Jehu was the tenth king of the northern Kingdom of Israel since Jeroboam I, noted for exterminating the house of Ahab at the instruction of Jehovah. He was the son of Jehoshaphat, grandson of Nimshi, great-grandson of Omri, his reign lasted for 28 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 842–815 BCE, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 841–814 BCE; the principal source for the events of his reign comes from 2 Kings 9–10. The reign of Jehu's predecessor, was marked by the Battle of Ramoth-Gilead against the army of the Arameans. Jehoram was returned to Jezreel to recover, he was attended by Ahaziah, king of Judah, his nephew. The writer of the Book of Kings tells that when the captains of the Israelite army were assembled away from the king's eyes, the prophet Elisha sent one of his students to the gathering. Elisha's student led Jehu away from the others, anointed him king in an inner chamber, departed. Jehu's companions asked; when told, they proclaimed him their king. With a chosen band, Jehu proceeded to Jezreel.
King Jehoram tried to flee. King Ahaziah managed to escape, but was mortally wounded, died shortly after in Megiddo; the author of Kings tells. He saw Jehoram's mother, watching him with contempt from a palace window. Jehu commanded. Jezebel was killed, Jehu drove his chariot over her body, her servants came to bury her, only to find that dogs had eaten all but her hands and skull. Now master of Jezreel, Jehu wrote to command the chief men in Samaria to hunt down and kill all of the royal princes, they did as ordered, the next day they piled the seventy heads in two heaps outside the city gate, as Jehu commanded. Ahab's entire family was slain. Shortly afterwards, Jehu encountered the "brothers of Ahaziah" at "Beth-eked of the shepherds", he slaughtered all of them at "the pit of Beth-eked", forty-two men in total. Jehu's act was to honour the God of Israel since Jehoram's mother, had allowed pagan temples to exist in the kingdom; the biblical account invokes the "avenging the blood of Naboth", whose vineyard Ahab, Jehoram's father, had taken by force.
Jehoram's defeat at Ramoth-Gilead gave them an opportunity to throw off his burdensome rule. Following Jehu's slaughter of the Omrides, he met Jehonadab the Rechabite, who joined him in his chariot, they entered the capital together. This indicates that at least at the beginning of his reign, Jehu was supported by the pro-Jehovah faction. Once in control of Samaria, he killed them, he destroyed their idols and their temple and turned it into a latrine. Other than Jehu's bloody seizure of power and his tolerance for the golden calves at Dan and Bethel, little else is known of his reign, he was hard pressed by Hazael, king of the Arameans, who defeated his armies "throughout all of the territories of Israel" beyond the Jordan river, in the lands of Gilead, Gad and Manasseh. This suggests that Jehu offered tribute to Shalmaneser III, as depicted on his Black Obelisk, in order to gain a powerful ally against the Arameans. Bit-Khumri was used by Tiglath-pileser III for the non-Omride kings Pekah & Hoshea, hence House/Land/Kingdom of Omri could apply to Israelite kings not descended from Omri.
The destruction of the house of Ahab is commended by the author of 2 Kings as a form of divine punishment. Yahweh rewards Jehu for his wilingness to perform this judgement by allowing four generations of kings to sit on the throne of Israel, Jehoahaz, Jereboam II, Zachariah all descendants of Jehu ruled Israel for a total of 102 years; the prophet Hosea, writes that the house of Jehu was punished by God through the hands of the Assyrians for the bloodshed carried out by Jehu at Jezreel. Aside from the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehu appears in Assyrian documents, notably in the Black Obelisk where he is depicted as kissing the ground in front of Shalmaneser III and presenting a gift. In the Assyrian documents, he is referred to as "son of Omri"; this tribute is dated 841 BCE. It is the earliest preserved depiction of an Israelite. According to the Obelisk, Jehu severed his alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, became subject to Assyria; the author of the Tel Dan Stele claimed to have slain both Ahaziah of Jehoram.
