Lebanon Mountains in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
"exceeding white", namely, with snow, as Mont Blanc. In
Hebrew Lebanon, related to "alp". The double mountain range
N. of Israel, running in parallel lines from S.W. to
N.E., having between the fertile valley anciently called
Coelosyria, now El Beka'a (where are the grand ruins of the
temple of the sun), about six or seven miles wide, "the
valley of Lebanon" (Joshua 11:17). The range is about 80
miles long, 15 broad. It forms the northern head of the
Jordan valley and the southern head of the Orontes valley.
(See HAMATH.) The western range is the region of the Hivites
and Giblites (Joshua 13:5; Judges 3:3). (See GIBLITES.) The
eastern range was Antilibanus, or "Lebanon toward the
sunrising." The wady et Teim separates the southern part of
Antilibanus from Lebanon and also from the Galilee hills.
The river Leontes (Litany) sweeps round its southern end,
and drains Coelo-Syria, falling into the Mediterranean five
miles N. of Tyre.
Lebanon runs parallel to the coast in the plain of
Emesa opening from the Mediterranean, in Scripture "the
entering in (i.e. entrance) of Hamath" (1 Kings 8:75). The
river Eleutherus (nahr el Kebir) here sweeps round its
northern end. The average height is 7,000 ft. But one peak,
Dhor el Khodib, N. of the cedars, is 10,051 ft.; and Hermon
in Antilebanon is 10,125 ft.. Lebanon is of grey limestone,
with belts of recent sandstone along the western slopes.
Eastward in the glens of Antilibanus flow toward Damascus
Abana (Barada) and Pharpar (nahr el Awaj). All that now
represents Hiram's cedar forests is the cluster called "the
cedars," 6,172 ft. above the sea, in the center of the vast
recess or semicircle formed by the highest summits of
Lebanon above the deep valley of the sacred river Kadisha.
frontCEDARS.) Odorous flowers and aromatic shrubs and vines
still yield" the smell of Lebanon" wafted by the mountain
breeze (Song of Solomon 4:11).
The line of cultivation runs at the height of 6,000
ft. Every available space is utilized for figtrees, vines,
mulberry trees, and olives. Numerous villages nestle amidst
the rocks. The trees striking their roots into the fissures
of rocks illustrate Hosea 14:5, "Israel shall strike forth
his roots as Lebanon." Lebanon is a delightful retreat from
the sultry heat of the plains and of Israel, cooled as it
is by the snows which crown its peaks. Jeremiah (Jeremiah
18:14) asks, "will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which
cometh from the rock of the field (a poetical name for
Lebanon towering above the surrounding plain)? Or shall the
cold flowing waters that come from another place (from the
distant rocks) be forsaken?" None. Yet Israel forsakes
Jehovah the living fountain, ever near, for broken cisterns.
Hyaenas, panthers, jackals, wolves, and bears still haunt
its glens and peaks (compare Song of Solomon 4:8; 2 Kings
The river Adonis (nahr Ibrahim) springs from a cave
beneath the high peak Sunnin. The plain of Phoenicia, two
miles wide, runs at the base of Lebanon between it and the
sea. The eastern slopes are less abrupt and fertile than the
western. Maronite Christians people the northern part of the
range; Druses abound more in the southern. Lebanon was
assigned to Israel, but never conquered (Joshua 13:2-6;
Judges 3:1-3). It was under the Phoenicians in Solomon's
time and subsequently (1 Kings 5:2-6; Ezra 3:7). Antilibanus
is less peopled than Lebanon, and has more wild beasts: Song
of Solomon 4:8, "look from the top of Amana, from ... Shenir
and Hermon ... the lions' den ... the mountains of the
leopards," referring to the two higher peaks, Hermon, and
that near the fountain of Abana, where panthers still are
found. "The tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus"
is Hermon (Song of Solomon 7:4).