Bethany in the New Testament
(1) Bethany was a village, 15 furlongs from Jerusalem (Jn 11:18), on the road to Jericho, at the Mount of Olives (Mk 11:1; Lk 19:29), where lived "Simon the leper" (Mk 14:3) and Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Jn 11:18 f).
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 (Mt 21:17; Mk 11:11). Here occurred the incident of the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11) and the feast at the house of Simon (Mt 26:1-13; Mk 14:3-9; Lk 7:36-50; Jn 1:2:1-8).
The Ascension as recorded in Lk 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" (Jn 1:28; the King James Version Bethabara; Grk: 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 Jn 1:28; compare 2:1. The traditional site is the ford East of Jericho.
- Return to Bible Places index page.
- Go to Christian biography index page.
- Go to Christianity beliefs index page.
- Go to Christian denominations index page.
- Go to Christian comparison charts index page.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain.