Baal-Berith was the god of the Canaanite city. His temple was destroyed when Abimelech quelled the rising of his fickle subjects (Jud. iX. 4, 46). The name denotes a form of Ba'al-worship prevailing in Israel, according to the Book of Judges (viii. 33), and particularly in Shechem (Judges ix. 4). The term "Ba'al" is shown by the equivalent "El-berith" (Judges ix. 46, R. V.) to mean "the God of the Covenant." The 'Covenant' to which this refers may refer to treaties such as one with the Canaanitic league of which Shechem was the head, or the covenant between Israel and the people of Shechem (Genesis xxxiv.). The term is considered by some to be too abstract to have been occasioned by a single set of conditions. Moreover, the temple of the god (Judges ix. 4, 46) in Shechem implies a permanent establishment. Probably the name and the cult were wide-spread and ancient (see Baalim), though it is mentioned only in connection with the affairs of Shechem.

In Rabbinical Literature

The idol Baalberith, which the Jews worshipped after the death of Gideon, was identical, according to the Rabbis, with Baal-zebub, "the ba'al of flies," the god of Ekron (II Kings i. 2). He was worshipped in the shape of a fly; and Jewish tradition states that so addicted were the Jews to his cult that they would carry an image of him in their pockets, producing it, and kissing it from time to time. Baal-zebub is called Baal-berith because such Jews might be said to make a covenant (Hebrew. "Berit") of devotion with the idol, being unwilling to part with it for a single moment (Shab. 83b; comp. also [Sanh. 63b). According to another conception, Baal-berith was an obscene article of idolatrous worship, possibly a simulacrum priapi (Yer. Shab. ix. 11d; 'Ab. Zarah iii. 43a). This is evidently based on the later significance of the word "berit," meaning circumcision.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BAAL-BERITH — (Heb. בַּעַל בְּרִית; Lord of Covenant ), the name of the deity worshiped in the earliest Israelite period at the Temple of Shechem (Judg. 9:4). That temple was destroyed in the 12th century B.C.E. by abimelech , the half Shechemite son of the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Baal-Berith — u. Baal Gad (Myth.), s.u. Baal …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Baal-berith — BAAL BERITH, war also bey den Phöniciern und andern der Gott der Bündnisse und Eidschwüre, weil Berith ein Bund heißt. Man will, daß er mit der Gottheit der Kretenser Britomartis einerley sey. S. Britomartis. Jedoch, da die Phönicier zwo… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • BAAL-BERITH — Latine dominus foederis. Iudic. c. 9. v. 4. Beryti urbis idolum facit Bochartus, quem sis consule Geogr. p. 859. Hîc filii Israel exstruxerunt Fanum Baali, ibique iurârunt, et foedus inierunt, cum Baal, ut esset ipsorum Deus. Est in Tribu Ephraim …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Baal-berith —    Covenant lord, the name of the god worshipped in Shechem after the death of Gideon (Judg. 8:33; 9:4). In 9:46 he is called simply the god Berith. The name denotes the god of the covenant into which the Israelites entered with the Canaanites,… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Baal-Berith —    ‘God of the covenant’, who presided over contracts and agreements …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Baal [1] — Baal (babyl. Bel), 1) in der phönicischen Mythologie der oberste Gott, während Baaltis od. Astarte die oberste Göttin war. B. ist die Sonne, u. als solche die durch Licht u. Wärme die Natur beherrschende Macht; bei den Sabäern der Planet Jupiter; …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Baal — Ba al (b[=a] al), n.; Heb. pl. {Baalim} ( [i^]m). [Heb. ba al lord.] 1. (Myth.) The supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations. [1913 Webster] Note: The name of this god occurs in the Old Testament and elsewhere with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Berith — This article is about Berith (or Beherit) the demon. For the black metal band see Beherit (band). For the god see Berith (god). For the item in Berserk, see Behelit In demonology, Berith is a Great Duke of Hell, powerful and terrible, and has… …   Wikipedia

  • BAAL WORSHIP — Name and Etymology The word baʿl, common Semitic for owner, master, husband, became the usual designation of the great weather god of the Western Semites. In spite of the fact that the word is used as the theophorous element in personal names,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.