Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
name of a garden on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem [Matt. xxvi:36-46], from Greek Gethsemane, from Aramaic gath shemani(m) "oil-press."
oil-press, the name of an olive-yard at the foot of the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus was wont to retire (Luke 22:39) with his disciples, and which is specially memorable as being the scene of his agony (Mark 14:32; John 18:1; Luke 22:44). The plot of ground pointed out as Gethsemane is now surrounded by a wall, and is laid out as a modern European flower-garden. It contains eight venerable olive-trees, the age of which cannot, however, be determined. The exact site of Gethsemane is still in question. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book) says: "When I first came to Jerusalem, and for many years afterward, this plot of ground was open to all whenever they chose to come and meditate beneath its very old olivetrees. The Latins, however, have within the last few years succeeded in gaining sole possession, and have built a high wall around it...The Greeks have invented another site a little to the north of it...My own impression is that both are wrong. The position is too near the city, and so close to what must have always been the great thoroughfare eastward, that our Lord would scarcely have selected it for retirement on that dangerous and dismal night...I am inclined to place the garden in the secluded vale several hundred yards to the north-east of the present Gethsemane."