God of the Week: Ba’al (Hadad)
God of the Week 11/16/09: Ba’al
Hadad, often referred to simply as Ba’al, is a Semetic god of the sky and rain. His presence fertilized the ground and his absence made it barren. Much that is known about him is from the Ugaritic texts, only recently discovered in 1929, from a long form narrative known as the Ba’al Cycle.
In it, Ba’al is depicted as being a member of El’s court, who betrays him and takes over the leadership role. This betrayal is avenged by the god Mot, who kills Ba’al. Anath, Ba’al’s consort and goddess of war, kills Mot, scatters his remains across the land, and revives Ba’al who regains his rule as a born again god. This epic was relived in a 7 year cycle. The mourning for the deceased Hadid is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, in the Book of Zechariah:
In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad Rimmon in the valley of Megiddon. – Zechariah 12:11 (ASV)
The god Ba’al is often referred to in the Hebrew Torah or Christian Old Testament, though the term Ba’al is actually a generic term for lord (much like modern Christians referring to Yahweh or Jesus of Nazareth as simply “God”), so the context of the passage needs to be used to determine the actual deity being referred to.