(Hebrews hab-bealim', הִבּעָלַים, plural of Baal, with the def. article prefixed; Sept. Βααλίμ,), according to most, images of the god Baal set up in temples and worshipped, usually in connection with those of Astarte (Jg 2:11; 1Sa 7:4, etc.); according to others, various forms of Baal (Ort, Dienst des B. in Israel, Leyden, 1864). SEE ASHTORETH.
Baal seems to have been the general name for the deity among the Phoenicians and Carthaginians (Serviuas, ad AEn. 1, 729; "lingua Punica Deus B l dicitur," Isidor. Orig. 8, 11), but with the article (הִבִּעִל, hab- Baal, "the Baal") BAAL distinctively, the chief male divinity (on the fem. ἡ Βαάλ, Ro 11:4, and often in the Sept., see Winer, New Test. Gr. § 205) of the Phoenician (i.e. proper Sidonian, Syrian, Carthaginian, and colonial Punic) race (hence the syllable βαλος or -bal so often found at the end of their proper names, e.g. Ι᾿θόβαλος or Ethbaal (q.v.), ῎Αγβαλος [Herod. 7:78], Ε᾿κνίβαλος and Μέρβαλος [Joseph. Ap. 1, 21]; also Hannibal, Ahibal, Adherbal, Hasdrubal, Maharbal, etc. [comp. Fromann, De cultu deor. ex ὀνομαθεσίᾷ illustri, Altdorf, 1744-45, p. 17 sq.]; yet that the suffix in these names is not expressive of deity in general, but only of Baal specifically, appears from a similar use of the titles Melkart, Astarte, etc., in other personal appellations [see generally Minter, Re.ig. d. Karthager, 2d ed. Kopenh. 1821]), like Bel among the Babylonians (for the contraction בִּל, Bal, for בִּעִל Baal, see Gesenius, Monum. Phoen. p. 452), and the tutelary Belus of Cyprus ("Citium of Bel," Steph. Byz. p. 510). The apostate Israelites worshipped him (in connection with Astarte) in the period of the judges (Jg 2:11,13; Jg 3:7; Jg 6:25 sq.), and the later kings, especially Ahaz (2Ch 28:2) and Manasseh (2Ki 21:3) of Judah, and Ahab and Hoshea of Israel (1Ki 16:31 sq.; 18:19 sq.; 2Ki 17:16 sq.; comp. also Jer 2:8; Jer 7:9; Jer 32:29. etc.), with but little interruption (2Ki 3:2; 2Ki 10:28; 2Ki 11:18). They had temples to him (1Ki 16:32; 2Ki 10:21 sq.), and altars (Jer 11:13) erected especially on eminences and roofs (Jer 19:5; Jer 32:29), as well as images set up in his honor (2Ki 3:2). Respecting the form of his worship we have very few distinct notices. His priests and prophets were very numerous (1Ki 18:22; 2Ki 10:19 sq.), and divided into various classes (2Ki 10:19).
They offered incense to this god (Jer 7:9; Jer 11:13; Jer 32:29, etc.), and, clothed in a peculiar costume (2Ki 10:22), presented to him bloody offerings, including children (Jer 19:5). In connection with these, the priests danced (derisively, "leaped," 1Ki 18:26) around the altar, and gashed themselves with knives (1Ki 18:28) when they did not speedily gain their suit (Propert. 2:18, 15; Tibull. 1:6, 47 sq.; Lucan. 1:565; Lucian, Dea Syra, 50 [Ling. 1723]; Movers, Phoniz. 1:682). On the adoration (q.v.) by kissing (1Ki 19:18), see Kiss. That this Baal worshipped by the Israelites was the same as the widely famed Tyrian Baal, whom the Greeks called Hercules, admits of scarcely a doubt (Movers, 1:178 sq.), and thus Baal is identified with Maelkart also. The ancients in general compare Baal with the Greek Zeus or Jove (Sanchoniathon, p. 14, ed. Orelli; Augustine, Quest. in Jud. 16; Dio Cass. 78. 8), as they still more frequently do the Belus of the Babylonians [see BEL], but sometimes identify him with Chronus or Saturn (Ctes. ap. Phot. p. 343). Most investigators recognize in him the sun as the fructifying principle of nature (Creuzer, Symbol. 2, 266 sq.; comp. Vatke, Bibl. Theol. p. 366 sq.); while Gesenius (Comment. zu Jes. 2, 335, and Thesaur. p. 224) interprets the Babylonian Bel and the Phoenician Baal as the principal lucky star of the Asiatic astrolatry, i.e. the planet Jupiter. The latter view has the following considerations in its favor:
