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ba'-al (master, lord)
Ashtoreth, Baalim, Bel
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Easton's Bible Dictionary


(1) The name appropriated to the principal male god of the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural BAALIM ( Judges 2:11 ; 10:10 ; 1 Kings 18:18 ; Jeremiah 2:23 ; Hosea 2:17 ). Baal is identified with Molech ( Jeremiah 19:5 ). It was known to the Israelites as Baal-peor ( Numbers 25:3 ; Deuteronomy 4:3 ), was worshipped till the time of Samuel ( 1 Samuel 7:4 ), and was afterwards the religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab ( 1 Kings 16:31 - 33 ; 18:19, 18:22 ). It prevailed also for a time in the kingdom of Judah ( 2 Kings 8:27 ; comp 11:18 ; 16:3 ; 2 Chronicles 28:2 ), till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the Captivity ( Zephaniah 1:4 - 6 ). The priests of Baal were in great numbers ( 1 Kings 18:19 ), and of various classes ( 2 Kings 10:19 ). Their mode of offering sacrifices is described in 1 Kings 18:25 - 29 . The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or "lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a wife, who was a colourless reflection of himself.

(2) A Benjamite, son of Jehiel, the progenitor of the Gibeonites ( 1 Chronicles 8:30 ; 9:36 ).

(3) The name of a place inhabited by the Simeonites, the same probably as Baal-ath-beer ( 1 Chronicles 4:33 ; Joshua 19:8 ).


Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

master; lord


Smith's Bible Dictionary

(1) The supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations, as Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity. Some suppose Baal to correspond to the sun and Ashtoreth to the moon; others that Baal was Jupiter and Ashtoreth Venus. There can be no doubt of the very high antiquity of the worship of Baal. It prevailed in the time of Moses among the Moabites and Midianites, ( Numbers 22:41 ) and through them spread to the Israelites. ( Numbers 25:3 - 18 ; 4:3 ) In the times of the kings it became the religion of the court and people of the ten tribes, ( 1 Kings 16:31 - 33 ; 18:19 , 18:22 ) and appears never to have been permanently abolished among them. ( 2 Kings 17:16 ) Temples were erected to Baal in Judah, ( 1 Kings 16:32 ) and he was worshipped with much ceremony. ( 1 Kings 18:19 , 18:26 - 28 ; 2 Kings 10:22 ) The attractiveness of this worship to the Jews undoubtedly grew out of its licentious character. We find this worship also in Phoenician colonies. The religion of the ancient British islands much resembled this ancient worship of Baal, and may have been derived from it. Nor need we hesitate to regard the Babylonian Bel, ( Isaiah 46:1 ) or Beaus, as essentially identical with Baal, though perhaps under some modified form. The plural, BAALIM, is found frequently, showing that he was probably worshipped under different compounds, among which appear--

1. BAAL-BERITH (the covenant Baal ), ( Judges 8:33 ; 9:4 ) the god who comes into covenant with the worshippers.

2. BAAL-ZEBUB (lord of the fly), and worshipped at Ekron. ( 2 Kings 1:2 , 1:3 , 1:16 )

3. BAAL-HANAN. a. The name of one of the early kings of Edom. ( Genesis 36:38 , 36:39 ; 1 Chronicles 1:49 , 1:50 ) b. The name of one of Davids officers, who had the superintendence of his olive and sycamore plantations. ( 1 Chronicles 27:28 )

4. BAAL-PEOR (lord of the opening , i.e. for others to join in the worship). We have already referred to the worship of this god. The narrative (Numb 25) seems clearly to show that this form of Baal-worship was connected with licentious rites.

(2) (lord). A Reubenite. ( 1 Chronicles 5:5 )

(3) The son of Jehiel, and grandfather of Saul. ( 1 Chronicles 8:30 ; 9:36 )

(4) geographical. This word occurs as the prefix or suffix to the names of several places in Palestine, some of which are as follows:


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

(1) ba'-al: (ba'al; or Baal):

The Babylonian Belu or Bel, "Lord," was the title of the supreme god among the Canaanites.

