WHY WAS BAAL WORSHIP CONSIDERED SO OFFENSIVE?

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All forms of idolatry were forbidden in Israel (Exo 20:2-6; Lev 19:4), but Baal worship was especially popular among the people. Baal was one of the primary deities of the Canaanites. He was regarded as the god with the power to bestow or withhold fertility toboth families and farms. Baal worship was always especially tempting for the Israelites (see Numb 25:3; 1 Kings 18:18-19) because it featured ritualistic meals, sensual dancing, and male and female prostitution. This was in sharp (and alluring) contrast to the strict moral code of the Hebrews that required austerity and holiness in coming before Yahweh.

ZEPHANIAH 1:4 – I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut out off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;

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BAAL – Lord of Canaanite religion and seen in the thunderstorms, Baal was worshiped as the god who provided fertility. He proved a great temptation for Israel. “Baal” occurs in the OT as a noun meaning “lord,” owner, possessor, or husband,” as a proper noun referring to the supreme god of the Canaanites, and often as the name of a man. According to 1 Chron. 5:5 Baal was a descendant of Reuben, Jacob’s firstbron son, and the father of Beerah. Baal was sent into exile by Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria. The genealogical accounts of Saul’s family listed in 1 Chron 9:35-36 indicate that the fourth son of Jehiel was named Baal.

The noun comes from a verb that means to marry or rule over. The verb form occurs in the Hebrew text 29 times, whereas the noun occurs 166 times. The noun appears in a number of compound forms that are proper names for locations where Canaanite deities were worshiped, such as Baal-peor (Num 25:5; Deut 4:3; Ps 106:28; Hos 9:10), Baal-hermon (Judg 3:3; 1 Chron 5:23), and Baal-gad (Josh 11:17; 12:7; 13:5).

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