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baal Summary and Overview

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baal in Easton's Bible Dictionary

lord. (1.) The name appropriated to the principal male god of the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural BAALIM (Judg. 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 2:17). Baal is identified with Molech (Jer. 19:5). It was known to the Israelites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:3; Deut. 4:3), was worshipped till the time of Samuel (1 Sam 7:4), and was afterwards the religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31-33; 18:19, 22). It prevailed also for a time in the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:27; compare 11:18; 16:3; 2 Chr. 28:2), till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the Captivity (Zeph. 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 Chr. 8:30; 9:36). (3.) The name of a place inhabited by the Simeonites, the same probably as Baal-ath-beer (1 Chr. 4:33; Josh. 19:8).

baal in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(lord). 1. A Reubenite #1Ch 5:5| 2. The son of Jehiel, and grandfather of Saul. #1Ch 8:30; 9:36|

baal in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

BA'AL (lord, or master), different forms of the name of the supreme male divinity of the Phoenicians and Canaanites,as Ashtoreth was that of their supreme female divinity. 1 Kgs 18:21; Isa 46:1; 1 Sam 12:10; 1 Kgs 11:33. That the divinities were derived from astrological fancies there is little doubt, but it is a question with what pair of the heavenly bodies we are to identify them. The common opinion is that they represent the sun and moon respectively, while other scholars say they are Jupiter and Venus. The license sanctioned -- indeed, demanded -- by their worship may have given it attractiveness. At all events, it spread among the Jews, being introduced into Israel by Jezebel and by her daughter into Judaea. Many and severe were the judgments required to eradicate it. Baal side of an Altar from a temple in Kunawat (Canatha), east of the Jordan. The frequent use of the word Baal in the plural form, Baalim, e.g. Jud 2:11; Jud 10:10;1 Kgs 18:18; Jer 9:14; Hos 2:13, 2 Sam 21:17, proves probably that he was worshipped under his different modifications. Hence several compounds exist. 1. Ba'al-be'rith (covenant lord), the form of Baal worshipped by the Shechemites after Gideon's death. Jud 8:33; Jud 9:4. 2. Ba'al-pe'or (lord of the opening, an allusion to the character of the rites of worship), the form of Baal-worship in Moab and Midian shared in by the Israelites. Num 25:3, 1 Chr 6:5, 1 Sam 30:18; Deut 4:3; Josh 22:17; Ps 106:28; Hos 9:10. 3. Ba'al-ze'bub (lord of the fly), the form of Baal worshipped at Ekron. 2 Kgs 1:2-3, 1 Chr 24:6, Ex 17:16. Human victims were offered to Baal. Jer 19:5. Elevated places were selected for his worship, and his priests and prophets were very numerous. Sometimes the tops of the houses were devoted to this purpose. 2 Kgs 23:12; Jer 32:29. See High Places. The worship of Baal by the ancient Druids was probably general throughout the British Islands. One of the Druidic yearly festivals and deemed of special importance took place in the beginning of May, which was the first month of their year, and called Be'el-tin, or "fire of God." A large fire was kindled on some elevated spot in honor of the sun, whose returning beneficence they thus welcomed after the gloom of winter. Of this custom a trace remains in "Beltin Day" (or Whitsunday) in many of the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland. In the Lowlands the same name was retained till a comparatively recent date. House of Ba'al 1 Kgs 16:32. Is the same with the temple (or place of worship) of Baal. See particularly 2 Kgs 10:21-28.