I. Name and Character of Baal:

In Babylonia it was the title specially applied to Merodach of Babylon, which in time came to be used in place of his actual name. As the word in Hebrew also means "possessor," it has been supposed to have originally signified, when used in a religious sense, the god of a particular piece of land or soil. Of this, however, there is no proof, and the sense of "possessor" is derived from that of "lord." The Babylonian Bel-Merodach was a Sun-god, and so too was the Can Baal whose full title was Baal-Shemaim, "lord of heaven." The Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon (Philo Byblius, Fragmenta II) accordingly says that the children of the first generation of mankind "in time of drought stretched forth their hands to heaven toward the sun; for they regarded him as the sole Lord of heaven, and called him Beel-samen, which means 'Lord of Heaven' in the Phoenician language and is equivalent to Zeus in Greek" Baal-Shemaim had a temple at Umm el-Awamid between Acre and Tyre, and his name is found in inscriptions from the Phoenician colonies of Sardinia and Carthage.

II. Attributes of Baal:

As the Sun-god, Baal was worshipped under two aspects, beneficent and destructive. On the one hand he gave light and warmth to his worshippers; on the other hand the fierce heats of summer destroyed the vegetation he had himself brought into being. Hence, human victims were sacrificed to him in order to appease his anger in time of plague or other trouble, the victim being usually the first-born of the sacrificer and being burnt alive. In the Old Testament this is euphemistically termed "passing" the victim "through the fire" (2 Kings 16:3 ; 21:6). The forms under which Baal was worshipped were necessarily as numerous as the communities which worshipped him. Each locality had its own Baal or divine "Lord" who frequently took his name from the city or place to which he belonged. Hence, there was a Baal-Zur, "Baal of Tyre"; Baal-hermon, "Baal of Hermon" (Judges 3:3); Baal-Lebanon, "Baal of Lebanon"; Baal-Tarz, "Baal of Tarsus." At other times the title was attached to the name of an individual god; thus we have Bel-Merodach, "the Lord Merodach" (or "Bel is Merodach") at Babylon, Baal-Melkarth at Tyre, Baal-gad (Joshua 11:17) in the north of Palestine. Occasionally the second element was noun as in Baal-Shemaim, "lord of heaven," Baalzebub (2 Kings 1:2), "Lord of flies," Baal-Hamman, usually interpreted "Lord of heat," but more probably "Lord of the sunpillar," the tutelary deity of Carthage. All these various forms of the Sun-god were collectively known as the Baalim or "Baals" who took their place by the side of the female Ashtaroth and Ashtrim. At Carthage the female consort of Baal was termed Pene-Baal, "the face" or "reflection of Baal."

III. Baal-Worship:

In the earlier days of Hebrew history the title Baal, or "Lord," was applied to the national God of Israel, a usage which was revived in later times, and is familiar to us in the King James Version. Hence both Jonathan and David had sons called Merib-baal (1 Chronicles 8:31 ; 9:40) and Beeliada (1 Chronicles 14:7). After the time of Ahab, however, the name became associated with the worship and rites of the Phoenician deity introduced into Samaria by Jezebel, and its idolatrous associations accordingly caused it to fall into disrepute. Hosea 2:16 declares that henceforth the God of Israel should no longer be called Baali, "my Baal," and personal names like Esh-baal (1 Chronicles 8:33 ; 9:39), and Beelinda into which it entered were changed in form, Baal being turned into bosheth which in Heb at any rate conveyed the sense of "shame."

IV. Temples, etc.:

Temples of Baal at Samaria and Jerusalem are mentioned in 1 Kings 1:18; where they had been erected at the time when the Ahab dynasty endeavored to fuse Israelites and Jews and Phoenicians into a single people under the same national Phoenician god. Altars on which incense was burned to Baal were set up in all the streets of Jerusalem according to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 11:13), apparently on the flat roofs of the houses (Jeremiah 32:29); and the temple of Baal contained an image of the god in the shape of a pillar or Bethel (2 Kings 10:26 , 27). In the reign of Ahab, Baal was served in Israel by 450 priests (1 Kings 18:19), as well as by prophets (2 Kings 10:19), and his worshippers wore special vestments when his ritual was performed (2 Kings 10:22). The ordinary offering made to the god consisted of incense (Jeremiah 7:9) and burnt sacrifices; on extraordinary occasions the victim was human (Jeremiah 19:5). At times the priests worked themselves into a state of ecstasy, and dancing round the altar slashed themselves with knives (1 Kings 18:26 , 28), like certain dervish orders in modern Islam.

