Acts 1:12
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
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(12) From the mount called Olivet.—As to the name, see Note on Luke 19:29. The mention of the distance, and the measure of distance employed are, both of them, remarkable, and suggest the thought that St. Luke’s reckoning was a different one from that which Christendom has commonly received, and that the “forty days” expired before the last renewal of our Lord’s intercourse with His disciples, and that this ended on the following sabbath—i.e., eight days before the day of Pentecost. On this supposition we get a reason, otherwise wanting, for this manner of stating the distance. Symbolically, too, there seems a fitness in our Lord’s entering into His rest, on the great day of rest, which is wanting in our common way of reckoning. On the other hand, it may be noted that it is after St. Luke’s manner as in the case of Emmaus (Luke 24:13) to give distances. The “Sabbath day’s journey” was reckoned at 2,000 paces, or about six furlongs.



Acts 1:1 - Acts 1:14

The Ascension is twice narrated by Luke. The life begun by the supernatural birth ends with the supernatural Ascension, which sets the seal of Heaven on Christ’s claims and work. Therefore the Gospel ends with it. But it is also the starting-point of the Christ’s heavenly activity, of which the growth of His Church, as recorded in the Acts, is the issue. Therefore the Book of the Acts of the Apostles begins with it.

The keynote of the ‘treatise’ lies in the first words, which describe the Gospel as the record of what ‘Jesus began to do and teach,’ Luke would have gone on to say that this second book of his contained the story of what Jesus went on to do and teach after He was ‘taken up,’ if he had been strictly accurate, or had carried out his first intention, as shown by the mould of his introductory sentence; but he is swept on into the full stream of his narrative, and we have to infer the contrast between his two volumes from his statement of the contents of his first.

The book, then, is misnamed Acts of the Apostles, both because the greater number of the Apostles do nothing in it, and because, in accordance with the hint of the first verse, Christ Himself is the doer of all, as comes out distinctly in many places where the critical events of the Church’s progress and extension are attributed to ‘the Lord.’ In one aspect, Christ’s work on earth was finished on the Cross; in another, that finished work is but the beginning both of His doing and teaching. Therefore we are not to regard His teaching while on earth as the completion of Christian revelation. To set aside the Epistles on the plea that the Gospels contain Christ’s own teaching, while the Epistles are only Paul’s or John’s, is to misconceive the relation between the earthly and the heavenly activity of Jesus.

The statement of the theme of the book is followed by a brief summary of the events between the Resurrection and Ascension. Luke had spoken of these in the end of his Gospel, but given no note of time, and run together the events of the day of the Resurrection and of the following weeks, so that it might appear, as has been actually contended that he meant, that the Ascension took place on the very day of Resurrection. The fact that in this place he gives more detailed statements, and tells how long elapsed between the Resurrection Sunday and the Ascension, might have taught hasty critics that an author need not be ignorant of what he does not mention, and that a detailed account does not contradict a summary one,-truths which do not seem very recondite, but have often been forgotten by very learned commentators.

Three points are signalised as occupying the forty days: commandments were given, Christ’s actual living presence was demonstrated {by sight, touch, hearing, etc.}, and instructions concerning the kingdom were imparted. The old blessed closeness and continuity of companionship had ceased. Our Lord’s appearances were now occasional. He came to the disciples, they knew not whence; He withdrew from them, they knew not whither. Apparently a sacred awe restrained them from seeking to detain Him or to follow Him. Their hearts would be full of strangely mingled feelings, and they were being taught by gentle degrees to do without Him. Not only a divine decorum, but a most gracious tenderness, dictated the alternation of presence and absence during these days.

The instructions then given are again referred to in Luke’s Gospel, and are there represented as principally directed to opening their minds ‘that they might understand the Scriptures.’ The main thing about the kingdom which they had then to learn, was that it was founded on the death of Christ, who had fulfilled all the Old Testament predictions. Much remained untaught, which after years were to bring to clear knowledge; but from the illumination shed during these fruitful days flowed the remarkable vigour and confidence of the Apostolic appeal to the prophets, in the first conflicts of the Church with the rulers. Christ is the King of the kingdom, and His Cross is His throne,-these truths being grasped revolutionised the Apostles’ conceptions. They are as needful for us.

