Mount Tabor
(pronounced "tah-bore")

View from Nazareth looking toward Mount Tabor (far away center)
Jezreel Valley in foreground and to the right
Click here or on photo for larger view

Mount Tabor (also called Jebel et-Tur) is a cone shaped mountain located approximately 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee and six miles east of Nazareth. It rises about 1350 feet above the Jezreel Valley (plain of Esdraelon) which is already more than 400 feet above the Mediterranean.

It is mistakenly held by some, due to late tradition, that this is the site of the transfiguration of Christ, but the actual setting for that event was Mount Hermon. The majesty of Mount Tabor is actually equated to the majesty of Hermon by the Psalmist.

Psalms 89:12 You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. (NIV)

Jeremiah also alludes to the singular majesty of Tabor in the imagery of one prophecy...

Jeremiah 46:18 "As surely as I live," declares the King, whose name is the Lord Almighty, "one will come who is like Tabor among the mountains, like Carmel by the sea. (NIV)

Some of the earliest references to Tabor use it as a boundary marker. In the tribal division of the Promised Land, following the conquests of Joshua, Tabor is mention as a border to both Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-12) and Issachar (Joshua 19:17-22). See also 1 Chronicles 6:77.

When the king of Hazor was oppressing the Israelites during the time of the Judges, Tabor was the site of the battle between Deborah and Barak against Sisera.

Judges 4:4-16 Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.'" 8 Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go." 9 "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh, 10 where he summoned Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh. 12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera gathered together his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?" So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men. 15 At Barak's advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left. (NIV)

Later still, Gideon's brothers were killed by Zebah and Zalmunna at Mount Tabor...

Judges 8:18-21 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?" "Men like you," they answered, "each one with the bearing of a prince." 19 Gideon replied, "Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the Lord lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you." 20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, "Kill them!" But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid. 21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Come, do it yourself. 'As is the man, so is his strength.'" So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels' necks. (NIV)


Closer view of Mount Tabor. Sorry for the shadows, photo was taken out of a bus window.

Church at top of Mount Tabor. Also taken out bus window, but much better for shadows

Mount Tabor looking across the Sea of Galilee from the Golan Heights

Sunset view of Mount Tabor looking across the Sea of Galilee from the Golan Heights