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HERMON ():

Mountain on the northeastern border of Palestine; the culminating point of the Anti-Lebanon range, at the springs of the Jordanand adjoining the plateau of Bashan (Deut. iii. 8; Josh. xi. 17, xii. 1; I Chron. v. 23). The name is translated by some "prominent peak," by others "sacred mountain" (see Gesenius, "Th."), both being suitably applied to it. The Sidonians called it "Sirion" (), and the Amorites "Shenir" (: Deut. iii. 9; both appellations signify "breastplate"), evidently on account of its rounded top, which, covered with snow, gleamed and shone in the sunlight. It is also called "Sion" (: Deut. iv. 48), probably on account of its height. But it appears from Cant. iv. 8 and I Chron. v. 23 that Shenir was the name of a part of Mount Hermon, probably of one of its three peaks, which are collectively called "Hermonim" (= "the Hermons": Ps. xlii. 7, Hebr.). The name "Sanir" occurs in a cuneiform inscription (see Halévy in "R. E. J." xx. 206). Because of its snow-covered top Hermon is called "Ṭur Talga" in the Targumim and "Har ha-Sheleg" (snow-mountain) in Sifre (ed. Friedmann, p. 47b).

"Mount Hermon" () occurs in Deut. iii. 8; Josh. xi. 17; xii. 1, 5; xiii. 5, 11; I Chron. v. 23; "Hermon" alone in Josh. xi. 3; Ps. lxxxix. 12, cxxxiii. 3; Cant. iv. 8. Hermon was before the invasion held by the Hivites (Josh. xi. 3); it was the northern landmark of the Israelites: "from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon" (Deut. iii. 8 et al.). When the half-tribe of Manasseh conquered their allotted territory, they are said to have "increased . . . unto mount Hermon" (I Chron. v. 23). In one passage (Ps. lxxxix. 12) Hermon seems to be used as a synonym for "north," just as the sea () is used as a synonym for "west." The name "Baal-hermon" (Judges iii. 3) would indicate that it was at one time the seat of a shrine. It was a religious center in the Roman period also, and was surrounded by small temples, built on the slopes. A temple on the summit is referred to by Eusebius and Jerome ("Onomastica Sacra," s.v. "Ærmon"). In Enoch (vi. 6) the summit of Hermon is mentioned as the place where the wicked angels alighted in the days of Jared, and its name is explained as referring to the oath which they had sworn upon it. Hermon was famous for its dews (Ps. cxxxiii. 3), which have been celebrated by modern travelers also (Tristram, "Land of Israel," 2d ed., p. 608), and the part called "Shenir" was abundant in cypresses (Ezek. xxvii. 5). Hermon is now called "Jabal al-Shaikh" (the mountain of the chief), so called as the residence of the religious sheik of the Druzes.

Bibliography:
  • Robinson, Researches, iii. 357;
  • Hastings, Dict. Bible;
  • Winer, B. R.;
  • Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl.
E. G. H. M. Sel.
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