Carmel: Israel's fertile range
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The Carmel range of hills runs 50km SE from Haifa (the port city of the modern state of Israel. The name (which means "God's vineyard") suggests the region's fertility. This is due to the position of these hills, the first that the moisture laden prevailing winds from the Mediterranean reach. It is therefore most likely that rain will fall here. The average rainfall is about 28" or 70cms per year. This is only exceeded east of the Jordan or to the north in Lebanon.

In the Bible the fruitfulness of this area is proverbial. In Song of Songs 7:5 the lover's flowing hair is likened to Carmels ridge with its verdant slopes; and these are compared to other abundant regions in Is 33:9 - Lebanon and Bashan, and Is 35:2 - Sharon, while Jer 50:19 has a whole catalog of fertility.

Mount Carmel (Jebel Kurmul or Jebel Mar Elyas), juts into the Mediterranean helping form the harbor of Haifa, there is no other headland or bay to the south between here and Egypt.

Carmel is such a dramatic feature that it is mentioned in both Egyptian and Assyrian sources. Tyre and Israel (in the person of king Jehu) paid tribute to Shalmanesser III there.


©Tim Bulkeley, 2002-4, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.
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Unless marked otherwise Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.