From Acts 1:4 onwards the last interview seems to be narrated. Probably it began in the city, and ended on the slopes of Olivet. There was a solemn summoning together of the Eleven, which is twice referred to {Acts 1:4, Acts 1:6}. What awe of expectancy would rest on the group as they gathered round Him, perhaps half suspecting that it was for the last time! His words would change the suspicion into certainty, for He proceeded to tell them what they were not to do and to do, when left alone. The tone of leave-taking is unmistakable.

The prohibition against leaving Jerusalem implies that they would have done so if left to themselves; and it would have been small wonder if they had been eager to hurry back to quiet Galilee, their home, and to shake from their feet the dust of the city where their Lord had been slain. Truly they would feel like sheep in the midst of wolves when He had gone, and Pharisees and priests and Roman officers ringed them round. No wonder if, like a shepherdless flock, they had broken and scattered! But the theocratic importance of Jerusalem, and the fact that nowhere else could the Apostles secure such an audience for their witness, made their ‘beginning at Jerusalem’ necessary. So they were to crush their natural longing to get back to Galilee, and to stay in their dangerous position. We have all to ask, not where we should be most at ease, but where we shall be most efficient as witnesses for Christ, and to remember that very often the presence of adversaries makes the door ‘great and effectual.’

These eleven poor men were not left by their Master with a hard task and no help. He bade them ‘wait’ for the promised Holy Spirit, the coming of whom they had heard from Him when in the upper room He spoke to them of ‘the Comforter.’ They were too feeble to act alone, and silence and retirement were all that He enjoined till they had been plunged into the fiery baptism which should quicken, strengthen, and transform them.

The order in which promise and command occur here shows how graciously Jesus considered the Apostles’ weakness. Not a word does He say of their task of witnessing, till He has filled their hearts with the promise of the Spirit. He shows them the armour of power in which they are to be clothed, before He points them to the battlefield. Waiting times are not wasted times. Over-eagerness to rush into work, especially into conspicuous and perilous work, is sure to end in defeat. Till we feel the power coming into us, we had better be still.

The promise of this great gift, the nature of which they but dimly knew, set the Apostles’ expectations on tiptoe, and they seem to have thought that their reception of it was in some way the herald of the establishment of the Messianic kingdom. So it was, but in a very different fashion from their dream. They had not learned so much from the forty days’ instructions concerning the kingdom as to be free from their old Jewish notions, which colour their question, ‘Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’ They believed that Jesus could establish His kingdom when He would. They were right, and also wrong,-right, for He is King; wrong, for its establishment is not to be effected by a single act of power, but by the slow process of preaching the gospel.

Our Lord does not deal with their misconceptions which could only be cured by time and events; but He lays down great principles, which we need as much as the Eleven did. The ‘times and seasons,’ the long stretches of days, and the critical epoch-making moments, are known to God only; our business is, not to speculate curiously about these, but to do the plain duty which is incumbent on the Church at all times. The perpetual office of Christ’s people to be His witnesses, their equipment for that function {namely, the power of the Holy Spirit coming on them}, and the sphere of their work {namely, in ever-widening circles, Jerusalem, Samaria, and the whole world}, are laid down, not for the first hearers only, but for all ages and for each individual, in these last words of the Lord as He stood on Olivet, ready to depart.

The calm simplicity of the account of the Ascension is remarkable. So great an event told in such few, unimpassioned words! Luke’s Gospel gives the further detail that it was in the act of blessing with uplifted hands that our Lord was parted from the Eleven. Two expressions are here used to describe the Ascension, one of which {‘was taken up’} implies that He was passive, the other of which {‘He went’} implies that He was active. Both are true. As in the accounts of the Resurrection He is sometimes said to have been raised, and sometimes to have risen, so here. The Father took the Son back to the glory, the Son left the world and went to the Father. No chariot of fire, no whirlwind, was needed to lift Him to the throne. Elijah was carried by such agency into a sphere new to him; Jesus ascended up where He was before.