(1.) In the sacred writings of the Sabaeans, the usual title of this planet (in Syriac) is Beil;
(2.) A star of good fortune, GAD, was evidently esteemed'a deity in Western Asia (comp. Isa 65:11), and from this the city BAAL-GAD doubtless had its name;
(3.) In 2Ki 23:5, Baal (הִבִּעִל) would seem to be distinguished from the sun as an object of worship;
(4.) On Phoenician coins likewise the sun-god is constantly named distinctively "Lord of Heaven" (בִּעִל שָׁמִַֹים), "Lord of Heat" (בִּעִל הִמָן), "Lord of the Sun" (בִּעִל שֶׁמֶשׁ). But that Baal originally represented the sun, which with its light and warmth controls and vitalizes all nature, is clearly indicated by Sanchoniathon (ut sup.) in the statement that the Phoenicians had designated the sun as the "sole lord of heaven, Beesamen" (μόνον οὐρανοῦ κύριον, Βεελσαμήν, 1, c. בעל שמין; comp. also Augustine, in Jud. 16). The same name (Balsamen) occurs in Plautus (Pan.
v. 2, 67). For other reasons for the identification of the Babylonian, Syrian, and Phoenician Baal with the solar deity, see Movers, Phon. p. 180 sq., who has extensively investigated (p. 185 sq.) the relations of this divinity to the other ancient Asiatic deification of the powers of nature, some of which appear in the names Tammuz, Moloch, and Chiun (q.v. severally). Without tracing these out minutely, it is appropriate in this connection to specify some of the functions and spheres of activity which Baal, like Zeus among the Greeks, appears to have fulfilled among the Phoenicians, especially inasmuch as the plural form Baalim is thought by many to be expressive of this multiform development. The following are referred to in the Bible.
1. BAAL-BERITH (בִּעִל בּרַית, Covenant-Baal), corresponding to the Ζεὺς ὅρκιος, Deus Fidius, of the Greek and Roman mythology. He was worshipped in this capacity in a special temple by the Shechemites (Jg 8:33; Jg 9:4,46), among whom Canaanites were also resident (Jg 9:28). Bochart (Canaan, 17, p. 859), whom Creuzer (Symbol. 2, 87) follows, renders the name "Baal of Berytus" (comp. also Steph. Byz. s.v. Βέρυτος), like the titles Baal of Syrus (בעל צר), Baal of Tarsus (בעל תרז), found in inscriptions. As the Hebrews name of Berytus (q.v.) accords with this title (ברות or ברותי), and a deity of alliance or contracts might well be requisite to the polity of the Phoenicians (in whose territory this city was included), q.d. a guardian of compacts; the interpretation of Movers (p. 171), with which Bertheau (on Judges 9, 4) accords, namely "Baal with whom the league is formed" (comp. Ge 14:3; Ex 23:32; Ex 34:12 sq.), gives a signification not altogether inapposite. SEE BAAL-BERITH.
2. BAAL-ZEBUB (בִּעִל זבוּב, Fly-Baal; the Sept. construes the latter part of the name differently, ἐπιζητεῖν ἐν τῷ Βάαλ μυϊvαν θεὸν Α᾿κκαρών; but Josephus has the usual interpretation, Ant. 9, 2, 1), an oracular deity of the Philistines at Ekron (2Ki 1:2-3,16), corresponding to the Ζεὺς ἀπόμυιος μυίαγρος (Pausan. v. 14, 2; 8:26, 4) and Deus Myiagrus or Miyiodes (Plin. 10:40; 29:24) of the Greeks and Romans (Salmas. Exerc. p. 9 sq.; Creuzer, Symbol. 2, 487; 4:392; Hitzig, Philist. p. 313), and to the Hercules Myiagrus (μυίαγρος) of other notices (Solin. c. 2; Clem. Alex. Protrept. p. 11, ed. Sylb.). Flies (and gnats) are in the East a much greater annoyance than with us (comp. Bochart, Hieroz. 3, 346 sq.). SEE FLY. From this explanation of Baal-Zebub only Hug has of late dissented (Freiburg. Zeitschr. 7, 104 sq.); his assertion, however, that this Philistine divinity is the dung-beetle (scarabceuspillularius), worshipped also in Egypt (as a symbol of the world-god), rests on many uncertain assumptions, and is therefore improbable. (For other interpretations, see the Exeg. Handb. d. A. T. 9, 2 sq.) SEE BEEL-ZEBUB.
