BAALZEBUB bāl ze’ bub (Baal-Zebub, Beelzebul)
, Lord of flies
). A Philistine god of whom Ahaziah, son of Ahab, king of Israel inquired after he had fallen from his upper room in Samaria (2 Kings 1:2
). He was evidently the god of Ekron having a considerable reputation for the king to send for a word from him. God sent Elijah to rebuke Ahaziah for this faithless act (1:3
), and punished the king by declaring that he would surely die (1:16
). The name is strange and why the god was so called is not known. Speculation has been made that he protected his worshipers from flies, or that he was a god who sent messages swiftly as a fly moves. Another possibility is that the seeming omnipresence of flies suggested an everpresent all-seeing god. That this Baal was related to the great Baal of Syria is probable.
From this name is derived the name Beelzebub (Beelzebul) in the NT (q.v.).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ba`al zebhubh = "Lord of flies"; Baal-muian: A deity worshipped by the Philistines at Ekron (2Ki 1:2,3,6,16). All that can be gathered from this one reference to him in ancient literature is that he had some fame as a god that gave oracles. Ahaziah, son of Ahab, and king of Israel, went to consult him whether he should recover of his sickness, and was therefore rebuked by Elijah, who declared that his death would be the result of this insult to Yahweh. Why he was called "lord of flies," or whether his real name has not be en corrupted and lost are matters of conjecture. See Baal (1).