V. Use of the Name.

In accordance with its signification the name of Baal is generally used with the definite art.; in the Septuagint this often takes the feminine form, aischane "shame" being intended to be read. We find the same usage in Romans 11:4. The feminine counterpart of Baal was Baalah or Baalath which is found in a good many of the local names (see Baethgen, Beltrage zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte, 1888).

VI. Forms of Baal.

1. Baal-berith:
Baal-berith ba'al berith; Baalberith, "Covenant Baal," was worshipped at Shechem after the death of Gideon (Judges 8:33 ; 9:4). In Judges 9:46 the name is replaced by El-berith, "Covenant-god." The covenant was that made by the god with his worshippers, less probably between the Israelites and the native Canaanites.

2. Baal-gad:
Baal-gad ba'al gadh; Balagada, "Baal [lord] of good luck" (or "Baal is Gad") was the god of a town called after his name in the north of Palestine, which has often been identified with Baalbek. The god is termed simply Gad in Isaiah 65:11 the Revised Version, margin; where he is associated with Meni, the Assyrian Manu (King James Version "troop" and "number").

3. Baal-hamon:
Baal-hamon ba'al hamon; Beelamon is known only from the fact that Solomon had a garden at a place of that name (Song of Solomon 8:11). The name is usually explained to mean "Baal of the multitude," but the cuneiform tablets of the Tell el-Amarna age found in Palestine show that the Egyptian god Amon was worshipped in Canaan and identified there with the native Baal. We are therefore justified in reading the name Baal-Amon, a parallel to the Babylonian Bel-Merodach. The name has no connection with that of the Carthaginian deity Baal-hamman.

4. Baal-hermon:
Baal-hermon ba'al chermon; Balaermon is found in the name of "the mountain of Baal-hermon" (Judges 3:3; compare 1 Chronicles 5:23), which also bore the names of Hermort, Sirion and Shenir (Saniru in the Assyrian inscriptions), the second name being applied to it by the Phoenicians and the third by the Amorites (Deuteronomy 3:9). Baal-hermon will consequently be a formation similar to Baal-Lebanon in an inscription from Cyprus; according to the Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon (Philo Byblius, Fragmenta II) the third generation of men "begat sons of surprising size and stature, whose names were given to the mountains of which they had obtained possession."

5. Baal-peor:
Baal-peor ba'al pe'or; Beelphegor was god of the Moabite mountains, who took his name from Mount Peor (Numbers 23:28), the modern Fa'ur, and was probably a form of Chemosh (Jerome, Comm., Isaiah 15). The sensual rites with which he was worshipped (Numbers 25:1 - 3) indicate his connection with the Phoenician Baal.

6. Baal-zebub:
Baal-zebub ba'al zebhubh; Baalmuia Theos ("Baal the fly god") was worshipped at Ekron where he had famous oracle (2 Kings 1:2 , 3 , 16). The name is generally translated "the Lord of flies," the Sun-god being associated with the flies which swarm in Palestine during the earlier summer months. It is met with in Assyrian inscriptions. In the New Testament the name assumes the form of Beelzebul Beelzeboul, in King James Version:

\BEELZEBUB\ (which see)

(2) ba'-al ba'al, ("lord," "master," "possessor"):

(1) A descendant of Reuben, Jacob's first-born son, and the father of Beerah, prince of the Reubenitcs, "whom Tiglath-pileser (1 Chronicles 5:5 , 6) king of Assyria carried away captive."

(2) The fourth of ten sons of Jeiel (King James Version "Jehiel"), father and founder of Gibeon. His mother was Maacah; his brother Kish father o? Saul (1 Chronicles 8:29 ; 9:35 , 36 , 39 ; compare 1 Samuel 14:50f). These passages identify Jeiel and Abiel as the father of Kish and thus of Baal. For study of confusions in the genealogical record, in 1 Chronicles 9:36 , 39 , see KISH; ABIEL; JEIEL.

(3) In composition often the name of a man and not of the heathen god, e.g. Baal-hanan, a king of Edom (Genesis 36:38 ; 1 Chronicles 1:49); also a royal prefect of the same name (1 Chronicles 27:28). Gesenius thinks that Baal in compound words rarely refers to the god by that name. See \BAAL (deity)\.

(4) A city of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:33). See BAALATH-BEER.

(3) ba'al; Baal 1 Chronicles 4:33. See BAALATH-BEER.



baal, baalim, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, molech, phoenician god



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