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April 21

Judges 1, John 18:28-40

Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:

Chapter 2:11–13. The statement that they served Baalim (vs. 11) indicates that they worshiped localized Baal deities, thus the plural form im is used. Baal was a fertility god. He was looked upon as the chief vegetation god of the Canaanites and was thought to bring productivity to crops, animals, and men. He was also associated with the occurrences of weather and was usually depicted in Canaanite carvings as holding a lightning bolt in his hand. Thus, he is also called the “god of fire,” indicating the significance of Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal (I Kgs 18). The Hebrew word ba>al means “master,” or “lord.” When the Israelites settled in Canaan, they soon discovered the local Baal deities were looked upon as the individual lords of the land. Thus, by worshiping him they were forsaking the lordship of their God for the lordship of Baal! The text also refers to their serving other gods … of the people among whom they lived. As they forsook the Lord, they … served Baal and Ashtaroth. The Hebrew ending ot is also a plural ending, indicating they worshiped localized Ashtar deities. These were multi-breasted female fertility deities, whose worship often included bizarre sexual practices. The Babylonian form of this deity was Ishtar, and the Roman form was Easter (whose fertility signs, interestingly, were a rabbit and an egg).

Jerry Falwell, exec. ed., Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, gen. eds, KJV Bible Commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, © 1994

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