No other mode of departure from earth would have corresponded to His voluntary, supernatural birth. He carried manhood up to the throne of God. The cloud which received Him while yet He was well within sight of the gazers was probably that same bright cloud, the symbol of the Divine Presence, which of old dwelt between the cherubim. His entrance into it visibly symbolised the permanent participation, then begun, of His glorified manhood in the divine glory.

Most true to human nature is that continued gaze upwards after He had passed into the hiding brightness of the glory-cloud. How many of us know what it is to look long at the spot on the horizon where the last glint of sunshine struck the sails of the ship that bore dear ones away from us! It was fitting that angels, who had heralded His birth and watched His grave, should proclaim His Second Coming to earth.

It was gracious that, in the moment of keenest sense of desolation and loss, the great hope of reunion should be poured into the hearts of the Apostles. Nothing can be more distinct and assured than the terms of that angel message. It gives for the faith and hope of all ages the assurance that He will come; that He who comes will be the very Jesus who went; that His coming will be, like His departure, visible, corporeal, local. He will bring again all His tenderness, all His brother’s heart, all His divine power, and will gather His servants to Himself.

No wonder that, with such hopes flowing over the top of their sorrow, like oil on troubled waters, the little group went back to the upper room, hallowed by memories of the Last Supper, and there waited in prayer and supplication during the ten days which elapsed till Pentecost. So should we use the interval between any promise and its fulfilment. Patient expectation, believing prayer, harmonious association with our brethren, will prepare us for receiving the gift of the Spirit, and will help to equip us as witnesses for Jesus.

Acts 1:12. Then returned they unto Jerusalem — According to their Master’s appointment, having first worshipped him, Luke 24:52. Here they were in the midst of enemies; but it seems, though immediately after Christ’s resurrection they were watched, and were in fear of the Jews, yet after it was known that they were gone into Galilee, no notice was taken of their return to the city, nor any further search made for them. In Jerusalem they employed themselves in a daily course of public and private devotion, rejoicing in what they had seen and heard, and firmly believing some extraordinary event was at hand, whereby they should be more fully qualified for the great work assigned them; which, whatever the hazard of it might be, they were firmly determined to undertake and prosecute.

1:12-14 God can find hiding-places for his people. They made supplication. All God's people are praying people. It was now a time of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; but if any is afflicted, let him pray; that will silence cares and fears. They had now a great work to do, and before they entered upon it, they were earnest in prayer to God for his presence. They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, and abounded in prayer. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritual blessings, who are in a praying frame. Christ had promised shortly to send the Holy Ghost; that promise was not to do away prayer, but to quicken and encourage it. A little company united in love, exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, and wisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are likely to increase rapidly.Then returned they unto Jerusalem - In Luke 24:52, we are told that they worshipped Jesus before they returned, and it is probable that the act of worship to which he refers was what is mentioned in this chapter their gazing intently on their departing Lord.

From the mount called Olivet - From the Mount of Olives. See the notes on Matthew 21:1. The part of the mountain from which he ascended was the eastern declivity, where stood the little village of Bethany, Luke 24:50.

A sabbath-day's journey - As far as might be lawfully traveled by a Jew on the Sabbath. This was 2,000 paces or cubits, or seven furlongs and a half - not quite one mile. See the notes On Matthew 24:20. The distance of a lawful journey on the Sabbath was not fixed by the laws of Moses, but the Jewish teachers had fixed it at 2,000 paces. This measure was determined on because it was a tradition that in the camp of the Israelites, when coming from Egypt, no part of the camp was more than 2000 paces from the tabernacle, and over this space, therefore, they were permitted to travel for worship. Perhaps, also, some countenance was given to this from the fact that this was the extent of the suburbs of the Levitical cities, Numbers 35:5. Mount Olivet was only 5 furlongs from Jerusalem, and Bethany was 15 furlongs. But on the eastern declivity of the mountain the tract of country was called, for a considerable space, the region of Bethany; and it was from this place that the Lord Jesus ascended.

Ac 1:12-26. Return of the Eleven to Jerusalem—Proceedings in the Upper Room till Pentecost.

12-14. a sabbath day's journey—about two thousand cubits.

