El Mohrakah, Or The Place Of Elijah’s Sacrifice -- By: C. M. Mead

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 030:120 (Oct 1873)
Article: El Mohrakah, Or The Place Of Elijah’s Sacrifice
Author: C. M. Mead


El Mohrakah, Or The Place Of Elijah’s Sacrifice

Rev. C. M. Mead

Among the interesting sites in Palestine, few are better identified than the place on Mt. Carmel where Elijah repaired the altar of Jehovah and defeated the priests of Baal. Tradition fixes the spot, and it is a tradition in which there is no disagreement among the various sects in Palestine. Stanley pronounces it “unusually trustworthy.”1 Dr. Thomson gives six reasons for having confidence in the tradition, and concludes by saying: “Why, therefore, should there be a doubt about the matter? I confess, with hearty good-will, that I am troubled with none.” 2

The first among modern explorers to visit the place and publish an account of it seems to have been Van de Velde, who found the spot, March 2, 1852.3 Besides his account, the only original sources of information with which I am acquainted are the narratives of Dr. Thomson, Dean Stanley, and Mr. Tristram.4 Prof. Porter, in his Hand-book for Palestine (Murray’s Series) also gives an account of the place, but leaves us in doubt whether his description is derived from personal observation or from the publications of others. Having recently had an opportunity to visit the place twice, and finding the above-mentioned descriptions somewhat unsatisfactory, I venture to undertake a criticism of these, and to make some additional contributions to the topography of the place, and to the exposition of the narrative given in 1 Kings 18. My object will be accomplished, if any traveller shall be saved from the vexatious disappointment which many have experienced. Having read, in the guide-book,

that everything in the place corresponds perfectly with the sacred narrative, one climbs the mountain in the full expectation of having nothing to do, on reaching the place of sacrifice, but easily to reproduce in imagination the biblical scene. Arriving there, however, he finds himself perplexed by the disagreement between the books and the locality, and spends the time, which might be pleasantly occupied in meditating on the sacred events, in vain attempts to reconcile the statements in his books with the Bible and with the appearance of the place. Let us, then, first notice the principal features of the locality.

As to the spot now called el-Mohraka (or, as others write it, Mokhrakah, Mohhrakah, Mukhrakah, Muhrakah, or Maharrakah), it is situated on the top of the Carmel range, at the southeastern extremity ...

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