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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
Baal- or -Baal
(Hebrews id. בִּעִלאּ or אּבִּעִל, i.e. Baal), a geographical word occurring as the prefix or suffix to the names of several places in Palestine (see those following, also (See GUR-BAAL), etc.). Gesenius has expressed his opinion (Thes. Heb. p. 225, col. a) that in these cases it has no reference to any worship of the god Baal at the particular spot, but merely expresses that the place "possesses" or contains something special denoted by the other part of the name, the word Baal bearing in that case a force synonymous with that of BETH (See BETH) (q.v.). (See BAAL-TAMAR), etc. Without contradicting this conclusion, some reasons may be mentioned for reconsidering it. (See BAALIM).
1. Though employed in the Hebrew Scriptures to a certain extent metaphorically, and there certainly with the force of "possession" or "ownership," as a "lord of hair" (2 Kings 1:8), "lord of dreams" (Genesis 37:19), etc., Baal never seems to have become a naturalized Hebrew word, but frequently occurs so as to betray its Canaanite origin and relationship. Thus it is several times employed to designate the inhabitants of towns either certainly or probably heathen, but rarely, if ever, those of one undoubtedly Hebrew. It is applied to the men of Jericho before the conquest (Joshua 24:11); to the men of Shechem, the ancient city of Hamor the Hivite, who rose to recover the rights of Hamor's descendants long after the conquest,of the land (Judges 9:2-51, with Ewald's commentary, Gesch. 2, 445-447), and in the account of which struggle the distinction between the "lords" (בְּעָלַים ) of Shechem and the "men" ( אֲנָשַׁים — Hebrew relations) of Abimelech is carefully maintained. It is used for ‘ the men of Keilah, a place on the western confines of Judah, exposed to all the attacks and the influences of the surrounding heathen (1 Samuel 23:11-12), for Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:26), and for others (Isaiah 16:8, etc.). Add to this the consideration that if Baal forms part of the name of a person, we are sure to find the name mentioned with some Hebrew alteration, as Jerubbesheth for Jerub-baal; Mephibosheth for Merib-baal; Ishbosheth for Esh-baal, and others. In Hosea 2:16, a remarkable instance is preserved of the distinction, noticed above in connection with the record of the revolt at Shechem, between the heathen Baal and the Hebrew Ish: "At that day, saith Jehovah, men shall call me ‘ Ishi,' and shall call me no more ‘ Baali,'" both words having the sense of "my husband."
2. Such places called by this name, or its compounds, as can be identified, and several of which existed at the time of the conquest, were either near Phoenicia,, as Baal-gad, Baal-hermon, Belmarkos (of later times), or in proximity to some other acknowledged seat of heathen worship, as Baal- meon and Bamoth-Baal, near Baal-peor; or Kirjath-Baal and Baal: — tamlar, connected with Gibeon and Bethel (see Dems, "Der Baal in d. Helr. Eigennamen," in the Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morgenl. Gesellsch. 1862, 4:728).
3. On more than one occasion Baal forms part of the names of places which we elsewhere discover to have been elevated spots, spots in which the worship of the Canaanites delighted. Thus Baal-hermon is elsewhere called ‘" Mount Baal," and Baal-Perazim is (very probably) "Mount Perazim." Baalath-beer, too, is called in the parallel lists Ramath (i.e. "height"). Compare the Vulgate rendering of Baalah in 1 Chronicles 13:6, "ad collem Cariathiarim;" also Mount Baalah (Joshua 15:11).
4. There is the consideration of the very deep significance with which the name of Baal must always have been invested, both for the Israelites and for their predecessors in the country-for those who venerated and those who were commanded to hate him. Surely this significance must have been sufficient to prevent that portentous name from becoming a mere alternative for a term which, like BETH (See BETH) (q.v.), was in the commonest daily use.
5. The most significant form in which this compound word occurs is its use as an element (in a manner common to all the Shemitic languages) in proper names, like d- (אֵל ) and Jah (יָהּ) of the Hebrew; sometimes at the end, e.g. Eth-baal (אֶשְׁבִּעִל ), Meri-baal(מְרַיבִעִל.), Esh-baal (אֶשְׁבִּעִל ), Jerub-baal (יְרֻבִּעִל), etc. (which see severally); at other times at the beginning, e.g. Baal-hasnon (בִּעִלִחָנָן ), Bali-yah (בִִּעלְיָה ), and in some instances the heathenish "Baal" has supplanted the corresponding Jewish sacred name, e.g. El-iada (אֶלְיָדָע, 2 Samuel 5:16) =Beel-iada (בְּעֶלְיָדָע, 1 Chronicles 14:7). This was a frequent method of formation in Phoenician proper names, as appears from those occurring in classical and Biblical history, and still more clearly in inscriptions on coins, e.g. lttobaal ( אַתֹּבִעִל "with Baal," Gerb. 1:2), Bathbaal ( בִּתְבִּעִל, "daughter of Baal," Carth. 8), Hikkembaal (חַכֵּמְבִעִל, "sage of Baal," Numid. 1:2), Hikkebbaal (חַכֶּבִּעִל, the same by assimilation of the 7, ib. 2, 3), Hikkemshcbbaal (חַכֵּמְשֶׁבִּעִל, the same with the insertion of the relative prefix שׁ, ib. 2, 2), Jeubaal (יְאוּבִעִל, "desire of Baal," Cit. 26), Jaasherbaal (יִעִשֵׁרַבִּעַל, "enriched by Baal," Numid. 7:1), Maalkibaal (מִלְכַּבִעִל, "ruled T-y Baal," Malt. 3, 1), Mezethbaal ( מְצֵיתְבִּעִל "kindled by Baal," Numid. 1:4), Mosibacl ( מֹשַׂיבִבִל for מִעֲשַׂיבִעִל, "made by Baal," ib. 1, 3), Mcttanbaai (מִתִּנְבִּעִל, "given by Baal," ib. 7, 1), etc. (see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 224, b). (See NAME).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Baal- or -Baal'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/baal--or--baal.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.