3. BAAL-PEOR (בִּעִל פּעוֹר, Priapism-Baal), or simply PEOR (פּעוֹר), was the name of a god of the Moabites (Nu 25:1 sq.; 31:16; Jos 22:17), apparently worshipped by the prostitution (perhaps proceeds of the hire) of young girls (whence, according to the rabbins, the name, from פָּעִר, paar', to fracture, l. q. to deprive of virginity, comp. Jonathan, Targ. on Nu 25:1), probably corresponding to the Roman Priapus (see Jerome, ad Hosea 4, 14) and Mutunus (Creuzer, Symbol. 2, 976). -If the above rabbinical significance of the title be correct, he would seem to have given name to Matthew Peor, SEE BETH-PEOR, where was the seat of his worship; but it is more likely that the title was borrowed from the hill (q.d. "ravine") as a distinctive epithet (Movers, p. 667) for his form of worship in that locality (see Creuzer, Symbol. 2, 85). Jerome (in Jovin. 1:12) considers this deity to be Chemosh (q.v.). SEE BAAL-PEOR.
4. The deity styled emphatically THE BAAL (הִבִּעִל q.d. "the great lord"), whose worship was introduced nto Israel by Jezebel (1Ki 16:32 sq.), was apparently the god with whom the Greeks compared their Hercules (2 Maccabees 4:18, 20). His Phoenician appellation was Melkart ("king of the city," i.e. Tyre), or Harokel ("merchant," he being supposed to be a great navigator), which the Greeks corrupted into a resemblance to their own ῾Ηράκλης, and under the name of the "Tyrian Hercules" he was much celebrated (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 36, 5; Arrian, Eoped. Alex. 2, 16). When Herodotus was in Egypt he learned that Hercules was there regarded as one of the primeval gods of that country, and being anxious to obtain more explicit information on the subject, he undertook a voyage to Tyre. The priests there informed him that the foundation of the temple was coeval with that of the city, which they said was founded 2300 years before that time. It was in honor of this god that the Carthaginians for a long time annually sent the tenth of their income to Tyre (Herod. 2:44). The account of the Baai of Jezebel and Athaliah agrees with this Hercules, since the representation of Scripture (1Ki 19:18) is the same with that of Diodorus Siculus (2. 10), that the fire was always burning on his altar, the priests officiated barefooted, and kissing was among the acts of worship (Cicero, in Verrem, 4, 43). Many representations of the Tyrian Hercules are extant on coins, of which there are two specimens in the British Museum. The first was found in the island of Cossyra (now Pantellaria), which belonged to the Tyrians; the other is a Tyrian coin of silver, weighing 2141 grains, and exhibits a very striking head of the same idol in a more modern and perfect style of art. One of the figures of the date is obliterated, but it is thought that the complete date may have given 84 B.C. SEE HERCULES.
5. In addition to the above, First (Hebrews Handu'orterbuch, s.v.) enumerates the following as local or special attributes of Baal.
(a) BAAL-GAD (בִּעִל גָּד q.d. Luck-Baal), the epithet of Baal as bringing good fortune, like the luck-dispensing star Jupiter; and thence given as the name of a city (Jos 11:17; Jos 12:7; Jos 13:5) at the foot of Mount Hermon (Jebel eshSheik), in which neighborhood was also situated the city Baal- Hermon (1Ch 5:23). SEE BAAL-GAD.
(b) BAAL-HAMON (בִּעִל הָמוֹן q.d. Heat-Baal), the title of the Phoenician Baal, 'as representing the vivifying warmth of nature, like the Egyptian Ammon (Sun-god), SEE AMON; and thence given to a city in Samaria (Song 8:11), where his worship may have been practiced. SEE BAAL-HAMON.
