city." a A late tradition marks its site as about 100 paces below the top of the Mount, toward the east; but no traces of ruins, according to Robinson, exist there. Some suppose that Bethphage and Bethany are only designations for different parts of the same village.'

In his recent investigations in the neighborhood *of Jerusalem, Barclay (65) found a site which he imagines to answer all the demands of the narrative. It is upon " a spur of Olivet, distant rather more than a mile from the city, situated between two deep valleys, on which there are tanks, foundations, and other indubitable evidences of the former existence of a village." This seems to be the same site to which Porter refers, upon the projecting point of a ridge, and marked by "scarped rocks, cisterns, and old stones."

Without attempting to define the exact position of Bethphage, we may thus arrange the circumstances connected with the Lord's departure from Bethany : Leaving this village on foot, attended by His disciples and others, He comes to the place where the neighboring village of Bethphage is in view, over against them, perhaps separated from them by a valley.

* Lichtenstein, Ellicott. a So Wieseler, 435, note,

s So Porter, (i. 188,) who refers to the similarity of their names, "house of figs " and " house of dates."

At this point He arrests His march, and sends two of His disciples; to find and bring to Him an ass tied, and her colt with her. When her owners demanded of them why they took the ass, they had only to say that the Lord had need of it, and the sight of Jesus, wTith the attendant crowds, would at once explain why^ He needed it. It is not, therefore, necessary to suppose that the owners were His disciples ; much less that any previous arrangement had been made with them. Some would make the village where the ass was found, a village in the vicinity, distinct from Bethphage.1 But there is no necessity for this. The animal being brought to Him, He is seated upon it, and, amidst the acclamations of the multitude, ascends to the top of the Mount.

* Lichtenstein, Ellicott. a So Wieseler, 435, note,

s So Porter, (i. 188,) who refers to the similarity of their names, "house of figs " and " house of dates."

As both the ass and her colt were brought, it has been questioned upon which the Lord rode. But Mark and Luke are express that it was the colt.2 The multitude that accompanied the Lord was composed, in part, of those going up to the city from the neighborhood, and of the pilgrims from Galilee and Perea on their way thither; and, in part, of those who, hearing of His coming, had gone out from the city to meet Him, (John xii. 12,13.) It is probable that most of the latter were pilgrims, not inhabitants of the city, and are spoken of by John as " people that were come to the feast." The priests, and scribes, and Pharisees, stood as angry or contemptuous spectators, and not only refused to join in the rejoicings and hosannas, but bade Him rebuke His disciples, and command them to be silent, (Luke xix.»39.)

The road by which the Lord passed over Olivet was probably the southern or main road, which passes between

i Ebrard, 477; Greswell, iii. 78. 3 See Ebrard, 480; Meyer in loco.

The road by which the Lord passed over Olivet was probably the southern or main road, which passes between the summit which contains the Tombs of the Prophets, and that called the Mount of Offence. This was the usual road for horsemen and caravans; a steep footpath leads over the central peak, and a winding road over the northern shoulder, neither of which could He have taken. Stanley (187) thus describes the procession : " Two vast streams of people met on that day. The one poured out from the city, and, as they came through the gardens whose clusters of palm rose on the southeastern corner of Olivet, they cut down the long branches, as was their wont at the feast of Tabernacles, and moved upward toward Bethany with loud shouts of welcome. From Bethany streamed forth the crowds who had assembled there the previous night. The road soon loses sight of Bethany . . . The two streams met midway. Half of the vast mass, turning round, preceded; the other half followed. Gradually the long procession swept up over the ridge where first begins ' the descent of the Mount of Olives' toward Jerusalem. At this point the first view is caught of the southeastern corner of the city. The temple and the more northern portions are hid by the slope of Olivet on the right; what is seen is only Mount Zion... It was at this precise point, c as He drew near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives,' (may it not have been from the sight thus opening upon them ?) that the shout of triumph burst forth from the multitude : ' Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that Cometh in the name of the Lord !' Again the procession advanced. The road descends a slight declivity, and the glimpse of the city is again withdrawn behind the intervening ridge of Olivet. A few moments, and the path mounts again; it climbs a rugged ascent; it reaches a ledge of smooth rock, and in an instant the whole city bursts into view. It is hardly possible to doubt that this rise and turn of the road, this rocky ledge, was the point where the multitude paused again; and ' He, when He beheld the city,5 wept over it."

