Ba'al-ze'bub (Hebrews Ba'al Zebub', בִּעִל זבוּב fly-lord; Sept. ὁ [v. r. ή] Βάαλ μυϊvαν) occurs in 2Ki 1:2-3,16, as the god of the Philistines at Ekron, whose oracle Ahaziah sent to consult. Though such a designation of the god appears to us a kind of mockery, and has consequently been regarded as a term of derision (Selden, De Diis Syris, p. 375), yet there seems no reason to doubt that this was the name given to the god by his worshippers, and the plague of flies in hot climates furnishes a sufficient reason for the designation. See FLY. Similarly the Greeks gave the epithet ἀπόμυιος, to Zeus (Clem. Alex. Protrept. 2, 38) as worshipped at Elis (Pausan. v. 14, 2), the Myiagrus deus of the Romans (Solin. Polyhist. 1), and Pliny (29. 6, 34, init.) speaks of a Fly-god Myiodes. As this name is the one used by Ahaziah himself, it is difficult to suppose that it was not the proper and reverential title of the god; and the more so, as Beelzebul (Βεελζεβούλ) in Mt 10:25, seems to be the contemptuous corruption of it. SEE BEELZEBUB. Any explanation, however, of the symbolical sense in which flies may have been regarded in ancient religions, and by which we could conceive how his worshippers could honor him as the god offlies, would appear to us much more compatible with his name than the only sense which can be derived from the Greek parallel. This receives some confirmation, perhaps, from the words of Josephus (Ant. 9, 2, 1), who says, "Ahaziah sent to the Fly (τῆς Μυῖαν), for that is the name of the god" (τῷ θεῷ). The analogy of classical idolatry would lead us to conclude that all these Baals are only the same god under various modifications of attributes and emblems, but the scanty notices to which we owe all our knowledge of Syro-Arabian idolatry do not furnish data for any decided opinion on this phasis of Baal. SEE BAALIM.

Bible concordance for BAAL-ZEBUB.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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