And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the
children of Israel turned again
from God, and the pure worship of him, to idolatry:
and went a whoring after Baalim;
the gods of the Phoenicians and Canaanites, the several Baals of other nations, the lords many which they served; these they committed spiritual whoredom with; that is, idolatry: particularly
and made Baalberith
their god; which was the idol of the Shechemites, as appears from a temple being built at Shechem for it, ( Judges 9:4 ) and had its name either from Berytus, a city of Phoenicia, of which Mela
F14 and Pliny F15 make mention, and where this Baal might be first worshipped; it was fifty miles from Sidon, and was in later times a seat of learning F16; of this city was Sanchoniatho, a Phoenician historian, who is said to receive many things he writes about the Jews from Jerombalus, supposed to be Jerubbaal, or Gideon; (See Gill on Judges 6:32) and who tells F17 us, that Cronus or Ham gave this city to Neptune and the Cabiri, and who also relates F18 that Beruth is the name of a Phoenician deity. Though it may be rather this idol had its name from its supposed concern in covenants, the word "Berith" signifying a covenant; and so the Targum and Syriac version call him the lord of covenant; and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions are,
``and they made a covenant with Baal, that he should be their god;''as if he had his name from hence; though rather from his presiding over covenants, as Janus is said F19 to do, and from his avenging the breach of them, and rewarding those that kept them; the same with Jupiter Fidius Ultor, and Sponsor F20 with the Romans, and Horcius F21 with the Greeks.
F14 De Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 12.
F15 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20.
F16 Eunapius in Vita Proaeresii, p. 117.
F17 Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 1. p. 38.
F18 Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 1. p. 36.
F19 Servius in Virgil. Aeneid. l. 12. "Latonaeque genus" Vid. Liv. Hist. l. 8. c. 5, 6.
F20 Vid. Kipping. Antiqu. Roman. l. 1. c. 1. p. 48.
F21 Pausan. Eliac. 1. sive. l. 5. p. 336. Sophocles in Philoctete, prope finem.