Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Location and Setting

Mount Hermon (top of photo)
supplies the bulk of the Jordan River water
NASA photo

At 9,200 feet above sea level, Mount Hermon is the highest mountain in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

The mountain is actually a cluster of mountains with three distinct summits, each about the same height. This cluster, the Anti-Lebanon Range, extends for approximately twenty miles in a northeast to southwest direction, running parallel to the Lebanon range on the west.

The mountain forms one of the greatest geographic resources of the area. Because of its height it captures a great deal of precipitation in a very dry area of the world. The Jurassic age limestones are broken by faults and solution channels to form a karst topography.

Meltwater from the snow-covered mountainís western and southern bases seeps into the rock channels and pores feeding springs at the base of the mountain, which form streams and rivers. These merge to become the Jordan River. Additionally, the runoff facilitates fertile plant life below the snow line, where vineyards and pine, oak, and poplar trees are abundant.

The springs, and the mountain itself, are much contested by the nations of the area for the use of the water. It is important who controls the mountain, as well as the springs below, to guard against deforestation and pollution.

Mount Hermon is called the "gray-haired mountain," or the "mountain of snow," because of the covering of snow, which is present on it most of the year.

Historical and Biblical Significance

Mount Hermon was also called Senir by the Amorites and Sirion by the Sidonians (Deut 3:9; Ps 29:6; 1 Chr 5:23; Song 4:8; Ezek 27:5). The mountain served as the northern boundary of the land promised by God to Israel (Deut 3:8) and also was the northern limit of the Conquest (Josh 11:17; 12:1; 13:5). The high places of Mount Hermon were apparently used by the Canaanites for their pagan religious rituals. They referred to the mountain as Mount Baal-hermon (Judg 3:3). Jesus and His disciples journeyed north from Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee to the city of Caesarea Philippi at the southern base of Mount Hermon (Matt 16:13; Mark 8:27). There, Jesus revealed to them His purpose to build His Church and to go to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected (Matt 16:18-21).

Mount Hermon was a possible site of the Transfiguration, where Jesus took three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, up on a high mountain for prayer. Before their eyes, Jesus was transfigured. He became radiantly white and conversed with Moses and Elijah, who had appeared beside Him. The disciplesí amazement and fear were further increased, when a voice from heaven exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!" (Matt 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:29-36).