Baals sentence example
His strongest denunciation is directed against the religious practices of the time in Judea - the worship of the Canaanite local deities (the Baals), the Phoenician Tammuz, and the sun and other Babylonian and Assyrian gods (vi., viii., xvi., xxiii.); he maintained vigorously the prophetic struggle for the sole worship of Yahweh.
Now local worship means the differentiation of the personality worshipped in the varied local shrines, in other words Ba`alim or Baals.
Baal being originally a title, and not a proper name, the innumerable baals could be distinguished by the addition of the name of a place or of some special attribute.
Each community could speak of its own baal, although a collection of allied communities might share the same cult, and naturally, since the attributes ascribed to the individual baals were very similar, subsequent syncretism was facilitated.
The idea which has long prevailed that Baal was properly a sky-god affords no explanation of the local character of the many baals; on the other hand, on the theory of a higher development where the gods become heavenly or astral beings, the fact that ruder conceptions of nature were still retained (often in the unofficial but more popular forms of cult) is more intelligible.Advertisement
The male god Dagon has his partner Astarte (qq.v.), and Baal-zebub, a famous oracle of Ekron (2 Kings i.) finds a parallel in the local " baals " of Palestine.'
The worship of the local sanctuaries did nothing to promote the sense of the religious unity of Israel; Yahweh in the age of the Judges ran no small risk of being divided into a number of local Baals, givers of natural good things each to his own locality.
Although the national God was at once a transcendent ruler of the universe and also near at hand to man, the unconscious religious feeling found an outlet, not only in the splendid worship at Jerusalem, but in the more immediate intercessors, divine agencies, and the like; and when Judaism left its native soil the local supernatural beings revived - as characteristically as when the old placenames threw off their Greek dress - and they still survive, under a veneer of Mahommedanism, as the modern representatives of the Baals of the distant past.'
Its only result for the majority was a falling back on the earlier popular cultus of the Baals, and on the heathen customs introduced, or reintroduced, by Josiah's grandfather, Manasseh.
They revived the old idol worship, in order to identify the Baals with the gods of the Greek pantheon.Advertisement
Originating probably, in the observation of the fertilizing effect of rains and streams upon the receptive and reproductive soil, baalism becomes identical with the grossest nature-worship. Joined with the baals there are naturally found corresponding female figures known as Ashtaroth, embodiments of Ashtoreth (see Astarte; Ishtar).
In accordance with primitive notions of analogy,3 which assume that it is possible to control or aid the powers of nature by the practice of "sympathetic magic" (see Magic), the cult of the baals and Ashtaroth was characterized by gross sensuality and licentiousness.