Reference: Olives, Mount Of
Eze 11:23, called also OLIVET, 2Sa 15:30, a ridge running north and south on the east side of Jerusalem, its summit about half a mile from the city wall, and separated from it by the valley of the Kidron. It is composed of chalky limestone, the rocks everywhere showing themselves. The olive-trees that formerly covered it, and gave it its name, are now represented by a few trees and clumps of trees which ages of desolation have not eradicated. There are three prominent summits on the ridge; of these the southernmost, which is lower than the other two, is now known as the "Mount of Corruption," because Solomon defiled it by idolatrous worship,
1Ki 11:5-7; 2Ki 23:13. Over this ridge passes the road to Bethany, the most frequented road to Jericho and the Jordan. The sides of the Mount of Olives towards the west contain many tombs, cut in the rocks. The central summit rises two hundred feet above Jerusalem, and presents a fine view of the city, and indeed of the whole region, including the mountains of Ephraim on the north, the valley of the Jordan on the east, a part of the Dead Sea on the southeast, and beyond it Kerak in the mountains of Moab. Perhaps no spot on earth unites so fine a view, with so many memorials of the most solemn and important events. Over this hill the Savior often climbed in his journey to and from the holy city. Gethsemane lay at its foot on the west, and Bethany on its eastern slope, Mt 24:3; Mr 13:3. It was probably near Bethany, and not as tradition says on the middle summit, that our lord ascended to heaven, Lu 24:50; Ac 1:12, though superstition has built the "Church of the Ascension" on the pretended spot, and shows the print of his feet on the rock whence he ascended! From the summit, three days before his death, he beheld Jerusalem, and wept over it, recalling the long ages of his more than parental care and grieving over its approaching ruin. Scarcely any thing in the gospels moves the heart more than this natural and touching scene. No one can doubt that it was God who there spoke; his retrospect, his predictions of his future judgments in the earth, Zec 14:4. See view of the central summit in GETHSEMANE. Also SEPULCHRES.
Har-hazzey-thim. E. of Jerusalem (Eze 11:23), separated from it by "the valley of Jehoshaphat" (Zec 14:4). "The mount of the olive grove" (Elaionos), Ac 1:12. Arabic jebel es Zeitun. In 2Sa 15:30 "the ascent of the olives" (Hebrew). "The mountain facing Jerusalem" (1Ki 11:7); called "the hill of corruption" from Solomon's high places built to Chemosh and Moloch (2Ki 23:13-14). The road by which David fled from Absalom across Kedron, and passed through trees to the summit, where was a consecrated spot (an old sanctuary to Elohim, like Bethel) at which he worshipped God (2Sa 15:30,32). Turning the summit he passed Bahurim (2Sa 16:5), probably near Bethany, then through a "dry and weary (Hebrew hayeephim) land where no water was," as he says Ps 63:1; 2Sa 16:2,14 (the same Hebrew), 2Sa 17:2. In Psalm 42 he was beyond Jordan; in Psalm 63 he is in the wilderness on the near side of Jordan (2Sa 15:28; 17:21-22).
Shimei, scrambling along the overhanging hill, flung down the stones and dust of the rough and parched descent. The range has four hills. Josiah defiled Solomon's idolatrous high places, breaking the "statues," cutting down the groves, and filling their places with men's bones. After the return from Babylon the olive, pine, palm, and myrtle branches for booths at the feast of tabernacles were thence procured (Ne 8:15). The ridge runs N. and S., separating the city which lies on its western side from the wilderness reaching from the eastern side of Olivet to the Dead Sea. At the northern extremity the range bends to the W., leaving a mile of level space between it and the city wall; whereas on the E. the mountain approaches the wall, separated only by a narrow ravine, Kedron, to which the descent from the Golden gate, or the gate of Stephen, is steep, and the ascent from the valley bed up the hill equally so. The northern part, probably Nob, Mizpeh, and Scopus (so called from the view it commands of the city), is distinct historically, though geologically a continuation, from "the Mount of Olives."
So too the "mount of evil counsel" on the S. The Latin Christians call the northern part "Viri Galilaei", being the presumed site of the angels' address to the disciples at the ascension, "ye men of Galilee," etc. (Ac 1:11). Olivet (Et Tur), the historical hill so called, separated from Scopus by a depression running across, is a limestone rounded hill, the whole length two miles; the height at the Church of the Ascension on the summit is 2,700 ft. above the Mediterranean, Zion is 2,537 ft. above, Moriah ("temple area" or Haram) at 2,429 ft., the N.W. corner of the city at 2,581 ft. Thus it is considerably higher than the temple mountain, and even than the socalled Zion. S. of the mount of ascension, and almost a part of it, stands that of the tombs of the prophets; again, S. of that, the mount of offense. Of the three paths from the valley to the summit the first follows the natural shape of the ground, the line of depression Between the central and the northern hill. It was evidently David's route in fleeing.