The most author of this monument is Hazael of the Arameans. List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources Jehu Jewish Encyclopedia
Resurrection of Jesus
The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian belief that God raised Jesus from the dead after his crucifixion. According to the Apostle Paul, as stated by Newbigin, "in the ministry and resurrection of Jesus God has acted decisively to reveal and effect his purpose of redemption for the whole world." According to the Bible, "God raised him from the dead", he ascended to heaven, to the "right hand of God", will return again to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment and establishment of the Kingdom of God. The earliest surviving Christian writings are the letters of Paul, written between 50-57 AD. In one of these, his First Epistle to the Corinthians, he passes on what he has been told of how, after his death and burial, the resurrected Jesus appeared to Peter to "the Twelve," to five hundred followers to James to "all the Apostles." He claims that Jesus subsequently appeared to him in the same way he did to the others, in 2 Corinthians 12 he tells of "a man in Christ who... was caught up to the third heaven", while the language is obscure it is plausible that he saw Jesus enthroned at the right hand of God.
In the Epistle to the Philippians he describes how the body of the resurrected Christ is utterly different to the one he wore when he had "the appearance of a man," and holds out a similar glorified state, when Christ "will transform our lowly body," as the goal of the Christian life - "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," and Christians entering the kingdom will be "putting off the body of the flesh". According to N. T. Wright in his book The Resurrection of the Son of God, "There can be no question: Paul is a firm believer in bodily resurrection, he stands with his fellow Jews against the massed ranks of pagans. Habermas argues three facts in support of Paul's belief in a physical resurrection body: Paul is a Pharisee and therefore believes in a physical resurrection. In Philippians 3:11 Paul says "That I may attain to the ek anastasis" from the dead, which according to Habermas means that "What goes down is what comes up". In Philippians 3:20–21 "We look from heaven for Jesus who will change our vile soma to be like unto his soma".
According to Habermas, if Paul meant that we would change into a spiritual body Paul would have used the Greek pneuma instead of soma. According to Gary Habermas, "Many other scholars have spoken in support of a bodily notion of Jesus’ resurrection."Many scholars have contended that in discussion on the resurrection, the apostle Paul refers to a rabbinic style transmission of an early authoritative tradition that he received and has passed on to the church at Corinth. For this and other reasons, it is believed that this creed is of pre-Pauline origin. Geza Vermes writes that the creed is "a tradition he has inherited from his seniors in the faith concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus"; the creed's ultimate origins are within the Jerusalem apostolic community having been formalised and passed on within a few years of the resurrection. Paul Barnett writes that this creedal formula, others, were variants of the "one basic early tradition that Paul "received" in Damascus from Ananias in about 34 " after his conversion.
All four gospels climax with the resurrection, preparing the reader by having Jesus predict it, or through allusions that only the reader will understand. The moment of resurrection is not described; the body of Jesus was buried in a new tomb by Joseph of Arimathea in accordance with Mosaic Law, which stated that a person hanged on a tree must not be allowed to remain there at night, but should be buried before sundown. When women followers of Jesus came to the tomb early on the third day they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. An angel told them that they should inform the remaining disciples. In Matthew and John, although not in Mark, the resurrection announcement is followed by post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to his followers - the number and location of these varies, from a single appearance in Galilee in Matthew to several appearances in Jerusalem in Luke to appearances in both Jerusalem and Galillee in John; the Apostle Paul records a series of post-resurrection appearances, the last being to himself - an appearance to Paul is recorded in detail in Acts, but it differs from that in the Pauline epistles.
