gethsemane

Gethsemane means “olive press”, so the garden was probably strewn with olive trees, presses, and many tools.


Since the day that the dove brought the olive twig back to Noah on the ark, the olive tree, and the products produced from it, have long been an integral part of Hebrew culture. The olive branch is a symbol of peace; olive oil often symbolizes The Holy Spirit as well as abundance or blessing.  


Olive trees are squatty and gnarled, yet scripture often refers to them as beautiful. Olive trees begin producing olives at seven years. Olives are harvested from September to February. Green olives are collected first and ripe (purple) olives are collected later in the season. The more mature the olive berry, the more oil it contains. Mature trees often produce about 20 gallons of oil per tree. The largest trees found in the garden today are thought to be between two and three thousand years old.


The harvesters beat the branches of the trees to make the olives fall, then carefully gather them and take them to the mill. Olives are about 80% oil and bruise easily, which causes the oil to leak. The mill crushes the olives. Wooden wedges are used to keep the pits from being crushed which cause a bitter flavor. The oil obtained from this initial process is what we know as extra virgin olive oil.  


After the pulp settles to the bottom of the basin of the mill, the oil is dipped out, then the pulp is removed to light-weight pliable baskets and placed on the press. Multiple baskets are stacked on top of each other and then weighted down with stones. Oil and juice drain from the press into a receptacle. As oil and water do not mix, the juice and oil separate quickly (after a few hours) at which time the oil is skimmed off the top. This is a lower grade oil than that produced by the initial process. 

olive wood and oil       

Uses of Olive Oil

  • For illumination—Leviticus 24:2-4, Matthew 25:1-13
  • For anointing—Exodus 30:22-25
  • For medicine—Luke 10:34
  • For food (and offerings)
  • Olives were eaten mainly after they'd been dried. More so, the oil was used in baking bread as well as to spread on the bread (like butter is used in western culture) and sprinkled with herbs.
  • Luke 2:4-10, Numbers 11:7-8, 1 Kings 17:11-16, Matthew 23:23


Uses of Olive Wood

  • In building the temple—1 Kings 6:23-28, 31-33


Olive Trees Reference to:

  • Promise & parables—Genesis 8:11, Judges 9:8-15
  • Blessing—Psalms 128:1-6, Psalms 52:8
  • Prophecy—Zechariah 4:11-14, Revelation 11:1-4, Hebrews 1:8-9, Isaiah 61:1-3
  • Adoption (grafting) into the family of God—Romans 11:13-27


Olive Mill

  • Mills are often made from basalt, a black rock imported from Capernaum. The milstone is turned by a man or a donkey, depending on the size of the mill.


Olive Press

  • Presses are stone with carved trenches to drain the liquid pressed from the olives into a basin. The baskets of pulp are pressed down by stacked stone and or weighted down by rocks attached to a beam on the top stone.

sweating blood?

While under this supremely intense duress, Jesus suffered a quite uncommon malady known as hematidrosis.


Hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis or hemidrosis or blood sweat) is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death. Several historical references have been described, notably by Leonardo da Vinci describing a soldier who sweat blood before battle, and men unexpectedly given a death sentence, as well as descriptions in the Bible that Jesus sweat blood. (Luke 22:43-44).


Blood usually oozes from the forehead, nails, and other skin surfaces. In addition, oozing from mucocutaneous surfaces causing nosebleeds, blood stained tears...The episodes may be proceeded by intense headache and abdominal pain and are usually self-limiting. In some conditions, the secreted fluid is more dilute and appears to be blood-tinged, while others may have darker bright red secretions resembling frank blood.

betrayal and arrest

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him…

John 18:1-12


When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him…

John 18:1-12



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the result

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Matthew 26:56



Then everyone deserted him and fled.

Mark 14:50


Jesus was left to face the future on His own.




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