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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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CARMEL . 1 . A town in the mountains south of Hebron, in the territory of Judah ( Joshua 15:55 ). Here Saul set up a memorial of his conquest of the Amalekites ( 1 Samuel 15:12 ), and here Nabal ( 1 Samuel 25:2 ) and Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 26:10 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ) had property. It was the home of Hezral or Hezro, one of David’s followers ( 2 Samuel 23:35 , 1 Chronicles 11:37 ). It is identified with Kurmul , about 10 miles S.E. of Hebron. 2. A hilly promontory by which the sea-coast of Palestine is broken, forming the south side of the hay of Acca . It continues as a ridge running in a S.E. direction, bordering the plain of Esdraelon on the S., and finally joining the main mountain ridge of the country in the district round about Samaria. On this ridge was Jokneam, reduced by Joshua ( Joshua 12:22 ). The promontory was included in the territory of Asher ( Joshua 19:26 ). It was the scene of Elijah’s sacrifice ( 1 Kings 18:1-46 ), and hither after Elijah’s translation Elisha came on the way to Samaria ( 2 Kings 2:25 ). Elisha was for a time established here ( 2 Kings 4:25 ). The fruitfulness of Carmel is alluded to ( Isaiah 33:9 ; Isaiah 35:2 , Amos 1:2 ); it was wooded ( Micah 7:14 ), a fact which made it a good hiding-place ( Amos 9:3 ). The head of the Shulammite is compared to Carmel ( Song of Solomon 7:5 ).

The mountain seems from a very early period to have been a place of sanctity. In the list of Tahutmes III. of places conquered by him in Palestine, Maspero sees in one name the words Rosh Kodsu , ‘holy headland,’ referring to Carmel. The site was probably chosen for the sacrifice whereby the claims of Baal and Jehovah were tested, because it was already holy ground. An altar of Jehovah existed here before Elijah ( 1 Kings 18:30 ). The traditional site is at the E. end of the ridge, but it is probably a mere coincidence that on the bank of the river Kishon just below there is a mound known as Tell el-Kasis , ‘the mound of the priest.’ Tacitus ( Hist . ii. 78) refers to the mountain as the site of an oracle; the Druses hold the traditional site of the sacrifice of Elijah sacred; and the mountain has given its name to the Carmelite order of friars.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Carmel'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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