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hermon Summary and Overview

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hermon in Easton's Bible Dictionary

a peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti-Lebanon range, reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Israel (Deut. 3:8, 4:48; Josh. 11:3, 17; 13:11; 12:1), and is seen from a great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. It is called "the Hermonites" (Ps. 42:6) because it has more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Cant. 4:8). It is also called Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48). There is every probability that one of its three summits was the scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). The "dew of Hermon" is referred to (Ps. 89: 12). Its modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh, "the chief mountain." It is one of the most conspicuous mountains in Israel or Syria. "In whatever part of Israel the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there, terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow-capped cone forms the one feature in the northern horizon." Our Lord and his disciples climbed this "high mountain apart" one day, and remained on its summit all night, "weary after their long and toilsome ascent." During the night "he was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun." The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi.

hermon in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(a peak, summit), a mountain on the northeastern border of Israel, #De 3:8; Jos 12:1| over against Lebanon, #Jos 11:17| adjoining the plateau of Bashan. #1Ch 5:23| It stands at the southern end, and is the culminating point of the anti-Libanus range; it towers high above the ancient border city of Dan and the fountains of the Jordan, and is the most conspicuous and beautiful mountain in Israel or Assyria. At the present day it is called Jebel esh-Sheikh, "the chief mountain," and Jebel eth-Thelj, "snowy mountain." When the whole country is parched with the summer sun, white lines of snow streak the head of Hermon. This mountain was the great landmark of the Israelites. It was associated with their northern border almost as intimately as the sea was with the western. Hermon has three summits, situated like the angles of a triangle, and about a quarter of a mile from each other. In two passages of Scripture this mountain is called Baal-hermon, #Jud 3:3; 1Ch 5:23| possibly because Baal was there worshipped. (It is more than probable that some part of Hermon was the scene of the transfiguration, as it stands near Caesarea Philippi, where we know Christ was just before that event --ED.) The height of Hermon has never been measured, though it has often been estimated. It may safely be reckoned at 10,000 feet.

hermon in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

HER'MON (prominent summit, peak, or perhaps from a root signifying "unapproachable" or "holy;" by the Sidonians Sirion, "to glitter," and by the Amorites Shenir, and by the Hebrews Sion, Deut 4:48; Ps 133:3), the high southern part of Anti-Libanus, about 40 miles east of north of the Sea of Galilee, and 30 miles south of west of Damascus, and now called Jebelesk-Sheikh, or "the chief mountain." It has three peaks or summits, hence called "the Herinons;" incorrectly rendered "the Hermonites," Ps 42:6. Hermon was the northern limit of the territory of Israel beyond the Jordan, Deut 3:8; Deut 4:48; Josh 11:3, 1 Kgs 11:17; Acts 13:11. Hermon and Tabor are the representatives of all the mountains of the Promised Land, Ps 89:12; Ps 42:6; Ps 133:3. Some of the names of Hermon may refer to different peaks of the mountain, Deut 3:9; Song 4:8; 1 Chr 5:23. Hermon rises to an elevation of 9000 feet above the Mediterranean. The top is partially crowned with snow, or rather ice, during the whole year, which, however, lies only in the ravines, and thus presents at a distance the appearance of radiant stripes around and below the summit. The high ridge Jebel-ed-Duhy, on the north of the valley of Jezreel, is sometimes called the Little Hermon, but Jebel-esh-Sheikh is the true and only Hermon of the Scriptures. See cut p. 371. Physical Features. -- Schaff calls Hermon "the Mont Blanc of Palestine." The mountain constitutes a part of the great Anti-Lebanon range, running from northeast to south-west for over 30 miles. Its rock-formation is hard limestone, covered at places with soft chalk, while basalt appears in some-spurs. The top of the mountain may be described as consisting of three peaks or summits, of which two are approximately north and south, about 400 yards apart, and of almost equal height, being joined by a flat plateau depressed in the middle. The third peak, 600 yards to the west, is about 100 feet lower, and divided by a valley-head from the former. This is called El Mutabkhiyat, "place of cooking." The two principal peaks are each 9053 feet above the level of the sea and 11,000 feet above the Ghor or Jordan depression. No ruins are found, except on the southern peak, where is a hollow bounded by an oval enclosure of stones well hewn. At its southern end is a sacellum, or temple, nearly destroyed. -- See Our Work in Palestine, p. 245. In winter the snow extends down the mountain-side for about 5000 feet; it melts as summer advances, until in September only a little is left in the crevices and shaded hollows. In November the snow begins to cover the mountain again. Hence the best time for the ascent is from June to early autumn. Bears are frequently seen on Mount Hermon, and foxes, wolves, and various kinds of game abound. Porter describes the sides and top of Hermon as the acme of barren desolation; but Tristram, visiting it at a different season, found "many boreal forms of life both in fauna and flora," and from Hermon added 50 species to his catalogue of plants. -- See Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 613. The view from the summit is one of vast extent, embracing a great part of the Holy Land, "which lies far below, spread out like a gigantic relief-map." The traveller may look down upon Sidon, Tyre, the Mediterranean, Mount Carmel, Gerizim, the hills about Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Gilead and Nebo, the Jordan Valley, Gennesaret, Damascus, Lebanon, etc. Bible History. -- Mount Hermon was a great landmark to the Israelites, as it marked their north-eastern boundary. Deut 3:8; Josh 12:1. Joshua extended his conquest nearly to that point. Josh 11:17. The Hebrews extolled its majestic height, Ps 89:12, and its copious dew, Ps 133:4. Modern travellers note the abundant dews, which drench everything, and from which tents afford small protection. These abundant dews are accounted for by the fact that in the daytime the hot air comes streaming up the Ghor from Lake Huleh, while Hermon arrests the moisture and deposits it congealed at night. Hermon is not mentioned in the N.T., but it is probably the site of the transfiguration of Christ, Matt 17; Mark 9, and answers the description of "a high mountain apart." Conder notes it as a curious observation that "on the summit of Hermon there is often a sudden accumulation of cloud, as quickly again dispersed, often visible when the remainder of the atmosphere is perfectly clear. . . . We cannot fail to be reminded in this phenomenon of 'the cloud that overshadowed' the apostles." Caesarea Philippi, where Christ was just before the transfiguration, is at the foot of Hermon, and there are several retired places on the mountain-side where it might well have occurred. It fits into the points of the narrative in the Gospels far better than Tabor, where the monastic tradition (Greek and Latin) locates this wonderful event. See Tabor.

hermon in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

("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.