Baal is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or
"lord" that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in
the Levant, cognate to Akkadian Blu. A Baalist or Baalite means a
worshipper of Baal. "Baal" 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, Baal was used commonly. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical
uses of "Baal" 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 baal
and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a false god.
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