These end with the ascension of Jesus to heaven - this is assumed in all the gospels and in other New Testament literature but described only in Acts, where it prepares the reader for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and for the missionary task of the early church. Paul's proof of the resurrection is the appearances of the risen Lord to himself. At some point such appearances ceased - after a single day according to Luke, after forty according to Acts, although the Paul's experience was many years after that. In any event, the end of personal appearances meant that for the gospel-authors alternative proofs were needed; these were found in the narratives of the empty tomb, angelic announcement, witnesses to post-resurrection appearances on Earth rather than in heaven. In the process they moved from a Jewish to a Hellenistic and Roman paradigm in which Jesus dies and is buried, his body disappears, he returns in an immortalised physical body, able to appear and disappear at will like a
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of 8.58 million adherents involved in evangelism and an annual Memorial attendance of over 20 million. Jehovah's Witnesses are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group of elders in Warwick, New York, which establishes all doctrines based on its interpretations of the Bible, they believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, that the establishment of God's kingdom over the earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humanity. The group emerged from the Bible Student movement founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell, who co-founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881 to organize and print the movement's publications. A leadership dispute after Russell's death resulted in several groups breaking away, with Joseph Franklin Rutherford retaining control of the Watch Tower Society and its properties.
Rutherford made significant organizational and doctrinal changes, including adoption of the name Jehovah's witnesses in 1931 to distinguish them from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions. Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider the use of God's name vital for proper worship, they reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, birthdays or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity, they prefer to use their own Bible translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, although their literature quotes and cites other Bible translations. Adherents refer to their body of beliefs as "The Truth" and consider themselves to be "in the Truth".
They consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses. Congregational disciplinary actions include disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and shunning. Baptized individuals who formally leave are considered disassociated and are shunned. Disfellowshipped and disassociated individuals may be reinstated if deemed repentant; the group's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with some governments. Some Jehovah's Witnesses have been persecuted and their activities are banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation related to civil rights in several countries; the organization has received criticism regarding biblical translation and alleged coercion of its members. The Watch Tower Society has made various unfulfilled predictions about major biblical events such as Christ's Second Coming, the advent of God's Kingdom, Armageddon.
Their policies for handling cases of child sexual abuse have been the subject of various formal inquiries. In 1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed a group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to study the Bible. During the course of his ministry, Russell disputed many beliefs of mainstream Christianity including immortality of the soul, predestination, the fleshly return of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, the burning up of the world. In 1876, Russell met Nelson H. Barbour; the book taught that God's dealings with humanity were divided dispensationally, each ending with a "harvest," that Christ had returned as an invisible spirit being in 1874 inaugurating the "harvest of the Gospel age," and that 1914 would mark the end of a 2520-year period called "the Gentile Times," at which time world society would be replaced by the full establishment of God's kingdom on earth. Beginning in 1878 Russell and Barbour jointly edited Herald of the Morning. In June 1879 the two split over doctrinal differences, in July, Russell began publishing the magazine Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, stating that its purpose was to demonstrate that the world was in "the last days," and that a new age of earthly and human restitution under the reign of Christ was imminent.
From 1879, Watch Tower supporters gathered as autonomous congregations to study the Bible topically. Thirty congregations were founded, during 1879 and 1880, Russell visited each to provide the format he recommended for conducting meetings. In 1881, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was presided over by William Henry Conley, in 1884, Russell incorporated the society as a non-profit business to distribute tracts and Bibles. By about 1900, Russell had organized thousands of part- and full-time colporteurs, was appointing foreign missionaries and establishing branch offices. By the 1910s, Russell's organization maintained nearly a hundred traveling preachers. Russell engaged in significant global publishing efforts during his ministry, by 1912, he was the most distributed Christian author in the United States. Russell moved the Watch Tower Society's headquarters to Brooklyn, New York, in 1909, combining printing and corporate offices with a house of worship, he identified the religious movement as "Bible Students," and more formally as the International Bible Students Association.
By 1910, about 50,000 people worldwide were associated with the movement and congregations r
Samaria is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the ancient Land of Israel was known as Palestine, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set the Mediterranean Sea as its limit to the west, the Jordan River as its limit to the east, its territory corresponds to the biblical allotments of the tribe of Ephraim and the western half of Manasseh. The border between Samaria and Judea is set at the latitude of Ramallah; the name "Samaria" is derived from the ancient city of Samaria, the second capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel. The name began being used for the entire kingdom not long after the town of Samaria had become Israel's capital, but it is first documented after its conquest by Sargon II of Assyria, who turned the kingdom into the province of Samerina. Samaria was revived as an administrative term in 1967, when the West Bank was defined by Israeli officials as the Judea and Samaria Area, of which the entire area north of the Jerusalem District is termed as Samaria.
