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Stela of Baal

Stela of Baal from ancient Canaan
Could this stone monument of Baal have been the same image that many Israelites worshipped?

This stela depicting Baal 'king of the gods" was discovered at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit). It was found by the Schaeffer archaeological mission in 1932, along with eight others, not far from the Temple de Baal. Four others were discovered near the Temple of Dagon and another ten in various locations around the city. All date to the Late Bronze Age, 18th - 15th centuries BC.

Baal, the storm god, is seen on this Stele unleashing a storm. He is holding a club in his right hand and a spear in his left like a lightning bolt, which extends upward in the form of a tree. It was found in 1932 at the site of ancient Ugarit, known today as Ras Shamra. Baal the was supreme male deity that was worshipped by the ancient Canaanites and Phoenicians, just as Ashtoreth was their supreme female deity. In many cases Baal was identified with the sun and Ashtoreth with the moon. Baal worship was prevalent during the time of Moses, especially among the Moabites, the Midianites, and eventually spread to the Israelites. During the time of the Kings, the northern Kingdom of Israel were Baal worshippers as were many of the kings of Judah. Many Temples were erected to Baal and have been discovered by archaeologists. Places for worship of Baal were often high places in the hills consisting of an altar and a sacred tree, stone, or pillar.

1 Kings 16:30-33 "And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him."

"At Ugarit, El was sovereign, but another god ran things on earth for El as his vizier. That god’s name was Baal. At Ugarit Baal was known by several titles: “king of the gods,” “the Most High,” “Prince Baal” (baal zbl), and—most importantly for our discussion—“the Rider on the Clouds.”" - Wikipedia

Stela of Baal in Biblical archaeology.

Louvre Excerpt

Stèle du "Baal au foudre"

The stela depicting the storm god Baal is the largest and the most significant of the stelae discovered at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit). It was found, along with eight others, not far from Temple de Baal by the Schaeffer archaeological mission, 1932. Four others were discovered near the Temple of Dagon and another ten in various locations around the city. All date to the Late Bronze Age, eighteenth-fifteenth centuries BC.

The large stela bears the relief carving of a monumental male figure, towering over a much smaller figure standing on a pedestal. The bearded lion-clothed main figure is wearing a horned headdress, indicating that he is a god. He is brandishing a club in his right arm, with left outstretched carrying a spear, the head of which is stuck in the ground, while vegetation sprouts out its shaft. Today it is generally agreed that the scene depicts the god, Baal, unleashing a storm from the club in the the traditional pose of the storm gods worshiped throughout the Levant - the Greek god Zeus and the Roman god Jupiter would later take up the same pose and attributes. The metaphor of the spear sprouting a plant alludes to the beneficial effects of the rain. The small figure crouching on the small horned altar is believed to be the king of Ugarit, in ceremonial dress, his arms crossed in prayer and the recipient of divine protection. The motifs carved on the two-tiered altar on which the god stands are more difficult to interpret: is the monstrous snake who will cause the death of Baal depicted above the carved waves of the ocean? Or is it the horizon of mountains that surrounded the kingdom of Ugarit, protected by Baal, whose home is "in the innermost reaches of Mount Sapon."

Ugarit was an ancient cosmopolitan port city, sited on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia. Itsent tribute to Egypt and maintained trade and diplomatic connections with Cyprus (called Alashiya), documented in the archives recovered from the site and corroborated by Mycenaean and Cypriot pottery found there. The polity was at its height from ca. 1450 BC until 1200 BC. 

Paris - Musée du Louvre


British Museum Excerpt:

Bronze Figure of Baal

Canaanite, about 1400-1200 BC
From Syria

The god Baal with raised right arm

This figure is typical of bronzes from Syria in the second half of the second millennium BC. Although clearly broken, his pointed cap and raised right arm suggest that this is a representation of the god Baal, one of the major deities of the Canaanites. He would usually be wielding a club, but this example may have held a smaller object, perhaps a thunderbolt. The eyes were originally inlaid and the dowel and hole are modern.

The god Baal embodied royal power and authority. Much of our knowledge about Canaanite gods comes from the local Canaanite literature, particularly from the archive of cuneiform tablets from the site of Ugarit. The Canaanite gods and goddesses continued to be worshipped during the first millennium BC, though some of their functions changed. They were worshipped wherever the Canaanites (Phoenicians) established trading colonies across the Mediterranean.

also see: Stele Showing the Storm-God Baal


Some Scriptures mentioning "Baal"

2 Kings 23:5 - And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

2 Kings 10:25 - And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, [and] slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast [them] out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.

