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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Generally with the article, "the park," derived from Kerem 'Εel , "the vineyard of God." Sometimes not a proper name:  Isaiah 32:15, "a fruitful field," Hebrew Κarmel ; a characteristic feature of the Holy-Land.

1. A mountain promontory in Asher, 12 miles long, jutting out into the Mediterranean. a few miles S. of Ptolemais or Acre; toward its eastern extremity 1,600 feet above the level of the sea, at the W. end 600. Now Mar Elyas (Elijah), rarely Kurmul. The only bold headland of Palestine. It separates the plain of Sharon on the S. from the more inland plain of Esdraelon or Jezreel on the N., by which the river Kishon flows into the sea in a direction parallel to the mountain range. The stone is mostly soft white limestone, with nodules of flint; at the W. chalk; on the N.E. plutonic rocks. "Elijah's melons," or lapides Judaici, is the name applied to stones of light brown flint outside, hollow inside, and lined with quartz crystals or chalcedony, the geological "geodes."

Fossil spines of echinus are called "olives." The "apples" are the shells of the Cidaris glandifera. Carmel's characteristic shrubbery's are still to be seen, with rocky dells amidst jungles of copse oaks, evergreens, and numerous caves. The forests have disappeared. Flowering and fragrant herbs abound, hollyhocks, jasmine, and various vegetable creepers, "the excellency (i.e. the beauty) of Carmel" ( Isaiah 35:2.) Hence it is the image of the bride's head with luxuriant tresses ( Song of Solomon 7:5). "thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple (Hebrew the pendulous hair is of glossy black, like purple), the king is held captivated with the flowing ringlets" (not galleries). The scene of Elijah's conflict with, and execution of, Baal's prophets was at the N.E. of the range, beside a spring said to be perennial.

But Blunt (Undesigned Coincidences) thinks that sea water was used, as water would not have been otherwise so wasted in a drought. The distance of the sea forbids this view; the sea is far W. of the scene. The spring is 250 feet below the steep rocky altar plateau. It is in the former a vaulted tank, with steps leading down to it. Carmel was so covered with thicket and forest as to be difficult of access, so that the fountain was not so available in the drought as otherwise it would have been. The shade of the trees and the vaulting (if it then existed) would check evaporation. The site of Elijah's sacrifice is still marked by the Arab name El-Maharrakah," the burning." The spring still flowing amidst the drought is close by. Josephus says the water was obtained from the neighboring spring (Ant. 8:13, section 5). The distance from Jezreel agrees with the narrative.

A knoll between the ridge and the plain is called Tell Kasis, "the hill of the priests;" the Kishon below is named Nahr el Mukatta, "the river of slaughter." From it Ahab "went up" to the sides of Carmel to take part in the sacrificial feast; Elijah went up to "the top" of the mountain to pray for rain: while Gehazi seven times climbed the highest point from whence the Mediterranean is to be fully seen over the W. shoulder of the ridge, and at last saw the little cloud rising out of the sea "like a man's hand," the sure forerunner of rain. An altar of Jehovah had existed on Carmel before that Baal worship was introduced; Jezebel had east it down ( 1 Kings 28:30); this Elijah repaired and used as the altar for his sacrifice. Hence, as being a sacred spot, he had convened Israel and Ahab there. They and the 850 prophets of Baal stood close beneath the high place of the altar, near the spring, in full view of Jezreel and Ahab's palace and Jezebel's temple in the distance.

Subsequently it was the place of resort for worship on new moons and sabbaths ( 2 Kings 4:23). Here too the successive fifties of king Ahaziah, at Elijah's call, were consumed by fire from heaven. ( 2 Kings 1:9, where it ought to be "he sat on the top of THE hill," i.e. Carmel.) Elisha repaired there, after Elijah's ascension ( 2 Kings 2:25). Here too Elisha was visited by the bereaved mother, with a view to his restoring to life her deceased son ( 2 Kings 4:25). Tacitus mentions that ages afterward Vespasian went there to consult the oracle which was without image or temple, and with "only an altar and reverential sanctity" attached to the place.

