|“||Bael is the demon, Black, Ba'al is a title. It means "lord" or "master" in the Northwest Semitic language. There are dozens of pagan gods, even several goddesses, from the region that were called by the title Ba'al, even the capital God Himself.||„|
|— Matt Wright.|
Baal (/ˈbeɪəl, ˈbɑːəl/), properly known as Belos, Belus, Ba'al, Baʿali or Bel, is a Semitic title and honorific rather than a genuine name, that means "owner", "master", or "lord, that can refer to a large number of different deities in the Mesopotamian and Semitic pantheons.
The feminine form of Bel is Belit 'Lady, Mistress'. Bel is represented in Greek as Belos and in Latin as Belus. Linguistically Bel is an East Semitic form cognate with the Northwest Semitic Baal with the same meaning. Baalah, properly Baʿalah ("Mistress" in the Northwest Semitic languages), is the feminine form of Baʿal ("Lord") and was applied to various Levantine goddesses. It was spoken in the Levant during antiquity. Only a definitive article, genitive or epithet, or context could establish which particular god was meant.
From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. Scholars previously associated the theonym with solar cults and with a variety of unrelated patron deities, but inscriptions have shown that the name Baʿal was particularly associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations. The name Baal, or Ba'al, is sometimes used as a substitute in some texts and in common modern usage. This is probably derived from the fact that, in ancient Canaan, only priests were allowed to utter the divine name, in much the same way as in Judaism where only priests were allowed to utter the name of God, so common people simply referred to him as Baal.
The title baʿal was a synonym in some contexts of the Hebrew adon ("Lord") and adonai ("My Lord") still used as aliases of the Lord of Israel Yahweh. According to some scholars, the early Hebrews did use the names Baʿal ("Lord") and Baʿali ("My Lord") in reference to the Lord of Israel, just as Baʿal farther north designated the Lord of Ugarit or Lebanon. This occurred both directly and as the divine element of some Hebrew theophoric names. However, according to others it is not certain that the name Baal was definitely applied to Yahweh in early Israelite history. The component Baal in proper names is mostly applied to worshippers of Baal, or descendants of the worshippers of Baal. Names including the element Baʿal presumably in reference to Yahweh include the judge Gideon (also known as Jerubaʿal, lit. "The Lord Strives"), Saul's son Eshbaʿal ("The Lord is Great"), and David's son Beeliada ("The Lord Knows"). The name Bealiah ("The Lord is Jah"; "Yahweh is Baʿal") combined the two. However John Day states that as far as the names Eshba’al, Meriba’al, and Beeliada (that is Baaliada), are concerned it is not certain whether they simply allude to the Canaanite god Ba’al, or are intended to equate Yahweh with Ba’al, or have no connection to Ba’al.
The word ba'al and its plural form was also used in the Hebrew Bible to refer to any number of local spirit deities worshiped as cult images, and in this context they were each regarded as false gods. Because of this, several demons were derived from Baal, including Bael and Beelzebub.
Myths and Legends
In the Northwest Semitic languages—Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Amorite, and Aramaic—the word baʿal signified "owner" and, by extension, "lord", a "master", or "husband". Cognates include the Akkadian Bēlu, Amharic bal, and Arabic baʿl. Báʿal and baʿl still serve as the words for "husband" in modern Hebrew and Arabic respectively. They also appear in some contexts concerning the ownership of things or possession of traits.
The feminine form is baʿalah (Hebrew: בַּעֲלָה; Arabic: بَعْلَة), meaning "mistress" in the sense of a female owner or lady of the house and still serving as a rare word for "wife".
Notable Deities called Baal
- In the the Hebrew bible Yahweh's was often simply referred to as "Ba'al" (Hebrew: "The Lord"). The Hebrew Bible also includes use of the term in reference to various Levantine deities, often with application towards Hadad, who was decried as a false god.
- The Quran mentions that Prophet Elias (Elijah) warned his people against Baʿal worship.
- The title of Baal may be affiliated with the Tower of Babel.