Hermon

HERMON (Heb. hermôn, sacred mountain). The mountain that marks the southern terminus of the Anti-Lebanon range. A line drawn from Damascus to Tyre will pass through Mount Hermon at its middle point and will practically coincide with the northern boundary of Palestine. The ridge of Hermon is about twenty miles (thirty-three km.) long. It has three peaks, two of them rising over 9,000 feet (2,813 m.). Hermon has had several names: the ancient Amorites called it “Shenir” or “Senir” (Deut.3.9; cf. Ps.29.6; Ezek.27.5, where it is called a source of fir trees for Tyre); the Sidonians called it “Sirion” (Deut.3.9, though Ps.29.6 would apparently separate them); and the Arabs call it “Jebel-esh-Sheikh” or “Mountain of the Old Man,” perhaps because of its white head, but more likely because of its dignity.

Hermon is awe-inspiring whether seen from the NE at Damascus, the west from Lebanon back of Sidon, the SW from Nazareth, or the SE from Hauran. The Lord’s transfiguration almost certainly occurred on its slopes, for he was at Caesarea Philippi just south of the mountain only a week before. Prior to the advent of modern refrigeration, both Damascus and the summer resorts on Mount Lebanon obtained ice from Hermon, and so it was often called “Jebel-et-telj,” i.e., “Ice Mountain.” Hermon is once called “Sion” (Deut.4.48; niv “Siyon”), not to be confused with Zion in Jerusalem, which is “Sion” in the NT.——ABF


b
Near Caesarea Philippi, with (snowless) Mt. Hermon behind it.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(chermon; Codex Vaticanus, Haermon):

1. Description:


2. The Hermons:

Once it is called "Hermons" (chermonim). the King James Version mistakenly renders this "the Hermonites" (Ps 42:6). It must be a reference to the triple summits of the mountain. There are three distinct heads, rising near the middle of the mass, the two higher being toward the East. The eastern declivities are steep and bare; the western slopes are more gradual; and while the upper reaches are barren, the lower are well wooded; and as one descends he passes through fruitful vineyards and orchards, finally entering the rich fields below, in Wady etteim. The Aleppo pine, the oak, and the poplar are plentiful. The wolf and the leopard are still to be found on the mountain; and it is the last resort of the brown, or Syrian, bear. Snow lies long on the summits and shoulders of the mountain; and in some of the deeper hollows, especially to the North, it may be seen through most of the year.

Mt. Hermon is the source of many blessings to the land over which it so proudly lifts its splendid form. Refreshing breezes blow from its cold heights. Its snows are carried to Damascus and to the towns on the seaboard, where, mingled with the sharab, "drink," they mitigate the heat of the Syrian summer. Great reservoirs in the depths of the mountain, fed by the melting snows, find outlet in the magnificent springs at Chasbeiyeh, Tell el-Kady, and Banias, while the dew-clouds of Hermon bring a benediction wherever they are carried (Ps 133:3).

3. Sanctuaries:

Hermon marked the northern limit of Joshua’s victorious campaigns (Jos 12:1, etc.). It was part, of the dominion of Og (Jos 12:5), and with the fall of that monarch, it would naturally come under Israelite influence. Its remote and solitary heights must have attracted worshippers from the earliest times; and we cannot doubt that it was a famous sanctuary in far antiquity. Under the highest peak are the ruins of Kacr `Antar, which may have been an ancient sanctuary of Baal. Eusebius, Onomasticon, speaks of a temple on the summit much frequented by the surrounding peoples; and the remains of many temples of the Roman period have been found on the sides and at the base of the mountain. The sacredness of Hermon may be inferred from the allusion in Ps 89:12 (compare Enoch 6:6; and see also BAAL-HERMON).

Some have thought that the scene of the Transfiguration should be sought here; see, however, TRANSFIGURATION, MOUNT OF.

The modern name of Hermon is Jebel eth-thilj, "mount of snow," or Jebel esh-sheikh, "mount of the elder," or "of the chief."

Little Hermon, the name now often applied to the hill between Tabor and Gilboa, possibly the Hill of Moreh, on which is the sanctuary of Neby Dahy, has no Biblical authority, and dates only from the Middle Ages.