On Carmel is the convent, the seat of the barefooted Carmelite monks, whose establishments spread over Europe from the 13th century. Bertholdt, a Calabrian, and a crusader in the 12th century, had founded the order, and Louis of France the convent, in the 13th century, at the traditional site of Elijah's abode. The Latin traditions as to Elijah being connected with the origin of that order of monks are purely mythical. Edward I of England was a brother of the order; Simon Stokes of Kent was one of its famous generals.

2. A city in the hilly country of Judah ( Joshua 15:55). The abode of the churl Nabal and Abigail "the Carmelitess" (1 Samuel 25;  1 Samuel 27:3). Saul set. up a "place," i.e. a memorial, there after his victory over Amalek ( 1 Samuel 15:12). Here Uzziah had his vineyards ( 2 Chronicles 26:10). Ten miles S.E. of Hebron. In A.D. 1172 King Amalric held it against Saladin. The ruins of the castle (Kasr el Birkeh) are still visible, of great strength, with the large beveled masonry characteristic of Jewish architecture. To the E. is a glaring white desert, without shrub or water. inhabited by the partridge and ibex alone, the very two noticed in the narrative ( 1 Samuel 26:20): "the king of Israel doth hunt a partridge"; "David upon the rocks of the wild goats" ( 1 Samuel 24:2).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

A fruitful field,

1. A city of Judah, on a mountain of the same name, eight miles south by east of Hebron,  Joshua 15:55 . On this mountain Saul, returning from his expedition against Amalek, erected a trophy; and here Nabal the Carmelite, Abigail's husband, dwelt,  1 Samuel 15:12,25 . Its ruins indicate that it was a large place.

2. A celebrated range of hills running northwest from the Plain of Esdraelon, and ending in the promontory which forms the bay of Acre. Its greatest height is about 1,500 feet; at its northeastern foot runs the brook Kishon, and a little farther north, the river Belus. On its northern point stands a convent of the Carmelite friars, an order established in the twelfth century, and having at the present day various branches in Europe. The foot of the northern part approaches the water, so that, seen from the hills north-east of Acre, mount Carmel appears as if "dipping his feet in the western sea;" farther south it retires more inland, so that between the mountain and the sea there is an extensive plain covered with fields and olive-trees. Mariti describes it as a delightful region, and says the good quality of its soil is apparent from the fact that so many odoriferous plants and flowers, as hyacinths, jonquilles, tazettos, anemones, etc., grow wild upon the mountain. Von Richter says, "Mount Camel is entirely covered with green; on its summit are pines and oaks, and farther down olive and laurel trees. It gives rise to a multitude of crystal brooks, the largest of which issues from the so-called fountain of Elijah;' and they all hurry along, between banks thickly overgrown with bushes, to the Kishon. Every species of tillage succeeds admirably under this mild and cheerful sky. The prospect from the summit of the mountain out over the gulf of Acre and its fertile shores, to the blue heights of Lebanon and to the White cape, is enchanting." Mr. Carne also ascended the mountain, and traversed the whole summit, which occupied several hours. He says, "It is the finest and most beautiful mountain in Palestine, of great length, and in many parts covered with trees and flowers. On reaching, at last, the opposite summit, and coming out of a wood, we saw the celebrated plain of Esdraelon beneath, with the river Kishon flowing through it; mounts Tabor and Little Hermon were in front, (east); and on the right, (south,) the prospect was bounded by the hills of Samaria." From the southeast side of this ridge, a range of low wooded hills on the south spreads and rises into the high lands of Samaria. Those who visit mount Carmel in the last part of the dry season, find every thing parched and brown; yet enough remains to show how just were the allusions of ancient writers to its exceeding beauty,  Isaiah 35:2 , its verdure of drapery and grace of outline, Song of  Song of Solomon 7:5 , and its rich pastures,  Isaiah 33:9   Jeremiah 50:19   Amos 1:2 . The rock of the mountain is a hard limestone, abounding in natural caves,  Amos 9:3 . These have in many cases been enlarged, and otherwise fitted for human habitation; and the mountain has been in various ages a favorite residence for devotees. It is memorable for frequent visits of the prophets Elijah and Elisha,  2 Kings 2:25   4:25 , and especially for the destruction of the priests of Baal upon it,  1 Kings 18:1-46 .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

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."

