"Ba‛al" 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, Ba‛al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of "Ba‛al" 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 ba‛al and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a false god.
Baʿal, (bāʾ-ʿayn-lām), is a Semitic word signifying "The Lord, master, owner (male), keeper, husband". Cognates include Standard Hebrew (Bet-Ayin-Lamed; בַּעַל / בָּעַל, Báʕal, Akkadian Bēl and Arabic بعل. The feminine form is Baʕalat (Hebrew בַּעֲלָה Baʕalah, Arabic بعلـة baʕalah) signifying "lady, mistress, owner (female), wife".
The words themselves had no exclusively religious connotation, they are a honorific title for heads of households or master craftsmen, but not for royalty. The meaning of "lord" as a member of royalty or nobility is more accurately translated as Adon in Semitic.
"Ba'al ul bayt" in modern Levantine Arabic is widely used to mean the head of the household, literally 'Master of the House' and has a somewhat jocular, semi-mocking connotation. In modern Levantine Arabic, the word Báʕal serves as an adjective describing farming that rely only on rainwater as a source of irrigation. Probably it is the last remnant of the sense of Baal the god in the minds of the people of the region. In Amharic, the Semitic word for "owner" or... [continua]
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