Car´mel (Hebrews Karmel', כִּרמֶל, park, as in Isa 10:18; Isa 16:10; Isa 29:17; Isa 32:15-16; Jer 2:7; Jer 48:33 [also 2Ki 19:23; 2Ch 26:10, in both which passages the A. V. incorrectly takes it for a proper name, "Carmel"]; hence grits, as a garden fruit, Le 2:14; Le 23:14; 2Ki 4:42), the name of a noted promontory (often with the art. [as in several of the above occurrences of the appellation], hakKarmel´,
הִכִּרמֶל, q. d. the orchard, Am 1:2; Am 9:3; Jer 4:26; Song 7:6; fully "Mt. Carmel," har hakKarmel', הִר הִכִּרמֶל, q. d. garden-mount, 1Ki 18:19-20; or without the art. Isa 33:9; Na 1:4; Jos 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 1Ki 18:19-20; 2Ki 2:25; 2Ki 4:25 [so Josephus, Ant. 13:5, 4], and Χερμέλ in Jos 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 (Jos 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 (1Ki 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 (2Ki 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 (2Ki 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" (ver. 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 (Isa 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 7:5 is compared to Carmel. It was also celebrated for its pastures, and is therefore ranked with Bashan in Isa 33:9; Jer 1; Jer 19; Am 1:2; Mic 7:14; Na 1:4. Its conspicuous position is also compared with that of Tabor (Jer 46:18). Its great elevation is referred to in Am 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 (1Ki 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 Am 9:3. To these grottoes the prophets Elijah and Elisha often resorted (1Ki 18:19 sq., 42; 2Ki 2:25; 2Ki 4:25; and comp. perhaps 1Ki 18:4,13). 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., ὁ Κάρμηλος in Sam. and Chron.) A town in the mountainous country of Judah (Jos 15:55), the residence of Nabal (1Sa 25:2,5,7,40), and the native place of David's favorite wife, "Abigail the Carmelitess" (1Sa 27:3; 1Ch 3:1). This was doubtless the Carmel at which Saul set up a " place" (יָד, a hand; compare 2Sa 18:18, "Absalom's place," where the same word is used) after his victory over Amalek (1Sa 15:12). This Carmel, and not the northern mount, must also have been the spot at which king Uzziah had his vineyards (2Ch 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 Jos 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.