Ba'al Hadad

Aliases: Ishkur, Adad, Haddu
Location: Mesopotamia (Iraq), Canaan (Palestine), Ugarit (Syria), Asia Minor? (Turkey?)
Cities: Thebes
Estimated Date: 2500s B.C. - 600s A.D.

  1. He is a storm god, just like Yahweh in the older parts of the Bible

    Ba'al hurling a thunderbolt

    Ba’al Hadad inherited several aspects of the vegetation shepherd god although he is actually a storm/war god equivalent to the Babylonian Marduk, the Hurrian and Hittite Teshub, and the Greek Zeus. In the Ba’al Cycle, or Epic of Ba'al, found in Ugarit just north of Galilee and dated to 1400s -1200s B.C., Hadad is called “Rider of Clouds”, a title that is also used in Psalm 68:4 for Yahweh, a proper name typically translated as “the LORD” in most Bibles. Isaiah uses the same tempest and fire language to describe “Yahweh Sabaoth”, which is translated “LORD of Hosts” in most Bibles but is sometimes given the more appropriate translation “Yahweh of Armies” in the New Jerusalem Bible, an identification that matches with the role of the storm/war gods. Throughout all of these epic cycles of the storm/war god, the ocean is symbolically linked to ever-churning chaos and is thus identified with the enemy. The storm god acts as a national protector by smashing the sea dragon and then constructing the world from its remains, just as the king was to defeat his enemy and construct his nation from the wealth of conquest. Thus the storm god became the national war god and so was promoted to the king of heaven in growing empires over that of old Titan king, Chronos, equivalent to the Canaanite god El the Bull, known in the Bible by its plural form Elohim, which is typically translated as “God”.

    “Did I not tell Thee, O Prince Baal, Nor declare, O Rider of Clouds?”
    Sing to God, play music to his name, build a road for the Rider of the Clouds, rejoice in Yahweh, dance before him.
    “In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I called out to my God.
    From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came to his ears.
    The earth trembled and quaked,
    the foundations of the heavens[c] shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
    Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
    He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
    He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared[d] on the wings of the wind.

    He made darkness his canopy around him—
    the dark[e] rain clouds of the sky.
    Out of the brightness of his presence
    bolts of lightning blazed forth.
    The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
    He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
    The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
    at the rebuke of the Lord,
    at the blast of breath from his nostrils.
    “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
    He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
    And suddenly, in an instant, you will be visited by Yahweh Sabaoth [Yahweh of Armies] with thunder, earthquake, mighty din, hurricane, tempest, flame of devouring fire.
  2. He is subordinate to El the Bull, a relationship similar to Yahweh and Elohim in the older parts of the Bible

    Ba'al Hadad is the son of a fish god Dagon who created humans very much like Dumuzi's father Enki, but Hadad also calls the king of the gods, El the Bull, father as well. He can probably be equated with Ba'al-Zebul, or Beelzebub, the god of Ekron mentioned in 2 Kings. In the Hurrian and Hittite creation myth, Kingship in Heaven, the storm/war god Teshub takes the heavenly throne of his father Kumarbi just as Kumarbi took the throne from his own father, the heaven god Anu. The story was then repeated in the Greek creation myth, Hesiod's Theogony, where Zeus (Jupiter) took the throne from his father, the time and air god Chronos (Saturn), just as Chronos took the throne from the god of heaven, Uranus. The Hurrians identified Kumarbi with the Sumerian god of air Enlil, and in fact the description is a good symbolic description of how the Akkadian Enlil surpassed the popularity of the Sumerian Anu and then was himself surpassed by the Amorite/Babylonian storm god Bel Marduk. In the Song of Moses, a source used in the Dead Sea Scroll version of the Book of Deuteronomy, the lands are divided among the sons of Elohim with Yahweh taking the land of Israel, matching with the nationalistic character of the storm/war god. Other verses from Psalms are more henotheistic than monotheistic, focusing worship only on Yahweh while acknowledging the existance of other gods, just as all the nationalistic storm/war gods did. Later, when Yahweh became equated with El or Elohim, the bull aspect of El the Bull, represented in the Bible as the golden calf, became idolatrous.
    Think back on the days of old,
    think over the years, down the ages.
    Question your father, let him explain to you,
    your elders, and let them tell you!
    When the Most High [El Elyon] gave the nations each their heritage,
    when he partitioned out the human race,
    he assigned the boundaries of nations
    according to the number of the children of God [Elohim],
    but Yahweh's portion was his people,
    Jacob [Israel] was to be the measure of his inheritance.

