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Meaning and etymology of the Hebrew name Carmel




Carmel Carmel


There are two Carmels mentioned in the Bible. The lesser known Carmel is a village south of Hebron. At this Carmel king Saul erects a monument for himself after his battle against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:12) and that will cost him his crown (15:23). Nabal, the Calebite lived in Carmel (1 Samuel 25:1-2) with his wife Abigail. Nabal is rude to David's men, and David rides out to avenge his honor. Abigail stops David, by riding towards him and saying just about the worst things about her husband a wife can. Ten days after that, Nabal dies and Abigail becomes David's wife (25:42).

The better known Carmel is a mountain on the Mediterranean coast (Jeremiah 46:18). It's where Israel's prophet Elijah has his encounter with the 450 priest of Baal. This Carmel became a symbol for beauty (Song of Solomon 7:5). HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament notes that today the Carmelite mountain range forms the harbor of Haifa. The town Megiddo is located close to Mount Carmel.

The name Carmel is identical to the Hebrew word karmel (karmel), meaning plantation or orchard (2 Kings 19:23, Isaiah 10:18). This word also shows up to denote a certain produce probably made from fruit from an orchard (Leviticus 23:14).

The noun karmel is closely related to (Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names says it's a diminutive form of) the noun kerem (kerem), meaning vineyard (Genesis 9:20). The vineyard is a dominant symbol in the Bible; it usually denotes either Israel (Isaiah 5) or the whole of humanity (Isaiah 65:21, see Revelation 21:24), and is carried into the New Testament to denote the Body of Christ (John 15:1). The associated verb karam (karam) means to tend or dress a vineyard or vine.

Another word of interest is the noun karmil (karmil), meaning crimson or carmine. BDB Theological Dictionary says that this is probably a Persian loan-word, originally meaning worm, after the creature from which came expensive crimson die. The only Biblical use of this word occurs in the description of materials used for the temple (2 Chronicles 3:14).

For a meaning of the name Carmel, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Field, Park, Garden. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names renders Fruitful Field, which is a bit peculiar for a mountain.






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