baal in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

The chief male deity, as Ashtoreth is the chief goddess, of the Canaanites and Phoenicians. Baalim, the plural form, expresses the various aspects of Baal, as different localities viewed him. Baal is also associated with Aaherah, inaccurately translated "THE GROVE" or "groves" (Judges 3:7; 2 Chronicles 33:3; 2 Chronicles 34:4; 2 Kings 23:5-6). frontASHERAH.) Baal means lord, in the sense of owner, possessor; but Adown means lord, master. The Hebrew article distinguishes the proper name Baal from the common noun; Bel, the Babylonian idol (Isaiah 46:1), is related. Midian and Moab, as early as Moses' time, tempted Israel, by Balaam's devilish counsel (Revelation 2:14; Joshua 13:22; Numbers 25:18), to worship the phase of the deity called Baal-peor (Numbers 25), from peor, "aperire hymenem virgineum" corresponding to the Latin, Priapus. Terrible licentiousness not only was sanctioned, but formed part of the worship. A plague from Jehovah destroyed 24,000 Israelites in consequence, and was only stopped by the zeal of Phinehas. Moses subsequently, when warning the people from this example, notices no circumstance of it but one, which, though in the original narrative not stated, was infinitely the most important to advert to, but which none but spectators of the fact, perfectly acquainted with every individual concerned in it, could possibly feel the truth of. "Your eyes have seen what Jehovah did because of Baal-peor, for all the men that followed Baal-peor the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day" (Deuteronomy 4:3). For Moses to have used this argument was extremely natural but if a forger had asserted this at hazard, and put it in Moses' mouth it seems very strange that it is the only circumstance he should forget to notice in the direct narrative, and the only one he should notice in his reference to it (Graves, Pentateuch, 1:4). Baal worship prevailed much in Israel, except during Gideon's judgeship (hence called Jerubbaal, "let Baal plead"), up to Samuel's time (Judges 2:10-13; Judges 6:26-32; Judges 8:33; Judges 10:6-10). At Samuel's reproof they put away this worship (1 Samuel 7:4). Solomon brought back Ashtoreth worship to please his foreign wives. Ahab, king of Israel, under Jezebel's influence (daughter of Ethbaal, priest of Baal and king of Zidon), established the worship of Baal and Asherah ("the groves"): 1 Kings 16:31-33; 1 Kings 18:19-22. Elijah successfully for a time resisted it. His influence and that of king Jehoshaphat produced its effect in the following reign and that of Jehu. It was laid aside for Jeroboam's calves, under Jehoram, Ahab's son (2 Kings 3:2), and under Jehu (2 Kings 10:28); but for the most part prevailed until the Lord in vengeance removed the ten tribes from their land (2 Kings 17:16). Baal worship also in Judah found entrance under Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:2-3), but was suppressed by Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4). Manasseh sought to bring Judah to the same state of Baal worship as Israel had been under Ahab (2 Kings 21:3; compare Micah 6:16). Josiah made a thorough eradication of it (2 Kings 23:4-14). A remnant of it and an effort to combine idolatry with Jehovah worship still in part survived until the final purgation of all tendency to idols was effected by the severe discipline of the Babylonian captivity (Zephaniah 1:4-6). The Hebrew for "Sodomites" (1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7) is qideshim, "those consecrated" to the vilest filthiness, which constituted part of the sacred worship! Flat roofs at Jerusalem were often used as altars (Jeremiah 32:29). "Standing images," or possibly pillars or obelisks (matsebah) were his symbols (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 23:14; Micah 5:13). "Sun images" (hammanim; Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 27:9; 2 Chronicles 34:4) "were on high above the altars" of Baal (Jeremiah 43:13); "the images of Bethshemesh," literally "the pillars (obelisks) of the house of the sun." At Tyre one title was Malqereth "King of the city." In a Maltese inscription, Melkart, lord of Tyre, is identified with "Hercules, the prince leader" of the Greeks; from melek "king," and qereth "of the city." Tyre's colonies (Carthage, etc.) honored Melkart, the god of the mother city; the name appears in Hamilcar. An inscription at Palmyra names him Baal Shemesh, owner of the sun. Philo says his title among the Phoenicians was Beelsamen (shamain), "owner of the heavens." Plautus also in his Poenulus calls him Bal-samen. Contrast Melchizedek's title for Jehovah, "Possessor Qoneh; not Baal of heaven and earth" (Genesis 14:19). High places were chosen for Baal worship, and human victims were sometimes offered as burnt offerings (Jeremiah 19:5). The worshippers wore peculiar vestments (2 Kings 10:22). They gashed themselves with knives at times to move his pity (1 Kings 18:26-28). The name appears in Asdrubal ("help of Baal"), Hannibal ("grace of Baal"), Adherbaal, Ethbaal. His generating, vivifying power is symbolized by the sun (2 Kings 23:5), as Ashtoreth is by the moon, Venus, and the heavenly hosts.