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Dictionaries :: Baal

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Below are articles from the following dictionary:
Smith's Bible Dictionary


(1.) A Reubenite, whose son or descendent Beerah was carried off by the invading army of Assyria under Tiglath‐Pileser (1 Chronicles 5:5).

(2.) The son of Jehiel, father or founder of Gibeon, by his wife Maachah; brother of Kish, and grandfather of Saul (1 Chronicles 8:30; 9:36).

(3.) The supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations, as ASHTORETH was their female divinity. Both names have the peculiarly of being used in the plural, and it seems certain that these plurals designate not statues or the divinities, but different modifications of the divinities themselves. The plural BAALIM is found frequently alone (Judges 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jeremiah 9:14; Hosea 2:17), as well as in connection with Ashtoreth (Judges 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:4) and with Asherah, or, as our version renders it, "the groves" (Judges 3:7; 2 Chronicles 33:3). The word is in Hebrew a common noun of frequent occurrence, having the meaning Lord, not so much, however, in the sense of Ruler as of Master, Owner, Possessor. There can be no doubt of the very high antiquity of the worship of Baal. We find it established amongst the Moabites and their allies the Midianites in the time of Moses (Numbers 22:41), and through these nations the Israelites were seduced to the worship of this god under the particular form of Baal‐Peor (Numbers 25:3-18; Deuteronomy 4:3). Notwithstanding the fearful punishment which their idolatry brought upon them in this instance, the succeeding generation returned to the worship of Baal (Judges 2:10-13), and, with the exception of the period during which Gideon was judge (Judges 6:25, etc., Judges 8:33), this form of idolatry seems to have prevailed amongst them up to the time of Samuel (Judges 10:10; 1 Samuel 6:4), at whose rebuke the people renounced the worship of Baalim. In the times of the kings the worship of Baal spread greatly, and together with that of Asherah became the religion of the court and people of the ten tribes (1 Kings 26:31-33, 18:19, 22). And though this idolatry was occasionally put down (2 Kings 3:2; 10:28) it appears never to have been permanently abolished among them (2 Kings 17:16). In the kingdom of Judah also Baal‐worship extensively prevailed. During the short reign of Ahaziah and the subsequent usurpation of his mother Athaliah, the sister of Ahab, it appears to have been the religion of the court (2 Kings 8:27; compare 2 Kings 11:18), as it was subsequently under Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:2), and Manasseh (2 Kings 21:3). The worship of Baal amongst the Jews seems to have been appointed with much pomp and ceremonial. Temples were erected to him (1 Kings 26:32; 2 Kings 11:18); his images were set up (2 Kings 10:26); his altars were very numerous (Jeremiah 11:13), were erected particularly on lofty eminences (1 Kings 28:20), and on the roofs of houses (Jeremiah 32:29); there were priests in great numbers (1 Kings 28:19), and of various classes (2 Kings 10:19); the worshippers appear to have been arrayed in appropriate robes (2 Kings 10:22); the worship was performed by burning incense (Jeremiah 7:9), and offering burnt‐sacrifices, which occasionally consisted of human victims (Jeremiah 19:5). The officiating priests danced with frantic shouts around the altar, and cut themselves with knives to excite the attention and compassion of the god (1 Kings 18:26-28). Throughout all the Phoenician colonies we continually find traces of the worship of this god; nor need we hesitate to regard the Babylonian Bel (Isaiah 46:1) or Belus, as essentially identical with Baal, though perhaps under some modified form. The same perplexity occurs respecting the connection of this god with the heavenly bodies, as we have already noticed in regard to Ashtoreth. Breuzer and Movers declare Baal to be the Sun&$8208;god; on the other hand, the Babylonian god is identified with Zeus, by Herodotus, and there seems to be no doubt that Bel‐Merodach is the planet Jupiter. It is quite likely that in the case of Baal, as well as of Ashtoreth, the symbol of the god varied at different times and in different localities. Among the compounds of Baal which appear in the Old Testament are:

(1). BAALBERITH. This form of Baal was worshipped at Schechem by the Israelites after the death of Gideon (Judges 8:33; 9:4). The name signifies Covenant‐Baal, the god who comes into covenant with the worshippers.

