« AnteriorContinuar »
“ Thine head upon thee is like Carmel.”—Canticles vii. 5.
“The earth mourneth and languisheth .. Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.”—Isaiah xxxiii. 9. “ The excellency of Carmel and Sharon ...”—Isaiah
2. (See whole passage.) “As I live, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.”—Jeremiah xlvi. 18.
“And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan. . "-Jer. 1. 19.
“ The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem ; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.”Amos i. 2.
“ And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence..."— Amos ix. 3. “ Bashan languisheth, and Carmel. . ."—Nahum i. 4.
[2 Kings ii. 25; 2 Chron. xxvi. 10.]
Mount Carmel is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. Its ancient beauty is there often noticed. We read of the excellency' of Carmel ; and in the Song of Solomon, where the spiritual graces of the Christian Church are set forth under the similitude of natural beauties, we find her glory and dignity likened to the majesty of Carmel.
The prosperity or adversity of Israel is also represented by the fruitfulness or barrenness of Carmel. Thus, when foretelling God's judgments upon their nation, the prophets speak of Carmel as shaking off her fruits, as languishing and withering; whilst future
1 The name Carmel means “excellent vineyard,” “ vineyard of God;" also “harvest,” “full ears of corn.”
blessings were promised under the figure of a flock feeding peacefully on its goodly pastures.
In order to form an idea of the effect which such words would produce on an Israelite, we must bear in mind that almost every natural object around him was
rendered sacred by its connexion with some miracle or deliverance which God had wrought for his people through the instrumentality of their prophets and kings.
Such wonders had been worked on Carmel ; and when the prophet pointed to its goodly top and fruitful sides, (for it was the finest mountain in all Palestine,) and bade the people picture it to themselves barren and desolate, with what fearful force would the prophecy come home to them, that as they had been like Carmel in glory, so should they be like Carmel cursed. And when,
captive in a distant land, the afflicted
Jew thought of his home and his country, and remembered Carmel, and the peaceful flocks feeding on its sides, how cheering would he find the promise, that he should return again to his habitation, and rest and feed on Carmel !
Carmel signifies the vineyard ; and Jerome informs us, that this mountain had good pastures. Here king Uzziah had vinedressers and husbandmen, he loved husbandry.” Carmel is likewise said to mean plantations, bushy shrubberies, which there is sufficient proof formerly covered this mountain. The name Carmel is sometimes given to places planted with vines and fruit-trees, and remarkable for fertility.
“ This mountain, the boundary of the possessions of Asher westward,' forms one of the most remarkable headlands on the whole coast of the Mediterranean. Although mentioned as a single mountain in the Scriptures, it is a straight and regular mountainous ridge, extending from eight or ten to fifteen miles from south-east to north-west-while to its more elevated part, which rises in the form of a flattened cone, and is about fifteen hundred feet in height, the name Mount Carmel is commonly applied by way of eminence. The river Kishon falls into the Mediterranean on the north side of Carmel.
“At its north end,” writes Mr. Paxton, “it forms an abrupt termination in a bold promontory (advancing considerably into the sea). On the top of this promontory, and near the end, is a monastery, which has an imposing appearance, but I could see no other human habitation near it. At the distance of eight or nine miles from the promontory, the ridge called Carmel suddenly sinks down, and gives place to a wide-spread plain-(the celebrated plain of Sharon). Near the south end of the mountain, they point out on the shore the site of the famous city of Cæsarea
1 Josh. xix. 26.
“There is a plain of varied width between Carmel and the shore. It is almost wholly destitute of trees, hardly a bush to be seen, unless of a very small size. The plain varies in width from one to two miles. Much of it was covered with sand. I saw no human being, or human habitation on it, except a few old ruins.”
“ The excellency of Carmel has almost passed away, and the prophet's curse has fallen upon it,--and the top of Carmel has withered. Its steep sides are often barren and desolate-yet not so desolate as some have alleged. Wild vines and olives (showing that it had formerly been cultivated) are met with among the brambles, -and oaks, and pines, and even some cedars grow,—to attest its former luxuriance. Shepherds, too, find on its sides pasture for their flocks, as when Amos described it as their 'habitation.""
“ The lesser mountains of this group," writes D’Arvieux, are cultivable lands, of a good soil, deep, and extraordinarily fertile, capable of producing in a very uncommon degree. There were formerly many more vineyards than at present. The Christians who inhabit part of these villages only cultivate as many vines as may furnish what wine and dried grapes they want for their own consumption. They neglect the cultivation of fruit-trees, which here would reach great excellence, as may easily be inferred from those here gathered, though chiefly from wild stocks. They have delicious melons and water-melons. Those mounts which appear most dry and arid are covered with oaks and other trees. We find also olives, but under no management. The air of these mountains is
very good ; and how sultry soever it may be on the border of the sea, these regions are refreshed every morning by a cool sea breeze. On the mountains feed an infinity of beeves, sheep, goats, hares, rabbits, partridges, antelopes, and other species of animals, all excellent in their kinds, because they here find excellent pasture and corn.”
What a commentary is this upon the prophet's words, when he speaks of the excellency of Carmel and of its languishing!
“ Carmel is no place,” says Mr. Carne, “ for crags and precipices, or rocks of the wild goats-it is the finest and most beautiful mountain in Palestine,-in many parts covered with trees and flowers. On reaching at last the opposite summit, and coming out of a wood, we saw the celebrated plain of Esdraelon beneath, with the river Kishon flowing through it.
Mounts Tabor and (the little) Hermon were in front, and on the left the prospect was bounded by the hills of Samaria.”
Lamartine thus describes a storm on Mount Carmel. “I have witnessed few so terrible. The clouds rose perpendicularly, like towers above Mount Carmel, and soon covered all the length of the summit of this chain of hills. The mountain, just now so brilliant and serene, was plunged, by degrees, in rolling waves of darkness, split here and there by trains of fire. The horizon seemed to close around us—the thunder did not burst in claps,—it threw out one single majestic rolling, continual and deafening. The lightning might be truly said to rush like torrents of fire from the heavens, on the black flanks of Carmel. The oaks on the Mount and on the hill on which we were journeying, bent like young plants. The winds, which rushed from the caverns, and from between the hills, must have swept us from our horses, if we had not speedily alighted, and found a little shelter behind a fragment of rock in the then dry bed of a torrent. The withered leaves, upraised in masses by the storm, were carried above our heads like clouds, and the slender, broken branches of the trees, showered around us. I remembered the Bible, and the prodigies of Elijah ... The storm abated in about half an hour. We continued our route along the foot of Mount Carmel, which we traced in this way, during a march of about four hours.