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

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.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

1. This name has generally the article, and signifies 'the park' or fruitful place. A mountain 12 miles in length that runs from the plain of Esdraelon in Galilee, in a N.W. direction toward the Mediterranean, where it forms a notable promontory, the only one in Palestine. It was the scene of Elijah's contest with the priests of Baal, that led to their destruction.  1 Kings 18:19-40 . One part towards its east end is still called Mukrakah, 'place of burning,' the traditional spot of the above encounter. There Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord: this may have been erected before the temple was built, and been broken down, but its moral bearing is obvious. God vindicated His servant, and answered by fire from heaven. A perennial well near by would, notwithstanding the drought, have supplied the water Elijah needed. The spot is about 1,600 feet above the sea, and Elijah's servant had to go but a short distance to have the Mediterranean in view and to watch for a cloud.

The mountain was afterwards the residence of Elisha, where he was visited by the Shunammite woman on the death of her child.  2 Kings 4:25 . It is well wooded with shrubberies and brushwood,  Isaiah 33:9;  Micah 7:14 , and is beautiful with the multitude of its flowers, in fact the spot is declared to be even now the fragrant lovely mountain as of old. In  Song of Solomon 7:5 the head of the bride is compared to Carmel. It is now called Jebel Kurmul.

2. City in the hill-country of Judah,  Joshua 15:55 , the abode of Nabal and Abigail the Carmelitess.  1 Samuel 25:2-40 . Identified with el Kurmul, 31 26' N, 35 8' E. It is probable that  1 Samuel 15:12 refers to this city; also   2 Chronicles 26:10 , unless the word there is translated 'fruitful fields,' as in the margin and R.V. All other passages refer to No. 1.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Car'mel. (Fruitful Place or Park).

1. A mountain, which forms one of the most striking and characteristic features, of the country of Palestine. It is a noble ridge, the only headland of lower and central Palestine, and forms its southern boundary, running out with a bold bluff promontory, nearly 600 feet high, almost into the very waves of the Mediterranean, then extending southeast, for a little more than twelve miles, when it terminates suddenly in a bluff, somewhat corresponding to its western end.

In form, Carmel is a tolerably continuous ridge, its highest point, about four miles from the eastern end, being 1740 feet above the sea. That which has made the name of Carmel most familiar to the modern world is its intimate connection with the history of the two great prophets of Israel, Elijah and Elisha.  2 Kings 2:25;  2 Kings 4:25;  1 Kings 18:20-42. It is now commonly called Mar Elyas ; Kurmel being occasionally, but only seldom, heard.

2. A town in the mountainous country of Judah,  Joshua 15:55, familiar to us as the residence of Nabal.  1 Samuel 25:2;  1 Samuel 25:5;  1 Samuel 25:7;  1 Samuel 25:40.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Carmel ( Kär'Mel ), Fruitful Place or Park. 1. A long mountain which forms a striking feature of Palestine. It is a noble ridge, the only headland of lower and central Palestine, jutting out with a bold bluff or promontory, nearly 600 feet high, almost into the Mediterranean. It extends southeast for a little more than twelve miles, where it terminates suddenly in a bluff somewhat corresponding to its western end. That which has made Carmel most familiar to us is its intimate connection with the history of the two great prophets of Israel—Elijah and Elisha.  2 Kings 2:25;  2 Kings 4:25;  1 Kings 18:20-42. It is now commonly called Mar Elyas; Kûrmel being occasionally, but only seldom, heard. 2. A town in the mountainous country of Judah,  Joshua 15:55, familiar to us as the residence of Nabal.  1 Samuel 25:2-5;  1 Samuel 25:7;  1 Samuel 25:40.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [8]

Mount Carmel was the only major headland on the Palestine coast ( Jeremiah 46:18). It rose steeply from the sea, then extended inland in a mountain range about twenty kilometres long that divided between the Plain of Esdraelon to the north and the Plain of Sharon to the south. The mountains had good forests and pasture lands ( Isaiah 33:9;  Isaiah 35:2;  Jeremiah 50:19;  Amos 1:2;  Amos 9:3;  Nahum 1:4). (For maps and other details of the region see Palestine .)

