Easton's Bible Dictionary
house of the ford, A place on the east bank of the Jordan,
where John was baptizing ( John 1:28 ). It may be identical with Bethbarah, the
ancient ford of Jordan of which the men of Ephraim took possession ( Judges 7:24
). The Revised Version reads "Bethany beyond Jordan." It was the great ford, and
still bears the name of "the ford," Makhadhet 'Abarah, "the ford of crossing over,"
about 25 miles from Nazareth. (See BETHBARAH .)
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
the house of confidence
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(house of the ford), A place beyond Jordan, in which
according to the Received Text of the New Testament, John was baptizing. ( John
1:28 ) If this reading be correct, Bethabara is identical with Beth-barah (fords
of Abarah) the ancient ford of Jordan on the road to Gilead; or, which seems more
likely, with Beth-nimrah, on the east of the river, nearly opposite Jericho. The
Revised Version reads BETHANY, which see below.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
beth-ab'-a-ra, beth`abharah; (Bethabara, "house of the
According to the King James Version (following Textus Receptus of the New Testament)
the place where John baptized (John 1:28). The Revised Version (British and American)
(with Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek following Codex
Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Ephraemi) reads BETHANY.
It is distinguished from the Bethany of Lazarus and his sisters as being "beyond
the Jordan." The reading "Bethabara" became current owing to the advocacy of Origen.
Various suggestions have been made to explain the readings. G. A. Smith (HGHL)
suggests that Bethany ("house of the ship") and Bethabara ("house of the ford")
are names for the same place. Bethabara has also been identified with Bethbarah,
which, however, was probably not on the Jordan but among the streams flowing into
it (Judges 7:24). It is interesting to note that LXXB reads Baithabara for Massoretic
Text Beth-`arabhah, one of the cities of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22). If this be correct,
the site is in Judea.
Another solution is sought in the idea of a corruption of the original name into
Bethany and Bethabara, the name having the consonants n, b and r after Beth. In
Joshua 13:27 (Septuagint, Codex Vaticanus) we find Baithanabra for Bethnimrah
(Massoretic Text), and Sir George Grove in DB (arts. "Bethabara" and "Beth-nimrah")
identifies Bethabara and Beth-nimrah. The site of the latter was a few miles above
Jericho (see BETH-NIMRAH), "immediately accessible to Jerusalem and all Judea"
(compare Matthew 3:5; Mark 1:5, and see article "Bethany" in EB). This view has
much in its favor.
Then, again, as Dr. G. Frederick Wright observes: "The traditional site is at
the ford east of Jericho; but as according to John 1:29 , 35 , 43 it was only
one day's journey from Cana of Galilee, while according to John 10:40 ; 11:3 ,
6 , 27 it was two or three days from Bethany, it must have been well up the river
toward Galilee. Conder discovered a well-known ford near Beisan called Abarah,
near the mouth of the valley of Jezreel. This is 20 miles from Cana and 60 miles
from Bethany, and all the conditions of the place fit in with the history."
See also BETHANY.
S. F. Hunter
bethabara, bethany, bethbarah, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, ford, john the baptist, jordan