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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Carmel

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in the southern part of Palestine, where Nabal the Carmelite, Abigail's husband, dwelt, Joshua 15:55; 1 Samuel 25.

2. CARMEL was also the name of a celebrated mountain in Palestine. Though spoken of in general as a single mountain, it ought rather to be considered as a mountainous region, the whole of which was known by the name of Carmel, while to one of the hills, more elevated than the rest, that name was usually applied by way of eminence. It had the plain of Sharon on the south; overlooked the port of Ptolemais on the north; and was bounded on the west by the Mediterranean sea; forming one of the most remarkable promontories that present themselves on the shores of that great sea. According to Volney, it is about two thousand feet in height, and has the shape of a flattened cone. Its sides are steep and rugged; the soil neither deep nor rich; and among the naked rocks stinted with plants, and wild forests which it presents to the eye, there are at present but few traces of that fertility which we are accustomed to associate with the idea of Mount Carmel. Yet even Volney himself acknowledges that he found among the brambles, wild vines and olive trees, which proved that the hand of industry had once been employed on a not ungrateful soil. Of its ancient productiveness there can be no doubt; the etymology and ordinary application of its name being sufficient evidence of the fact. Carmel is not only expressly mentioned in Scripture as excelling other districts in that respect; but, every place possessed of the same kind of excellence obtained from it the same appellation in the language both of the prophets and the people. Mount Carmel is celebrated in the Old Testament, as the usual place of residence of the Prophets Elijah and Elisha. It was here that Elijah so successfully opposed the false prophets of Baal, 1 Kings 18; and there is a certain part of the mountain facing the west, and about eight miles from the point of the promontory, which the Arabs call Man-sur, and the Europeans the place of sacrifice, in commemoration of that miraculous event. Near the same place is also still shown a cave, in which it is said the Prophet had his residence. The brook Kishon, which issues from Mount Tabor, waters the bottom of Carmel, and falls into the sea toward the northern side of the mountain, and not the southern, as some writers have erroneously stated. Its greatest elevation is about one thousand five hundred feet; hence, when the sea coast on one side, and the plain on the other, are oppressed with sultry heat, this hill is refreshed by cooling breezes, and enjoys a delightful temperature. The fastnesses of this rugged mountain are so difficult of access, that the Prophet Amos classes them with the deeps of hell, the height of heaven, and the bottom of the sea: "Though they dig into hell," (or the dark and silent chambers of the grave,) "thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down; and though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them," Amos 9:2-3 . Lebanon raises to heaven a summit of naked and barren rocks, covered for the greater part of the year with snow; but the top of Carmel, how naked and sterile soever its present condition, was clothed with verdure which seldom was known to fade. Even the lofty genius of Isaiah, stimulated and guided by the spirit of inspiration, could not find a more appropriate figure to express the flourishing state of the Redeemer's kingdom, than "the excellency of Carmel and Sharon."

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Carmel'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/c/carmel.html. 1831-2.

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