The theophoric Name baal, on Bronze Arrowheads
Introduction to inscriptions on bronze arrowheads
A unique phenomenon that is well defined in time and place is the engraving of names and titles of private individuals on bronze arrowheads. In most cases, the text is written in fixed patterns, the words ḥṣ and /or bn, followed by the name or title of the arrow owner.
The delimitation in time is defined and expressed by the short period in which this custom was in use, from the 11th to the 12th centuries BCE.
Most of the arrows were found in robbers’ excavations and made their way to the antiquities market. Two locations from which the arrows were found are known, the village of Al Khader (west of Bethlehem) and the area of Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Arrowhead side 1: ḥṣ zkr[…]
An arrowhead with engraved letters was purchased in 1958 by Father Józef Tadeusz Milik from a collector who bought it from a farmer in the The Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. The arrowhead had letters in an ancient Phoenician writing; on one side of the arrowhead was the phrase ḥṣ zkrb[…] חצ זכרב..., this inscription was completed by the scholars as ḥṣ zkrbʾl חצ זכרבעל .
ḥṣ zkr[…] - חצ זכרב...
bn. bn. ʾn[ ] – בנ בנ ענ.
Zakarbaal - The name is known from the Story of Wenamun (ancient Egyptian papyrus) and dated roughly to 1070 BCE. The Egyptian priest Wenamun sailed on a voyage to Canaan. His goal was to bring logs of cedar trees back to Egypt in order to build a temple to the god Amun. During the journey Wenamun records his adventures in the cities and places along the Canaanite coast. He writes about the city of Dor and its inhabitants, one tribe of the see people is known by the name Tjeker (the tribe is mentioned in the reliefs and inscriptions of Ramses III). Wenamun continues his journey going north through Sidon and Byblos (gbl), the Phoenician cities of the Lebanese coast. Another name mentioned by Wenamun is Zakarbaal the king of Byblos.
Arrowhead side 2 : bn. bn. ʾn[ ]
On the other side of the arrow is written bn. bn. ʾn[t], which is interpreted as “the son of the son of Anat ”.
As noted above, the arrowhead came from the antiquity market, probably from an antiquity robber. Therefore it is impossible to tell which site or grave it was robbed from.
Other arrows with the theophoric ending Baal
ḥṣ nkbʾl - חצ נכבעל - The arrow of nkbaal
aḥ šmbʾl - אח שמבעל - the brother of Shembaal
t r ʾ/ l ת ר ע / ל -
Zkrb[ʾl] - זכרב[על]- zkerbaal
ḥṣ ʾzrbʾl - חצ עזרבעל - larrow of Ezerbaal
[b?]n adnbʾl (ב?)נ אדנבעל - the son of? Adnbaal
Appendix 1 : rkb ʾrpt as the title of the Canaanite god Baal
Baal: the god of the clouds, storms, lightning and thunder, baal is the god who waters the land, he is the powerful warrior god, brother of the yam, Anat and Ashtoret, among his many names is also the enigmatic title rkb ʾrpt - רוכב ערפות
Baal in Ugaritic text
Tablet KTU 1.10
The root ʾrpt appears in the Bible, Deuteronomy 32:2 my doctrine shall drop as the cloud of rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb
דברים לב "ב יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי, תִּזַּל כַּטַּל אִמְרָתִי, כִּשְׂעִירִם עֲלֵי-דֶשֶׁא, וְכִרְבִיבִים עֲלֵי-עֵשֶׂב. "
Deuteronomy 33:28 And Israel dwelleth in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of grain and wine; yea, his heaven is a cloud of dew.
דברים לג "כח. וַיִּשְׁכֹּן יִשְׂרָאֵל בֶּטַח בָּדָד עֵין יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-אֶרֶץ דָּגָן וְתִירוֹשׁ; אַף-שָׁמָיו, יַעַרְפוּ טָל".
Due to written above it is clear that ʾrpt = rain cloud
References to baal in the Bible
Baal was a familiar and hated idol by the authors / editors of the Bible; see Judges 6:32 Therefore on that day he was called Jerubbaal, saying: 'Let Baal contend against him, because he hath broken down his altar.
שופטים ו "לב. יִּקְרָא-לוֹ בַיּוֹם-הַהוּא, יְרֻבַּעַל לֵאמֹר: יָרֶב בּוֹ הַבַּעַל, כִּי נָתַץ אֶת-מִזְבְּחוֹ".
Gideon's name is Jerubaal ירובעל, the biblical author explains the Hebrew interpretation of this name as "he will fight with Baal". However, in Hebrew/Semitic the root yra ירה means to found, to establish, see Genesis 31:51 And Laban said to Jacob: 'Behold this heap, and behold the pillar, which I have established between me and thee.
בראשית לא "נא. וַיֹּאמֶר לָבָן, לְיַעֲקֹב: הִנֵּה הַגַּל הַזֶּה, וְהִנֵּה הַמַּצֵּבָה, אֲשֶׁר יָרִיתִי, בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ."
Therefore, The name Jerubaal ירובעל actually glorifying the baal, and it means to found / establish the god Baal.
According to the Bible, the ritual of Baal was congregating with weapons and bloodshed, as well as human sacrifices,
I Kings 18:26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon,…… 28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with swords and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them
מלכים א יח "כו. וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת-הַפָּר אֲשֶׁר-נָתַן לָהֶם, וַיַּעֲשׂוּ, וַיִּקְרְאוּ בְשֵׁם-הַבַּעַל מֵהַבֹּקֶר וְעַד-הַצָּהֳרַיִם לֵאמֹר הַבַּעַל עֲנֵנוּ……….. כח. וַיִּקְרְאוּ, בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל, וַיִּתְגֹּדְדוּ כְּמִשְׁפָּטָם, בַּחֲרָבוֹת וּבָרְמָחִים--עַד-שְׁפָךְ-דָּם, עֲלֵיהֶם."
rkb[.] ʾrpt - rider on rain cloud : as the title of the Israelite God
In a closer look at the Bible, we find the God of Israel depicted as the rider of clouds. The Hebrew equivalent to the Canaanite word ʾrpt ערפת is the word ʾrbt ערבת (the exchange of the letters "ב" and "פ" is common in the Semitic languages).
Isaiah 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD ride upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt; and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt within it.
Psalms 68:5 Sing unto God, sing praises to His name; extol Him, the rider upon the clouds, whose name is the LORD; and exult ye before Him.
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