(Baal; also Bar, in accord with the inability of the earlier Egyptian script to distinguish ‘l’ from ‘r’) Important West Semitic deity who is adopted into Egyptian cult at the same time and in the same context as other deities (Anat, Astarte) encountered by the Egyptians as a result of their territorial incursions into the Levant and immigration from that region into the Delta. Ba’al is depicted anthropomorphically, with long hair and a curved beard of Syrian style, wearing a conical crown with horns at its base and with a sword at his belt, or wielding a club or spear made of the cedar or pine native to Lebanon. Ba’al also wields the thunderbolt, for he is a God of the storm. Ba’al was closely associated by Egyptians with their God Seth, storms having a completely different connotation in the Egyptian bioregion, which was watered principally by the Nile’s annual flood, from that which they had in a land like Syria, which depended upon rainfall for its fertility: in Egypt, the storm was principally noted for its violence. The name Ba’al means ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’, and he is among the most important deities of Syria and Palestine, but Egyptians regard Ba’al mostly as a God of battle, particularly, as might be expected, battle waged in Syria and Palestine. He appears, however, alongside Seth in spells of exorcism (e.g., spell 23 in Borghouts), both because his general combat skills are appropriate to combating demons as well, and because the spells are thoroughly infused with Levantine elements and may have arisen among the immigrant population.

Borghouts, J. F. 1978. Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

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