spelled Bel, is usually pronounced bell but both Strong in his Hebrew Dictionary, and Feyerabend in his, prefer to say bale. The word is probably the contracted form of v, commonly pronounced bay-ahl and spelled Baal, and he was worshiped by the Babylonians as their chief deity. The Greeks and Romans so considered the meaning and translated the word by Zeus and Jupiter.
Bel was one of the chief gods of the Babylonians perhaps their supreme deity, and the word has been deemed a Chaldaic form of Baal. Note Isaiah, xlvi, 1, "Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle. " Baal signifies Lord or Master and occurs several times in the Bible as a part of the names of various gods. Alone, the word applies to the sun-god, the supreme male deity of the Syro-Phoenician nations.
For an account of his worship read First Kings xviii.
With Jah and On, it has been introduced into the Royal Arch system as a representative of the Tetragrammaton, which it and the accompanying words have sometimes ignorantly been made to displace. At the session of the General Grand Chapter of the United States, in 1871, this error was corrected; and while the Tetragrammaton was declared to be the true omnific word, the other three were permitted to be retained as merely explanatory.
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