(2). BAALZEBUB, worshipped at Ekron (2 Kings 1:2-3, 16). The meaning of the name is Baal or Lord of the fly. Similarly the Greeks gave the epithet Apomyios (from myia "a fly") to Zeus, and Pliny speaks of a Fly‐god Myiodes. The name occurs in the New Testament in the well‐known form BEELZEBUB.


(a.) The name of one of the early kings of Edom (Genesis 36:38-39; 1 Chronicles 1:49-50).

(b.) The name of one of David's officers, who had the superintendence of his olive and sycamore plantations (1 Chronicles 27:28). He was of the town of Gederah (Joshua 15:36) or Beth‐Gader (1 Chronicles 2:51), and from his name we may conjecture that he was of Canaanitish origin.

(4). BAALPEOR. We have already referred to the worship of this god. The narrative (Numbers 25) seems clearly to show that this form of Baal‐worship was connected with licentious rites. Baal‐Peor was identified by the Rabbins and early fathers with Priapus.

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

(1.) BAAL a town of Simeon, named only in 1 Chronicles 4:33 which from the parallel list in Joshua 19:8 seems to have been identical with BAALATH‐BEER.

(2.) BAALAH (mistress).

a. Another name for Kirjath or Kirjathbaal, the well‐known town now Kuriet el Enab (Joshua 15:9, 10; 1 Chronicles 13:6). SEE [KIRJATHJEARIM], [KIRJATHBAAL].

b. A town in the south of Judah (Joshua 15:29) which in Josh 19:3 is called BALAH, and in the parallel list in 1 Chronicles 4:29. SEE [BILHAH].

(3.) BAALATH (mistress) a town of Dan named with Gibbethon, Gath‐rim‐mon and other Philistine places (Joshua 19:44).

(4.) BAALATH (BAALATH‐BEER) (lord of the well). See No. 1. A town among those in the south part of Judah, given to Simeon, which also bore the name of RAMATHNEGEB, or "the height of the south." (Joshua 19:8).

(5.) BAALGAD (lord of fortune) used to denote the most northern (Joshua 11:17; 12:7) or perhaps northwestern (Joshua 13:5) point to which Joshua's victories extended. It was in all probability a Phoenician or Canaanite sanctuary of Baal under the aspect of Gad or Fortune.

(6.) BAALHAMON (lord of a multitude) a place at which Solomon had a vineyard, evidently of great extent (Solomon 8:11).

(7.) BAALHAZOR (village of Baal) a place where Absalom appears to have had a sheep‐farm, and where Amnon was murdered (2 Samuel 13:23).

(8.) BAALHERMON (Lord of Hermon) (Judges 3:3) and simply Baal‐hermon (1 Chronicles 5:23). SEE [MOUNT, MOUNTAIN]. This is usually considered as a distinct place from Mount Hermon; but we know that this mountain had at least three names (Deuteronomy 3:9) and Baal‐hermon may have been a fourth in use among the Phoenician worshippers.

(9.) BAALMEON (lord of the house) one of the towns which were built by the Reubenites (Numbers 32:38). It also occurs in 1 Chronicles 5:8 and on each occasion with Nebo. In the time of Ezekiel it was Moabite, one of the cities which were the "glory of the country." (Ezekiel 25:9).

(10.) BAALPERAZIM (lord of divisions) the scene of a victory of David over the Philistines, and of a great destruction of their images (2 Samuel 5:20; 1 Chronicles 14:11). See Isaiah 28:21 where it is called Mount Perazim. SEE [PERAZIM].

(11.) BAALSHALISHA (lord of Shalisha) a place named only in 2 Kings 4:42, apparently not far from Gilgal (compare 2 Kings 4:38).

(12.) BAALTAMAR (lord of the palm tree) a place named only in Judges 20:33 as near Gibeah of Benjamin. The palm tree (tamar) of Deborah (Judges 4:5) was situated somewhere in the locality, and is possibly alluded to.

(13.) BAALZEPHON (lord of the north) a place in Egypt near where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea (Numbers 33:7; Ezekiel 14:2; 14:9). We place Baal‐zephon on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez, a little below its head, which at that time was about 30 or 40 miles northward of the present head.


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