Bethany was a small village approximately two (2) miles from Jerusalem. Bethany was situated on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives on what is known as the Jericho Road. Its meaning is not certain. It means either “house of dates” or “house of misery.”
Bethany was the home of Simon the Leper (Mark 14:3) and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 11:18.) Jesus usually spent the night in Bethany when He traveled to Jerusalem (Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:11) The New Testament records for us the fact that Jesus was received into and entertained in the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42.)
It was at Bethany that Jesus performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. While dining in the home of Simon the Leper Jesus was anointed with costly oil by Mary (Matthew 26:6-13.)
The ascension of Jesus into heaven is usually located at or near Bethany based on Luke 24:50:
“Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, He blessed them.”
Acts 1:6-12 seems to suggest the ascension took place on the Mount of Olives. Of course geographically this could possibly include Bethany. It is possible that the traditional site of the Mount of Olives is the correct location.
Today, Bethany is called el-Azariyeh. This is a corrupted version of “Lazarus.” Tourists are shown a tomb that is thought to be where Lazarus had been buried and from where Jesus called him out of the dead. Tourists are shown a “ruin” that is supposedly the very house of Mary and Martha.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. G. W. Bromiley, p. 463