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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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A name generally used for an idol. And when more than a single idol is spoken of, the word is made plural, Baalim. The children of Israel, from being surrounded with idolatrous neighbours, too often were led away by their allurements to the same idolatry. (See Numbers 22:41; Judges 2:13; 1 Kings 16:31; 2 Kings 10:19; Hosea 2:8.)

I cannot take a more effectual method to shew the Lord's watchful care over his Israel, to preserve them from this contagion, than what the Lord himself hath manifested in that beautiful chapter, the second of the prophecy of Hosea. If the reader will turn to it, and peruse it from beginning to end, he will observe, that at that time the tribes of the Lord were much disposed to idolatry. The Lord sets himself therefore to bring them back, and in opening to them the prospects of salvation, shews how he will bring them under afflictions, in wilderness dispensations, and then having hedged their way up with thorns, compels them, by his grace, to return to him their first lover. And to keep them from revolting again, he will open to them a new name, whereby they shall know him and delight in him. "And it shall be in that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth." (Hosea 2:16-17.) In the margin of the Bible, Ishi is rendered my husband. The reader will have a full apprehension of the grace and loving kindness of the Lord in this ordination, when he is told, that as the word Baal, Lord; or Baali, my lord, was a general name to imply lordship, or sovereignty: the Lord JEHOVAH had been considered as Israel's Baal, to distinguish him from the nations' Baal around. But as there was not distinction enough in those general names, to preserve Israel in a proper sense of reverence between JEHOVAH, and those dunghill gods, being all alike called Baal, or Lord; the Lord graciously saith, in this sweet Scripture, that he will be no more called Baal, but will lose as it were, the name of Lord, in that of husband. Thou shalt call me Ishi; that is, my husband, my man. Was there ever an instance of such rich grace and condescension and love?

I beg the reader to pause over it, and ponder it well. And when he hath duly contemplated the unequalled subject, let him add to it the farther consideration, how the Lord Jesus Christ hath really, and indeed, fulfilled all he here promised, in becoming the Husband of his church and people. Hence the prophet sings, "For thy Maker is thine husband, the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called." (Isaiah 54:5.) Surely, nothing can be wanting to give the most finishing testimony to the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Blessed Husband of thy church; be thou my Ishi for ever!

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Baal'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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