Carmel (biblical settlement)

Coordinates: 31°25′25″N 35°07′59″E / 31.42361°N 35.13306°E / 31.42361; 35.13306
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خربة الكرمل Arabic
כרמל Hebrew
Library of Congress photograph of Carmel circa 1900 to 1926, showing run-off from natural spring
Library of Congress photograph of Carmel circa 1900 to 1926, showing run-off from natural spring
Carmel is located in the Southern West Bank
Location of Karmil
Coordinates: 31°25′25″N 35°07′59″E / 31.42361°N 35.13306°E / 31.42361; 35.13306
RegionWest Bank
DistrictJudea and Samaria Area
 • CouncilHar Hevron (Mount Hebron) Regional Council
Time zoneUTC+2 (IST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (IDT)

Carmel was an ancient Israelite town in Judea, lying about 11.2 kilometres (7.0 mi) from Hebron, on the southeastern frontier of Mount Hebron.[1][2]

In the Hebrew Bible[edit]

There are several references to Carmel in the Bible. Carmel is mentioned as a city of Judah in the Books of Samuel and also in Joshua 15:55. It is mentioned as the place where Saul erects a monument after the expedition against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:12). Carmel is mentioned in 1 Samuel 25:2 as the place of Nabal's possessions, who was the husband of Abigail.[3][4]

Beside the agricultural importance of the site, Carmel had also a strategic importance because of it containing the only reliable natural spring of water in the immediate area,[1] which waters are collected in a man-made pool. Carmel, in relation to Maon, lies directly to its north, within close proximity.[dubious ]

Roman and Byzantine period[edit]

Man-made pool at Carmel (al-Karmil)

Mentioned in Eusebius' Onomasticon as a village "10 milestones east [sic] of Hebron,"[5] the village housed a Roman garrison after the Bar Kochba revolt.[6][7] The Jewish settlement is thought to have prospered until the Persian army of Chosroes forced the Roman garrison of Heraclius' army to leave Palestine. With a lack of market for their wine, the Jewish settlement declined, with the synagogue finally being abandoned in the 9th century.

In the Byzantine era, around the 6th or 7th century CE, a church was built here, on the western side of the remains.[8][9][10] Outlines of a further two churches were uncovered to the immediate north and south.[11]

The abandoned synagogue, which still stands in the Palestinian town now known as al-Karmil, is one of the best preserved ancient synagogues in the West Bank.[12]

Man-made pool at Carmel (al-Karmil)

Crusader period[edit]

During the period of the Crusades in the 12-century CE, a castle was built at Carmel under the command of Renaud of Châtillon.[1][13] William of Tyre mentions Carmel as the camp of King Amalric in 1172.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Amit (n.d.), pp. 226–228
  2. ^ a b Conder & Kitcherner (1883), p. 312
  3. ^ Lozovyy (2006), s.v. 1 Samuel 16-25
  4. ^ Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible, 1832. p 280
  5. ^ In typical old-style error of the use of quadrants to determine cardinal directions, as the actual location of Khirbet al-Karmil (Carmel) is south, southeast of Hebron, rather than due east.
  6. ^ Chapmann III, et al. (2003), p. 66
  7. ^ Epiphanius (1935), p. 77 (section 77)
  8. ^ Rey (1871), pp. 102-104
  9. ^ Mader (1918), pp. 177-185
  10. ^ Pringle (1997), p. 61
  11. ^ Bar (2003), pp.401-421; 413
  12. ^ Murphy-O'Connor (2008), p. 351
  13. ^ Ellenblum (2007), pp. 108, 254, 309


External links[edit]