According to the beliefs of Baalism that Jezebel introduced into Israel from Phoenicia, Mt Carmel was a sacred Baal site. This gives added significance to the contest on Mt Carmel where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal ( 1 Kings 18:17-46; see Elijah ). (Mt Carmel had no connection with a town in Judah named Carmel;  1 Samuel 15:12;  1 Samuel 25:2-42.)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

  • A town in the hill country of Judah ( Joshua 15:55 ), the residence of Nabal ( 1 Samuel 25:2,5,7,40 ), and the native place of Abigail, who became David's wife ( 1 Samuel 27:3 ). Here king Uzziah had his vineyards ( 2 Chronicles 26:10 ). The ruins of this town still remain under the name of Kurmul, about 10 miles south-south-east of Hebron, close to those of Maon.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Carmel'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [10]

     1 Kings 18:42 (c) This is a place of retreat for prayer, meditation, and communion with GOD.

     2 Kings 19:23 (b) By this is indicated the extent of GOD's judgment which reaches even to the finest and best that the enemy controls.

     Song of Solomon 7:5 (b) This indicates that the beauty of GOD's people is as great, colorful, delightful, and attractive as this wonderful mountain.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

    There are two different places of this name in Scripture; Mount Carmel, near the brook Kishon; and Carmel, a city of Judah, where Nabal dwelt. Some read it Carmul, as if composed of Kar, lamb; and Mul, circumcised. But others, with more probability of being right, render it Carmel, vineyard, or harvest; as being full of vines and corn.

    Holman Bible Dictionary [12]

     Joshua 15:55 1 Samuel 15:12 1 Samuel 25:2-40 1 Kings 18:19

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

    Carmel, 1

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

    (Hebrews Karmel', כִּרְמֶל , Park, as in  Isaiah 10:18;  Isaiah 16:10;  Isaiah 29:17;  Isaiah 32:15-16;  Jeremiah 2:7;  Jeremiah 48:33 [also  2 Kings 19:23;  2 Chronicles 26:10, in both which passages the A. V. incorrectly takes it for a proper name, "Carmel"]; hence grits, as a garden fruit,  Leviticus 2:14;  Leviticus 23:14;  2 Kings 4:42), the name of a noted promontory (often with the art. [as in several of the above occurrences of the appellation], Hakkarmel ´ ,

    הִכִּרְמֶל , q. d. The Orchard,  Amos 1:2;  Amos 9:3;  Jeremiah 4:26;  Song of Solomon 7:6; fully "Mt. Carmel," Har Hakkarmel', הִר הִכִּרְמֶל , q. d. Garden-Mount,  1 Kings 18:19-20; or without the art.  Isaiah 33:9;  Nahum 1:4;  Joshua 19:26), and also of a town; both doubtless so called from their verdant fertility. For details of both see the Memoirs accompanying the Map lately issued by the "Pal. Explor. Fund."

    1. (Sept. usually Κάρμηλος [so Josephus, Ant. 5:1, 22, etc.; Tacitus, "Carmelus," Hist. 2:78; also Suetonius, Vespas. 5, 1]; but Καρμήλιον in  1 Kings 18:19-20;  2 Kings 2:25;  2 Kings 4:25 [so Josephus, Ant. 13:5, 4], and Χερμέλ in  Joshua 12:22). A prominent headland of lower or central Palestine, bounding southerly the Bay of Acre, and running out boldly almost into the waves of the Mediterranean, from which it stretches in a straight line, bearing about S.S.E. for a little more than twelve miles, when it terminates suddenly by a bluff somewhat corresponding to its western end, breaking down abruptly into the hills of Jenin and Samaria, which form at that part the central mass of the country. The average height is about 1500 feet; and at the foot of the mountain, on the north, runs the brook Kishon, and a little further north the river Belus. Mount Carmel consists rather of several connected hills than of one ridge, being at the W. end about 600, and at the E. about 1600 feet above the sea. The highest part is some four miles from the E. end, at the village of Esfieh, which, according to the measurements of the English engineers, is 1728 feet above the sea. The foot of the northern portion approaches 'the water closely, but farther south it retires more inland. The slopes are steepest on the northern side toward the Kishon (q.v.).

