The New Student's Reference Work/Baal

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Baal (bā′ăl), the principal god of the Phœnician and Canaanitish nations, among whom Ashtoreth was the principal goddess. He was the god of the sun, as ruling and giving life to nature, while Moloch represented the sun as a destroyer, and both these ideas were united later in the god Melkarth. The oldest form of his worship was on the tops of mountains; thus the Midianites and Amalekites worshiped him on Mount Peor; the Phœnicians on Carmel and the Canaanites on Hermon. Upright conical stones, either in the open air or in temples, were a mark of his presence, but there were no images of him. From the earliest foundations of Tyre he seems to have been the protecting god of that city. His worship spread among all the towns of Phœnicia, including their distant colonies, such as Malta, Carthage and Cadiz. The Greeks connected him with Hercules, calling him the Tyrian Hercules. The worship of Baal was very attractive to the Jews, and many years of punishment were necessary to banish it from Israel. The word Baal is often used in connection with some epithet; as Baal-Berith (the Covenant Lord), and Baal-Zebub or Beelzebub (the Fly-God), the idol of the Philistines at Ekron, where he had a temple. Such proper names as Jezebel and Hannibal are compounds of the word Baal.