Jordan ceded its claim to the area to the Palestine Liberation Organization in August 1988. In 1994, control of Areas'A' and'B' were transferred by Israel to the Palestinian Authority; the Palestinian Authority and the international community do not recognize the term "Samaria". According to the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew name "Shomron" is derived from the individual Shemer, from whom King Omri purchased the hill on which he built his new capital city; the fact that the mountain was called Shomeron when Omri bought it may indicate that the correct etymology of the name is to be found more directly, in the Semitic root for "guard", hence its initial meaning would have been "watch mountain". In the earlier cuneiform inscriptions, Samaria is designated under the name of "Bet Ḥumri"; the classical Roman-Jewish historian Josephus wrote: Now as to the country of Samaria, it lies between Judea and Galilee. They have abundance of trees, are full of autumnal fruit, both that which grows wild, that, the effect of cultivation.
They are not watered by many rivers, but derive their chief moisture from rain-water, of which they have no want. In the limits of Samaria and Judea lies the village Anuath, named Borceos; this is the northern boundary of Judea. In biblical times, Samaria "reached from the sea to the Jordan Valley", including the Carmel Ridge and Plain of Sharon. At the beginning of the Common Era, the boundary between Samaria and Judea passed eastwards of Antipatris, along the deep valley which had Beth Rima and Beth Laban on its southern, Judean bank. Mount Hazor stands at that boundary. In modern times, Samaria was one of six administrative districts of British-ruled Mandatory Palestine. Following the administration of the West Bank by Israel in 1967, the Israelis continued to refer to the territories by their biblical names and argued for their usage on historical, religious and security grounds. To the north, the area known as the hills of Samaria is bounded by the Jezreel Valley; the Samarian hills are not high reaching the height of over 800 metres.
Samaria's climate is more hospitable than the climate further south. There is no clear division between the mountains of northern Judaea. According to the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites captured the region known as Samaria from the Canaanites and assigned it to the Tribe of Joseph. After the death of King Solomon, the northern tribes, including those of Samaria, separated from the southern tribes and established the separate Kingdom of Israel, its capital was Tirzah until the time of King Omri, who built the city of Shomron and made it his capital. In 726–722 BC, the new king of Assyria, Shalmaneser V, invaded Canaan and besieged the city of Samaria. After an assault of three years, the city fell and much of its population was taken into captivity and deported. Little documentation exists for the period between the fall of Samaria and the end of the Assyrian Empire, it seems that many returned in 715 BC due to slave revolts that Assyrian king S
Ahab was the seventh king of Israel since Jeroboam I, the son and successor of Omri, the husband of Jezebel of Sidon, according to the Hebrew Scriptures. The Hebrew Bible presents Ahab as a wicked king, he is criticised for following the ways of his wife Jezebel, killing his subject Naboth, leading the nation of Israel into idolatry. The existence of Ahab is supported outside the Bible. Shalmaneser III documented 853 BC that he defeated an alliance of a dozen kings in the Battle of Qarqar. Ahab became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa, king of Judah, reigned for twenty-two years, according to 1 Kings. William F. Albright dated his reign to 869–850 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates 874–853 BC. Most Michael D. Coogan has dated Ahab's reign to 871–852 BC. Omri seems to have been a successful military leader. During Ahab's reign, conquered by his father, remained tributary. Ahab was allied by marriage with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. Only with Aram Damascus is he believed to have had strained relations.