From the mount called Olivet, which Bethany was a part of, as situate towards the bottom of it, remoter from Jerusalem. Hence Luke 24:50, differs not from this place. From hence the rather our Lord ascended, that he might receive his glory nigh the place where he began his suffering, (in the garden where he endured his agony, and was betrayed), and in the view of Jerusalem, where he had been condemned and scorned.

A sabbath day’s journey; about a mile or two, or such a space as, by God’s appointment, was between the ark and the people, Joshua 3:4.

Then returned they unto Jerusalem,.... With great joy, after the angels had told them that he should come again in like manner:

from the mount called Olivet; which was on the east side of Jerusalem, a mountain Christ much frequented, and from whence he ascended to heaven. This is the hill which in 1 Kings 11:7 is said to be "before Jerusalem"; and accordingly Jarchi interprets it of the Mount of Olives; and in Zechariah 14:4 it is expressly said to be "before Jerusalem on the east"; hence, when our Lord sat upon it, he is said to be over against the temple, Mark 13:3. It has its name from the multitude of olive trees which grew upon it: it is by the Jewish writers sometimes called , "the Mount of Olives" (n), as in Zechariah 14:4 and sometimes (o), and (p), "the Mount of Oil"; i.e. of olive oil, which was made out of the olives that grew upon it. It is said, that in an old edition of the Latin version of this text it is called "the Mountain of Three Lights"; and this reason is given for it, because on the west side it was enlightened in the night by the continual fire of the altar in the temple; and on the east side it had the first beams of the sun before the city was enlightened with them; and it produced plenty of olives, by which the light is maintained in the lamps. Josephus (q) relates, that in the earthquake in the times of Uzziah, half part of this mountain, which was to the west, was divided from it, and was rolled four furlongs to the eastern part of it, so that the ways and king's gardens were stopped up,

Which, is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. The Syriac version renders it, "about seven furlongs", or near a mile; though Josephus (r) writes, that the Mount of Olives was but five furlongs from Jerusalem: perhaps this may be a mistake in the present copies of Josephus, since Chrysostom on this place cites this passage of Josephus, and reads seven furlongs; which exactly agrees with the Syriac version. A sabbath day's journey, according to the Jews, was two thousand cubits from any city or town, and which they often called, , "the bound of the sabbath" (s); and which they collect partly from Numbers 35:4 which they understand thus (t):

"a thousand cubits are the suburbs (of the city), and two thousand cubits the bounds of the sabbath.

And these were so many middling paces; for so they say (u),

"a walk of two thousand middling paces, this is the bound of the sabbath.

And that this was the proper space they also gather from Joshua 3:4 it being the distance between the ark and the people when they marched; and though this was not fixed by the law, yet being a tradition of the elders, was strictly observed by them: so when Ruth desired to become a proselytess, the Targumist on Ruth 1:16 introduces Naomi thus speaking to her,

"says Naomi, we are commanded to keep the sabbaths, and the good days, (or feasts,) and not to walk above "two thousand cubits";

i.e. on those days; for to go further was reckoned a profanation of them: so it is said (w),

"the sabbath day is profaned with the hands by work, and with the feet by walking more than "two thousand cubits".

Yea, this was punishable with beatings (x):

"a man might go on the sabbath without the city two thousand cubits on every side--but if he went beyond two thousand cubits, they beat him with the beating of rebels,

or in the same manner a rebellious son was beaten. Nay, not only they might not go out of a city or town where they were, further than this, but from whatsoever place they happened to be, as appears by these following rules (y),

"if anyone falls asleep in the way (or on the road), and he does not know that it was dark (and so that the sabbath is begun), he has two thousand cubits (allowed him) on every side.--Whoever is on a journey, and it is dark, and he knows a tree, or a hedge, and says, let my sabbath (or sabbatical seat) be under it, he says nothing; but if he says, let my sabbath be at the root of it, then he may go from the place of his feet, and to the root of it, two thousand cubits, and from the root of it to his house two thousand cubits; by which means he may go four thousand cubits after it is dark. But if he does not know (any), and is not expert in walking, and says, let my sabbath be in my place, (i.e. in which he stands,) then from his place he has two thousand cubits on every side.


Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath {h} day's journey.

