The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleActs 1:12
Then returned they unto Jerusalem…
With great joy,
after the angels had told them that he should come again in like
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 (Mytyzh rh) , "the Mount of Olives" F14, as in
(Zechariah 14:4) and sometimes (hxvmh rh) F15, and (axvm rwj) F16, "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 F17
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.
version renders it, "about seven furlongs", or near a mile; though
Josephus F18 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, (tbv Mwxt) , "the bound of the sabbath" F19; and which they
collect partly from (Numbers 35:4,5) which they understand thus F20:
``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 F21,
``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
i.e. on those days; for to go further was reckoned a profanation of
them: so it is said F23,
``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 F24:
``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 F25;
``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.''
Hence, in some copies it is here inserted, "such being the distance
that the Jews could walk"; that is, were allowed to walk by their
canons. They call two thousand cubits a mile F26; and if the Mount of
Olives was seven furlongs from Jerusalem, it was pretty near a mile;
but if but five furlongs, it was little more than half a mile: perhaps
the true distance might be six furlongs, since Josephus says F1, the
tenth legion was ordered to encamp six furlongs from Jerusalem, at the
Mount of Olives, which was over against the city to the east;
agreeably to which Epiphanius F2, who had been a Jew, and was born in
``it was not lawful to go on the sabbath day beyond six
which were three quarters of a mile.
F14 Prefat. Echa Rabbati, fol. 40. 4. Jarchi in 1 Kings xi. 7.
F15 Misn. Parah, c. 3. sect. 6. Echa Rabbati, fol. 52. 4. Misn.
Roshhashanah, c. 2. sect. 4.
F16 Targum in Cant. viii. 5.
F17 Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 4.
F18 Antiqu. l. 20. c. 7. sect. 6.
F19 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 75. 2. Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Sabbat, c. 27. &
28. & Origin. Philocal. p. 14.
F20 Misna Sota, c. 5. sect 3.
F21 T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 42. 1. Maimon. Hilch, Sabbat, c. 27, sect. 4.
F23 Zohar in Exod. fol. 27. 1. & 83. 2.
F24 Maimon. Hiichot Sabbat, c. 97. sect. 1, 2.
F25 Misna Erubin, c. 4. sect. 5, 7, 8.
F26 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 178. 4.
F1 De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 3.
F2 Centra Haeres. l. 2. Haeres. 66.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Acts 1:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=ac&chapter=001&verse=012>. 1999.