    Carmel fell within the lot of the tribe of Asher ( Joshua 19:26), which was extended as far south as Dor (Tantura), probably to give the Asherites a share of the rich corn-growing plain of Sharon (comp. Josephus, Ant. 5:1, 22; War, 3:3, 1). The king of "Jokneam of Carmel" was one of the Canaanitish chiefs who fell before the arms of Joshua (Josua 12:22). There is not in these earliest notices a hint of any sanctity attaching to the mount; but from the facts that an altar to Jehovah did exist there before the introduction of .Baal worship into the kingdom ( 1 Kings 18:30); that Elijah chose the place for the assembly of the people, such assemblies being commonly held at holy places; and from the custom, which appears to Wave been prevalent, of resorting thither on new-moon and sabbaths ( 2 Kings 4:23), there seem to be grounds for believing that from very early times it was considered a sacred spot. In later times, Pythagoras was led to it by that reputation, according to his biographer Iamblichus (Vit. Pythag. c. 3, p. 40, 42, ed. Kiesi.), who himself visited the mountain; Vespasian, too, came thither to consult so we are told by Tacitus (Hist. 2:7), with that mixture of fact and fable which marks all the heathen notices of Palestine the oracle of the god, whose name was the same as that of the mountain itself; an oracle without image or temple (see Smith's Dict. of Classical Geogr. s.v. Carmelus). But the circumstances that have made the name of Carmel most familiar are that here Elijah brought back Israel to allegiance to Jehovah, and slew the prophets of the foreign and false god; here at his entreaty were consumed the successive "fifties" out of the royal guard; and here, on the other hand, Elisha received the visit of the lereaved mother whose son he was soon to restore to her arms ( 2 Kings 4:25, etc.) (See Elisha).

    The first of these three events, without doubt, took place at the eastern end of the ridge, at a spot called El-Mulhrakah, near the ruined village of el-Mansurah, first described by Van de Velde (Journey, 1:324 sq.). The tradition preserved in the convent, and among the Druses of the neighboring villages, the names of the places, the distance from Jezreel, the nature of the locality, the presence of the never-failing spring, all are favorable (see Stanley, Sinai and Palest. p. 345 sq.; Thomson, Land and Book, 1:223 sq.). The terrace on which the traditionary structure stands commands a noble view over the whole plain of Esdraelon, from the banks of the Kishon down at the bottom of the steep declivity, away to the distant hill of Gilboa, at whose base stood the royal city of Jezreel. To the 850 prophets, ranged doubtless on the wide upland sweep, just beneath the terrace, to the multitudes of people, many of whom may have remained on the plain, the altar of Elijah would be in full view, and they could all see, in the evening twilight, that "the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt-sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water" ( 2 Kings 4:38). The people then, trembling with fear and indignation, seized, at Elijah's bidding, the prophets of Baal; "and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there." On the lower declivities of the mountain is a mound called Tell el-Kusis, "the Hill of the Priests," which probably marks the very scene of the execution. May not the present name of the Kishon itself have originated in this tragic event? It is called Nahr el-Mokatta, "the River of Slaughter." The prophet went up again to the altar, which was near, but not upon the summit of the mountain. While he prayed, he said to his servant, "Go up now, and look toward the sea." The sea is not visible from the terrace, but a few minutes' ascent leads to a peak which commands its whole expanse. Seven times did the servant climb the height, and at last saw the little cloud "like a man's hand" rising out of the sea. (See Elijah).

    According to the reports of most travelers, the mountain well deserves its Hebrew name (see above). Mariti describes it as "a delightful region," and; says the good quality of its soil is apparent from the fact that many odoriferous plants and flowers, as hyacinths, jonquils, tazettos, anemones, etc., grow wild upon the mountain (Travels, p. 274 sq.). Otto von Richter (Waldfahrten, p. 64) gives a glowing account of its beauty and varied scenery. Mr. Carne also' says, "No mountain in or around Palestine retains its ancient beauty so much as Carmel. Two or three villages and some scattered cottages are found on it; its groves are few, but luxuriant; it is no place for crags and precipices, or rocks of the wild goats; but its surface is covered with a rich and constant verdure" (Letters, 2:119). "There is not a flower," says Van de Velde, "that I have seen in Galilee, or on the plains along the coast, that I do not find here on Carmel... still the fragrant, lovely mountain that he was of old" (Narrative, 1:317, 8). " The whole mountain side was dressed with blossoms, and flowering shrubs, and fragrant herbs" (Martineau, p. 539). So Isaiah ( Isaiah 35:2) alludes to the excellency (splendid ornaments) of Carmel." So, on account of the graceful form and verdant beauty of the summit, the head of the bride in  Song of Solomon 7:5 is compared to Carmel. It was also celebrated for its pastures, and is therefore ranked with Bashan in  Isaiah 33:9; Jeremiah 1, 19;  Amos 1:2;  Micah 7:14;  Nahum 1:4. Its conspicuous position is also compared with that of Tabor ( Jeremiah 46:18). Its great elevation is referred to in  Amos 9:3. A much less glowing account of Carmel is given, however, by many travelers whose visit has been later in the year toward the end of summer or in autumn and who consequently found everything parched, dry, and brown. (See Hackett's Illustra. Of Scripture, p. 324-326.) The western extremity of the ridge that, unfortunately, with which ordinary travelers are most familiar, and from which they take their impressions is more bleak than the eastern. Its sides are steep and rocky, scantily covered with dwarf shrubs and aromatic herbs, and having only a few scattered trees here and there in the glens (Crescent And Cross, 1:54 sq.).