(h) About two miles.

Acts 1:12. The ascension took place on the Mount of Olives, which is not only here, but also in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37, called ἐλαιών (see on Luke 19:29). Its locality is indicated in Luke 24:50, not differently from, but more exactly than in our passage (in opposition to de Wette and others); and accordingly there is no necessity for the undemonstrable hypothesis that the Sabbath-day’s journey is to be reckoned from Bethphage (Wieseler, Synop. p. 435). It is not the distance of the place of the ascension, but of the Mount of Olives, on which it occurred, that is meant. Luke here supposes that more precisely defined locality as already known; but if he had had any particular design in naming the Mount of Olives (Baumgarten, p. 28 f.: that he wished to lead their thoughts to the future, according to Ezekiel 11:23; Zechariah 14:6), he must have said so, and could least of all presume that Theophilus would understand such a tacit prophetic allusion, especially as the Mount of Olives was already sufficiently known to him from the Gospel, Acts 19:29, Acts 21:37, without any such latent reference.

σαββάτου ἔχον ὁδόν] having a Sabbath’s way. The way is conceived as something which the mountain has, i.e. which is connected with it in reference to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Such is—and not with Wetstein and Kuinoel: ἔχειν pro ἀπέχειν—the correct view also in the analogous passages in Kypke, II. p. 8. The more exact determination of ὅ ἐστιν ἐγγὺς Ἱερουσ. is here given; hence also the explanation of Alberti (ad Luke 24:13) and Kypke, that it expresses the extent of the mountain (Sabbati constans itinere), is contrary to the context, and the use of ἔχειν is to be referred to the general idea conjunctum quid cum quo esse (Herm. ad Vig. p. 753).

A ὁδὸς σαββάτου, a journey permitted on the Sabbath[100] according to the traditionary maxims, was of the length of 2000 cubits. See on Matthew 24:20. The different statements in Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 6 (six stadia), and Bell. Jud. v. 2. 3 (five stadia), are to be considered as different estimates of the small distance. Bethany was fifteen stadia from Jerusalem (John 11:16); see also Robinson, II. p. 309 f.; hence the locality of the ascension is to be sought for beyond the ridge of the mountain on its eastern slope.

[100] According to Schneckenburger, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 502, this statement presupposes that the ascension occurred on the Sabbath. But the inference is rash, and without any historical trace.

