Baal

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Ba‛al (Biblical Hebrew בעל, pronounced [ˈbaʕal], also spelled Baal in English) is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord"[1] that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu. A Baalist or Baalite means a worshipper of Baal.

"Ba‛al" can refer to any god and even to human officials; in some texts it is used as a substitute for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of "Ba‛al" refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images, each called ba‛al and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a false god.

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Etymology

Baʿal, (bāʾ-ʿayn-lām), is a Semitic word signifying "The Lord, master, owner (male), keeper, husband".[citation needed] Cognates include Standard Hebrew (Bet-Ayin-Lamed; בַּעַל / בָּעַל, Báʕal, Akkadian Bēl and Arabic بعل. The feminine form is Baʕalat (Hebrew בַּעֲלָה Baʕalah, Arabic بعلـة baʕalah) signifying "lady, mistress, owner (female), wife".

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