    The structure of Carmel is in the main the Jura formation (upper oolite), which is prevalent in the center of Western Palestine a soft white limestone, with nodules and veins of flint. As usual in limestone formations, it abounds in caves ("more than 2000" Mislin, 2:46), often of great length, and extremely tortuous. (See Cave). At the west end are found chalk and tertiary breccia formed of fragments of chalk and flint (Russegger, in Ritter, Erdk. 16:712). On the north-east of the mount, beyond the Nahr el-Mokatta, platonic rocks appear, breaking through the deposited strata, and forming the beginning of the basalt formation which runs through the plain of Esdraelon to Tabor and the Sea of Galilee (Ritter, ib.). The round stones known by the names of "Lapides Judaici" and "Elijah's melons" are the bodies known to geologists as "geodes." Their exterior is chert or flint of a. lightish brown color; the interior is hollow, and lined with crystals of quartz or chalcedony. They are of the form, and often the size, of the large watermelons of the East. Formerly they were easily obtained, but are now very rarely found (Seetzen, 2:131, 134; Parkinson's Organic Remains, 1:322, 451). The "olives" are more common. They are the fossil spines of a kind of echinus (Cidaris glandifera) frequent in these strata, and in size and shape are exactly like the fruit (Parkinson, 3:45).

    The "apples" are probably the shells of the cidaris itself. For the legend of the origin of these "fruits," and the position of the "field" or "garden" of Elijah in which they are found, see Mislin, 2:64, 65. The whole ridge of Carmel is deeply furrowed with rocky ravines, filled with such dense jungle as scarcely to be penetrable. Here jackals, wolves, hyenas, and wild swine make their lairs, and woodcocks find excellent cover; while in the open forest glades, partridges, quails, and hares sport about. In the sides of the mountain, especially round the convent and overhanging the sea, are great numbers of caves and grottoes, formed partly by nature and partly by art and industry in the soft calcareous rock. Carmel at one period swarmed with monks and hermits, who burrowed in these comfortless dens. Curious traditions cling to some of them, in part confirmed by the Greek inscriptions and names that may still be traced upon their walls. One of them is called the "Cave of the Sons of the Prophets," and is said to be that in which. the pious Obadiah hid the prophets from the fury of the infamous Jezebel ( 1 Kings 18:4). In one tract, called the Monks' Cavern, there are as many as 400 caves adjacent to each other, furnished with windows, and with places for sleeping hewn in the rock. A peculiarity of many of these caverns is mentioned by Shulz (Leitung, 5:187, 382), that the entrances into them are so narrow that only a single person can creep in at a time; and that the caverns are so crooked that a person is immediately out of sight unless closely followed. This may serve to illustrate  Amos 9:3. To these grottoes the prophets Elijah and Elisha often resorted ( 1 Kings 18:19 sq.,  1 Kings 18:42;  2 Kings 2:25;  2 Kings 4:25; and comp. perhaps  1 Kings 18:4;  1 Kings 18:13). At the present day is shown a cavern called the cave of Elijah, a little below the Monks' Cavern already mentioned, and which is now a Moslem sanctuary. Upon the northwest summit is anancient establishment of Carmelite monks, which order, indeed, derived its name from this mountain. (See Carmelites).

