Baal and Asherah
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The following is only one version of the identity/status of Baal and Asherah (Ashteroth).
Being human inventions, variations of these 'god's' identities vary over time and according to the different geographical locations.
'Baal' was the Canaanite god of rain and storm who eventually became king of gods (by defeating a god called ‘Sea’).
In Hebrew, ba'al means "lord", "master" or "husband".
Unfortunately, over time, the Israelites turned away from worshipping the true (unseen) God 'YHWH' and turned to the worship of Baal and Asherah.
In fact, their allegiance became so widespread that Baal worship became the dominant religion – those who actually worshipped the true God were but a small minority.
Baal’s sister/wife was Anat. Mot was the god of death (lover of droughts too!) who killed Baal. Anat brought Baal back to life. In doing so she slashed herself with knives to display her mourning (1 Kings 18?).
'Asherah' was worshipped as the Canaanite mother of all the gods representing life-giving and the primeval sea ('the deep'). She is sometimes mentioned as Ba'al's mother, sometimes his consort (wife) - often symbolised by a pole (erected on high places).
To destroy 'Asherah' was actually to destroy, not the goddess, but a cultic object of worship i.e. an 'Asherah pole' erected on high places as well as other cultic objects.
The videos listed just below are very helpful ... well worth watching.
(Preliminary Studies of Religion students will find this page very helpful - Religions of Ancient Origin).
Excellent; extremely helpful and instructive (Vimeo)
SPECIFIC WEBSITES TO RESEARCH
(All links tested mid-July 2013)
1. General Information
2. Baal and Asherah: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
'Baal' - New World Encylopedia BAAL
'Asherah' - New World Encyclopedia ASHERAH
Baal, Baalim (Catholic Encyclopedia) BAAL
Various Bible Dictionaries ASHERAH
3. Baal and Asherah: Other useful links
The following 4 sites are a good place for the 'beginner' to start researching :
'YOUR MUST KNOW GUIDE TO BAAL' (Marketfaith Ministries) BAAL
'Who was Baal?' (Got Questions) BAAL
'Who was Asherah / Ashtoreth?' (Got Questions) ASHERAH
'What is an Asherah pole?' (Got Questions) ASHERAH
'Historical Background of Hosea—Baal and Idolatry' by Steven Hovater BAAL
'Baalism in Canaanite Religion and Its Relation to Selected Old Testament Texts.' A study by Greg Herrick BAAL: Excellent. Includes a brief discussion on 1 Kings 18
Canaanite Religions and Baal Worship by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson BAAL and ASHERAH (Ashtoreth)
The Worship of Baal BAAL
'Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel'by David Steinberg BAAL and ASHERAH
Phoenician Canaanite Religion -- Pagan BAAL and ASHERAH
'Baal' by Alan G. Hefner BAAL
'Asherah' from Wikipedia ASHERAH
Bible.Org (do a search eg 'baal') BAAL
'Baal' from Conservapedia BAAL
'Baal and Baal Worship' from Jewish Encyclopedia BAAL
Baal - Encyclopedia BAAL
'Ba‘al Worship in the Old Testament' by Dennis Bratcher BAAL
'Baal' by Wayne Blank BAAL
Pagan Gods and Goddesses BAAL & ASHERAH
'Baalbek Temple and Human Sacrifice worship to Baal' (Ancient Destructions) BAAL
1 Kings 18 and Elijah's contest with the priests of Ba'al & Asherah
VIDEOS (as above)