    Who in the skies can compare with Yahweh? Who among the sons of god [Elohim] can rival him?
    God stands in the assembly of El; in the midst of the gods he renders judgment.
    Shame on all who serve images, who pride themselves on their idols; bow down to him, all you gods!
    The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? [Psalm 89:6] If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?
  3. He defeats a multi-headed sea dragon, just like Yahweh and the archangel Michael

    Ba'al Hadad fighting Lotan

    In the Ugartic Ba'al Cycle, Ba'al Hadad defeated the seven-headed sea dragon Lotan, just as Heracles defeated the multi-headed Hydra in his 2nd labor and a dragon Ladon guarding the golden applies of immortality from the Garden of Hesperides in his 11th labor, just as Marduk defeated the sea monster Tiamat in the Enuma Elish creation myth, just as Yahweh crushed the multi-headed sea dragon Leviathan in the books of Psalms and Isaiah, just as Michael defeated the seven-headed red dragon in the Book of Revelation. In the Enuma Elish, Marduk split apart Tiamat to create the world, parallel to the splitting of Leviathan, which symbolizes the splitting of the sea during creation, which in Genesis is a “divine wind” sweeping over the “deep,” tehom, believed by many scholars to be etymologically related to Tiamat. The Behemoth from the Book of Job is its land-based equiavalent. After Yahweh became equated Elohim and took over El the Bull's role as the king god in heaven, the archangel Michael took over Yahweh's role as the subordinate war angel who battles the seven-headed dragon, Satan.
    When you smith Lotan, the fleeing serpent,
    finish off the twisting serpent,
    the close-coiling one with seven heads...
    Yet, God, my king from the first, author of saving acts throughout the earth,
    by your power you split the sea in two, and smashed the heads of the monsters on the waters.
    You crushed Leviathan's heads, gave him as food to the wild animals.
    You released the springs and brooks, and turned primordial rivers into dry land.
    In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep [tehom], with a divine wind sweeping over the waters. God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light 'day', and darkness he called 'night'. Evening came and morning came: the first day. God said, 'Let there be a vault through the middle of the waters to divide the waters in two.' And so it was. God made the vault, and it divided the waters under the vault from the waters above the vault. God called the vault 'heaven'. Evening came and morning came: the second day.
    That day Yahweh will punish, with his unyielding sword, massive and strong, Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will kill that dragon that lives in the sea.
    See, a strong and mighty man in the Lord's service, like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like immense flood-waters overflowing, with his hand he throws them to the ground. They will be trampled underfoot, the haughty crown of Ephraim's drunkards, and the faded flower of its proud splendour sited at the head of the lush valley. Like a fig ripe before summer comes: whoever spots it forthwith picks and swallows it. That day Yahweh Sabaoth will be a crown of splendour and a proud diadem for the remnant of his people, a spirit of fair judgement for him who sits in judgement, and the strength of those who repel the assault on the gate.
    Then a second sign appeared in the sky: there was a huge red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and each of the seven heads crowned with a coronet.
  4. He and his king, El the Bull, both enjoin festivals of bread and wine where the wine is symbolically associated with blood

    Eat bread from the tables! Drink wine from the goblets! From a cup of gold, the blood of vines [or: trees]!
  5. He ascends a mountain and establishes his heavenly temple, just like Yahweh

    After a victory celebration, Ba'al Hadad climbs Mount Zaphon and erects his temple there in seven days, mirroring the week of creation in Genesis.
    And Aliyan Baal declares:
    "Hurry, let a house be built.
    Hurry, let a palace be erected!
    Hurry, let a house be built.
    Hurry, let a palace be erected
    In the midst of the heights of Saphon!

