Baal was a pagan god of storms and fertility, worshipped throughout the ancient Middle East because of its association with powerful forces.  Its name literally means “Owner,”  “Master,” or “Husband” in Canaanite literature,  Baal is often associated with the fertility goddess Asherah, whose sacred “Asherah poles” are mentioned numerous times in the OT.  Worship of these pagan deities involved self-mutilation, ritual prostitution and infant sacrifice.  Despite of these despicable practices, the Israelites themselves adopted Baal worship – a factor which eventually led to God’s punishment.


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