AZZUR (az'zur), (Heb. az-zoor', helper).
1. One of those who signed the covenant (B. C. 445) with Nehemiah (Neh. x:17). It is probably a family name and in Hebrew is the same as Azur.
2. Father of Hananiah of Gibeon (B. C. 596), who was a prophet in the time of Zedekiah (Jer. xxviii:r).
3. Father of Jaazaniah (B. C. 593). The latter was one of the leaders of the people whom the prophet, in a vision, saw devising false schemes for Jerusalem (Ezek. xi :i).
BAAL (ba'al), (Heb. bah'al, lord, possess or), is a generic term for ,cod in many of the Syro Arabian languages. As the idolatrous nations of that race had several gods, this word, by means of some accessory distinction, became applicable as a name to many different deities. There is no evidence, however, that the Israelites ever called Jehovah by the name of Baal; for the passage in Hos. ii:t6, which has been cited as such, only con tains the word boat as the sterner, less affection ate representative of husband.
(1) Ho Baal, with the nite article, Judg. ii:13; Sept. Gr. O Bda X, the masculine Baal, but also i) BdaX, the/emir/Me Baal, Jer. xix:5; xxxii:35; Rom. xi:4, is appropriated to the chief male divinity of the Phoenicians, the pal seat of whose ship was at Tyre. The idolatrous Israelites adopted the worship of this god (almost always in conjunction with that of Ashtoreth) in the e period of the Judges ( Judg. ii:i3); they con tinued it in the reigns of Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah (2 Chiron. XXVIii:2; 2 Kings xxi:3); and among the kings of Israel, especially in the reign of Ahab, who, partly through the influence of his wife, the daughter of the Sidonian king Ethhaal, appears to have made a systematic at tempt to suppress the worship of God altogether, and to substitute that of Baal in its stead (t Kings xvi:3t); and in that of Hoshea (2 Kings xvii:16), although Jehu and Jehoiada once severally des troyed the temples and priesthood of the idol (2 Kings, x:18, sq.; xi:18).
We read of altars, images and temples erected to Baal It Kings XVI•32; 2 Kings iii:2). The attars were generally on heights, as the summits of hills or the roofs of houses (Jer. xix :5; xxxii:29). Ilis priesthood was a very numerous body (I Kings xviii:to), and was divided into the two classes of prophets and of priests (unless the term 'servants,' which comes between those words, may denote a third order a kind of Levites (2 Kings x:to). As
to the rites by which he was worshiped, there is most frequent mention of incense being offered to him (2 Kings xxiii:5), but also of bullocks being sacrificed Kings xviii:26), and even of children, as to Moloch (Jer. xix:5). According to the de scription in t Kings xviii, the priests, during the sacrifice, danced (or, in the sarcastic expression of the original, limped) about the altar, and, when their prayers were not answered, cut themselves with knives until the blood flowed, like the priests of Bel Iona (Lucas. Pbarsal. i:565; Tertull. ///o/o get. ix; Lactant. Div./raid. i:211. We also read of homage paid to him by bowing the knee, and by kissing his image It Kings xixitS; Comp. Cicero, In :13), and that his worshipers used to swear by his name tier. xii.16).
As to the power of nature which was adored un der the form of the Tyrian Baal, many of the pas sages above cited show evidently that it was one of the heavenly bodies; or, if we admit that re semblance between the Babylonian and Persian religions which Mtinter assumes, not one of the heavenly bodies really, hut the astral sfiirit resid ing in one of them; and the same line of induction as that which is pursued in the case of Ashtoreth, his female counterpart, leads to the conclusion that it was the sun.
In a certain sense every argument which goes to show that Ashtoreth was the moon is also, on account of the close conjunction between her and Baal, as valid a reason [or Baal being the sun; for the two gods are such exact correlates that the discovery of the true meaning of the one would lead, by the force of analogy, to that of the other. Nevertheless, as has been already observed in the article AsturoaETti, it must be admitted that the as trological view did subsequently prevail, and that the planets Jupiter and Venus became mysterious ly connected with some modification of the same powers which were primarily worshiped under the cosmogonical ideas of Bel and Mylitta, sun and moon. This relation between Baal and the planet Jupiter is noticed in the article Gad. For the re ation between Baal and Moloch, and that between Baal and Melkarth,the Tyrian Hercules, see Ni0 LECH and HERAKLES.