    The order is said in the traditions of the Latin Church to have originated with Elijah himself (St. John of Jerus., quoted in Mislin, 2:49), but the convent was founded by St. Louis, and its French origin is still shown by the practice of unfurling the French flag on various occasions. Edward I of England was a brother of the order, and one of its most famous generals was Simon Stokes of Kent (see the extracts in Wilson's Bible Lands, 2:246; for the convent and the singular legends connecting Mount Carmel With the Virgin Mary and our Lord, see Mislin, 2:47-50). By Napoleon it was used as a hospital during the siege of Acre, and after his retreat was destroyed by the Arabs. At the time of Irby and Mangles's visit (1817) only one friar remained there (Irby, p. 60). The old convent was destroyed by Abdallah Pasha, who converted the materials to his own use; but it has of late years been rebuilt on a somewhat imposing scale by the aid of contributions from Europe. Carmel is known by the name of Jebel Kurmul in Arabian writers. At present it seems to be called by the Arabs Jebel Mar Elyas, from the convent of Elias near its northern end. (See generally Phil. a S. Trinitate, Oriental. Reisebeschreib. 3:1, p. 156 sq.; Reland, Palaest. p. 32 sq.; Hamesveld, 1:349; Schubert, Reise, 3:205; Robinson, Researches, 3:160, 189; Thomson, Land and Book, 1:493; Porter, Handbook for Syria, p. 371; Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 496.)

    2. (Sept. Χερμέλ in Josh., Κάρμηλος in Sam. and Chron.) A town in the mountainous country of Judah ( Joshua 15:55), the residence of Nabal ( 1 Samuel 25:2;  1 Samuel 25:5;  1 Samuel 25:7;  1 Samuel 25:40), and the native place of David's favorite wife, "Abigail the Carmelitess" ( 1 Samuel 27:3;  1 Chronicles 3:1). This was doubtless the Carmel at which Saul set up a " place" ( יָד , A Hand; compare  2 Samuel 18:18, "Absalom's place," where the same word is used) after his victory over Amalek ( 1 Samuel 15:12). This Carmel, and not the northern mount, must also have been the spot at which king Uzziah had his vineyards ( 2 Chronicles 26:10). In the time of Eusebius and Jerome it was the seat of a Roman garrison (Onomast. s.v. Κάρμηλος , Carmelus). The place appears in the wars of the Crusades, having been held by king Amalrich against Saladin in 1172 (William of Tyre, De Bello Sacro, 30; in Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 993). The ruins of the town, now Kurmul,' still remain at ten miles below Hebron, in a slightly south-east direction, close to those of Main (Maon), Zif (Ziph), and other places named with Carmel in  Joshua 15:55. They are described both by Robinson (Bib. Res. 2:195-201; Bib. Sacr. 1843, p. 60) and by Van de Velde (Narrative, 2:77-79), and appear to be of great extent. They lie around the semicircular head and along the shelving sides of a little valley, which is shut in by rugged limestone rocks. The houses are all in ruins, and their sites are covered with heaps of rubbish and hewn stones. In the center of the valley is a large artificial reservoir, supplied by a fountain among the neighboring rocks. This is mentioned in the account of king Amalrich's occupation of the place, and now gives the name of Kasr El-Birkeh to a ruined castle of great strength, situated westward of the reservoir, on high ground, the most remarkable object in the place. Its walls are ten feet thick; their sloping basement and bevelled masonry are evidently of Jewish origin, probably the work of Herod. The interior was remodeled, and the upper part rebuilt by the Saracens. Beside it are the ruins of a massive round tower. Around and among the ruins of the locality are the foundations of several old churches, showing that the town had at one period a large Christian population. (See Seetzen, Reise, 3:8, 9; Porter, Handbook for Syria, p. 61; Schwarz, Palest. p. 106.) (See Carmelite).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

    kar´mel ( כּרמל , karmel , or, with article, הכּרמל , ha - karmel , "fruit garden"; Josephus, ὁ Κάρμηλος , ho Kármēlos , Καρμήλιον ὄρος , Karmḗlion óros ):