Ahab married the daughter of the King of Tyre. 1 Kings 16–22 tells the story of Ahab and Jezebel, indicates that Jezebel was a dominant influence on Ahab, inciting him to abandon Yahweh and worship and institute the religion of Baal in Israel. Ahab lived in Samaria, the royal capital established by Omri, built a temple and altar to Baal there, he was succeeded by Ahaziah and Jehoram, who reigned over Israel until Jehu's revolt of 842 BC. The Battle of Qarqar is mentioned in extra-biblical records, was at Apamea, where Shalmaneser III of Assyria fought a great confederation of princes from Cilicia, Northern Syria, Israel and the tribes of the Syrian desert, including Ahab the Israelite and Hadadezer. Ahab's contribution was estimated at 10,000 men. In reality, the number of chariots in Ahab's forces was closer to a number in the hundreds. If, the numbers are referring to allies it could include forces from Tyre, Judah and Moab; the Assyrian king claimed a victory, but his immediate return and subsequent expeditions in 849 BC and 846 BC against a similar but unspecified coalition seem to show that he met with no lasting success.
According to the Tanakh, Ahab with 7,000 troops had overthrown Ben-hadad and his thirty-two kings, who had come to lay siege to Samaria, in the following year obtained a decisive victory over him at Aphek in the plain of Sharon at Antipatris. A treaty was made whereby Ben-hadad restored the cities which his father had taken from Ahab's father, trading facilities between Damascus and Samaria were granted. Jezreel has been identified as Ahab's fortified cavalry base. In the Biblical text, Ahab has five important encounters with prophets: The first encounter is with Elijah, whom Ahab refers to as "the troubler of Israel", in which Elijah predicts a drought; this encounter ends with Elijah victorious over the official Baal prophets of Israel in a contest held for the sake of the Israelites and their king, Ahab. The contest ends when Elijah's God consumes the offering which the Baal worshipers could not induce their god to touch, after which Elijah slaughters the Baal prophets; the second encounter is between Ahab and an unnamed prophet in 1 Kings 20:22.
The third is again between Ahab and an unnamed prophet who condemns Ahab for his actions in a battle that had just taken place. The fourth is when Elijah confronts Ahab over Ahab's and Jezebel's execution of Naboth and usurpation of the latter's ancestral vineyard. Upon the prophet's remonstration, Ahab displayed sincere remorse; the fifth encounter is with Micaiah, the prophet who, when asked for advice on a military campaign, first assures Ahab he will be successful and gives Ahab a glimpse into God's plan for Ahab to die in battle. Three years war broke out east of the Jordan River, Ahab with Jehoshaphat of Judah went to recover Ramoth-Gilead from the Arameans. During this battle, Ahab disguised himself; the Hebrew Bible says. But the Septuagint adds that pigs licked his blood, symbolically making him unclean to the Israelites, who abstained from pork. Ahab was succeeded by his sons and Jehoram. Jezebel's death, was more dramatic than Ahab's; as recorded in 2 Kings 9:30-34, Jezebel was confronted by Jehu who had her servants throw her out the window, causing her death.
1 Kings 16:29 through 22:40 contains the story of Ahab's reign. This reign is one which faces opposition from several prophets of Yahweh throughout as well as various consequences because of his marriage to Jezebel, because of his worship of Baal, disobedience to prophetic warnings and words, because of the murder of Naboth; the murder of Naboth, an act of royal encroachment, stirred up popular resentment just as the new cult aroused the opposition of the Israelite prophets, including Elijah and Micaiah. Indeed, he is referred to, for this and other things, as
Heaven, or the heavens, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter heaven alive. Heaven is described as a "higher place", the holiest place, a Paradise, in contrast to hell or the Underworld or the "low places", universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, piety, faith, or other virtues or right beliefs or the will of God; some believe in the possibility of a heaven on Earth in a World to Come. Another belief is in an axis mundi or world tree which connects the heavens, the terrestrial world, the underworld. In Indian religions, heaven is considered as Svarga loka, the soul is again subjected to rebirth in different living forms according to its karma.
