Approaching Jerusalem

Mark 11:1 AV
And when they came nigh¹ to Jerusalem,
unto Bethphage and Bethany,
at the mount of Olives,
he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

¹) Came near, approached

Other translations

When they were getting near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, He sent ahead two of His disciples [AMP]

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples [ESV]

When they were nearing Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany on Mount Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: [MSB]

And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, [KJV]

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, [NIV]

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. [NLT]

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; [NKJV]

Study

And when they drew near to Jerusalem

The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, “when he came nigh”; that is, Jesus, and his disciples, and the multitude.

It is a general transition statement, marking the end of what happened in chapter 10 and before. And it also indicates the beginning of the final phase of Christ’s 3-year ministry.

Verses 1-11 describe the events of the first day of the week of suffering.
Jesus and His disciples are now very close to Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives near Bethphage and Bethany.

Bethphage and Bethany

Two places, near Jerusalem: The Vulgate Latin only makes mention of Bethany.

The order in which the two villages are mentioned (Bethphage and Bethany) is remarkable. After all, from Jericho ( Mark 10:46) one first arrives in Bethany (or at least along the junction that leads to Bethany, cf. ‘to Bethany’ in Luke 24:50) and only then in Bethphage. So the order Jerusalem – Bethphage – Bethany, mentioned in this verse is exactly the reverse order of the route followed by the pilgrims from Jericho. Mark thus reasons from the perspective of Jerusalem, which is the final destination of the journey.

Bethphage

Bethphage was a smal town just east of Jerusalem whose name literally means “House of unripe figs” (see Mark 11:12, 20). Bethphage began where Bethany ended, and reached to the city itself. It was possibly so called after the fig tree was cursed.

Bethphage was an insignificant hamlet. It is probably this village where the two disciples had to go and get the colt (Mark 11:2). Bethany, less than three kilometers from Jerusalem, (the place where Jesus would spend the night during the week before His suffering, Mark 11:19; Matthew 21:17), may be mentioned to clarify the location of the lesser known Bethphage.

The location of Bethphage (somewhere between Jerusalem and Bethany) is difficult to pinpoint. Some still locate it on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (where Bethany was also), others on the western side opposite Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. Rabbinic writings indicate that it was at least within the distance of a Sabbath journey (2000 cubits = 880 m) from Jerusalem.

Bethany

The name Bethany  means “house of dates” or “house of misery”‭
Bethany was the hometown of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1) on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, two miles (3 km) east of Jerusalem, on or near the normal road to Jericho‭.

Mount of Olives

This mountain stood between Bethany and Jerusalem and was near, the above places.

He sendeth forth two of his disciples

These were perhaps Peter and John.

Twitter: @SchoemakerHarry
Website 1: https://devotionals.harryschoemaker.nl
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