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Baal

See also Idolatry

A male sun-god worshiped principally in Phoenicia (1 Kgs. 16:31) but also worshiped in different ways in various places: by the Moabites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:1–3), at Shechem as Baal-berith (Judg. 8:33; 9:4), at Ekron as Baal-zebub (2 Kgs. 1:2). Baal may be the same as Bel of Babylon and Zeus of Greece. The word Baal expresses the relationship between a lord and his slave. The usual symbol for Baal was a bull. Ashtoreth was the goddess generally worshiped along with Baal.

Baal was sometimes combined with another name or word to indicate a connection with Baal, such as a place where he was worshiped or a person with attributes like those of Baal. Later, because Baal came to have very evil meanings, the word Bosheth replaced it in those combined names. Bosheth means “shame.”