|Cities of Ancient Israel|
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Jebel Mar Elyas. Mount Carmel is a ridge of mountains which rises to 1740 feet above sea level. It is a continuation of the hills of Samaria which extend NW to the Mediterranean Sea. Carmel was the southern boundary of the territory of Asher (Josh 19:26) and the S.W. border of the plain of Esdralon (I Kings 18:42-46). At the foot of Mount Carmel flows the Kishon River (I Kings 18:40). The mountain drops steeply into the Mediterranean Sea and around its cliffs are numerous caves, some of which have many wall paintings from ancient times.
Most of the land around Carmel contains thick rich soil and therefore producing abundant vegetation. The Bible mentions it as a symbol of beauty (Is 33:9; Song 7:5) and is often compared with Lebanon and Bashan (Is 29:17; 32:15; Jer 50:19). It was on this mountain that Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (I Ki 18:17-46).
During Hellenistic times Mount Carmel remained a place of worship where a Temple to Zeus stood on the mountains. There was also an altar and an oracle there with inscriptions found there mentioning a cult of Zeus Heiopolitanus.
According to Christian tradition the event of Elijah and prophets of Baal and the altar that was built was located at the S. W. side of the mountain.
Josh. 19:26; 1 Kgs. 18:20 ff; Amos 9:3; Jer. 46:18.
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