An isolated mountain of Galilee, on the northeastern side of the plain of Esdraelon, an arm of which extends beyond the mountain in the same direction. It is of limestone formation, conical in form, and well-wooded, especially on the north side, with fine oaks and other trees and odoriferous plants. It rises 1,350 feet above the plain at its base, which is 400 feet above the Mediterranean, and by a winding path on the north-west side one may ride to its summit in an hour. There is a small oblong plain on the summit, surrounded by a larger but less regular tract, perhaps a mile inn circumference. The prospect from Mount Tabor is extensive and beautiful. Dr. Robinson and many others speak of it as one of the finest in Paletine; and Lord Nugent declared it the most splendid he could recollect having ever seen from any natural height. See Jer 46:18. Its general features are the same as those of the view from the heights of Nazareth, five miles to the west. See NAZARETH. Glimpses of the Mediterranean appear over the high grounds, which intervene. In the plain at the southern base of the mountain are the sources of the brook Kishon, and the villages Endor and Nain, famous in Bible history. Besides the fertile expanse of Esdraelon, and mounts Carmel, Gilboa, etc., on its borders, the view embraces a portion of the sea of Galilee in the northeast; and towards the north the mountains of Galilee, with the town of Safed crowning the highest of them all, recalling the proverb which it is said to have first suggested, "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." Still farther to the north and east, the snowcrowned head of Hermon overlooks the fifty miles which intervene, Ps 80:12.
On the summit of Tabor a fortified town anciently stood, probably of the same name, 1Ch 6:77. This was in existence, and was garrisoned by the Romans in the time of Christ, which conflicts with the tradition that makes Tabor the scene of the transfiguration. Ruins of ancient walls enclose the area of the summit; and at various points there are remains of fortifications and dwellings, some of which are of the age of the crusaders, and others of more ancient date. Tabor lay on the borders of Issachar and Zebulun, Jos 19:12,22. The host of Barak encamped upon it, before the battle with Sisera, Jg 4:6,12,14. At a later day it appears to have been desecrated by idolatry, Ho 5:1.
a height. (1.) Now Jebel et-Tur, a cone-like prominent mountain, 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It is about 1,843 feet high. The view from the summit of it is said to be singularly extensive and grand. This is alluded to in Ps 89:12; Jer 46:18. It was here that Barak encamped before the battle with Sisera (q.v.) Jg 4:6-14. There is an old tradition, which, however, is unfounded, that it was the scene of the transfiguration of our Lord. (See Hermon.) "The prominence and isolation of Tabor, standing, as it does, on the border-land between the northern and southern tribes, between the mountains and the central plain, made it a place of note in all ages, and evidently led the psalmist to associate it with Hermon, the one emblematic of the south, the other of the north." There are some who still hold that this was the scene of the transfiguration (q.v.).
(2.) A town of Zebulum (1Ch 6:77).
("height, mound"); (tabar related to tsabar).
1. Ps 89:12, "the N. and S. Tabor (i.e. the W.) and Hermon (E. of Jordan) shall rejoice," etc. Their existence and majestic appearance are a silent hymn to their Creator's praise; the view from Tabor comprises as much of natural beauty and sacred interest as any in the Holy Land. Accurately corresponding to its name; a large isolated mound-like mountain, 1865 ft. high, N.E. of Esdraelon plain. On the W. however a narrow ridge connects it with the hills of Nazareth, which lies six or eight miles off due W. The southern end of the lake of Galilee lies 12 miles off to the E. It consists of limestone; thick stone; thick forests of oak, etc., cover the sides, affording covert to wolves, boars, lynxes, and reptiles. The summit is a mile and a half in circuit, surmounted with a four-gated fortress' ruins, with an Arabic inscription on one of the gateways recording its building or rebuilding by the sultan Abu Bekr.
Named among Issachar's boundaries (Jos 19:22), but the fortified city at Mount Tabor's base may be meant there. (See CHISLOTH TABOR.) From Tabor Barak descended with his 10,000 men into the plain, at Deborah's command, and conquered Sisera at the Kishon (Jg 4:6-15). (See KEDESH.) Here Zebah and Zalmunna slew Gideon's brothers (Jg 8:18-19). Herder makes Tabor to be meant when Hoses says of Issachar and Zebulun (De 33:19), "they shall call the people unto the mountain, there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness." The open glades on the summit would form a suitable sanctuary, and were among "the high places" which ensnared Israel in idolatry; so Ho 5:1, "a net spread upon Tabor."
