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BEL. The Baal of the Babylonians. The Babylonian Hymn to Bel translated from the cuneiform script reveals him as the supreme ruler, the life-giver, the god of justice, he who holds society together, controller of the elements, particularly fire (Isa.46.1; Jer.50.2; Jer.51.44). See also Baal.

BEL bĕl (בֵּל, H1155, cognate with the W Sem. Baal, meaning lord or possessor). The Sumer. equivalent of Bel was En, which was a title of Enlil, the god of wind and storm, one of the original triad of Sumer. deities. With the rise to supremacy of Babylon, its chief god Marduk (in OT Merodach) took over the attributes of Enlil, and so was given Bel as an honorific title, which gradually superseded Marduk in ordinary use. In the OT, aside from forming part of proper names, Merodach is found only in Jeremiah 50:2, but Bel is used in Isaiah 46:1, Jeremiah 50:2, 51:44, the apocryphal Bel and Epistle of Jeremiah 6:41, and as a constituent of the name Belshazzar.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

bel, bal (bel): Appellative name of a Bah god (compare BAAL), in the Old Testament and Apocrypha identified with Marduk or Merodach, the tutelary deity of Babylon (compare Isa 46:1; Jer 51:44; Baruch 6:41).

See Religion of Babylonia and Assyria.

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