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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Baal Peor

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Peor is supposed to have been a part of Mount Abarim; and Baal was the great idol or chief god of the Phoenicians, and was known and worshipped under a similar name, with tumultuous and obscene rites, all over Asia. He is the same as the Bel of the Babylonians. Baal, by itself, signifies lord, and was a name of the solar or principal god. But it was also variously compounded, in allusion to the different characters and attributes of the particular or local deities who were known by it, as Baal Peor, Baal Zebub, Baal Zephon, &c. Baal Peor, then, was probably the temple of an idol belonging to the Moabites, on Mount Abarim, which the Israelites worshipped when encamped at Shittim; this brought a plague upon them, of which twenty-four thousand died, Numbers 35. Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, to whom Solomon erected an altar, 1 Kings 11:7 , is supposed to have been the same deity. Baal Peor has been farther supposed by some to have been Priapus; by others, Saturn: by others, Pluto; and by others again, Adonis. Mr. Faber agrees with Calmet in making Baal Peor the same with Adonis; a part of whose worship consisted in bewailing him with funeral rites, as one lost or dead, and afterward welcoming, with extravagant joy, his fictitious return to life. He was in an eminent degree the god of impurity. Hosea, speaking of the worship of this idol, emphatically calls it "that shame," Hosea 9:10 . Yet in the rites of this deity the Moabite and Midianite women seduced the Israelites to join.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Baal Peor'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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