Jeremiah 11:17 - For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

Jeremiah 12:16 - And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people.

2 Kings 23:4 - And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.

1 Kings 18:21 - And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

1 Kings 18:19 - Now therefore send, [and] gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.

Jeremiah 11:13 - For [according to] the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and [according to] the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to [that] shameful thing, [even] altars to burn incense unto Baal.

Judges 6:31 - And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst [it is yet] morning: if he [be] a god, let him plead for himself, because [one] hath cast down his altar.

Jeremiah 32:29 - And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.

Judges 6:25 - And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:

2 Kings 17:16 - And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, [even] two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

2 Kings 21:3 - For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

Judges 6:28 - And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that [was] by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar [that was] built.

2 Kings 10:22 - And he said unto him that [was] over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.

2 Kings 3:2 - And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.

2 Kings 10:18 - And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; [but] Jehu shall serve him much.

Judges 6:30 - Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that [was] by it.

1 Kings 18:40 - And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

1 Kings 16:31 - And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.

Jeremiah 32:35 - And they built the high places of Baal, which [are] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through [the fire] unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Jeremiah 2:8 - The priests said not, Where [is] the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after [things that] do not profit.

Numbers 22:41 - And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost [part] of the people.

Jeremiah 7:9 - Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;

Zephaniah 1:4 - I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, [and] the name of the Chemarims with the priests;

1 Kings 18:25 - And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress [it] first; for ye [are] many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire [under].

1 Kings 19:18 - Yet I have left [me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

1 Kings 22:53 - For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

Jeremiah 23:13 - And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.

Hosea 2:8 - For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, [which] they prepared for Baal.


Related Pages:

Baal - Ancient Canaanite Deity (Bible History Online) - Map of the Territory of Judah and Judea in Ancient Israel. Judea and the
surrounding territories (Southern Israel). The locations that have an underline are ...

Baal in Easton's Bible Dictionary lord. (1.) The name appropriated to the principal male god of the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural BAALIM (Judg. 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 2:17). Baal is identified with Molech (Jer. 19:5). It was known to the Israelites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:3; Deut. 4:3), was worshipped till the time of Samuel (1 Sam 7:4), and was afterwards the religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31-33; 18:19, 22). It prevailed also for a time in the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:27; comp. 11:18; 16:3; 2 Chr. 28:2), till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the Captivity (Zeph. 1:4-6). The priests of Baal were in great numbers (1 Kings 18:19), and of various classes (2 Kings 10:19). Their mode of offering sacrifices is described in 1 Kings 18:25-29. The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or "lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a wife, who was a colourless reflection of himself. (2.) A Benjamite, son of Jehiel, the progenitor of the Gibeonites (1 Chr. 8:30; 9:36). (3.) The name of a place inhabited by the Simeonites, the same probably as Baal-ath-beer (1 Chr. 4:33; Josh. 19:8).
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/B/Baal/

Baal in Fausset's Bible Dictionary The chief male deity, as Ashtoreth is the chief goddess, of the Canaanites and Phoenicians. Baalim, the plural form, expresses the various aspects of Baal, as different localities viewed him. Baal is also associated with Aaherah, inaccurately translated "THE GROVE" or "groves" (Judges 3:7; 2 Chronicles 33:3; 2 Chronicles 34:4; 2 Kings 23:5-6). frontASHERAH.) Baal means lord, in the sense of owner, possessor; but Adown means lord, master. The Hebrew article distinguishes the proper name Baal from the common noun; Bel, the Babylonian idol (Isaiah 46:1), is related. Midian and Moab, as early as Moses' time, tempted Israel, by Balaam's devilish counsel (Revelation 2:14; Joshua 13:22; Numbers 25:18), to worship the phase of the deity called Baal-peor (Numbers 25), from peor, "aperire hymenem virgineum" corresponding to the Latin, Priapus...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/B/Baal+(1)/

Baal in Hitchcock's Bible Names master; lord
http://www.bible-history.com/hitchcock/B/Baal/

