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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Ba´al-Gad, a city 'in the valley of Lebanon under Mount Hermon' (Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:7). We are also informed that among those parts of Palestine which were unsubdued by the Hebrews at the death of Joshua, was 'all Lebanon towards the sun-rising, from Baal-gad, under Mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath' (Joshua 13:5). This position of Baal-Gad is not unfavorable to the conclusion which some have reached, that it is no other than the place which, from a temple consecrated to the sun, that stood there, was called by the Greeks Heliopolis, i.e. city of the sun; and which the natives called and still call Baalbek, a word apparently of the same meaning.

Baalbek is pleasantly situated on the lowest declivity of Anti-Libanus, at the opening of a small valley into the plain El-Bekaa. Through this valley runs a small stream, divided into numberless rills for irrigation. The place is in N. lat. 34° 1′ 30″, and E. 36° 11″, distant 109 geog. miles from Palmyra, and 38¾ from Tripoli.

Its origin appears to be lost in the most remote antiquity, and the historical notices of it are very scanty. In the absence of more positive information we can only conjecture that its situation on the high-road of commerce between Tyre, Palmyra, and the farther East, must have contributed largely to the wealth and magnificence which it manifestly attained. It is mentioned under the name of Heliopolis by Josephus, and also by Pliny. From the reverses of Roman coins we learn that Heliopolis was constituted a colony by Julius Caesar; that it was the seat of a Roman garrison in the time of Augustus. Some of the coins of later date contain curious representations of the temple.

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Baal-Gad'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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