Her'mon (Heb. Chermon', חֶרמוֹן , according to Gesenius, from the Arabic Charm- sn, a peak; Sept. Α᾿ερμών), a mountain which formed the northernmost boundary (Jos 12:1) of the country beyond the Jordan (Jos 11:17) which the Hebrews conquered from the Amorites (De 3:8), and which, therefore, must have belonged to Anti-Libanus (1Ch 5:23), as is, indeed, implied or expressed in most of the other passages in which it is named (De 4:48; Jos 11:3,17; Jos 12:5; Jos 13:5,11; Ps 89:12; Ps 133:3; Song 4:8). It has two or more summits, and is therefore spoken of in the plur. (חֶרמֹנַים, Ps 42:7; Sept. ῾Εμωνιείμ, Engl. Vers. "Hermonites"). In De 3:9 it is said to have been called by the Sidonians Sirion (שַׂריוֹן), and by the Amorites Shenir (שׁנַיר), both of which words signify "a coat of mail," as glittering in the sun. In De 4:48 it is called Mount Sion (שַׂיאוֹן), meaning "an elevation," 'a high mountain"- which it was well entitled to be designated by way of excellence, being (if correctly identified within Jebel es-Sheik) by far the highest of all the mountains in or near Palestine. In the later books of the Old Testament, however (as in 1Ch 5:23; Song 4:8), Shenir is distinguished from Hermon properly so called. Probably different summits or parts of this range bore different names, which were applied in a wider or narrower acceptation at different times (see Schwarz, Palestine, p. 56). SEE HIVITE.
Hermon was a natural landmark. It could be seen from the "plains of Moab" beside the Dead Sea, from the heights of Nebo, from every prominent spot, in fact, in Moab, Gilead, and Bashan — a pale blue, snow- capped peak, terminating the view on the northern horizon. When the people came to know the country better when not merely its great physical features, but its towns and villages became familiar to them, then Baal Gad and Dan took the place of Hermon, both of them being situated just at the southern base of that mountain. Hermon itself was not embraced in the country conquered by Moses and Joshua; their conquests extended only to it (see Jos 11:17; De 34:1; 1Sa 3:20). Hermon was also the north-western boundary of the old kingdom of Bashan, as Salcah was the south-eastern. We read in Jos 12:5 that Og "reigned in Mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan" i.e. in all Bashan, from Hermon to Salcah Another notice of Hermon shows the minute accuracy of the topography of Joshua. He makes "Lebanon towards the sun rising," that is, the range of Anti-Lebanon, extend from Hermon to the entering into Hamath (13, 5). Every Oriental geographer now knows that Hermon is the southern and culminating point of this range. The beauty and grandeur of Hermon did not escape the attention of the Hebrew poets. From nearly every prominent point in Palestine the mountain is visible, but it is when we leave the hill-country of Samaria and enter the plain of Esdraelon that Hermon appears in all its majesty, shooting up on the distant horizon behind the graceful rounded top of Tabor. It was probably this view that suggested to the Psalmist the words "The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name" (Ps 89:12). The "dew of Hermon" is once referred to in a passage which has long been considered a geographical puzzle — " As the dew of Hermon, the dew that descended on the mountains of Zion" (Ps 133:3). Some have thought that Zion (צַיּוֹן) is used here for Sion (שַׂיאֹן), one of the old names of Hermon (De 4:48), but this identification is unnecessary. The snow on the summit of this mountain condenses the vapors that float during the summer in the higher regions of the atmosphere, causing light clouds to hover around it, and abundant dew to descend on it, while the whole country elsewhere is parched, and the whole heaven elsewhere cloudless. One of its tops is actually called Abu- Nedy, i.e. "father of dew" (Porter, Handb. 2, 463).
