Mount Carmel, which literally means ?God?s vineyard,? is a mountain range running about thirteen miles southeast-northwest in the western Jezreel Valley. This part of Israel receives thirty inches of rain each year and is the most heavily forested area in the country.
Near Mount Carmel, the major international trade route of ancient days?the Via Maris?passed by. Because of its fertility, the surrounding land was also the breadbasket of Israel. Mount Carmel stood as a high point in this strategic area.
See Mount Carmel on a map
Looking at the fertile Jezreel plain and Mount Carmel?s ancient olive trees today, we understand why this place symbolized fertility and blessing to God?s people. It was pictured in the Bible as a beautiful and fruitful area.
But the area also symbolized God?s judgment on the land. On several occasions, God allowed Mount Carmel to become withered and desolate as a result of the Israelites? disobedience. One of these droughts ended with the famous confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.