Mount or Mountain
Mount or Mountain (properly הִר, har, from its swelling form; with its cognate forms, הֶרֶר, hearer, and הָיָר, harar'; Gr. ὄρος; also Chald. טוּר, tur, from their rocky nature, Da 2:35,45: but סֹללָה, solelah', "mount," Jer 6:6; Jer 32:32; Jer 33:4; Eze 4:2; Eze 17:17; Eze 21:22; Eze 26:8; Da 11:15; elsewhere "bank," 2Sa 20:15; 2Ki 19:32; Isa 37:33, is a nound or rampart, such as is thrown up by besiegers against a city; and מֻצָּב, mutsab', "mount," in Isa 29:3, is a station of troops or military post, as occupied for purposes of besieging or a campaign. See WAR. In the New Testament the word mount or mountain is confined almost exclusively to representing Opog. In the Apocrypha the same usage prevails as in the N.T., the only exception being in 1 Macc. 12:36, where 'mount' is put for ὕψος, probably a mound, as we should now say, or embankment, by which Simon cut off the communication between the citadel on the Temple mount and the town of Jerusalem. For this Josephus [Ant. 13:5,11] has τεῖχος, a wall" [Smith]. SEE FORTIFICATION. Another term, designating an individual mountain, is בָּמָה, bamah', a height or "high place;" generally a lesser eminence, like גַּבעָה, gibah', a "hill," etc.). The term often occurs in connection with a proper name, or as the specific title of some particular mountain, e.g. Mount Sinai, Mount Tabor, Mount Lebanon, Mount of Olives, etc., which see in their alphabetical order. The phrase "mountain of God" (הִר הָאלֵַֹהים) is spoken of Mount Sinai, as the place where the law was given (Ex 3:1; Ex 4:27; Ex 18:5); of Mount Zion (Ps 24:2; Isa 2:3), which is also often called God's holy mountain (mostly הִר קָדשַׁי and קדשׁוֹ, "mountain of my" or "his holiness," the suffix referring to God, as if immediately annexed to the former noun, or perhaps to be rendered correctly, "mountain of my sanctuary") (Isa 11:9; Isa 56:7; Isa 57:13; Ps 2:6; Ps 15:1; Ps 43:3; Ob 1:16; Eze 20:40), more fully "mountain of the Lord's house" (Isa 2:2); of the mountain of Bashan (Ps 68:16), as being very high; also in the plur. of the Holy Land itself, as being generally mountainous (Isa 14:25; Isa 49:11; Isa 65:9). See Walch, De deo Hebraeorum montano (Ge 17:27). The term is also used collectively, "mountains," i.q. mountainous region, e.g. of Seir (Jos 14:12), of Judah (Jos 15:48), etc.; and especially (with the art. הָהָר, the mountain, κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν) of the high mountainous tract extending nearly through Palestine, between the plain on the sea-coast and the valley of the Jordan (Ge 12:8; Jos 9:1); or more specifically "the mountains of Judah," i.e., the same tract south of Jerusalem (Nu 13:29; De 1:2); the "hill-country" (ὀρεινή) of Lu 1:39; also the mountainous region east of the Dead Sea (Ge 14:20; Ge 19:17,19,30). See Macfarlane, Mountains of the Bible (Lond. 1848, 1856). SEE HILL.
Palestine is a hilly country (De 3:25; De 11:11; Eze 34:13; comp. Ex 15:17; 1Ki 20:23; see Hasselquist, Trav. page 148), divided into two natural portions by the deep depression of the Jordan from north to south. The mountain ranges which overspread it are connected on the north with Lebanon. East of the Jordan, Antilebanon terminates with the spur called Jebel Heish, a fruitful hilly district extending westward thence to the abrupt margin of the Sea of Gennesareth; while south of the intersection of the country from east to west by the river Hieromax the hills rear themselves afresh for several leagues, being traversed by wadys (watercourses) which run towards the Jordan, and interrupted by ravines and narrow passes, and continue in the form of moderately high, fertile plateaus that do not clearly descend to a level till they reach the River Arnon, the boundary of the ancient transjordanic territory; southward of the deep, rocky vale of this stream, which was the key of Palestine in this region from the east, they still stretch away in connection with the mountains of Arabia Petraea, this entire chain sloping eastward, first into the fruitful meadows of the modern Hauran, and farther south into the Arabian desert, but westward bounded by rocky steeps along the Jordan (Volney, Trav. 1:226). West of the Jordan, a mountainous region extends from Lebanon and Antilebanon far down southwesterly into Galilee, where in the south-west, opposite Ptolemais, it ends in a ridge, terminating beyond the Kishon in the promontory of Carmel; while in the interior among the highlands it forms the high plain of Jezreel, and on the east descends by a series of terraces to the Sea of Gennesareth: this portion contains its most fruitful districts, endowed with a rich Alpine vegetation, for although the northern and north-western