Since modern travelers have made us acquainted with the country beyond the Jordan, no doubt has been entertained that the Mount Hermon of those texts is no other than the present Jebel es-Sheik, or the Sheik's Mountain, or, which is equivalent, Old Man's Mountain. a name it is said to have obtained from its fancied resemblance (being topped with snow, which sometimes lies in lengthened streaks upon its sloping ridges) to the hoary head and beard of a venerable sheik (Elliot, 1, 317). This Jebel es-sheik is a south-eastern, and in that direction culminating, branch of Anti-Libanus. Its top is partially covered with snow throughout the summer, and has an elevation of 9376 feet (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 170, 176). Dr. Clarke, who saw it in the month of July, says, "The summit is so lofty that the snow entirely covered the upper part of it, not lying in patches, but investing all the higher part with that perfectly white and smooth velvet- like appearance which snow only exhibits when it is very deep." Dr. Robinson only differs from the preceding by the statement that the snow is perpetual only in the ravines, so that the top presents the appearance of radiant stripes around and below the summit (Bib. Researches, 3:344). At his last visit to Palestine, he observes, under date of April 9 (new ed. of Researches, 3, 48), that "the snow extended for some distance down the sides, while on the peaks of Lebanon opposite there was none." In August, 1852, Rev. J. L. Porter, of Damascus, ascended Jebel es-Sheik from Rashey, and spent a night near its summit. He describes the highest peak as composed strictly of three peaks, so near each other as to appear one from below. On the south-easternmost of these peaks are some interesting remains, called Kulal Antar, probably relics of an ancient Syro-Phoenician temple, consisting of a circular wall around a rock about 15 feet high, which has a rude excavation upon it, and heaps of beveled stones adjoining it. The snow-banks explain the supply anciently made for cooling drinks in Tyre and Sidon (Bibliotheca Sac. January 1854). The summit is about 9000 feet above the Mediterranean (Lieut.Warren, in the Quarterly Statement of the "Palestine Exploration Fund," No. 5, p. 210, where also are a description and cut of the ruined temple).
In two passages of Scripture this mountain is called Baal-hermon (בִּעִל חֶרמוֹן, Jg 3:3; 1Ch 5; 1Ch 23), and the only reason that call be assigned for it is that Baal was there worshipped. Jerome says of it, "Diciturque in vertice ejus insigne templum, quod ab ethnicis cultui habetur e regione Paneadis et Libani" — reference must here be made to the building whose ruins are still seen (Onom. s.v. Hermon). It is remarkable that Hermon was anciently encompassed by a circle of temples, all facing the summit. Can it be that this mountain was the great sanctuary of Baal, and that it was to the old Syrians what Jerusalem was to the Jews, and what Mecca is to the Moslems? (See Porter, Handbook for Syria and Pal. p. 454, 457; Reland, Palaest. p. 323 sq.) The above-described ruins seem to confirm this conjecture. SEE BAAL-HERMON.
It has been suggested that one of the southern peaks of Hermon was the scene of the Transfiguration. Our Lord traveled from Bethsaida, on the northern slope of the Sea of Galilee, "to the coasts of Caesarea-Philippi," where he led his disciples "into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them;" and afterwards he returned, going towards Jerusalem through Galilee (comp. Mr 8:22-28; Mt 16:13; Mr 9:2-13,30-33). No other mountain in Palestine is more appropriate to the circumstances of that glorious scene, except Tabor, to which many centuries' tradition has assigned this honor (Robinson, Bib. Res. 2, 358); but if it be as, signed to this locality, it will give additional celebrity to the prince of Syrian mountains (Porter's Danascus, 1, 306).
The mention of Hermon along with Tabor Ps 89:12, led to its being sought near the latter mountain, where, accordingly, travelers and maps give us a "Little Hermon." But that passage, as well as Ps 133:3, applies better to the great mountain already described; and in the former it seems perfectly natural for the Psalmist to call upon these mountains, respectively the most conspicuous in the western and eastern divisions of the Hebrew territory, to rejoice in the name of the Lord. Besides, we are to consider that Jebel es-sheikh is seen from Mount Tabor, and that both together are visible from the plain of Esdraelon. There is no reason to, suppose that the so-called Little Hermon is at all mentioned in Scripture.
Its actual name is Jebel ed-Duhy; it is a shapeless, barren, and uninteresting mass of hills, in the north of the valley of Jezreel and opposite Mount Gilboa (Robinson, Researches, 3, 171).