Bible Meaning: Garden land, fruitful field
Strong's Concordance #H3760
The city of Carmel, near Hebron, was given to the tribe of Judah as an inheritance (Joshua 15:20, 55). It is here that King Saul set up a memorial to his victory over the Amalekites (1Samuel 15:12).
Abigail, the gorgeous wife of Nabal, lived at Carmel. After her husband's death, she married King David and became his second (possibly third) wife (1Samuel 25:40 - 42).
This mount, which currently reaches a height of 1,724 feet (525 meters), is near the Mediterranean coast and north of the Plain of Sharon. The mountain and the surrounding area were well known for their lush beauty and variety of plants and trees (Isaiah 33:9, 35:2).
Showdown on the Mount
The towering mountain is the place where Elijah held a showdown to confront Israel's pagan priests (1Kings 18). Four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred "prophets of the grove" (prophets of the female Goddess Asherah, a consort of Baal, verse 19) were invited, through King Ahab, to prove which deity should be worshipped. Only the 450 priests of Baal, however, showed up on the mount.
One likely reason Elijah chose Carmel (1Kings 18:19) is that the priests of Baal considered the mount sacred. His pick of the mountain, and the challenge he proposed, no doubt motivated the false prophets to appear in order to defend the deity they worshipped with unswerving dedication!
The contest on the mount, in front of a large crowd of Israelites, entailed offering animal sacrifices to each deity and seeing which one would respond by consuming it with fire (1Kings 18:24). The Baal priests, even after a day filled with loud prayers, dancing, and cutting themselves, could not elicit a response from their God. After only a short prayer, however, Elijah's animal sacrifice altar was consumed by a pillar of fire from God!
The Israelites who watched the spectacle at Carmel were convinced that God alone should be worshipped. At Elijah's command, they took the 450 false prophets to the brook Kishon and put them to death, a fitting penalty based on Scripture (Deuteronomy 13:5 - 6).
Joshua 19:24 - 26
And the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their families. And their border was Helkath, and Hali, and Beten, and Achshaph. . .
and Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal: and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath . . .
And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.
1Kings 18:19 - 21, 36
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.
So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word . . .
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel . . .
And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.
And he said, 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.
And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence: and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them . . .