Oil-press, a garden or grove in the valley at the foot of the Mount of Olives, over against Jerusalem, to which our Savior sometimes retired, and in which he endured his agony, and was betrayed by Judas, Mt 26:36-57. Early tradition locates Gethsemane near the base of Mount Olivet, beyond the brook Kidron. The place now enclosed by a low stone wall may be but a part of the original "garden." It is about fifty-two yards square, and contains eight aged olive-trees, whose roots in many places project above the ground and are protected by heaps of stones. Here, or at most not far off, the Savior endured that unspeakable "agony and bloody sweat" so nearly connected with his expiatory death; and here in deep submission he mingled and closed his prayers for relief with their cry, "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done." From this garden he could readily see the crowd of men "with lanterns and torches" emerging from the city gate, and hastening, under the guidance of Judas, to seize him. It is the spot which the Christian visitor at Jerusalem first seeks out, and where he lingers longest and last ere he turns homeward. A recent traveler, Professor Hackett, passing by Gethsemane one day, saw a shepherd in the act of shearing a sheep. The animal lay on the ground, with its feet tied, the man's knee pressed rudely against its side, while it seemed as if every movement of the shears would lacerate its flesh; yet during the whole, it struggled not and opened not its mouth-- a touching memento, upon that sacred spot, of the Lamb of God, Isa 53:7.
oil-press, the name of an olive-yard at the foot of the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus was wont to retire (Lu 22:39) with his disciples, and which is specially memorable as being the scene of his agony (Mr 14:32; Joh 18:1; Lu 22:44). The plot of ground pointed out as Gethsemane is now surrounded by a wall, and is laid out as a modern European flower-garden. It contains eight venerable olive-trees, the age of which cannot, however, be determined. The exact site of Gethsemane is still in question. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book) says: "When I first came to Jerusalem, and for many years afterward, this plot of ground was open to all whenever they chose to come and meditate beneath its very old olivetrees. The Latins, however, have within the last few years succeeded in gaining sole possession, and have built a high wall around it...The Greeks have invented another site a little to the north of it...My own impression is that both are wrong. The position is too near the city, and so close to what must have always been the great thoroughfare eastward, that our Lord would scarcely have selected it for retirement on that dangerous and dismal night...I am inclined to place the garden in the secluded vale several hundred yards to the north-east of the present Gethsemane."
Illustration: Gethsemane and Mt of Olives
("oil-press".) Beyond the brook Kedron at the foot of the mount of Olives; where probably oil was made from the olives of the adjoining hill (Lu 22:39; Joh 18:1). Called a "place" or farm (choorion), Mt 26:36, to which probably the "garden" was attached. E. of Jerusalem, from the walls of which it was half a mile distant. It was the favorite resort of our Lord with His disciples (Joh 18:2), the shade of its trees affording shelter from the heat and the privacy so congenial to Him. Bethany lay on the E. of Jerusalem, and toward it our Lord led His disciples before the ascension. In Lu 24:50 the sense is, He led them to the side of the hill where the road strikes downward to Bethany; for Ac 1:12 shows He ascended from the mount of Olives.
Bethany probably includes not only the village but the district and side of the mount adjoining it; even still the adjoining mountain side is called by the same name as the village, el-Azariyeh. This reconciles Lu 24:50 with Ac 1:12. Gardens and pleasure grounds abounded then in the suburbs (Josephus, B.J., 6:1, section 1, 5:3, section 32), where now scarcely one is to be seen. In Gethsemane without the city" Christ "trod the winepress alone" (Isa 63:3; Re 14:20). In these passages, however, He is the inflicter, not the sufferer, of vengeance; but in righteous retribution the scene of blood shedding of Christ and His people shall be also the scene of God's avenging His and their blood on the anti-Christian foe (Re 19:14).
The time of the agony was between 11 and 12 o'clock Thursday night (Friday morning in the Jews' reckoning), two days before the full moon, about the Vernal equinox. The sites assigned by the Latins and Armenians and Greeks respectively are too near the thoroughfare to the city to be probable. Some hundreds of yards further up the vale and N.E. of Mary's church may be the true site. The fact that Titus cut down all the trees round about Jerusalem (Josephus, B.J., 6:1, section 1) is against the contemporary ancientness of the eight venerable olive trees now pointed out. The tenth legion, moreover, was posted about the mount of Olives (5:2, section 3, 6:2, section 8); and in the siege a wall was carried along the valley of Kedron to the Siloam fountain (5:10, section 2). The olives of Christ's time may have reproduced themselves.
A place to which Christ retired with His disciples (Mt 26:35; Mr 14:32), and where Judas betrayed Him. It was probably a favourite resort of our Lord, as Judas knew where He was likely to be found. There are two traditional sites, side by side, one under the Greeks, the other under the Latins. It may be admitted that they are somewhere near the proper site, on the W. slope of the Mount of Olives above the Kidron; but there is no justification for the exact localization of the site.
R. A. S. Macalister.
Name of the garden on some part of mount Olivet to which the Lord often resorted with His disciples. It was here He spent a part of the night after the last Passover, and where He was in intense agony in prospect of drinking the cup of wrath due to sin. How significant is the name, which signifies 'wine-press'! Angels came and ministered to Him. Here also He was betrayed by Judas with a kiss, and arrested. Mt 26:36; Mr 14:32; Lu 22:39; Joh 18:1-2. A spot, now walled round and preserved as a European flower garden, on the N.W. of the slope of Olivet, is the traditional site of Gethsemane. It is nearly opposite the St. Stephen's gate. There are in it some venerable olive trees; but as Titus, at the destruction of Jerusalem, cut down all the trees near the city, these must be of more recent growth, and there is no certainty as to the site. A more retired spot would seem more fitting.
(an oil-press), a small "farm,"
situated across the brook Kedron
probably at the foot of Mount Olivet,
to the northwest and about one-half or three quarters of a mile English from the walls of Jerusalem, and 100 yards east of the bridge over the Kedron. There was a "garden," or rather orchard, attached to it, to which the olive, fig and pomegranate doubtless invited resort by their hospitable shade. And we know from the evangelists
that our Lord ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. But Gethsemane has not come down to us as a scene of mirth; its inexhaustible associations are the offspring of a single event--the agony of the Son of God on the evening preceding his passion. A garden, with eight venerable olive trees, and a grotto to the north detached from it, and in closer connection with the church of the sepulchre of the Virgin, are pointed out as the Gethsemane. Against the contemporary antiquity of the olive trees it has been urged that Titus cut down all the trees about Jerusalem. The probability would seem to be that they were planted by Christian hands to mark the spot unless, like the sacred olive of the Acropolis, they may have reproduced themselves.
GETHSEMANE. See OLIVES, Mount of.