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Baal,

Baal, [N] [B] [E] [H]

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 ; 1 Kings 18:19 1 Kings 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 1 Kings 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 2 Kings 1:3 2 Kings 1:16 )
  3. BAAL-HANAN. a. The name of one of the early kings of Edom. ( Genesis 36:38 Genesis 36:39 ; 1 Chronicles 1:49 1 Chronicles 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.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names

Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Baal,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.