This cycle can be broken after a soul achieves Nirvana. Any place of existence, either of humans, souls or deities, outside the tangible world is referred to as otherworld; the modern English word heaven is derived from the earlier heven. By about 1000, heofon was being used in reference to the Christianized "place where God dwells", but it had signified "sky, firmament"; the English term has cognates in the other Germanic languages: Old Saxon heƀan "sky, heaven", Old Icelandic himinn, Gothic himins. All of these have been derived from a reconstructed Proto-Germanic form *hemina-. or *hemō. The further derivation of this form is uncertain. A connection to Proto-Indo-European *ḱem- "cover, shroud", via a reconstructed *k̑emen- or *k̑ōmen- "stone, heaven", has been proposed. Others endorse the derivation from a Proto-Indo-European root *h₂éḱmō "stone" and "heavenly vault" at the origin of this word, which would have as cognates Ancient Greek ἄκμων, Persian آسمان and Sanskrit अश्मन्. In the latter case English hammer would be another cognate to the word.
The ancient Mesopotamians regarded the sky as a series of domes covering the flat earth. Each dome was made of a different kind of precious stone; the lowest dome of heaven was the home of the stars. The middle dome of heaven was the abode of the Igigi; the highest and outermost dome of heaven was made of luludānītu stone and was personified as An, the god of the sky. The celestial bodies were equated with specific deities as well; the planet Venus was believed to be Inanna, the goddess of love and war. The sun was her brother Utu, the god of justice, the moon was their father Nanna. In ancient Near Eastern cultures in general and in Mesopotamia in particular, humans had little to no access to the divine realm. Heaven and earth were separated by their nature. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh says to Enkidu, "Who can go up to heaven, my friend? Only the gods dwell with Shamash forever." Instead, after a person died, his or her soul went to Kur, a dark shadowy underworld, located deep below the surface of the earth.
All souls went to the same afterlife, a person's actions during life had no impact on how he would be treated in the world to come. Nonetheless, funerary evidence indicates that some people believed that Inanna had the power to bestow special favors upon her devotees in the afterlife. Despite the separation between heaven and earth, humans sought access to the gods through oracles and omens; the gods were believed to live in heaven, but in their temples, which were seen as the channels of communication between earth and heaven, which allowed mortal access to the gods. The Ekur temple in Nippur was known as the "mooring-rope" of heaven and earth, it was thought to have been built and established by Enlil himself. Nothing is known of Bronze Age Canaanite views of heaven, the archaeological findings at Ugarit have not provided information; the 1st century Greek author Philo of Byblos may preserve elements of Iron Age Phoenician religion in his Sanchuniathon. The ancient Hittites believed that some deities lived in Heaven, while others lived in remote places on earth, such as mountains, where humans had little access.
In the Middle Hittite myths, heaven is the abode of the gods. In the Song of Kumarbi, Alalu was king in heaven for nine years before giving birth to Anu. Anu was himself overthrown by Kumarbi; as in other ancient Near Eastern cultures, in the Hebrew Bible, the universe is divided into two realms: heaven and earth. Sometimes a third realm is added: either "sea", "water under the earth", or sometimes a vague "land of the dead", never described in depth; the structure of heaven itself is never described in the Hebrew Bible, but the fact that the Hebrew word š
Baal, properly Baʿal, was a title and honorific meaning "owner," "lord" in the Northwest Semitic languages spoken in the Levant during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. Scholars associated the theonym with solar cults and with a variety of unrelated patron deities, but inscriptions have shown that the name Baʿal was associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations; the Hebrew Bible and curated over a span of centuries, includes generic use of the term in reference to various Levantine deities, pointed application towards Hadad, decried as a false god. That use was taken over into Christianity and Islam, sometimes under the opprobrious form Beelzebub in demonology; the spelling of the English term "Baal" derives from the Greek Báal, which appears in the New Testament and Septuagint, from its Latinized form Baal, which appears in the Vulgate. These forms in turn derive from the vowel-less Northwest Semitic form BʿL; the word's biblical senses as a Phoenician deity and false gods were extended during the Protestant Reformation to denote any idols, icons of the saints, or the Catholic Church generally.
