("mountain nose, or peak".) The highest of the Antilibanus range, at its S. end. N.E. of Israel (Joshua 12:1), over against Lebanon (Joshua 11:17), adjoining Bashan (1 Chronicles 5:23). Called Sion, "the lofty," distinct from Zion at Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 4:48); among the Amorites Shenir, rather Senir, i.e. cataract or else breast-plate, from senar "to clatter" (Deuteronomy 3:8-9; Ezekiel 27:5); among the Sidonians Sirion, the breast-plate, a name given from the rounded snowy top glittering in the sun, from shaarah "to glitter" (Psalm 29:6). A center to Syria and Israel; the watershed of the Jordan fountains, and of the Syrian Abana and Pharpar of Damascus, the Orontes of Antioch, and the Leontes. Bashan, Damascus, Syria, and Israel converged there. It had numerous Baal sanctuaries, which gave it a name very anciently. (See BAAL HERMON.)
Rising 9,500 feet, it is seen even from the Jordan valley and the shores of the Dead Sea. Lebanon means the "white" mountain, the Mont Blanc of Israel. Now Jebel es Sheykh, "the old white-headed man's mountain," referring to the long streaks of snow remaining in the ravines radiating from the center, when the snow has disappeared elsewhere, like an old man's scanty white locks. Jebel esh Tilj, "the mount of ice." Shenir and Hermon are mentioned distinctly, Song of Solomon 4:8. The whole was called Hermon. The part held by the Sidonians was "Sirion," that by the Amorites Shenir, infested by devouring "lions" and swift though stealthy "leopards," in contrast to "the mountain of myrrh" (Song of Solomon 5:6), the mountain of the Lord's house (Isaiah 2:2), the good land (Isaiah 35:9). In Psalm 89:12 Tabor is made the western, Hermon the eastern landmark.
Thus, N., S., E., and W. represent the whole earth. "The dew of Hermon" (Psalm 133:3) is used proverbially of an abundant, refreshing dew. (See DEW.) The distance precludes the possibility of the literal dew of Hermon "descending upon the mountains of Zion." But a Hermon dew was a dew such as falls there, the snow on the summit condensing the summer vapors which float in the higher air, and causing light clouds to hover round and abundant dew to fall on it, while the air is elsewhere without a cloud and the whole country parched. The "ointment" sets forth "how good" and "precious" is brotherly "unity"; the dew "how pleasant" it is. Zion is the mountain where this spiritual dew descends, as pleasant as the natural dew that descends on Hermon. It has three summits, a quarter of a mile from each other; hence arises the plural "Hermons" (Psalm 42:6), not "Hermonites."
A rude wall of massive stones surrounds the crest of the peak, within are the remains of a small ancient temple. Jerome refers to this, and no doubt it is one of those Baal high places set up by the former inhabitants, and so often condemned in the Old Testament. A circle of temples surrounded Hermon, facing its summit, so that Hermon seems to have been the great sanctuary of Baal. At the top, says Capt. Warren, is a plateau comparatively level; here are two small peaks lying N. and S., about 400 yards from each other. The third peak is 500 yards to the W. On the southern peak a hole scooped out is surrounded by an oval of hewn stones; at its southern end is the temple nearly destroyed, with Roman moldings, and of later date than the stone oval, of stones from 2 to 8 ft. long, 2 1/2 broad and thick.
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'hermon' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".