Jewish tradition states that liers in wait in Tabor and Mizpah intercepted and murdered Israelites going from the northern kingdom up to Jerusalem to worship in Jehovah's temple (compare Ho 5:2). Jer 46:18, "as Tabor is among the mountains," i.e. as it towers high and unique by itself, so Nebuchadnezzar is one not to be matched as a foe. The large, beveled stones among the ruins at the top belong to Roman times. The Lord's transfiguration Jerome and others assigned to Tabor. But the buildings on Tabor (see Josephus, B.J. 4:1, section 8, and 1Ch 6:77) are inconsistent, with the solitude "apart" of which the narrative (Mt 17:1-2) speaks. Moreover, the transfiguration took place near Caesarea Philippi; this fact, and the reference to the "snow," accord best with Mount Hermon being the scene (Mr 8:27; 9:1-3).
3. "The plain of Tabor." Eelon, rather "the oak of Tabor" (1Sa 10:3). Identified by Ewald with the oak of Deborah (or Tabor differently pronounced), Rebekah's nurse (Ge 35:8), and the palm of Deborah the prophetess (Jg 4:5; the distance from Rachel's sepulchre at Bethlehem is an objection), and the oak of the prophet of Bethel (1Ki 13:14).
1. A town in the tribe of Zebulun, given to Levites descended from Merari (1Ch 6:77). Its site is unknown. Perhaps it is to be identified with Chislothtabor in the same tribe (Jos 19:12). 2. A place near Ophrah (Jg 8:18). 3. The Oak (AV 'plain') of Tabor was on the road from Ramah S. to Gibeah (1Sa 10:3). 4. See next article.
H. L. Willett.
1. A conspicuous mountain in Galilee, about seven miles east of Nazareth. It formed a boundary to Issachar and Zebulon. Its sides are well wooded, and on the summit is an irregular plain of about a mile in circuit, with ruins of fortifications. The height of it is 1,843 feet. Jos 19:22; Jg 4:6-14; 8:18; Ps 89:12; Jer 46:18; Ho 5:1. It is now called Jebel et Tor, 32 41' N, 35 23' E. Tradition makes this the mount of Transfiguration; but it is more probable that some part of mount Hermon was chosen for the transfiguration. This has good moral associations (cf. Ps 133:3), and would be more private than Tabor.
2. The 'plain of Tabor' in 1Sa 10:3 should be read the 'oak of Tabor' as in the R.V.
(a mound), or Mount Tabor, one of the most interesting and remarkable of the single mountains in Palestine. It rises abruptly from the northeastern arm of the plain of Esdraelon, and stands entirely insulated, except on the west where a narrow ridge connects it with the hills of Nazareth. It presents to the eye, as seen from a distance, a beautiful appearance, being symmetrical in its proportions and rounded off like a hemisphere or the segment of a circle, yet varying somewhat as viewed from different directions. The body of the mountain consists of the peculiar limestone of the country. It is now called Jebel-et-Tur. It lies about six or eight miles almost due east from Nazareth. The ascent is usually made on the west side, near the little village of Deburieh --probably the ancient Daberath,
--though it can be made with entire ease in other places. It requires three quarters of an hour or an hour to reach the to the top. The top of Tabor consists of an irregular platform, embracing a circuit of half an hour's walk, and commanding wide views o
mentions it as the boundary between Issachar and Zebulun, See ver.
12. Barak, at the command of Deborah, assembled his forces on Tabor, and descended thence, with "ten thousand men after him," into the plain, and conquered Sisera on the banks of the Kishon.
The brothers of Gideon each of whom "resembled the children of a king," were murdered here by Zebah and Zalmunna.
There are at present the ruins of a fortress round all the summit of Tabor. The Latin Christians have now an altar here at which their priests from Nazareth perform an annual mass. The Greeks also have a chapel, where, on certain festivals they assemble for the celebration of religious rites. The idea that our Saviour was transfigured on Tabor prevailed extensively among the early Christians, and still reappears often in popular religious works. It is impossible, however, to acquiesce in the correctness of this opinion. It can be proved from the Old Testament and from later history that a fortress or town existed on Tabor from very early times down to B.C. 53 or 50; and as Josephus says that he strengthened the fortifications there about A.D. 60, it is morally certain that Tabor must have been inhabited during the intervening Period that is in the days of Christ. Tabor, therefore, could not have been the Mount of Transfiguration [see HERMON]; for when it is said that Jesus took his disciples "up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them
we must understand that he brought them to the summit of the mountain, where they were alone by themselves.
