(Γεθσημανῆ v.r. Γεθσημαᾷεί, prob. for Aramean גִּתאּשֶׁמנָא, oil-press, such being doubtless in the vicinity), the same of a small field (χωρίον, plot, A.V. "place," Mt 26:36) or oliveyard (comp. κῆπος Joh 18:1), just out of Jerusalem, over the brook Kedron, and at the foot of the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus, as often before (camp. Lu 22:39), retired with his disciples on the night of his betrayal (Mr 14:32), and which was the scene of his agony (q.v.). The Kedron runs in the battone of a deep glen, parallel with the eastern call of Jerusalem, and about 200 yards distant. Immediately beyond it rises the steep side of Olivet, now, as formerly, cultivated in rude terraces. Somewhere on the slope of this mount Gethsemane must have been situated (see Nitzsch, De horto Gethasemsane, Viteb. 1750). According to Josephus, the suburbs of Jerusalem abounded with gardens and pleasure-grounds (παραδείσοις, 6:1, 1; compare 5:3, 2); now, with the exception of those belonging to the Greek and Latin convents, hardly the vestige of a garden is to be seen. There is, indeed, a favorite paddock or close, half a mile or more to the north, on the same side of the continuation of the valley of the Kedron, the property of a wealthy Turk, where the Mohammedan ladies pass the day with their families, their bright, flowing costume forming a picturesque contrast to the stiff, somber foliage of the olive-grove beneath which they cluster. But Gethsenmane 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. Here emphatically, as Isaiah had foretold, and as the name imports, were fulfilled those dark words, "I have trodden the wins-press alone" (63:3; compare Re 14:20, "the wine-press ... without the city"). — "The period of the year," remarks Mr. Gresswell (Harm. Diss. 13), "was the vernal equinox; the day of the month about two days before the fall of the moon — in which case the moon would not be now very far past her meridian, and the night would be enlightened until a late hour towards the morning;" the day of the week Thursday, or rather, according to the Jews, Friday, for the sun had set. The time, according to Mr. Gresswell, would be the last Watch of the night, between our 11 and 12 o'clock. Any recapitulation of the circumstances of that ineffable event Would be unnecessary, any comments upon it unseasonable. A modern garden, in which are 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 in fact, with the road to the summit of the mountain running between them, as it did also in the days of the Crusaders (Sanuti, Secret. Fidel. Cruc. lib. 3, page 14, c. 9) — both securely enclosed, and under lock and key, are pointed out as making up the true Gethsemanse. These may be the spots which Eusebius (Onomast. s.v. Γεθσιμανῆ " where the faithful still resort for prayer"), St. Jerome (Liber de Situ et Nomninibus, s.v.), and Adamnanus mention as such; and from the 4th century downwards some such localities are spoken of as known, frequented, and even built upon. This spot was probably fixed upon at the wish of Helena, the mother of Constantine, in A.D. 326. The pilgrims of antiquity say nothing about those time-honored olive-trees, whose age the poetic minds of Lamartine and Stanley shrink from criticizing — they were doubtless not so imposing in the 6th century; still, had they been noticed, they would heave afforded undying testimony to the locality — while, on the other hand, few modern travelers would inquire for and adore, with Antoninus, the three precise spots where our Lord is said to have fallen upon his face. Against the contemporary antiquity of the olive-trees, it has been urged that Titus cut down all the trees round about Jerusalem; and certainly this is no more than Josephus states in express terms (see particularly War, 6:1, 1, a passage which must have escaped Mr. Williams, Holy City, 2:437, 2d. edit., who only cites 5:3, 2, and 6:8, 1). Besides, the tenth legion, arriving from Jericho, were posted about the Mount of Olives (5:2, 3; and comp. 6:2, 8). and in the course of the siege a wall was carried along the valley of the Kedron to the fountain of Siloam (5:10, 2). The probability, therefore, would seem to be that they were planted by Christian hands to mark the spot; unless, like the sacred olive of the Acropolis (Bahr, ad Herod. 8:55), they may have reproduced thetselves as scions from the old roots, a supposition which their shape and position render not unlikely (Aiton, Land of the Messiah, page 204). Maundrell (Early Trav. in Palestine, by Wright, page 471) and Quaresmius (Elusid. T. S. lib. 4, per. 5, chapter 7) appear to have been the first to notice them, not more than three centuries ago; the former arguing against and the latter in favor of their reputed antiquity, but nobody reading their accounts would imagine that there were then no more than eight, the locality of Gethsemane being supposed the same. Parallel claims, to be sure, are not wanting in the cedars of Lebanon, which are still visited with so much enthusiasm; in the terebinth, or oak of Mamre, which was standing in the days of Constantine the Great, and even worshipped (Vales. ad Euseb. Vit. Const. 3:53); and the fig-tree (ficus elastics) near Nerbudda, in India, which native historians assert to be 2500 years old (Patterson's Journal of a Tour in Egypt, page 202, note). Still more appositely, there were olive-trees near Liternum 250 years old, according to Pliny, in his time, which are recorded to have survived to the middle of the 10th century (Nousv. Dict. de Hist. Nat. Paris, 1846, 29:61). There can, indeed, be no certainty as to the precise age of the trees; but it is admitted by all travelers that the eight which still stand upon the spot in question bear the marks of a venerable antiquity, having gnarled trunks and a thin foliage. Several young trees have been planted to supply the place of those which have disappeared (Olin's Travels, 2:115). Some years ago the plot of ground was bought by the Latin Church; and, having been enclosed by a. wall, the interior is laid out in walks and flower-beds after the fashion of a modern European garden: the guardian padre, however, still points out to pilgrims not only "the grotto of the agony," but also the spot where Judas betrayed Jesus, and that where the three disciples slept (Geramib, Pilgrimage to Palestine, 1:63 sq.). Mr. G. Robinson says: "The grot to which our Saviour retired, and where, 'falling to the ground' in the agony of his soul, and sweating 'as it were great drops of blood,' he was comforted by an angel (Lu 22:43-44), is still shown and venerated as such. It is excavated in the rock, and the descent to it is by a flight of rudely-cut steps. The form of the interior is circular, about fifteen feet in diameter, and the roof, which is supported by pilasters, is perforated in the middle to admit light. There are some remains of sepulchres in the sides (Travels in Palestine, Par. 1837, 1:128). The Armenian or Greek Church, hoaever, denies that this is the actual site, and has fixed upon another as the proper one, at some little distance to the north of it. But both sites have been deemed by many writers as too public for the privacy of prayer (Thomson, Land and Book, 2:284). The solemn quietude of the Latin site, however, is strongly commented upon by Bartlett (Walks about Zion, page 98). Dr. Robinson remarks that there is nothing particular in the traditionary plot to mark it as the garden of Gethsemane, for adjacent to it are many similar enclosures, and many olive-trees equally old (Researches, 1:346). He admits, however, the probability that this is the site which Eusebius and Jerome had in view, and as no other site is suggested as entitled to superior credit, we may be content to receive the traditional indication (Tischendorf, Reise irs dem Orient, 1:312). It has been visited and described by nearly every modern traveler in Palestine. Some have even heard the ancient name given in connection with this spot, but this was probably borrowed by the Arabs from the Christian traditions. SEE JERUSALEM.

Bible concordance for GETHSEMANE.

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