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Lebanon in Sacred scripture

By Cornelia B. Horn
Ph. D. candidate in the Early Christian Studies Program at The Catholic University of America.

The author wishes to thank the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Maronite Studies, Guita Hourani for valuable comments and insights and for providing all the quotes from the Scriptures and Catherine Bolton for reviewing the article. The opinions expressed in this article remain the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Journal or of MARI.


Lebanon, named "the white one" by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:14) because snow covered it most of the year, is a long mountain range extending over a distance of about 160 km from southwest to northeast along the Mediterranean coast, from Nahr el-Litani to Nahr el-Kebir. It comprises two parallel mountain ranges, the Lebanon as the western mountain range and the Anti-Lebanon as the eastern mountain range. Enclosed between the two mountain ranges lies the Beqa‘ Valley, which the Old Testament author of the Book of Joshua simply called "the Lebanon Valley" (Joshua 11:17, 12:7). The same author named the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon Mount Hermon (Joshua 11:17).

Lebanon's roots go far beyond those of a country whose borders were defined as a result of the divisions of the Ottoman Empire after World War II. Being home to the Phoenicians for thousands of years, Lebanon was the cradle of a great civilization. The fact that its name, landscapes and inhabitants are mentioned several times in the Old Testament and the New Testament emphasizes its character as a sacred land, a holy ground in the sight of God.

Lebanon's name was mentioned 71 times in the Old Testament, its regions are referred to several times in the New Testament, and extra-canonical literature speaks about it in ten cases. The Old Testament is full of praise for Lebanon's natural beauty and resources. The cedars of Lebanon were the most precious and costly wood desired by rulers of the surrounding countries. In images of Lebanon's imposing heights, the wealth and variety of plants, and the sweet odor of its perfumes and fragrances, God's love for men and women is celebrated. Lebanon's role in the history of salvation becomes even more evident in the writings of New Testament authors. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, visited the Phoenician cities along Lebanon's coast, preached to the people there and healed the sick.

This article will review the most important passages in the Scriptures where Lebanon was mentioned directly or referred to in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Essential themes concerning Lebanon will be extracted and summarized. An attempt will also be made to view these passages in their proper context.

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lebanon intersting place! i like tvisit there some day!  you ever been there dk?
I think Lebanon should be an extended Holy Land, since Our Lord Himself visited there. The long Maronite presence there I would think is also a sign of the watchful care of Divine Providence over them.