Tradition makes the Lord to have crossed the summit of the Mount of Olives, and puts the spot where He wept over the city about half-way down on its western slope.1

This entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, " the city of the great king," was a formal assertion of His Messianic claims. It was the last appeal to the Jews to discern and recognize His royal character. He came as a king, and permitted His disciples and the multitude to pay Him kingly honors. He received, as rightly belonging to Him, the acclamations, " Hosanna to the Son of David ! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." " Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord.'' " Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven and glory in the highest." "Hosanna ! Blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord." He was the Son of David, the King of Israel, coming in the name of the Lord. But, although this triumphal entry excited general attention—"all the city was moved," (Matt. xxi. 10,) yet it is plain from the question put by the citizens, " Who is this ? " that, as a body, they had taken little part in the matter. " And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee," (v. 11.) This multitude, thus distinguished from the citizens, consisted doubtless of those who had escorted Him from Bethany, and who were mostly Galileans; and their answer, as remarked by Meyer, seems to show a kind of local pride in Him as from Galilee, their own prophet. But this very answer was peculiarly adapted to set the people of Judea against Him. (See John vii. 52.)

* See Van de Velde's Map of Jerusalem; Ellicott, 288, note 1.

The visit to the temple, and its purification, are put by Matthew (xxi. 12) as if immediately following the entry; but Mark (xi. 11) states that He merely entered the temple, and, looking around Him, went out because the even had come, and returned to Bethany with the Twelve. Luke (xix. 45) gives us no mark of time. The statement of Mark is so precise, that we cannot hesitate to give it the preference.1 Some suppose the Lord to have twice purified the temple; on the day of His entry, and again the next day.3 Others, that He began it on one day and finished it on the next, cleansing first the inner and then the outer court. Patritius makes Him to have healed the blind and lame, to have answered the priests and scribes, (Matt. xxi. 14-16,) and to have heard the request of the Greeks, (John xii. 20-22,) on this first entry. Alford's supposition,3 that Mark relates the triumphal entry a day too soon; that Jesus, in fact, first entered the city privately, noticed the abuses in the temple, and, returning to Bethany the next day, made His triumphal entry ; has no good basis. A private entry before the public one conflicts with the whole tenor of the narrative.

After looking about the temple, (" round about upon all things," Mark,) as if He would observe whether all was done according to His Father's will, He goes out, and returns to Bethany. Greswell (iii. 100) remarks: "It is probable that the traders, with their droves of cattle and their other effects, had already removed them for the day." But, if so, He saw by plain marks that His Father's house was still made a house of merchandise. There can be little doubt that He spent the nights during Passion week in this village, and probably in the house of Lazarus. Matthew says, (xxi. 17:) " He went out of the city, into Bethany, and He lodged there." Luke, speaking in general terms, says, (xxi. 37 :) "And in the day-time He was teaching in the temple, and at night He went out and abode (lodged) in the mount that is called of Olives." Probably Bethany is here meant as a district embracing a part of the mount, for He could not well, at this season of the year,, with out a tent, lodge in the open air. Alexander supposes that Luke would suggest, that "a part of these nights was employed in prayer amidst the solitudes of Olivet." Some would put the request of the Greeks to see Jesus, and His answer to them, (John xii. 20-36,) upon this day; but it may better be referred to Tuesday, upon grounds to be there given.

1 Wieseler, Lange, Alexander, Kobinson, Teschendorf, Bucher, Meyer, EUicott.

3 Lightfoot, Townsend; see Greswell, iii. 99. ■* Note on Matt. xxi. 1.

Many would bring this visit of Jesus to the temple on the 10th Nisan into connection with the divine command to choose this day a lamb for the paschal sacrifice and supper, (Ex. xii. 3-6,) and thus find in it a mystical significance. He was the true Paschal Lamb, and was now set apart for the sacrifice.1

i Whitby, Greswell, Alford, Wieseler.