TABOR, a mountain not far from Kadesh, in the tribe of Zebulun, and in the confines of Issachar and Naphtali. It has its name from its eminence, because it rises up in the midst of a wide champaign country, called the Valley of Jezreel, or the great plain. Maundrell tells us that the area at the top of this mountain is enclosed with trees, except to the south, from whence there is the most agreeable prospect in the world. Many have believed that our Lord's transfiguration took place on this mountain. This place is mentioned, 1Sa 10:3. It is minutely described by both Pococke and Maundrell. The road from Nazareth lies for two hours between low hills; it then opens into the plain of Esdraelon. At about two or three furlongs within the plain, and six miles from Nazareth, rises this singular mount, which is almost entirely insulated, its figure representing a half sphere. "It is," says Pococke, "one of the finest hills I ever beheld, being a rich soil that produces excellent herbage, and is most beautifully adorned with groves and clumps of trees. The ascent is so easy, that we rode up the north side by a winding road. Some authors mention it as near four miles high, others as about two: the former may be true, as to the winding ascent up the hill. The top of it, about half a mile long, and near a quarter of a mile broad, is encompassed with a wall, which Josephus says was built in forty days: there was also a wall along the middle of it, which divided the south part, on which the city stood, from the north part, which is lower, and is called the meidan, or place, being probably used for exercises when there was a city here, which Josephus mentions by the name of Ataburion. Within the outer wall on the north side are several deep fosses, out of which, it is probable, the stones were dug to build the walls; and these fosses seem to have answered the end of cisterns, to preserve the rain water, and were also some defence to the city. There are likewise a great number of cisterns under ground for preserving the rain water. To the south, where the ascent was most easy, there are fosses cut on the outside, to render the access to the walls more difficult. Some of the gates, also, of the old city remain, as Bab-el-houah, 'the gate of the winds,' to the west; and Bab-el-kubbe, 'the arched gate,' a small one to the south. Antiochus, king of Syria, took the fortress on the top of this hill. Vespasian, also, got possession of it; and, after that, Josephus fortified it with strong walls. But what has made it more famous than any thing else is the common opinion, from the time of St. Jerom, that the transfiguration of our Saviour was on this mountain." Van Egmont and Heyman give the following account: "This mountain, though somewhat rugged and difficult, we ascended on horseback, making several circuits round it, which took us up about three quarters of an hour. It is one of the highest in the whole country, being thirty stadia, or about four English miles, a circumstance that rendered it more famous. And it is the most beautiful I ever saw, with regard to verdure, being every where decorated with small oak trees, and the ground universally enamelled with a variety of plants and flowers, except on the south side, where it is not so fully covered with verdure. On this mountain are great numbers of red partridges, and some wild boars; and we were so fortunate as to see the Arabs hunting them. We left, but not without reluctancy, this delightful place, and found at the bottom of it a mean village, called Deboura, or Tabour, a name said to be derived from the celebrated Deborah mentioned in Judges." Pococke notices this village, which stands on a rising ground at the foot of Mount Tabor westward; and the learned traveller thinks, that it may be the same as the Daberath, or Daberah mentioned in the book of Joshua, as on the borders of Zabulon and Issachar. "Any one," he adds, "who examines the fourth chapter of Judges, may see that this is probably the spot where Barak and Deborah met at Mount Tabor with their forces, and went to pursue Sisera; and on this account, it might have its name from that great prophetess, who then judged and governed Israel; for Josephus relates, that Deborah and Barak gathered the army together at this mountain." "From the top of Tabor," says Maundrell, "you have a prospect which, if nothing else, will reward the labour of ascending it. It is impossible for man's eyes to behold a higher gratification of this nature. On the north- west you discern at a distance the Mediterranean, and all round you have the spacious and beautiful plains of Esdraelon and Galilee. Turning a little southward, you have in view the high mountains of Gilboa, fatal to Saul and his sons. Due east you discover the sea of Tiberias, distant about one day's journey. A few points to the north appears that which they call the mount of Beatitudes. Not far from this little hill is the city Saphet: it stands upon a very eminent and conspicuous mountain, and is seen far and near." Beyond this is seen a much higher mountain, capped with snow, a part of the chain of Antilibanus. To the south-west is Carmel, and on the south the hills of Samaria.