Mount Carmel


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 (1Ki 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 (1Ki 18). The scene is traditionally located at el-Machraqah, "the place of burnt sacrifice," which is still held sacred by the Druzes. A Latin 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 ca11ed Tell el-qissis, "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 (1Ki 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-Sih. It may have been the scene of the events narrated in 2Ki 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

Excerpts from ISBE
Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com