Olives, Olivet, Mount of

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The mountain range on the east of Jerusalem, separated from the city by the Kidron valley. It doubtless derived its name from the olive-trees that grew on it. This name occurs but seldom in the Old Testament, and apparently the mountain is not referred to under any other name. David when he hastened from Jerusalem at the rebellion of Absalom ascended Mount Olivet (2 Sam. 15:3030And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. (2 Samuel 15:30)). In a future day its configuration will be changed, for the prophet says the feet of the Lord will stand upon it and the mount will be cleft asunder (Zech. 14:44And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)).
On the northern slope of the mount is a walled garden kept by the Franciscan monks, with a few old olive trees, said to be the garden of Gethsemane, but another site is now shown by the Greek church. There are two principal roads over the mount. One nearly due east from St. Stephen’s gate which passes the old so-called garden of Gethsemane. This was doubtless the road most frequented by the Lord in retiring for the night. The other road, from the same gate but farther south, led to Bethany and from there to Jericho. It was doubtless by this road that the Lord came when riding on an ass.
A great part of the mount is cultivated with wheat and barley, with a vine here and there; also a few fig trees, but of trees there are still more of olives than any other. Its modern name is Jebel et Tor, “Mount of the Summit,” signifying “mount of importance,” or Jebel ez Zeitun, “Mount of Olives.” It is 2,683 feet above the sea, and about 250 feet above Moriah. From its summit the best view of Jerusalem is obtained.