    A thousand acres the house is to comprise,
    A myriad hectares, the palace!"
    He goes to Lebabob and it's trees,
    To Syria and the choicest of it's cedars.
    Lo, Lebanon and it's trees,
    Syria and it's cedars.
    Fire is set on the house,
    Flame on the palace.
    Behold a day and a second,
    The fire eats into the house,
    The flame into the palace.
    A fifth, a sixth day,
    The fire eats into the house,
    The flame in the midst of the palace.
    Behold, on the seventh day,
    The fire departs from the house,
    The flame from the palace.
    Silver turns from blocks,
    Gold is turned from bricks.
    Aliyan Baal rejoices.
    "My house have I built of silver.
    My palace of gold have I made."
    A mountain of God, the mountain of Bashan! a haughty mountain, the mountain of Bashan! Why be envious, haughty mountains, of the mountain God has chosen for his dwelling? There God will dwell for ever. The chariots of God are thousand upon thousand; God has come from Sinai to the sanctuary. You have climbed the heights, taken captives, you have taken men as tribute, even rebels that Yahweh God might have a dwelling-place...
  6. Mot dies and rises again

    Just as Dumuzi is helped by his sister Geshtinanna and the sun god Utu (called Shamash by the Akkadians), so too is Ba'al assisted by his sister Anath and the sun goddess Shapash, and like Dumuzi, he is ultimtaely killed anyway. El the Bull, Shapash the sun goddess (the female equivalent of the Akkadian sun god Shamash), and Ba'al’s sister Anath (equivalent to Dumuzi’s sister Geshtinanna) mourns his death and he is buried. Anath takes revenge and kills Mot. El then has a dream that Ba'al is alive and Shapash descends to the netherworld and brings Hadad back. He returns to his throne, confronts a resurrected Mot, but this time with El favoring Ba'al, Shapash manages to scare Mot away.
    Baal was found dead there in the fields of Shechelmemet, in the land of Deber. The news reaches the ears of El, Father of Shunem:...

    For clothing She [Anath] is covered with a doubled cloak.
    The mountain in mourning She roams.
    In grief, through the forest.
    She cuts cheek and chin.
    She lacerates Her forearms.
    She plows lake a garden Her chest,
    Like a vale She lacerates the back.
    "Baal is dead!
    Woe to the people of Dagon's son!
    Woe to the multitudes of Athar-Baal!
    Let us go down into the earth."
    The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, hearkens.
    She lifts Aliyan Baal,
    On the shoulders of Anath She places Him,
    She raises Him into the heights of Saphon.
    She weeps for Him and buries Him.
    She puts Him in the grave of the Gods of the earth...
    Shapash descends into the underworld. She enters the relm of Sheol. Upon Her return to the world above, She carries Great Baal with Her.
    ...Blessed be the Lord day after day, he carries us along, God our Saviour. This God of ours is a God who saves; from Lord Yahweh comes escape from death; but God smashes the head of his enemies, the long-haired skull of the prowling criminal. The Lord has said, 'I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea, so that you may bathe your feet in blood, and the tongues of your dogs feast on your enemies.' Your processions, God, are for all to see, the processions of my God, of my king, to the sanctuary; singers ahead, musicians behind, in the middle come girls, beating their drums. In choirs they bless God, Yahweh, since the foundation of Israel. Benjamin was there, the youngest in front, the princes of Judah in bright-coloured robes, the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali. Take command, my God, as befits your power, the power, God, which you have wielded for us, from your temple high above Jerusalem. Kings will come to you bearing tribute. Rebuke the Beast of the Reeds, that herd of bulls, that people of calves, who bow down with ingots of silver. Scatter the people who delight in war. From Egypt nobles will come, Ethiopia will stretch out its hands to God. Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, play for the Rider of the Heavens, the primeval heavens.
  7. His sister is called a virgin and she was worshipped in conjunction with Yahweh

    The Elephantine Papyri describes a goddess named Anat-Yahu as one of two goddesses worshipped at the Jewish Temple on the Egyptian Island, and yet these ancient Jews still sent letters to Judah for advice on how to celebrate Passover as authorized by the Persian king Darius. The combination of Anat with Yahweh is paralleled by a similar reference in a seventh century B.C. treaty between Tyre and Assyria to a goddess named Anat-Bethel, where Bethel, meaning “House of El”, almsot certainly linked to the city of Bethel, one of two cities that king Jeroboam (II) constructed the two golden calves for El the Bull that inspired the golden calf story in the story of Moses and Aaron. In the Baal Cycle, Anat is also referred to repeatedly as virgin, although this title may not be completely literal as some interpretations of the myth make her out to be the lover of Ba'al. The Bible repeatedly describes the goddess Asherah as the Queen of Heaven worshipped by Judaean women alongside Yahweh. In the Ba'al Cycle, Ba'al goes to fight the sea god Yahm to stop Asherah from having to give herself to him, although Ba'al later fights her son Mavet.

