Beth'phage (Βηθφαγῆ and Βηθφαγή, prob. for Syro-Chald. בֵּית פִּגֵּא, house of the unripe fig), the name of a village (κώμη) on the Mount of Olives, along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, and situated at a fork of the road, where our Lord, on his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, procured an ass just before reaching the summit of the Mount of Olives (Mt 21:1; Mr 11:1; Lu 19:29). From the two being twice mentioned together (Mr 11:1; Lu 19:29), it was apparently close to BETHANY SEE BETHANY (q.v.), and it appears (from Mt 21:1) to have been nearer to the city. The fact of our Lord's making Bethany his nightly lodging-place (Mt 21:17, etc.) is no confirmation of its direction from Bethphage, since he would doubtless take up his abode in a place where he had friends, even though it were not the first place at which he arrived on the road. Dr. Robinson argues (Researches, 2, 103) from the order of the names in these passages that Bethphage lay to the east of Bethany instead of westward, as the local tradition states; but his view has evidently been biassed by his arrangement of the gospel narrative at that point, by which he places this event on the way from Jericho instead of after the feast at Bethany (see his Harmony of the Gospels compared with Strong's Harmony and Exposition). The name of Bethphage occurs often in the Talmud (Buxtorf, Lex Talm. col. 1691); and the Jewish glossarists misled (see Hugr, Einl. 1, 18, 19) Lightfoot (Chorog. Cent. ch. xli) and Otho (Lex. Rabb. p. 101 sq.) to regard it as a district extending from the foot of the Mount of Olives to the precincts of Jerusalem, and including the village of the same name (comp. Schwarz, Palest.: p. 257). By Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v.), and also by Origen (see Busching, Harmonie d. Evang. p. 35), the place was known, though no indication of its position is given; they describe it as a village of the priests, possibly deriving the name from "Beth-phace," signifying in Syriac the "house of the jaw," as the jaw in the sacrifices was the portion of the priests (Reland, p. 653). Schwarz (p. 263 sq.) appears to place Bethphage on the southern shoulder of the "Mount of Offence," above the village of Siloam, and therefore west of Bethany. No remains which could answer to such a position have been found (Robinson, 2, 103), and the traditional site is above Bethany, half way between that village and the top of the mount (see Feustel, De Bethphage, Lips. 1686). Dr. Olin mentions (Trav. 2, 257) having seen foundations of houses and a cistern hewn in the rock at that place. Dr. Barclay, however (City of the Great King, p. 66), identifies Bethphage with traces of foundations and cisterns on the rocky S.W. spur of Olivet, a few hundred yards to the south of the Jericho-Jerusalem road, between Bethany and the Kidron (comp. Stewart, Tent and Khan, p. 332). The name of Bethphage, the signification of which, as given above, is generally accepted, is, like those of Bethany, Caphenatha, Bezetha, and the Mount of Olives itself, a testimony to the ancient fruitfulness of this district (Stanley, p. 187).

Bible concordance for BETHPHAGE.

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