It was also the Lord's route between Bethany and Jerusalem (Lu 19:28-37), and that whereby the apostles returned to Jerusalem after the ascension. The second path at 50 yards beyond Gethsemane strikes off directly up the steep to the village. The third turns S. to the tombs of the prophets, and then to the village. The reputed sites at the W. of the central mount are: the tomb of the Virgin, then successively up the hill, namely, an olive garden, cavern of Christ's prayer and agony, rock where the disciples slept, place of Jesus' capture, spot from whence the Virgin saw Stephen stoned, spot where her girdle dropped at her assumption, spot of Jesus' lament over Jerusalem (Lu 19:41), tombs of the prophets, including Haggai and Zechariah (the Jews say; Mt 23:29), place of the ascension, and church. (See GETHSEMANE.)
On the eastern side, descending from the ascension church to Bethany, are the field of the fruitless figtree, Bethphage, Bethany, Lazarus' house, Lazarus' tomb, stone on which Christ sat when Martha and Mary came to Him. Gethsemane is doubtless authentic. The empress Helena (A.D. 325) was the first who connected the ascension with Olivet (Eusebius Vit. Const. 3:43, Demonstr. Evang. 6:18); not that she fixed the precise spot but she erected a memorial ascension church with a glittering cross on this conspicuous site near the cave, the reputed place of Christ's teaching the disciples. The tradition was not an established one until more than 300 years later. The real place of ascension was Bethany, on the eastern slope, a mile beyond the traditional site (Lu 24:50-51; Ac 1:6-11). The "sabbath day's journey" (about six furlongs) specified for the information of Gentiles not knowing the locality in Acts 1 is from Olivet's main part and summit (or from Kefr et Tur, Bethphage according to Ganneau: see below), not from the place of actual ascension, Bethany, which is more than twice a sabbath day's journey.
So public a spot as the summit, visible for miles from all points, would ill suit the ascension of Him who after the resurrection showed Himself "not unto all the people but to witnesses chosen before of God" (Ac 10:41-42). The retired and wooded slopes of Bethany on the contrary were the fit scene of that crowning event. "The Mount of Olives" is similarly used in a general sense for Bethany (Lu 21:37, compare Mt 21:17; 26:6). "Bethany" does not mean (as Alford says) the district of Bethany extending to the summit, but the village alone. The traditional site of the lamentation over Jerusalem is similarly unreal, for it can only be reached by a walk of hundreds of yards over the breast of the hill, the temple moreover and city being in full view all the time. The real site must have been a point on the road. from Bethany where the city bursts into view.
The Lord's triumphal entry was not by the steep short path of pedestrians over the summit, but the long easy route round the S. shoulder of the southernmost of the three divisions of Olivet; thence two views present themselves in succession; the first of the S.W. part of the city, namely, so called "Zion," the second, after an interval, of the temple buildings, answering to the two points of the history, the hosannas and the weeping of Jesus. Lu 19:37, "when He was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount," etc.; Lu 19:41-44, "when He was come near He beheld the city and wept over it." On the slope the multitude found the palm branches when going to meet the Lord (Joh 12:13). The catacomb called "the tombs of the prophets," on the hill S. of the central ascension hill and forming part of it with a slight depression between, is probably that cave where according to Eusebius Jesus taught mysteries to His disciples (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, 453).
The mount of offense (Baten el Hawa, Arabic, "bag of the wind") is the most southern portion of the range. The road in the hollow between it and the hill of "the tomb of the prophets" is the road from Bethany whereby Christ in triumph entered Jerusalem. The identification of "the hill of offense" with Solomon's "mount of corruption" (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13) is a late tradition of the 13th century. Stanley makes the northern hill (Viri Galilaei) to be "the mount of corruption" (why so called is uncertain in that case) because the three sanctuaries were on the right side, i.e. S. of it, namely, on the other three summits. But 2Ki 23:13 rather means the three high places were on the S. side of "the mount of corruption," i.e. the S. side or else peak of the Mount of Olives, which from Brocardus' time (13th century) has been called "the mount of offense" from the Vulgate translated of 2Ki 23:13. The southern hill is lower and more rugged. The wady en Nar, continuing the Kedron valley eastward to the Dead Sea, is the southern boundary of the southern hill. Its bald surface contrasting with the vegetation of the other hills may have suggested the identification of it as the "mount of corruption."
On its steep western face is the dilapidated village of Silwan. (See SILOAM.) On a projecting part of its eastern side, overlooking Christ's triumphal route, are tanks
The range of hills east of Jerusalem, separated from the Temple mountain by the Kidron Valley. It is scarcely mentioned in the OT. David crossed it when fleeing from Absalom (2Sa 15:30). Here branches were cut to make booths for the Feast of Tabernacles (Ne 8:15). Ezekiel (Eze 11:23) and Zechariah (Zec 14:4) make it the scene of ideal theophanies: the literal interpretation of the latter prophecy has given rise to many curious and unprofitable speculations.