parts are mostly inclement, and their cultivation almost impossible, especially in the rocky tracts, yet the south-western section is an alternation of fine valleys and choice pasture-lands (Hasselquist, page 176). From the elevated plain of Jez'reel, or Esdraelon, rises the almost isolated peak of Tabor, as a limit of the northern mountain-chain on this side of Jordan. Southerly this plain is shut in by hills, which, in moderate heights and in directions only lately accurately investigated by Robinson, overspread the greater part of ancient Samaria; beyond this growing more precipitous and rocky (Maundrell, Trav. page 88; Volney, Trav. 2:225 sq.), although they are everywhere interspersed with fruitful valleys and plains. The mountain ranges, which only admit communication with the sea-side by means of the intersecting passes and ravines, extend into Judaea several miles north of Jerusalem, and cover the greater part of this division of Palestine likewise, the hills becoming higher south of the metropolis. Stretching towards the south- east, they terminate in steep walls near the Dead Sea, and so join the sides of the deep Arabah; but in the south-west they somewhat abruptly bound the (tolerably high) hilly plain el-Tih, which connects Palestine with Arabia Petraea. Westerly the mountains of middle and southern Palestine nowhere extend to the sea, but gently slope into plains, which grow continually wider farther south; towards the Jordan, however, they fall off ruggedly into the Ghor (Volney, Trav. 1:226), only at Jericho leaving a large amphitheatre-like level. Their greatest expansion from east to west is nowhere more than ten to fifteen miles, and in the vicinity of Hebron scarcely more than seven miles (Volney, Trav. 2:243). The principal composition of all the Palestinian hills is limestone (of the Jura formation), occasionally with strata of chalk (whence the numerous caves), and, as is a frequent accompaniment of this latter, the hilly levels, especially in the east, are strewn with flint stones (see Schubert, Reise, 3:108). Only in the north- east, from the boundaries of the Lebanon formation to the Hieromax, extends a basaltic region (Seetzen, 18:335), which has scattered its columns and blocks as far as the western shore of the Sea of Gennesareth (comp. Ritter, Erdk. 2:315; Richter, Wallfahrt, page 60; Schubert, Reise,
3:222, 237, 260). At the southern extremity of the Dead Sea a salt- mountain uplifts itself, about three leagues in extent. The height of the mountains of Palestine is not great (Hasselquist, Trav. page 148), but has only been measured by the barometer. The southern hills rise to a perpendicular elevation of about 2400 feet, and run at this elevation as far northward as Shechem; above this they sink to about 1750 feet, and grow still more insignificant towards the plain of Jezreel. Northward of this, the land of Galilee becomes again more lofty, especially in comparison with the Sea of Gennesareth, which lies 535 feet below the level of the Mediterranean (Schubert, 3:231). The altitude of Lebanon is estimated at 10,000 feet. The mountains of Gilead are higher than the cisjordanic, being about 3000 to 4000 feet in height. (See Raumer, Beitrage z. bibl. Geographie, page 12 sq.; Reland, Palaest. page 346.) For particular hills, SEE CARMEL; SEE EPHRAIM; SEE LEBANON; SEE OLIVET; SEE TABOR, etc. The mountainous regions of Palestine not only served the inhabitants as places of defence against hostile incursions and of refuge from oppressive masters, but the hills by careful cultivation and terracing nearly doubled the arable soil (Pr 27:25; Ps 147:8; Song 8:14; Jer 21:5; 2Ch 26:10; Eze 34:14; Joe 3:18, etc.); although quarries were but seldom opened in them for building-stone, and as it seems never mined for the supply of metals. SEE PALESTINE. The frequent occurrence throughout the Scriptures of personification of the natural features of the country is very remarkable. With perhaps four exceptions, all these terms are used in our own language; but, in addition, we speak of the "crown," the "instep," the "foot," the "toe," and the "breast" or "bosom" of a mountain or hill. "Top" is perhaps only a corruption of kopf, "head." Similarly we speak of the " mouth" and the " gorge" (i.e., the "throat") of a ravine, and a " tongue" of land. Compare, too, the word col, "neck," in French. The following are, it is believed, all the words used with this object in relation to mountains or hills:
1. HEAD, ראֹשׁ, rosh, Ge 8:5; Ex 19:20; De 34:1; 1Ki 18:42; (A.V. "top").
2. EARS, אִזנוֹת, aznoth, in Aznoth-Tabor, Jos 19:34; possibly in allusion to some projection on the top of the mountain. The same word is perhaps found in UZZEN-SHERAH.