    Yea the going of the Virgin Anath,
    The tread of the Progenitress of Heroes.
  8. David and his companion Jonathan name their sons after his title, Ba'al

    Both David and Jonathan have sons with the name Ba'al added into them, as was common, such as the name Elijah, which in Hebrew means “El is Yah[weh]”. In 1 Chronicles, one of David's son is named Beeliada, meaning “Ba'al knows”, and Jonathan's son is named Merib-Ba'al, meaning “contender with Ba'al”. This was obviously embarassing to the Yahwist author or editor of 2 Samuel because in it, David's son, the cognomen Ba'al was changed to El to become Eliada, and Jonathan's son's name was changed to Mephibosheth, following a long Biblical tradition of exchanging the name Ba'al, meaning “lord”/“husband”, with bosheth, meaning “shame”. The Ba'als were gods of war who founded state dynasties, which fits in well with David's warrior-king background of founding the kingdom of Judah. Another one of his sons is named Adonijah, meaning “Adoni Yah[weh]”, where “Adoni”, like “Ba'al” means “Lord”, a term used in the Bible for human superiors or angels and equivalnet to the Greek name Adonis, whereas the plural form “Adonai” is read out loud in Jewish tradition in place of the divine name Yahweh. Another son, Daniel, means “Judge El”, which fits the description portrayed in the Ba'al Cycle of El the Bull sitting in heaven making judgements but not taking any direct action himself, just like the other gods of heaven, An, Anu and Uranus. Thus, all four names point to the idea that during the time of Davidic Psalms, Yahweh as the younger, active, storm/war god of the nation-state and El, the older, inactive, judging god of the heavens.
  9. David dances naked before the Ark of the Covenant similar to Dionysian fertility rites and the Biblical description of golden calf worship

    2 Samuel 6 describes David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant “with all his might”, leaping about, passing out bread and cakes, and then got naked with his handmaidens, for which he is criticized by his wife for dishonoring himself in that way, to which David replies that while he may dishonor himself, he was honoring Yahweh and the handmaidens would honor him, and if by what David meant by that is not entirely clear, it then says his wife did not have any children by David. The nakedness, the wild leaping, the cakes (to the Queen of Heaven?), the multiple sex partners and the sexualization of religion is very similar to the Dionysus-worshipping Baccanal festivals as well as the wild, licentious golden calf festival instigated by Moses' so-called brother, the high priest Aaron, who fashioned the golden calf himself yet did not suffer any consequences when Moses sent his Levite priests to take vengence for Yahweh by killing them by the thousands. As Frank Moore Cross and Richard Elliot Friendman have pointed out, this is explained by the fact that the Aaronid priests originally came from Israel, where king Jeroboam (II) had golden calf idols set up in Bethel and Dan, so they themselves were originally priests of El the Bull, so Aaron could not be punished because he was still respected by the former worshippers of El the Bull, while the Levitical priests who honored Moses violently demanded that the Aaronid priests' wild fertility festivals be put to end. According to Friedman, 2 Samuel was authored mostly by the Yahwist, the very pro-David source author named “J”, who also wrote most of Genesis and depicted Yahweh as an active human-like god like Ba'al rather than the Heavenly Judge portrayed by the other authors, and the fact that Friedman's reading of the J source ends in 1 Kings with the high priest Zadok taking over the Temple makes it likely the author himself was a Zadokite priest whose Jerusalem priesthood predated David (or Joshua) conquering it, as proven by such Jerusalem king names as Melchi-Zedek and Adoni-Zedek. The Essenes likewise held on to the hope that the original Zadokite priesthood and showed an aocalyptic zeal for the return of their messianic Teacher of Righteousness.
    And David danced before the LORD [Yahweh] with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts [Yahweh of Armies]. And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
    And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
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The Dying-and-Rising Gods

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