In such contexts, it follows the anglicized pronunciation and omits any mark between its two As. In close transliteration of the Semitic name, the ayin is represented, as Baʿal. In the Northwest Semitic languages—Ugaritic, Hebrew and Aramaic—the word baʿal signified "owner" and, by extension, "lord", a "master", or "husband". Cognates include the Akkadian Bēlu, Amharic bal, Arabic baʿl. Báʿal and baʿl still serve as the words for "husband" in modern Arabic respectively, they appear in some contexts concerning the ownership of things or possession of traits. The feminine form is baʿalah, meaning "mistress" in the sense of a female owner or lady of the house and still serving as a rare word for "wife". Suggestions in early modern scholarship included comparison with the Celtic god Belenus. Like EN in Sumerian, the Akkadian bēlu and Northwest Semitic baʿal was used as a title of various deities in the Mesopotamian and Semitic pantheons. Only a definitive article, genitive or epithet, or context could establish which particular god was meant.
Baʿal was used as a proper name by the third millennium BCE, when he appears in a list of deities at Abu Salabikh. Most modern scholarship asserts that this Baʿal—usually distinguished as "The Lord" —was identical with the storm and fertility god Hadad. Scholars propose that, as the cult of Hadad increased in importance, his true name came to be seen as too holy for any but the high priest to speak aloud and the alias "Lord" was used instead, as "Bel" was used for Marduk among the Babylonians and "Adonai" for Yahweh among the Israelites. A minority propose that Baʿal was a native Canaanite deity whose cult was identified with or absorbed aspects of Adad's. Regardless of their original relationship, by the 1st millennium BCE, the two were distinct: Hadad was worshipped by the Aramaeans and Baʿal by the Phoenicians and other Canaanites; the Phoenician Baʿal is identified with either El or Dagan. Baʿal is well-attested in surviving inscriptions and was popular in theophoric names throughout the Levant but he is mentioned along with other gods, "his own field of action being defined".
Nonetheless, Ugaritic records show him as a weather god, with particular power over lightning, wind and fertility. The dry summers of the area were explained as Baʿal's time in the underworld and his return in autumn was said to cause the storms which revived the land. Thus, the worship of Baʿal in Canaan—where he supplanted El as the leader of the gods and patron of kingship—was connected to the regions' dependence on rainfall for its agriculture, unlike Egypt and Mesopotamia, which focused on irrigation from their major rivers. Anxiety about the availability of water for crops and trees increased the importance of his cult, which focused attention on his role as a rain god, he was called upon during battle, showing that he was thought to intervene in the world of man, unlike the more aloof El. The Lebanese city of Baalbeck was named after Baal; the Baʿal of Ugarit was the epithet of Hadad but as the time passed, the epithet became the god's name while Hadad became the epithet. Baʿal was said to be the son of Dagan, but appears as one of the sons of El in Ugaritic sources.
Both Baʿal and El were associated with the bull in Ugaritic texts, as it symbolized both strength and fertility. The virgin goddess ʿAnat was his sister and sometimes credited with a child through him, he held special enmity against snakes, both on their own and as representatives of Yammu, the Canaanite sea god and river god. He fought the Tannin, the "Twisted Serpent", "Litan the Fugitive Serpent", the "Mighty One with Seven Heads". Baʿal's conflict with Yammu is now regarded as the prototype of the vision recorded in the 7th chapter of the biblical Book of Daniel; as vanquisher of the sea, Baʿal was regarded by the Canaanites and Phoenicians as the patron of sailors and sea-going merchants. As vanquisher of Mot, the Canaanite death god, he was known as Baʿal Rāpiʾuma and regarded as the leader of the Rephaim, the ancestral spirits those of ruling dynasties. From Canaan, worship of Baʿal spread to Egypt by the Middle Kingdom and throughout the Mediterranean following the waves of Phoenician colonization in the early 1st mill