Who is Baal? A selection of websites give the following descriptions:
|The word Baalim is the Hebrew plural for BAAL, the pagan god of nature and fertility. I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible article ‘BAAL‘ (emphasis mine)
|BAAL means “lord” and is an euphemism for the Canaanite god HADAD in the same way that the Bible now translated Yahweh as Lord. HADAD was the storm god bringing life giving rain and he was the son of DAGON. He resided on a mountain called Zaphon. He is equivalent to the Akaddian ADAD which is derived for the Sumerian god ISHKUR. His daughters are: PIDRAY (meaning misty or cloudy) the maid of light, TALLAY (meaning dewy) the maid of rain, and ARSAY (meaning earthy) the maid of floods. The Greek god ZEUS is derived from BAAL. Some Biblical passages mentioning BAAL follow:
2 Kings 28-29: Thus Jehu wiped out BAAL from Israel. But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit – the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.
1 Kings 16:31b-32 he (King Ahab) took as his wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and went and served BAAL, and worshipped him. He erected an alter for BAAL in the house of BAAL, which he built in Samaria.
2 Kings 10:25-27: As soon as he (King Jehu) had finished presenting the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, “Come in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they put them (all the prophets of BAAL) to the sword. The guards and the officers threw them out, and then went to the citadel of the temple of BAAL, and burned it. Then they demolished the pillar of BAAL, and destroyed the temple of BAAL, and made it a latrine to this day.
Hosea 2:16-17: On that day, says Yahweh, you (Israel) will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My BAAL.” for I will remove the names of the BAALs from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more.biblicalheritage.org
|Baal. Name of the most prominent Canaanite deity. As the god of fertility in the Canaanite pantheon (roster of gods), Baal’s sphere of influence included agriculture, animal husbandry, and human sexuality… Baal worship became prominent in the northern kingdom of Israel during the days of King Ahab when he married Jezebel of Tyre. It later infiltrated the Kingdom of Judah.
Places for worship of Baal were often high places in the hills consisting of an altar and a sacred tree, stone. or pillar.
In the ugaritic epic material Baal is pictured as descending into the netherworld, the domain of the god Mot. That descent was evidently part of a cycle intended to coincide with the cycle of seasons. In order to bring Baal up from the realm of Mot and thus insure initiation of the fertile seasons, the Canaanites engaged in orgiastic worship that included human sacrifices as well as sexual rites. Sacred prostitutes evidently participated in the autumnal religious ritual….” edwardtbabinski.us
|The storm god, Baal, was a West Semitic import to Egypt. Late Bronze Age texts discovered at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) on the Levantine coast, from which his cult spread, indicate that by 1400 BC, Baal had displaced the god El to become the most important god in the local pantheon.
However, the meaning of Baal is “owner” or “lord” and in the earliest of times it is questionable whether the word was used as a title for important local gods in general, or as a proper name to a specific god. Particularly at first, this name was probably given to completely different gods. Over time, the term seems to have been applied to agricultural gods in a variety of locations. There is a great confusion amongst scholars concerning the deities called “Baal”, or sometimes Bel, and their natures and origins. In fact, this god’s survival through a vast period of time provides us with a complex trail marked by considerable theological difficulties.
Of the many “Baals” we find referenced, perhaps the most important, or at least the one most associated with Egypt, is the god who dwelt on Mount Sapan (hence Baal-Zaphon) in Northern Syria, and it should be noted that the following discussion relates to him more specifically then to some of his other identities. The equivalent of the Amorite deity Adad, or Hadad, he was a centrally important deity of the Canaanites. He was considered the son of a less well attested god named Dagan (others have identified him as the son of El), who was himself a god of agriculture and storms. Baal was the source of the winter rain storms, spring mist and summer dew which nourished the crops. However, Baal also became associated with the deity of other sites such as Baal Hazor in Palestine, Baal-Sidon and Baal of Tyre (Melkart) in Lebanon.
Baal was known to be a rider of clouds, most active during storms but was also considered to be a “lord of heaven and earth”, even controlling earth’s fertility. He was the god of thunderstorms, the most vigorous and aggressive of the gods and the one on whom mortals most depended. Some of his other common epithets include ” Most High Prince/Master”, ” Conqueror of Warriors”, Mightiest, Most High, Supreme, Powerful, Puissant”, ” Warrior”, and ” Prince, Master of the Earth”. He is also sometimes called Re’ammin, meaning “Thunderer”, as well as Aleyin, meaning “Most High”, Mightiest”, “Most Powerful”, or Supreme and he has many, many other epithets. touregypt.net