on Luke 24 :50
He led them out as far as to Bethany - The difficulties in this verse, when collated with the accounts given by the other evangelists, are thus reconciled by Dr. Lightfoot.
"I. This very evangelist (Acts 1:12) tells us, that when the disciples came back from the place where our Lord had ascended, they returned from mount Olivet, distant from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey. But now the town of Bethany was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John 11:18, and that is double a Sabbath day's journey.
"II. Josephus tells us that mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city, and a Sabbath day's journey was seven furlongs and a half. Antiq. lib. 20, cap. 6. About that time there came to Jerusalem a certain Egyptian, pretending himself a prophet, and persuading the people that they should go out with him to the mount of Olives, Ὁ και της πολεως αντικρυς κειμενον, απεχει σταδια πεντε; which, being situated on the front of the city, is distant five furlongs. These things are all true:
1. That the mount of Olives lay but five furlongs distant from Jerusalem.
2. That the town of Bethany was fifteen furlongs.
3. That the disciples were brought by Christ as far as Bethany.
4. That, when they returned from the mount of Olives, they traveled more than five furlongs. And,
5. Returning from Bethany, they traveled but a Sabbath day's journey.
All which may be easily reconciled, if we would observe: - That the first space from the city was called Bethphage, which I have cleared elsewhere from Talmudic authors, the evangelists themselves also confirming it. That part of that mount was known by that name to the length of about a Sabbath day's journey, till it came to that part which is called Bethany. For there was a Bethany, a tract of the mount, and the town of Bethany. The town was distant from the city about fifteen furlongs, i.e. about two miles, or a double Sabbath day's journey: but the first border of this tract (which also bore the name of Bethany) was distant but one mile, or a single Sabbath day's journey.
"Our Savior led out his disciples, when he was about to ascend, to the very first region or tract of mount Olivet, which was called Bethany, and was distant from the city a Sabbath day's journey. And so far from the city itself did that tract extend itself which was called Bethphage; and when he was come to that place where the bounds of Bethphage and Bethany met and touched one another, he then ascended; in that very place where he got upon the ass when he rode into Jerusalem, Mark 11:1. Whereas, therefore, Josephus saith that mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city, he means the first brink and border of it. But our evangelist must be understood of the place where Christ ascended, where the name of Olivet began, as it was distinguished from Bethphage."
Between the appearance of Christ to his apostles, mentioned in Luke 24:36, etc., almost all the forty days had passed, before he led them out to Bethany. They went by his order into Galilee, Matthew 26:32; Matthew 28:10; Mark 14:28; Mark 16:7; and there he appeared to them, as is mentioned by Matthew, Matthew 28:16, etc., and more particularly by John, John 21:1, etc. See Bishop Pearce.
Lifted up his hands - Probably to lay them on their heads, for this was the ordinary way in which the paternal blessing was conveyed, See Genesis 48:8-20.
on Luke 24 :50
To Bethany - See the notes at Mark 16:19. Bethany was on the eastern declivity of the Mount of Olives, from which our Lord was taken up to heaven, Acts 1:12. Bethany was a favored place. It was the abode of Martha, and Mary, and Lazarus, and our Saviour delighted to be there. From this place, also, he ascended to his Father and our Father, and to his God and our God.
While he blessed them - While he commanded his benediction to rest upon them; while he assured them of his favor, and commended them to the protection and guidance of God, in the dangers, trials, and conflicts which they were to meet in a sinful and miserable world.
on Luke 24 :50
24:50 He led them out as far as Bethany - Not the town, but the district: to the mount of Olives, Acts 1:12, which stood within the boundaries of Bethany.