Hermon has the idea of devoted or consecrated. It has the same root as Hormah as previously discussed in the article on Arad. It illustrates the value that should be attached to the taking and execution of vows (see Num 30; Deut 23:20f). Hermon stands tall at the north of the land of Israel and its presence dominates. I first saw Hermon from the roof of Ajulin castle in the middle of Jordan, its white snow glistening, and then turning around to the south we saw the skyline of Jerusalem in the distance. Later we visited it’s slope from both Syria and viewed its northern reaches in Lebanon. Mt Hermon is part of a range with three distinct peaks that extends northward into both Lebanon and into Syria, and is the highest point of both Israel and Syria.
The mountain has several names:
- Har (mount) Hermon; Deut 3:8,9; 4:48; Josh 11:3,17; 12:1,5; 13:5,11; Judges 3:3; 2Sam 24:6; 1Chron 5:23; Ps 42:6; 89:12; 133:3; Song 4:8
- Jebel el-Shaykh (arabic: mountain of the sheikh or head)
- Saria (Sumerian)
- Senir (Amorite: a coat of mail) Deut 3:9
- Sirion (Sidonians: armour) Deut 3:9; Ps 29:6; 1Chron 5:23; Song 4:8; Ezek 27:5
- Har Baal-Hermon Judges 3:3 [see Josh 11:17 Baal Gad seems to be a place of aspotate worship on the slopes of Hermon]
- Har Sion Deut 4:48 Siyon NIV, Sirion ESB
- Seon LXX
- The mount of snow, Targum *(Jonathon)
- “eyes of the nation” Israeli slang
The snows are present for a good part of the year, and fresh snow from Hermon was drunk at the victory of the battle of the horns of Hattin. The whiteness of the snow, not only of this peak, but other peaks in the Lebanese and anit-Lebanese ranges, give Lebanon its name. [heb root laban to be white] and represent the righteousness of God. This righteousness is described as a blessing that descends from mount Hermon itself in Ps 133. But the parallel between the dews on Hermon that do not reach Sion (Jerusalem) and the oil that runs down the head of the anointed high priest that collects on the collar of his garments and does not reach the feet should be noted. Righteousness is not obtained by members of the body, but is a gift from the head. It is attributed on the acknowledgement of faith in the operation of God, Gen 15:6; Rom 4. But God willingly bestows the blessings obtained by the obedience of his son onto those who would share his mind, and feel his sufferings. So Hermon stands [as indicated in the arabic name] to the blessings on the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
Amana Song 4:8 seems to be a reference to the southeastern slopes of mount Hermon, now in modern Syria, and close to Jebel Zabadani. It is probably the area that gives rise to the river Abana 2Kings 5:12 The area is mentioned in c21BC Mesopotamian inscriptions as a location for good-quality marble and timber used for Assyrian and Sumerian construction. (1) [Zabadani is a location well known for wealthy Syrians to have a holiday or weekend house to escape the heat of Damascus.]
Senir [Senir with letter sin, and not Shenir with a Shin] can also be associated with a more northern segment, known by the arabic name of Snir or Senr. Mentioned three times in scripture as the Amorite name for Hermon, it may reflect this segment of the Hermon range. Deut 3:9; 1Chron 5:23 It is possible that the name is a general Amorite name used of the entire antilebanese range.
Mizar. a single reference in Ps 42:6 literally “my insignifiance” is understood to be a small mountain or summit from which the waters of the Jordan emerge. Note the references to the land of the Jordan, and the land of the Hermonites in this verse. This could be the range that extends down to the waters of Banias also probably known as Abel-mayim which is considered another name for Dan. Abel-mayim is mentioned in ancient texts with the phrase “Abel-Mayim which is by Sirion” (2) The name Abiyl (ceniform A bi il) was mentioned a number of times in the Hazael inscription found at Tel el Qadi (Dan) and in correspondance from Tighlath Pilliser II. It is felt that these were references to the tel which was taken by conquest. Josephus also mentions Abel-ain, probably the same place (3) Incidentally bronze age finds seem to confirm this location with the location of Laish. Josh 19:47
- Avraham Negev: Archeological encyclopaedia of the holy land pg 31
- Edward Lipinski: On the skirts of Canaan in the Iron Age: historical and topographical researches pg 244
- Antiq: viii.12.4