Bethab'ara (Βηθαβαρά, quasi, בּית עֲבָרָה, house of the ford or ferry), a place beyond Jordan (πέραν τοῦ Ι᾿ορ.), in which, according to the Received Text of the N.T., John was baptizing (Joh 1:28), apparently at the time that he baptized Christ (comp. ver. 29, 39, 35). If this reading be the correct one, Bethabara may be identical with BETH-BARAH SEE BETH- BARAH (q.v.), the ancient ford of Jordan, of which the men of Ephraim took possession after Gideon's defeat of the. Midianites (Jg 7:24); or possibly with BETH-NIMRAH SEE BETH-NIMRAH (q.v.), on the east of the river, nearly opposite Jericho. But the oldest MSS. (A, B) and the Vulgate have not "Bethabara," but Bethany (Βηθανία), a reading which Origen states (Opp. 2, 130, ed. Huet) to have obtained in almost all the copies of his time (σχέδον πάντα τὰ ἀντίγραφα), though altered by him in his edition of the Gospel on topographical grounds (see Kuinol, in loc.). In favor of Bethabara are
(a) the extreme improbability of so familiar a name as Bethany being changed by copyists into one so unfamiliar as Bethabara, while the reverse — the change from an unfamiliar to a familiar name — is of frequent occurrence.
(b) The fact that Origen, while admitting that the majority of MSS. were in favor of Bethany, decided, notwithstanding, for Bethabara.
(c) That Bethabara was still known in the days of Eusebius and Jerome (Onomasticon, Βηθααβαρά, Bethbaara, which is expressly stated to have been the scene of John's baptism), and greatly resorted to by persons desirous of baptism. Still the fact remains that the most ancient MSS. have "Bethany," and that name has been accordingly restored to the text by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and other modern editors. The locality must, therefore, be sought by this name on the east shore of the Jordan. SEE BETHANY.