Acts 1:12. τότε: frequent in Acts and in St. Luke’s Gospel, but most frequent in St. Matthew; on its use see Grimm-Thayer, and Blass, Gramm. des N. G., p. 270.—ὑπέστρεψαν: a word characteristic of Luke both in his Gospel and in Acts, occurring in the former over twenty times, in the latter ten or eleven times. Only in three places elsewhere, not at all in the Gospels, but see Mark 14:40 (Moulton and Geden, sub v.); Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 8. On the Ascension see additional note at end of chapter.—τοῦ καλ. Ἐλαιῶνος: ubi captus et vinctus fuerat. Wetstein. Although St. Matthew and St. Mark both speak of the Mount of Olives they do not say τοῦ καλ. (neither is the formula found in John 8:1). It is therefore probable that St. Luke speaks as he does as one who was a stranger to Jerusalem, or, as writing to one who was so. Blass, ubi supra, pp. 32, 84, contends that Ἐλαιῶνος ought to give place to ἐλαιῶν, which he also reads in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37 (W.H[102] Ἐλαιῶν, and in Luke 19:37; Luke 22:39, τῶν Ἐλαιῶν, in each case as genitive of ἐλαία), the former word being found only here and in Josephus, Ant., vii., 9, 2. But it is found in all the MSS. in this passage, although falso . cum cæt., says Blass. Blass would thus get rid of the difficulty of regarding Ἐλαιών as if used in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37 as an indeclinable noun, whilst here he would exchange its genitive for ἐλαιῶν. Deisstmann, however, is not inclined to set aside the consensus of authoritities for Ἐλαιῶνος, and he regards ἐλαιών in the two passages above as a lax use of the nominative case. As the genitive of ἐλαιών it would correspond to the Latin Olivetum (so Vulgate), an olive-orchard; cf. ἄμπελος and ἀμπελών in N.T., the termination ών in derivative nouns indicating a place set with trees of the kind designated by the primitive. for instances cf. Grimm-Thayer, sub Ἐλαιών, but see on the other hand Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 36 ff. With regard to the parallel between our verse and Josephus, Ant., vii., 9, 2, it is evident that even if St. Luke had read Josephus he was not dependent upon him, for he says here τοῦ καλ. just as in his Gospel he had written τὸ καλ., probably giving one or more popular names by which the place was known; Gloël, Galaterbrief, p. 65 (see also on the word W.H[103], ii., Appendix, p. 165; Plummer, St. Luke, p. 445; and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 93).—σαββάτου ἔχον ὁδόν, not ἀπέχον: the distance is represented as something which the mountain has, Meyer-Wendt; cf. Luke 24:13. There is no real discrepancy between this and the statement of St. Luke’s Gospel that our Lord led His disciples ἕως πρὸς Βηθανίαν, Luke 24:50, a village which was more than double a sabbath day’s journey, fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem. But if the words in St. Luke, l. c., mean “over against Bethany,” ἕως πρός (so Feine, Eine vorkanonische Uberlieferung des Lucas, p. 79, and Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte, p. 80; see also Rendall, Acts, p. 171—Blass omits ἕως and reads only πρός and remarks neque vero πρός est εἰς; cf. also Belser, Theologische Quartalschrift, i., 79 (1895)), the difficulty is surmounted, for St. Luke does not fix the exact spot of the Ascension, and he elsewhere uses the Mount of Olives, Luke 21:37, as the equivalent of the Bethany of Matthew (Acts 21:17) and Mark (Acts 11:1). Nor is it likely that our Lord would lead His disciples into a village for the event of His Ascension. It should be remembered that Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., says that “the Ascension was from the place where that tract of the Mount of Olives ceased to be called Bethphage and began to be called Bethany”. The recent attempt of Rud. Hoffmann to refer the Ascension to a “Galilee” in the Mount of Olives rests upon a tradition which cannot be regarded as reliable (see Galilæa auf dem Oelberg, Leipzig, 1896), although he can quote Resch as in agreement with him, p. 14. On Hoffmann’s pamphlet see also Expositor (5th series), p. 119 (1897), and Theologisches Literaturblatt, No. 27 (1897). This mention of the distance is quite characteristic of St. Luke; it may also have been introduced here for the benefit of his Gentile readers; Page, Acts, in loco, and cf. Ramsay’s remarks, Was Christ born at Bethlehem? pp. 55, 56.

[102] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[103] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

12. from the mount called Olivet] Elsewhere usually called the mount of Olives, but in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37, some texts give, as here, Olivet

which is from Jerusalem, &c.] Literally, which is near unto Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey off. The mount of Olives is on the east of Jerusalem, and must be passed by those who go from Jerusalem to Bethany. Hence St Luke’s expression in the Gospel is (Luke 24:50) “He led them out as far as towards (ἔως πρὸς) Bethany.”

The sabbath day’s journey was two thousand yards or cubits [ammoth], and in the Babylonian Talmud, Erubin 51 a, there is given an elaborate account of how this precise limit was arrived at, which is such an interesting specimen of Rabbinical reasoning, that it seems worth quoting at some length. “We have a Boraitha [i.e. a Mishna not taught officially in R. Jehudah ha-Nasi’s lectures and so not embodied in the Mishna proper, but incorporated amongst the Gemara or in other ways] on Exodus 16:29, ‘Abide ye every man in his place’ (takhtav), that means the four yards (which is the space allowed for downsitting and uprising), and in the same verse it says ‘Let no man go out of his place (makom), this is the two thousand yards.’ ” The argument intended to be founded on this explanation is, that as Holy Writ, which does not uselessly multiply words, has used here two different words for place, this is done because there is a different meaning for each. “But (continues the questioner) how do you learn this?” (viz. that makom implies two thousand yards). Rab Chisda says “We have learnt the meaning of makom from the use of makom elsewhere, and we learn what that [second] makom means from nisah (= flight, with which word, in one passage, it is connected), and what nisah means we have learnt from another nisah, and the meaning of the [second] nisah we gather from gebul (= border, which is found in connection with it in a certain passage), and what gebul means we gather from another gebul, and what that gebul means from khuts (= extremity), and what khuts means from another khuts; for it is written (Numbers 35:5) ‘and ye shall measure from the extremity (mikhuts) of the city, on the east side, two thousand yards.’ ”

So taking khuts in this last passage as defined, they, by an equation khuts = gebul = nisah = makom, defined the second word place mentioned in Exodus 16:29, as also equal to two thousand yards.

