Mons Casius, known today as Jebel Archus, is considered the home of the god “Baal”, to the south-west of Antioch, overlooking the Orontes (4). This great height gives spectacular views over the Mediterranean seaboard, and in particular a birds-eye view of the final passage of the Orontes into the ocean, [see blog on Sammandag for further details]. Interestingly the other end of biblical Syria near Tarsus was mount Amanus, or the “bull mountain” and the famous Cilician gates. The bull is another depiction of Baal.
Baal is considered the title to the semitic Hadad, or the Akkadian Adad, was the god of thunder, the consequent rain and fertility provided for agricultural prosperity considered the gift of the god. Numerous descriptions of Baal have been found at Ugarit in northern Syria, alongside pictorial depictions of forms of both bulls, and a man with upheld hand with thunder-bolt or arrows. An additional title was that of rammanu meaning thunder, and may be reflected in the title Hammon-Rimmon of Zech 12:11. Baal was a title used of other gods, and means possessor, or lord. Later equivalents to Hadad were the Egyptian Set, Anatolian Teshub, Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter. The word is used in the scriptures of the relationship of a husband “baal” to his wife, such as in Deut 24:1-3 in contrast to a woman joined to another styled in the hebrew ‘ish” when still married. It thus carries the weight of covenant or contract in a relationship, and so reflected in a preserved remnant by Yahweh those “7000” [a number of a multitude (1000) and covenants (7)] not having bowed the knee to the image of Baal Rom 11:4 and used as an example of the continuing preservation of Israel as a witness to deity. Yahweh Himself calls Himself “baal” Hosea 2:16 and described as a husband to Israel Isa 54:5; Jer 3:20.
This form of Baal as a bull is widespread. A life-size stele for Tiglath Piliser demonstrating Baal astride a Bull holding lightning bolts can be seen in the museum at Aleppo. (2) Further basalt stones demonstrating this form were also found at Hatzor in northern Israel. (3) Illustrated is an example from Sidon:
The Egyptian Set, being in a land of no rain was the god of the sandstorm, and the heat of the desert, the destructive forces on agriculture. It was thought to have been involved in Egypt in Memphis from 1550-1295 BC (1). Elements of the bull-like form of Baal may have been represented in the Egyptian god Mentu who was the war god associated with Set , and the construction of the altar with the golden calf Ex 32:1-6 and the later form in Jerobaom I 2 Kings 10:29; 2Chron 13:8. Notice the link in the language: “behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” 1 Kings 12:38.
To be a worshipper of Baal was to stand in juxtaposition to service of Yahweh 2 Kings 10:23. Whilst the term is used of numerous gods, as seen in the inclusion of the word in Baalzebub 2 Kings 1:6,16, the term Baal was not a completely inclusive term of apostate worship, as seen in the time of Jehu, Baal was to be removed from Israel, but there was continued apostate worship at the altars of Jeroboam 2 Kings 10:29.
The word Baal is incorporated into numerous proper nouns, such as Baal-peor, Baal-gad, Baal-zephon, Baal-hermon, Baalshalisha, Baalath, Baal-meon et al.
The worship of Baal was to be distinguished by:
- An image 2 Kings 3:2; 10:27 molten images 2 Chron 28:2 graven images Hosea 11:2 a feature of the apostate church Rev 13:14,15; 14:9,11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4
- A specific house 2 Kings 10:20,21,27; 2 Chron 23:17 etc a feature of the apostate church 2 Thess 2:4
- Garments or vestments of worship 2 Kings 10:22 a specific feature of Babylon Josh 7:21
- Prophets 1 Kings 18:19,22,25,40; 2 Kings 10:19; Jer 2:8; 23:13 a feature of the apostate church Rev 19:20; 20:10
- Priests 2 Kings 10:19; 11:18; 23:4,5; 2 Chron 23:17; Zeph 1:4 a predominant feature of the Roman catholic church
- Worshippers or adherents 2 Kings 10:21 a feature of the apostate church Rev 13:4; 14:9,11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4
- Solemn assemblies 2 Kings 10:20 the catholic church is renowned for its religious calendar: lent, easter, holy-days, remembrance of saints and such like
- Altars 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chron 33:3; 34:4 for burnt offering Jer 19:5
- Vessels made for Baal 2 Kings 23:4 a feature of the apostate church Rev 18:12
- Burning of incense 2 Kings 23:5; Jer 7:9; 11:13; 32:29; Hosea 11:2 a feature of catholic worship, more pointed in the eastern church
- Swearing Jer 12:16
- High places Jer 19:5; 32:35
- Allegiance to a Queen 1 Kings 18:19 a feature of the apostate church Rev 18:7
- Education programs and teachers Jer 12:16 a feature seen in the Jesuit and other orders. Styled: “that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants ” Rev 2:20
- Styled “walking after the imagination of the heart” Jer 9:14
- Final destruction to be a draught house 2 Kings 10:27 the apostate church to become the habitation of devils and the habitation of foul spirits Rev 18:2
Hadad was incorporated into the names of both Aramean (biblical Syria) kings and Assyrian kings. So Ben-Hadad is the equivalent to “the son of god” and a title used of numerous individuals: 1 Kings 15:18,20; 20:1,2,5,9,10,16,17,20,26,30,32,33; 2 Kings 6:24; 8:7,9; 13:3,24,25; 1 Chron 16;2,4; Jer 49:27; Note the parallel; “the house of Hazael and the palaces of Benhadad” Amos1:4 Hadad was first used in scripture of a son of Edom, the antagonists of Israel Gen 36:35,36 later reflected in Hadad the Edomite who would oppose the regency of Solomon 1 Kings 11:4f. Further examples are Hadadezer an Aramean king ruling in Rehob (A location in southern Beqa, identified by the Heb. broad and a contrast to Maachah to be oppressed or pressed in, a reference to the Beqa south of the Litani dam) 2 Sam 8:3,5,7,8,9,10,12 Shalmaneser I was identified on a stele as the god of Aleppo and pictorially demonstrated in the form of Hadad.
There is no middle ground. Men are called to serve Yahweh, and if He is God, then serve Him Josh 24:13f; 1 Kings 18:21. There is no real alternate to serving the living God. He has ordained the terms of covenants and salvation. Worship of any other force or church that claims authority is paramount to being seduced to worshiping baal.
Features of Yahweh Himself are attributed by others to Baal. Yahweh is a man of war Ex 15;3 He thundered from the storm at Mt Sinai Ex 19:16; a feature of His voice 2 Sam 22:14 again later to the nation in the time of Samuel 1 Sam 12:18 and to His own son John 12:29 an exhibition of His enormous power, engaged to demonstrate His ability to judge, but at the same time concerned that men would hear His still, small voice, a more powerful force in changing men’s affections 1 Kings 19:12.
- Egyptian mythology A-Z Pat Remler, pg 26
- Aleppo museum visit, Lostcamels expedition 2010
Gods, goddesses, and images of God in ancient Israel Othmar Keel, Christoph Uehlinger pg 58
Robinson: Researches into Palestine and adjoining regions vol iii pg 461