The chief interest of the mountain, however, is its connexion with the closing years of our Lord's life. Over this He rode on His triumphal entry to Jerusalem; and wept over the city as it came into view (Lu 19:41); and during the days when He lodged in Bethany and visited Jerusalem He must necessarily have passed over it daily (Lu 21:37). The fig-tree which He cursed (Mt 21:19) was most probably on the mountain slopes; and in one of these daily pilgrimages He delivered to His disciples the great eschatological discourse (Mt 24; 25). On the side of the mountain was Gethsemane, where took place the first scene of the final tragedy.
The ridge is formed of hard cretaceous limestone, surmounted by softer deposits of the same material. It is divided, by gentle undulations and one comparatively deep cleft, into a series of summits. There is no reason to apply the name Olivet (Ac 1:12; 2Sa 15:30 [AV only]) exclusively to any one of these summits. The southernmost, which is separated from the rest by the cleft just mentioned, on the slope of which stands the village of Siloam (Silw
Olives, Mount of.
The Mount of Olives occurs in the Old Testament in
it is called "Olivet;" in other places simply "the mount,"
the mount facing Jerusalem
or "the mountain which is on the east aide of the city."
In the New Testament the usual form is "the Mount of Olives." It is called also "Olivet."
This mountain is the well-known eminence on the east of Jerusalem, intimately connected with some of the gravest events of the history of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the scene of the flight of David and the triumphal progress of the Son of David, of the idolatry-of Solomon, and the agony and betrayal of Christ. It is a ridge of rather more than a mile in length, running in general direction north and south, covering the whole eastern side of the city. At its northern end the ridge bends round to the west so as to form an enclosure to the city on that side also. On the north a space of nearly a mile of tolerably level surface intervenes between the walls of the city and the rising ground; on the east the mount is close to the walls, parted only by the narrow ravine of the Kidron. It is this portion which is the real Mount of Olives of the history. In general height it is not very much above-the city: 300 feet higher than the temple mount, hardly more than 100 above the so-called Zion. It is rounded, swelling and regular in form. Proceeding from north to south there occur four independent summits, called -- 1, "Viri Galilaei:" 2, "Mount of Ascension;" 3, "Prophets" --subordinate to the last and almost a part of it; 4, "Mount of Offence."
1. Of these the central one -the "Mount of Ascension"--is the most important. Three paths lead from the valley to the summit-one on the north, in the hollow between the two crests of the hill another over the summit, and a third winding around the southern shoulder still the most frequented and the best. The central hill, which we are now considering, purports to contain the sites of some of the most sacred and impressive events of Christian history. The majority of these sacred spots now command little or no attention; but three still remain, sufficiently sacred--if authentic--to consecrate any place. These are-- (1) Gethsemane, at the foot of the mount; (2) The spot from which our Saviour ascended on the summit; (3) The place of the lamentation of Christ over Jerusalem, halfway up. Of these, Gethsemane is the only one which has any claim to be authentic. [GETHSEMANE]
2. Next to the central summit, on the southern side is a hill remarkable only for the fact that it contains the "singular catacomb" known as the "Tombs of the Prophets," probably in allusion to the words of Christ.
3. The most southern portion of the Mount of Olives is that usually known as the "Mount of Offence," Mons Offensionis. It rises next to that last mentioned. The title "Mount of Offence," or "Scandal," was bestowed on the supposition that it is the "Mount of Corruption" on which Solomon erected the high places for the gods of his foreign wives.
The southern summit is considerably lower than the centre one.
4. There remains the "Viri Galilaei," about 400 yards from the "Mount of Ascension." It stands directly opposite the northeast corner of Jerusalem, and is approached by the path between it and the "Mount of Ascension." The presence of a number of churches and other edifices must have rendered the Mount of Olives, during the early and middle ages of Christianity, entirely unlike what it was in the time of the Jewish kingdom or of our Lord. Except the high places on the summit, the only buildings then to be seen were probably the walls of the vineyards and gardens and the towers and presses which were their invariable accompaniment. But though the churches are nearly all demolished, there must be a considerable difference between the aspect of the mountain now and in those days when it received its name from the abundance of its olive proves. It does not now stand so pre-eminent in this respect among the hills in the neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is only in the deeper and more secluded slope leading up to the northernmost summit that these venerable trees spread into anything like a forest. The cedars commemorated by the Talmud sad the date-palms implied in the name Bethany have fared still worse; there is not one of either to be found within many miles. Two religious ceremonies performed there must have done much to increase the numbers who resorted to the mount. The appearance of the new moon was probably watched for, certainly proclaimed, from the summit. The second ceremony referred to was the burning of the red heifer. This solemn ceremonial was enacted on the central mount, and in a spot so carefully specified that it would seem not difficult to fix it. It was due east of the sanctuary, and at such an elevation on the mount that the officiating priest, as he slew the animal and sprinkled blood, could see the facade of the sanctuary through the east gate of the temple.