Baal (/ˈbeɪəl, ˈbɑːəl/), properly Baʿal, was a title and honorific meaning “owner,” “lord” in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. Scholars previously associated the theonym with solar cults and with a variety of unrelated patron deities, but inscriptions have shown that the name Baʿal was particularly associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations.
The Hebrew Bible, compiled and curated over a span of centuries, includes generic use of the term in reference to various Levantine deities, and finally pointed application towards Hadad, who was decried as a false god. That use was taken over into Christianity and Islam, sometimes under the opprobrious form Beelzebub in demonology.
The spelling of the English term “Baal” derives from the Greek Báal (Βάαλ), which appears in the New Testament and Septuagint, and from its Latinized form Baal, which appears in the Vulgate. These forms in turn derive from the vowel-less Northwest Semitic form bʿl (Phoenician & Punic: 𐤁𐤏𐤋). The word’s biblical senses as a Phoenician deity and false gods generally were extended during the Protestant Reformation to denote any idols, icons of the saints, or the Catholic Church generally. In such contexts, it follows the anglicized pronunciation and usually omits any mark between its two As. In close transliteration of the Semitic name, the ayin is represented, as Baʿal.
In the Northwest Semitic languages—Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Amorite, and Aramaic—the word baʿal signified “owner” and, by extension, “lord”, a “master”, or “husband”. Cognates include the Akkadian Bēlu (𒂗),[c] Amharic bal (ባል), and Arabic baʿl (بَعْل). Báʿal (בַּעַל) and baʿl still serve as the words for “husband” in modern Hebrew and Arabic respectively. They also appear in some contexts concerning the ownership of things or possession of traits.
The feminine form is baʿalah (Hebrew: בַּעֲלָה; Arabic: بَعْلَة), meaning “mistress” in the sense of a female owner or lady of the house and still serving as a rare word for “wife”.
In the Bible, Baal (also rendered Baʿal) was an important Canaanite god, often portrayed as the primary enemy of the Hebrew God Yahweh. The Semitic word “baal” (meaning ‘”Lord”) was also used to refer to various deities of the Levant. Many of the Biblical references to “baal” designate local deities identified with specific places, about whom little is known. However, the term “Baal” in the Bible was more frequently associated with a major deity in the Canaanite pantheon, being the son of the chief god El and his consort Ashera (In some sources Baal is the son of Dagon, with El being a more distant ancestor; and Ashera is not always portrayed as his mother.). He is thought by many scholars to be a Canaanite version of the Babylonian god Marduk and identical with the Assyrian deity Hadad. In Canaanite lore, he was the ruler of Heaven as well as a god of the sun, rain, thunder, fertility, and agriculture.
Baal (/ˈbeɪəl, ˈbɑːəl/), properly Baʿal, was a title and honorific meaning “owner,” “lord” in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods.
Baal worship practices
Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. … The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of “mother earth.”
Baal the storm god. Moloch Wikipedia.