(c) BAAL-CHATSOR (בִּעַל חָצוֹר, q.d. village-protecting Baal), the epithet of Baal as the tutelary deity of Hazor (q. v); then the name of a city in the vicinity of Ephraim or Ephron (2Sa 13:23; 2Ch 13:19). SEE BAAL-HAZOR. Baal is repeatedly named among the Phoenicians as the guardian divinity of towns, e.g. 'Baal-Tyre" (בִּעִל צֹר, Malt. 1:1), "Baal-Tarsus" (בִּעִל תֶּרֶז, on coins of that city), "Baal-Lybia" (הִלֻּבַּי בִּעִל, Ζεὺς Λίβυς, Numid. 4:1), etc. SEE BAAL.
(d) BAAL-CHERMON (בִּעִל חֶרמוֹן, q.d. Hil-Baal), i.e. Baal as the protector of Mount Hermon, in a city near which his worship was instituted; thence applied to the city itself (1Ch 5:23), near Baal-gad (q.v.). That part of Hermon (q.v.) on which this town lay is called (Jg 3:3) Mount Baal-Hermon (q.v.). SEE BAAL-HERMON.
(e) BAAL-MEON (בִּעִל מַעוֹן, q.d. heaven-dwelling Baal), i.e. Baal as associated with the hill of Baal or Saturn, supposed to be in the seventh heaven, as the term divine "habitation" (מָעוֹן) often signifies (De 26:15; Ps 68:6), and thus equivalent to the later Baal-Zebul (בִּעִל זבוּל, lord of the celestial dwelling, i.e. "prince of the power of the air"), and the Phoenician Beelsamen (Βεελσάμην, i.e. בִּעִל שָׁמִיַם, lord of heaven, as interpreted by Sanchoniathon [p. 14, Κύριος οὐρανοῦ and Augustine [in loc. Judg., dominus coeli])'; whence the name of the place Beth-Baal-Meon (q.v.), in Jos 13:17, or simply Baal- Maecn (Nu 32:38; 1Ch 5:8), or, even abridged into Beon (Nu 32:3). SEE BAALMEON; SEE BEELZEBUB.
(f) BAAL-PERATSIM (פּרָצַים בִּעִל q.d. ravine-Baal), so called apparently as the presiding deity of the mountain Perazim (q.v.), an eminence famous for an ancient victory (Isa 28:21), and probably a seat of his worship; and hence applied in this form to the place itself (2Sa 5:20; 1Ch 14:11), in the same way as Hermon and Peor above, and at length Lebanon itself, as mountains representing great natural features. SEE BAAL-PERAZIM.
(g) BAAL-TSEPHON (בַּעִל צפוֹן i.e. Typhon Baal), the name of Baal as the opposing genius of cosmical order (comp. צָפוֹן, the north, i.e. the dark, cold quarter), or the ruling spirit of winter. This was an Egyptian phasis of the divinity, and the name was transferred to the city or locality of Baal- Zephon, on the route of the Israelites to Canaan (Ex 14:2). SEE BAAL-ZEPHON.
(h) BAAL -SHALISHAH (שָׁלַשָׁה בַּעִל q.d. Baal of the third or trinal district), the tutelary deity of the region Shalisha (q.v.), to a city of which (1Sa 9:4) his name was thus transferred (1Ki 4:20), situated (according to the Onomasticon) 15 Roman miles north of Diospolis, and called by the Sept. and Eusebius Beth-Shalisha (by a frequent interchange of prefixes). SEE BAAL-SHALISHA.
(i) BAAL-TAMAR (בִּעִל תָּמָר, q.d. palm-stick-Baal, comp. Jer 10:5), is Baal the phallus of Bacchus, or the scarecrow Priapus in the melon-patches (see the apocryphal explanation in Baruch 6:70), and thence assigned to a city in the fertile meadow near Gibeah (Jg 20:33), called in the Onomast. Beth-Tamar. SEE BAAL-TAMAR.
On the subject generally, see (in addition to the works above referred to) Selden, De Diis Syris; Perizonius, Oriqines Babyl.; Bullmann, Ueb. Kronos, in the Abhandl. d. Berl. Akad. 1814, 1815; Buttmann, Mythol.;
Gesenius, in Ersch's Encycl. 8; Stuhr, Relig. d. heidn. Vslker d. Orients; Metzger, in Pauli's Real-Encykl. d. klassischen Wissenschaft, s.v. Hercules; Mover's, in Ersch's Encycl. 24, SEE BAAL.