3. SHOULDER, כָּתֵŠ katheph, in De 23:12; Jos 15:8; Jos 18:16 ("side"); all referring to the hills on or among which Jerusalem is placed. Jos 15:10, "the side of Mount Jearim."
4. SIDE, צִד, tsad (see the word for the "side" of a man in 2Sa 2:16; Eze 4:4, etc.), used in reference to a mountain in 1Sa 23:26; 2Sa 13:34.
5. LOINS or FLANKS, כַּסלֹת, kisloth, in Chisloth-Tabor, Jos 19:12. It occurs also in the name of a village, probably situated on this part of the mountain, Hak-Kesulloth, הִכּסֻלּוֹת, i.e., the "loins" (Jos 19:18). SEE CHESULLOTH.
6. RIB, צֵלָע, fsela, only used once, in speaking of the Mount of Olives, 2Sa 16:13, and there translated "side," ἐκ πλευρᾶς τοῦ ὄρους.
7. BACK, שׁכֶם, sheknm, probably the root of the name of the town Shechem, which may be derived from its situation, as it were on the back of Gerizim.
8. THIGH, ירֵכָה, yerkeah (see the word for the "thigh" of a man in Jg 3:16,21), applied to Mount Ephraim, Jg 19:1,18; and to Lebanon, 2Ki 19:23; Isa 37:24; used also for the "sides" of a cave, 1Sa 24:3.
9. The word translated " covert" in 1Sa 25:20 is סֵתֶר, sether, from סָתִר), "to hide," and probably refers to the shrubbery or thicket through which Abigail's path lay. In this passage "hill" should be "'mountain." The Chaldee טוּר, tur, is the name still given to the Mount of Olives, the Jebel et-Tur.
See the Appendix to professor Stanley's Sinai and Palestine, § 23, also pages 249 and 338, note. SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS.
In the symbolical language of Scripture, if the allegory or figurative representation is taken from the heavens, the luminaries denote the governing body; if from an animal, the head or horns; if from the earth, a mountain or fortress-and in this case the capital city or residence of the governor is taken for the supreme power. (See Wemyss, Clavis Symbolica,
pages 309-316.) When David says, "Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong" (Ps 30:7), he means to express the stability of his kingdom. In like manner the kingdom of the Messiah is described under the figure of a mountain (Isa 2:2; Isa 11:9; Da 2:35), and its universality by its being the resort of all nations, and by its filling the whole earth. The mystic mountains in the Apocalypse denote kingdoms and states subverted to make room for the Messiah's kingdom (Re 6:14; Re 16:20; comp. Ps 46:2). The Chaldeean monarchy is described as a mountain in Jer 51:25; Zec 4:7; and the Targum illustrates the idea by substituting the word "fortress" in the former text. In this view, then, a mountain is the symbol of a kingdom, or of a capital city with its domains, or of a king, which is the same. Mountains are frequently used to signify places of strength, of what kind soever, and to whatsoever use applied (Jer 3:23). Eminences were very commonly chosen for the sites of pagan temples: these became places of asylum, and were looked upon as the fortresses and defenders of the worshippers, by reason of the presence of the false deities in them. On this account mountains were the strongholds of paganism, and therefore in several parts of Scripture they signify idolatrous temples and places of worship (Jer 2:23; Eze 6:2-6; Mic 4:1; comp. De 12:2; Jer 2:20; Jer 3:16; Eze 6:3). These temples were also built like forts or towers, as appears from Jg 9:46,48-49. (See Gesenius, Comment. on Isaiah 2:316 sq. Gramberg, Die Religionssideen des A.T. pref. page 15 sq.) SEE HIGH PLACE. For the various eminences or mountain districts to which the word har is applied in the O.T., SEE ABARIM; SEE AMANA; SEE OF THE AMALEKITES; SEE OF THE AMORITES; SEE ARARAT; SEE BAALAH; SEE BAAL-HERMON; SEE BASHAN; SEE BETHEL; SEE BETHER; SEE CARMEL; SEE EBAL; SEE EPHRAIM; SEE EPHRON; SEE ESAU; SEE GAASH; SEE GERIZIM; SEE GILBOA; SEE GILEAD; SEE HALAK; SEE HERES; SEE HERMON; SEE HOR; and for those to which tor is prefixed, SEE HOREB; SEE ISRAEL; SEE JEARIM; SEE JUDAH; SEE MIZAR; SEE MORIAH; SEE NAPHTALI; SEE NEBO; SEE OLIVET, or SEE OLIVES; SEE PARAN; SEE PERAZIM; SEE SAMARIA; SEE SEIR; SEE SEPHAR; SEE SHAPHER; SEE SINAI; SEE SION, SEE SIRION, or SEE SHENIR (all names for Hermon); SEE TABOR; SEE ZALMON; SEE ZEMARAIM; SEE ZION.