Baal (sometimes spelled Bael, Bal (French), Baell usually pronounced "bail") is one of the seven princes of Hell. He is mentioned widely in the Old Testament as the primary pagan idol of the Phoenicians, often associated with the heathen goddess Ashtaroth.

Ba`al means "The lord" who ruled over the high gods assembled on the holy mount of Heaven. (As a redaction: this is not an entirely clear point. El or Elohim was actually the father God of the gods in Canon. El was asked to help Baal when he was slain by Mot, god of the underworld. El could not prevent Baal's death, but Baal was reborn anyway.) Baal was mainly a god of the sun, rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture and at some point, he overtakes the god of the water, Yam. Baal's is the son of the god Dagan or Dagon, another Semitic Cannonite god. It was this "god of the grain" that allowed Baal to be reborn.

Originally, the Semitic god Hadad - also called Baal - was worshipped by Arameans who brought his worship to other parts of the Mediterranean. Early demonologists, unaware of Hadad or that "Ba`al" in the Bible referred to any number of local spirits, came to regard the term as referring to but one personage. Until archaeological digs at Ras Shamra and Ebla uncovered texts explaining the Syrian pantheon, the Baal Zebb (or Beelzebub) was frequently confused with various Semitic gods Baal, and in some Christian writings it might refer to a high-ranking devil or to Satan himself.

The Biblical and historical evidence shows that the Moabites worshiped Baal. The pre-Islamic and Muslim sources show (a) that the Meccans took over the idol Hubal from the Moabites.

[edit] Christian demonology

Baal is a Christian demon. According to Christian demonology, Baal (usually spelled "Bael" in this context; there is a possibility that the two figures aren't connected) was ranked as the first and principal king in Hell, ruling over the East. According to some authors Baal is a Duke, with sixty-six legions of demons under his command. The term "Baal" is used in various ways in the Old Testament, with the usual meaning of master, or owner. It came to sometimes mean the local pagan god of a particular people, and at the same time all of the idols of the land. It is also found in several places in the plural Baalim, or Baals (Judges 2:11, 10:10). There were many variations, such as the sun god, the god of fertility, and Beelzebub, or the "lord of flies".

During the English Puritan period, Baal was either compared to Satan or considered his main assistant. According to Francis Barrett, he has the power to make those who invoke him invisible, and to some other demonologists his power is stronger in October. According to some sources, he can make people wise, speaks hoarsely, and carries ashes in his pocket.

While his Semitic predecessor was depicted as a man or a bull, the demon Baal was in grimoire tradition said to appear in the forms of a man, cat, toad, or combinations thereof. An illustration in Collin de Plancy's 1818 book Dictionnaire Infernal rather curiously placed the heads of the three creatures onto a set of spider legs.

The idea of Baal as a demon was created when Christianity turned ancient gods into demons and demonology divided the demonic population of Hell in several hierarchies. Baal, the Semitic god, did not escape, becoming a separate entity from Beelzebub.



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