The Scriptural passages on which the above reasoning is based are (1) Exodus 21:13, “I will appoint thee a place (makom) whither he shall flee” (yanus), and from the verb yanus the noun nisah is formed; (2) Numbers 35:26, “But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border (gebul) of the city of his refuge whither he is fled,” which passage connects gebul and nisah; and (3) Numbers 35:27, “If the avenger of blood find him without (mikhuts) the border of the city of his refuge,” which brings khuts into connection with gebul.

A traditional development of an interpretation like this must have been received, by him who announces it, from his teacher and must not be his own invention, and in this way a very high antiquity is assured for all such interpretations.

Acts 1:12. Ἐλαιῶνος, of Olives) where His agony had taken place.—ἐγγὺς, near to) five furlongs.—Σαββάτου ὁδὸν, a Sabbath day’s journey) As far as a Jew was permitted to journey on the Sabbath day, without fatigue; i.e. as much as two thousand cubits (ells). Chrysostom infers from this, that it was on the Sabbath day that they returned to the city: I am more inclined to think that the exact spot in the whole Mount of Olives, which was that from which the Ascension took place, is marked by this distance from the city.[2]

[2] Lightf. on Luke 24:50, and here, states that the reason why the limit of the Sabbath journey was 2000 cubits beyond the walls of the city or one’s house was, because the innermost tents of the Israelitish camp in the wilderness were that distance from the tabernacle, Joshua 3:4. See Numbers 35:4-5. Epiphanius (Hær. 66, 82) makes the Sabbath journey six Greek stadia or three-fourths of a Roman mile. So Josephus, B. J. v. 2, 3, makes the Mount of Olives six stadia from Jerusalem; and this is here, Acts 1:12, called a Sabbath day’s journey. In Antiq. Acts 20:8; Acts 20:6, Jos. makes it five stadia. Probably it was about five or six, which is below the estimate of 2000 cubits.—E. and T.

Verse 12. - Nigh unto for from, A.V.; journey off for journey, A.V. Olivet, from the Vulgate Olivetum. The particular Greek form Ἐλαιὼν, Elaeon, occurs in the New Testament only here. In Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37, according to the T.R., and that followed in the R.V., it is Ἐλαιῶν, of Olives. But as St. Luke usually has τὸ ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν when he speaks of it as "the Mount of Olives" (Luke 19:37; Luke 22:39), and as here he calls it Elaeon, which is its name in Josephus ('Jud. Ant.,' 7:9, 2; see too 20:8, 6), it seems probable that in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:27, we ought to read, with Lachmann and Tischendorf (see Meyer on Luke 19:29), Ἐλαιὼν, Elaeon, Olivet. In the Old Testament, in 2 Samuel 15:30, it is "the ascent of the Olives" (A.V., "the ascent of Mount Olivet"); in Zechariah 14:4, "the Mount of Olives." A sabbath day's journey off; i.e. six, or according to Schleusner, seven and a half, furlongs (or two thousand cubits). Josephus ('Jud. Ant.,' 20:8, 6) calls it "five furlongs," but he only measured to the foot of the hill, whereas St. Luke gives the distance from the spot whence Christ ascended. Bethany itself, according to John 11:18, was fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem. Acts 1:12A Sabbath-day's journey (σαββάτου ἔχον ὁδόν)

Lit., having a Sabbath's way. The way conceived as belonging to the mountain; connected with it in reference to the neighborhood of Jerusalem. A Sabbath-day's journey, according to Jewish tradition, was about three-quarters of a mile. It was the supposed distance between the camp and the tabernacle in the wilderness (Joshua 3:4).

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