    (1) A beautifully wooded mountain range running for about 13 miles in a south-easterly direction from the promontory which drops on the shore of the Mediterranean near Haifa, at the southern extremity of the plain of Acre, to the height of el - Maḥraḳah which overlooks the plain of Esdraelon. On the top of the promontory, at a height of 500 ft. the monastery of Elias stands. From this point there is a gradual ascent until the greatest height is reached at Esfı̄yeh (1,742 ft.), the peak at el - Maḥraḳah being only some 55 ft. lower. The mountain - usually named with the article, "the Carmel" - still justifies its name, "the garden with fruit trees." The steep slopes on the North and East, indeed, afford little scope for cultivation, although trees and brushwood grow abundantly. But to the South and West the mountain falls away to the sea and the plain in a series of long, fertile valleys, where the "excellency" of Carmel finds full illustration today. There are a few springs of good water; but the main supply is furnished by the winter rains, which are caught and stored in great cisterns. The villages on the slopes have a look of prosperity not too often seen in Syria, the rich soil amply rewarding the toil of the husbandmen. Oak and pine, myrtle and honeysuckle, box and laurel flourish; the sheen of fruitful olives fills many a hollow; and in the time of flowers Carmel is beautiful in a garment of many colors. Evidences of the ancient husbandry which made it famous are found in the cisterns, and the oil and wine presses cut in the surface of the rock. There is probably a reference to the vine culture here in  2 Chronicles 26:10 . In the figurative language of Scripture it appears as the symbol of beauty ( Song of Solomon 7:5 ), of fruitfulness ( Isaiah 35:2 ), of majesty ( Jeremiah 46:18 ), of prosperous and happy life ( Jeremiah 50:19 ). The languishing of Carmel betokens the vengeance of God upon the land ( Nahum 1:4 ); and her decay, utter desolation ( Amos 1:2;  Isaiah 33:9 ).

    Asylum and Sanctuary

    Roughly triangular in form, with plains stretching from its base on each of the three sides, the mountain, with its majestic form and massive bulk, is visible from afar. Its position deprived it of any great value for military purposes. It commanded none of the great highways followed by armies: the passes between Esdraelon and Sharon, to the East of Carmel, furnishing the most convenient paths. But the mountain beckoned the fugitive from afar, and in all ages has offered asylum to the hunted in its caves and wooded glens. Also its remote heights with their spacious outlook over land and sea; its sheltered nooks and embowering groves have been scenes of worship from old time. Here stood an ancient altar of Yahweh ( 1 Kings 18:30 ). We may assume that there was also a sanctuary of Baal, since the worshippers of these deities chose the place as common ground for the great trim (1 Ki 18). The scene is traditionally located at el - Maḥraḳah , "the place of burnt sacrifice," which is still held sacred by the Druzes. A L atin chapel stands near, with a great cistern. A good spring is found lower down the slope. Just below, on the North bank of the Kishon stands the mound called Tell el - ḳissı̄s , "mound of the priest." From the crest of Carmel Elijah descried the coming storm, and, descending the mountain, ran before the chariot of Ahab to the gate of Jezreel ( 1 Kings 18:42 ). Under the monastery on the western promontory is a cave, said to be that of Elijah. An older tradition locates the cave of the prophet at ed - Deir , near ‛Ain es - Sı̄h . It may have been the scene of the events narrated in  2 Kings 1:9 . Elisha also was a familiar visitor to Mt. Carmel. It was within the territory allotted to Asher; in later times it passed into the hands of Tyre ( BJ , III, iii, 1).

    (2) A city of Judah, in the uplands near Hebron, named with Maon and Ziph ( Joshua 15:55 ). Here Saul for some reason not stated set up a monument or trophy ( 1 Samuel 15:12; literally "hand"). It was the home of Nabal the churlish and drunken flockmaster, whose widow Abigail David married (1 Sam 25); and also of Hezro, one of David's mighty men ( 2 Samuel 23:35;  1 Chronicles 11:37 ). It is represented by the modern el - Karmil , about 10 miles to the Southeast of Hebron. Karmil is the pronunciation given me by several natives this spring. There are considerable ruins, the most outstanding feature being square tower dating from the 12th century, now going swiftly to ruin. There are also caves, tombs and a large reservoir.

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [16]

    A NW. extension of the limestone ridge that bounds on the S. the Plain of Esdraëlon, in Palestine, and terminates in a rocky promontory 500 ft. high; forms the southern boundary of the Bay of Acre; its highest point is 1742 ft. above the sea-level.