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Baal

Incense and sacrifice were offered to Baal (Jer.7.9)—even human sacrifice (Jer.19.5), but the worship of Baal was chiefly marked by fertility rites. The main function of Baal was thought to be to make land, animals, and people fertile. To prompt the god to perform these functions, worshipers themselves performed human sexual acts of fertility, and the Baal shrines were staffed with male and female attendants for this purpose. They were called gedeshim and gedeshoth, “holy men” and “holy women,” not because they were morally holy but because they were wholly “separated” to the service of their god. The same function of prompting Baal to do what is sought from him is seen in 1Kgs.18.26, 1Kgs.18.28. The priests desired fire from heaven and tried to represent this by making blood pour down their bodies, hoping that Baal might see and perform a similar action himself. In early years the title Baal seems to have been used for the Lord (Yahweh). When the Lord’s people came into Canaan, t