Sidon was considered by God as the centre of gods of “abomination”. In today’s language the smelly sticky things hard to get off your boot. Sidon has the idea of hunting, some consider the idea of fishing. Here was the same activity as Nimrod and modelled on his hero, Esau the antagonist of Jacob and the house of Israel.

Sidon has a rich place within the biblical record. The borders of Asher’s inheritance came past Sidon, yet there is no record of the tribe taking their lot. Asher was to dip his feet in oil, and the agricultural plenty that was formed in this area was attested to in the creation of an endless river of oil at the hand of the widow at Zarephath located only miles to the south of this location.

Sidon was most famous for the creation of Jezebel whose influence on the northern tribes was considered equivalent to the “filling up of the iniquity of the Amorites” in its religious impact on the nation. This influence was to last for millenia with the first century ecclesia warned that they tolerated that wicked woman Jezebel.

The nasty business of Baal, (the hebrew idea of possessed, so husband or lord) was that it was integrated into the worship of the nation. This was not an all out war, but a slow adoption of another standard of thinking and conduct. Humanism, egalitarianism, liberalism and every other “ism” finds its roots in the thinking of Baal who seeks to possess our affections. But our affections are in heaven from where we look for the return of the real Lord/Husband

The temple of Eshmoun, the god of healing later found its place over the previous temple. The widow of Zarapheth may have served here as she was called “the mistress of the house” or Baalat, a term used of the prostitute priestesses from this temple. She called on Elijah not to punish her for previous sins.  A wide complex sits on the previous site at the northern margins of the modern city. Large well fitting rocks and rich mosaics still point to the luxury and ornate splendour of the building once adorning its site. Within the national museum at Beirut the more valuable finds show bulls heads as capitals to pillars almost identical to those of Persepolis, numerous teraphim and larger gods such as venus. Washpots, an altar celebrating the panoply of the greek deities, and mosaics celebrating the same. But above all these was the honoured position of head casts of infants and young men once offered to fires, a practice taken from this very site throughout the Carthaginian world as seen in Carthage, Tunis.

The one thing about Baal in the history of Judah and Israel is that it found its origins within the lifetime of spiritual men, and was never really extinguished. The greatest lesson must be to not let Baal into our lives in the first place. But who does? The images of Baal in magazines and other media have left a memorable scar even in our lifetime.

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