The Glossary of Terms

Mount Carmel


Young People's Bible Dictionary

by Barbara Smith (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1965)

Carmel, Mount. A ridge or range of hills about fifteen miles in length that juts into the eastern Mediterranean Sea, dividing the coastal plain of Canaan into two parts. In O.T. times it was a fertile, cultivated area. On this mountain the prophet Elijah held a contest with the priests of Baal. 1 Sam. 15:12; 1 Kings 18:17-46; Isa. 35:2; Amos 1:2.

Harperís Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

Carmel (Heb., Ďgarden,í Ďorchardí).

1 A range of fertile, forested hills (Amos 1:2; Isa. 33:9; Nah. 1:4) about fifteen miles long on the west border of the land allotted to the tribe of Asher (Josh. 19:26). It extends from the Samaritan hill country west to the Mediterranean and south to the Mount Carmel headland. Mount Carmel, which is the entrance of the Jezreel Valley (Esdraelon), commands an excellent view of the shoreline and rises 556 feet above the harbor of modern Haifa. Because of its height it provided an important strategic position for the control of the fertile valley land. Mt. Carmel was the scene of the contest between Elijah and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18:19). However, the most important archeological find in the area is prehistoric. The famous Carmel caves are from this region, along modern Wadi el-Mugharah overlooking the Plain of Sharon.

2 An ancient city identified as modern Khirbet el-Kirmel (or Kermel) eight miles southeast of Hebron. The city was allotted to the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:55). It was here that Saul commemorated his victory over the Amalekites by erecting a monument (1 Sam. 15:12). Also, near Carmel the events told in the story of Abigail, David, and Nabal took place. In this story the prosperous but ill-mannered Nabal insulted David, and Davidís wrath was averted only by the intercession of Abigail on Nabalís behalf. However, God struck Nabal down and Abigail was then free to marry David who acquired by that marriage Nabalís wealth, power and prestige (1 Sam. 25).

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