Bethany seems to be the same with Beth-hene among the Talmudists. Of which they write thus. They treat in the place, noted in the margin, concerning eating of fruits the seventh year, and concerning Beor, of which we have spoke before. They inquire, How long one may eat of these or the other fruits? -- And they state the business thus: |They eat Olives (say they) until the last ceases in Tekoa. R. Eleazar saith, Until the last ceases in Gush Chalab| (in the tribe of Asher). |They eat dry figs, until green figs cease in Beth-hene. R. Judah saith, The green figs of Beth-hene are not mentioned; unless in respect of the tenths; as the tradition is. The figs of Beth-hene, and the dates of Tubni, are bound to be tithed.| The Gloss is this; |They are not mentioned in the schools among fruits, unless in respect of tithing.| These words are recited in Erubhin: where the word Beth-hene is writ, Beth-jone, and Tubni is writ Tubina.
Beth-hene certainly seems to be the same altogether with our Bethany; and the name to be drawn from the word Ahene, which signifies the |dates of palm-trees,| not come to ripeness: as the figs also signifies |green-figs,| that is, such figs as are not yet ripe.
And now take a prospect a little of mount Olivet. Here you may see olive-trees; and in that place is Gethsemane, |The place of oil-presses.| There you may see palm-trees growing; and that place is called Bethany, |The place of dates.| And we may observe in the gospel-history, how those that met Christ, as he was going forward from Bethany, had branches of palm-trees ready at hand. There you may see fig-trees growing; and that place was called Bethphage, |The place of green-figs.|
Therefore, some part of Olivet was called Bethany from the palm-trees; there was a town also, called of the same name, over-against it. The town was fifteen furlongs distant from Jerusalem. And the coast of that name went on, till it reached the distance of a sabbath-day's journey only from the city.