OLIVES, MOUNT OF
A chain of rounded limestone hills located on the eastern side of Jerusalem, “a sabbath day’s journey” away, and separated from the city by the Kidron Valley. (Eze 11:23; Zec 14:4; Ac 1:12) This chain includes three major summits. Mount Scopus, the highest and most northerly, rises to about 820 m (2,700 ft) and, hence, higher than the general elevation of Jerusalem. The so-called Mount of Offense, or Mount of Ruination, is the most southerly of the summits and rises to about 740 m (2,430 ft). The central summit, across from the Temple Mount, is about 812 m (2,664 ft) at its highest point and is the one generally referred to in the Bible as the Mount of Olives. Anciently, this ridge was covered with palm, myrtle, oil, and, particularly, olive trees. (Ne 8:15) From the olive trees this range got its name. During the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., however, the Mount of Olives was denuded of its trees.—The Jewish War, V, 523 (xii, 4).
Notable events of Bible history are associated with the Mount of Olives. King David, barefoot and weeping, ascended the Mount of Olives as he fled from his rebellious son Absalom. (2Sa 15:14, 30, 32) King Solomon built high places for idolatrous worship there “to the right [south] of the Mount of Ruination,” but King Josiah later made these unfit for worship. (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13, ftn) In the first century C.E., Jesus Christ often met with his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, located on or in the vicinity of the Mount of Olives. (Mt 26:30, 36; Joh 18:1, 2) When at Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples customarily spent the night at Bethany on the E slope of the Mount of Olives, undoubtedly in the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. (Mt 21:17; Mr 11:11; Lu 21:37; Joh 11:1) Apparently from Bethphage, near Bethany, Jesus, seated on the colt of an ass, commenced his triumphal ride over the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem. (Mt 21:1, 2; Mr 11:1; Lu 19:29) And it was on the Mount of Olives that he explained to his disciples what ‘the sign of his presence’ would be. (Mt 24:3; Mr 13:3) Finally, after his resurrection, Jesus ascended from there into the heavens.—Ac 1:9-12.
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MOUNT OF OLIVES
Numbers represent height in meters
Mount Scopus 820
Mount of Olives 812
T.V. of Kidron
Temple Area 740
Mount of Offense 740