Baal in Naves Topical Bible 1. An idol of the Phoenicians, god of the sun The Israelites wickedly worshiped in the time of the judges Jud 2:10-23; 1Sa 7:3,4 By the kingdom of Israel 2Ki 17:16; Jer 23:13; Ho 1; 2; 13:1 Under Ahab 1Ki 16:31-33; 18:18; 19:18 Under Jehoram 2Ki 3:2 By the Jews 2Ki 21:3; 2Ch 22:2-4; 24:7; 28:2; 33:3 Jeremiah expostulates against the worship of Jer 2:8,23; 7:9 Altars of, destroyed by Gideon Jud 6:25-32 Destroyed by Jehoiada 2Ki 11:18 Destroyed by Josiah 2Ki 23:4,5 Prophets of, slain by Elijah 1Ki 18:40 All worshipers of, destroyed by Jehu 2Ki 10:18-25 -2. A Benjamite 1Ch 8:30; 9:36 -3. A Reubenite 1Ch 5:5 -4. A city in the tribe of Simeon 1Ch 4:33 Called BAALATH-BEER Jos 19:8
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/B/BAAL/

Baal in Smiths Bible Dictionary the supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations, as Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity. Some suppose Baal to correspond to the sun and Ashtoreth to the moon; others that Baal was Jupiter and Ashtoreth Venus. There can be no doubt of the very high antiquity of the worship of Baal. It prevailed in the time of Moses among the Moabites and Midianites, Nu 22:41 and through them spread to the Israelites. Nu 25:3-18; De 4:3 In the times of the kings it became the religion of the court and people of the ten tribes, 1Ki 16:31-33; 18:19,22 and appears never to have been permanently abolished among them. 2Ki 17:16 Temples were erected to Baal in Judah, 1Ki 16:32 and he was worshipped with much ceremony. 1Ki 18:19,26-28; 2Ki 10:22 The attractiveness of this worship to the Jews undoubtedly grew out of its licentious character. We find this worship also in Phoenician colonies. The religion of the ancient British islands much resembled this ancient worship of Baal, and may have been derived from it. Nor need we hesitate to regard the Babylonian Bel, Isa 46:1 or Beaus, as essentially identical with Baal, though perhaps under some modified form. The plural, BAALIM, is found frequently, showing that he was probably worshipped under different compounds, among which appear--
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/B/Baal+%282%29/

Baal in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE ba'-al: (ba`al; or Baal): The Babylonian Belu or Bel, "Lord," was the title of the supreme god among the Canaanites. I. NAME AND CHARACTER OF BAAL II. ATTRIBUTES OF BAAL III. BAAL-WORSHIP IV. TEMPLES, ETC. V. USE OF THE NAME VI. FORMS OF BAAL 1. Baal-berith 2. Baal-gad 3. Baal-hamon 4. Baal-hermon 5. Baal-peor 6. Baal-zebub I. Name and Character of Baal: In Babylonia it was the title specially applied to Merodach of Babylon, which in time came to be used in place of his actual name. As the word in Hebrew also means "possessor," it has been supposed to have originally signified, when used in a religious sense, the god of a particular piece of land or soil. Of this, however, there is no proof, and the sense of "possessor" is derived from that of "lord." The Babylonian Bel-Merodach was a Sun-god, and so too was the Can Baal whose full title was Baal-Shemaim, "lord of heaven." The Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon (Philo Byblius, Fragmenta II) accordingly says that the children of the first generation of mankind "in time of drought stretched forth their hands to heaven toward the sun; for they regarded him as the sole Lord of heaven, and called him Beel-samen, which means `Lord of Heaven' in the Phoenician language and is equivalent to Zeus in Greek" Baal-Shemaim had a temple at Umm el-Awamid between Acre and Tyre, and his name is found in inscriptions from the Phoenician colonies of Sardinia and Carthage...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/B/BAAL+(1)/

Baal in Wikipedia (Arabic: بعل‎, pronounced [ˈbaʕal]) (Hebrew: בעל‎, pronounced [ˈbaʕal]) (also spelled Baal in English) is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord"[1] that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu. A Baalist or Baalite means a worshipper of Baal. "Ba‛al" can refer to any god and even to human officials; in some texts it is used as a substitute for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of "Ba‛al" refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images, each called ba‛al and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a false god...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal

 

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