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Baalim(bā`əlĭm) [Semitic,=master, lord], name used throughout the Bible for the chief deity or for deities of Canaan. The term was originally an epithet applied to the storm god HadadHadad
, ancient weather god of Semitic origin, worshiped in Babylonia and Assyria. Important throughout the Middle East, he was worshiped under many names.
..... Click the link for more information. . Technically, Baal was subordinate to El, the supreme god, the creator, and the father of Hadad and other gods.
Baal is attested in the Ebla texts (first half of 2d millennium B.C.), and by the time of the UgaritUgarit
, ancient city, capital of the Ugarit kingdom, W Syria, on the Mediterranean coast N of modern Latakia. Although the name of this city was known from Egyptian and Hittite sources, its location and history were a mystery until the accidental discovery (1928) of an ancient
..... Click the link for more information. tablets (14th cent. B.C.), he had become the ruler of the universe. The Ugarit tablets make him chief of the Canaanite pantheon. He is the source of life and fertility, the mightiest hero, the lord of war, and the defeater of the god Yam. There were many temples of Baal in Canaan, and the name Baal was often added to that of a locality, e.g., Baal-peor, Baal-hazor, Baal-hermon.
The Baal cult penetrated Israel and at times led to syncretism. In the Psalms, Yahweh is depicted as Baal and his dwelling is on Mt. Zaphon (Zion), the locale of Baal in Canaanite mythology. The practice of sacred prostitution seems to have been associated with the worship of Baal in Palestine and the cult was vehemently denounced by the prophets, especially HoseaHosea
, prophetic book of the Bible. It relates something of the career of the prophet Hosea who preached against the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel in the third quarter of the 8th cent. B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. and JeremiahJeremiah
a book of the Bible, comprising a collection of prophetic oracles attributed to Jeremiah, a prophet who preached (c.628–586 B.C.) in Jerusalem under King Josiah and his successors. His message indicts his contemporaries for social injustice and religious apostasy.
..... Click the link for more information. . The abhorrence in which the cult was held probably explains the substitution of Ish-bosheth for Esh-baal, of Jerubbesheth for Jerubbaal (a name of Gideon), and of Mephibosheth for Merib-baal. The substituted term probably means "shame." The same abhorrence is evident the use of the pejorative name Baal-zebubBaal-zebub
[Heb.,=lord of flies], a deliberate Hebrew distortion of the name of the god of Ekron in 2 Kings. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Beelzebul, the Greek form of the epithet Baal-zebul [Baal the Prince], is encountered. See Baal and Satan.
..... Click the link for more information. (see also SatanSatan
[Heb.,=adversary], traditional opponent of God and humanity in Judaism and Christianity. In Scripture and literature the role of the opponent is given many names, such as Apolyon, Beelzebub, Semihazah, Azazel, Belial, and Sammael.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
As cognates of Baal in other Semitic languages there are Bel (in Babylonian religion) and the last elements in the Tyrian names Jezebel, Hasdrubal, and Hannibal. The Baal of 1 Chronicles is probably the same as RamahRamah
, in the Bible. 1 Town, NE ancient Palestine, allotted to Naphtali. 2 Town of Asher. 3 Unidentified town of Simeon, called Ramah of the south.
..... Click the link for more information. (3.)