Baalbek Temple and Human Sacrifice worship to Baal

Human Sacrifice including child Sacrifice as worship to the God Baal at the Baalbek Temple

When we turn to mythology to help understand these calamities we find some puzzling insights. The Greek writer Homer told how the mighty sky god Zeus cast thunderbolts on the earth and tumbled the walls of Troy with his earthquakes. The inhabitants of Baalbek feared Baal. This God was their name for Zeus also known as Jupiter and Amon. Humans were sacrificed in an attempt to pacify him and prevent huge destructive earthquakes. They believed by their actions they could control and manipulate the Gods.

In the mysterious tablets of Ugarit, discovered by Claude Schaeffer, Baal is the God of rain, thunder, and extraordinary bolts of lightning. The worship of Baal extended in this region to the Jews, Canaanites and the Phoenicians. But Herodotus informs us the God was also known under many other names such as Jupiter of the Romans. Zeus of the Greeks, Mazda of the Persians and Amon of the Egyptians.

Priests instructed the people that the bright sky god Baal was responsible for droughts, plagues, earthquakes and other calamities. People were often worked up into great frenzies at the prospects of displeasing Baal. In times of great turbulence human sacrifices, particularly children, were made to this father of the gods!

baalbek human sacrifice worship baal

Since the Phoenicians also were superb ship builders the religion and cults of Baal spread throughout the Mediterranean world. The cult was put down at times, but was never permanently stamped out. Kings and other royalty of the ten Biblical tribes worshiped the god. The god’s images were erected on many buildings. The religion spawned numerous priests and priestesses with their ceremonies including the burning of incense and offering burnt sacrifices, occasionally consisting of human victims. The officiating priests danced around the altars, chanting frantically and cutting themselves with knives to inspire the attention and compassion of the god. The Bible places Baal as Beelzebub, one of the fallen angels of Satan.

King Ahab was one of the most notoriously wicked king’s of the bible. Under the influence of his wife, Jezebel, Ahab built altars to Baal. In the Old Testament we read of king Heels rebuilding of Jericho wherein he sacrificed his first born son Abiram his youngest son Segub. This is an explicit reference to what are called foundational sacrifices. Common enough in the Canaan of biblical times, these rituals sacrificed humans, typically children, to the patron God of the city. The bodies of these victims were placed under the foundations or in the walls of the structure.

Human Sacrifices as worship to Baal at Baalbek Temples

Beginning with the founding of the Phoenician colony of Carthage in about 814 BC, mothers and fathers buried their children who were sacrificed to Baal. The practice was apparently distasteful even to Carthaginians, and they began to buy children for the purpose of sacrifice or even to raise servant children, instead of offering up their own. However, in times of crisis or calamity, like war, earthquakes, drought, or famine, their priests demanded the flower of their youth. Special ceremonies during extreme crisis saw up to 200 children of the most affluent and powerful families slain and tossed into the burning pyre. During the political crisis of 310 B.C., some 500 were killed. On a moonlit night, the body was placed on the arms of an effigy of Baal made of brass. The Priests lit fires that heated the effigies from its lower parts. The victims were placed on the burning hot outstretched hands. As they were burned alive they vehemently cried out. The priests beat a drum sounded flutes, lyres, and tambourines. This drowned out the cries of the anguished parents. The father could not hear the voice of his son, and his heart might not be moved.

human sacrifices baal baalbek worship ancient rituals

Then later, the remains were collected and placed in special small urns. The urns were then buried in the funerary Acropolis. Recent excavations discovered a great number of these urns, proving the accusation of child sacrifice true. The area covered by the funerary Acropolis was probably over an acre and a half by the fourth century B.C., with nine different levels of burials. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of child sacrifice also in Sardinia and Sicily. The ritual of burning was called “the act of laughing” perhaps because when the flames are consuming the body, the limbs contract and the open mouth seemed almost to be laughing. Causing a child to “pass through fire” was the standard euphemism for child sacrifice in the ancient world. The “high places” were sacrificial cults that had grown up in the countryside. Since human sacrifice was the most horrendous of the religious perversions that occurred at these shrines, the term “high places” became a synonym for shrines to Baal engaged in human sacrifice. Baalbek was just such a place.

Now, allow me to turn your attention to Nimrod as Baal was also known. It is important that you know that Nimrod incorporated into his worship system the grisly practice of human sacrifice and cannibalism. Our authority Hislop says, “the priests of Nimrod or Baal were necessarily required to eat of the human sacrifices; and thus it has come to pass that ‘Cahna-Bal’ (cahna meaning priest & Bal referring to Baal) is the established word (cannibal) in our own tongue for a devourer of human flesh.”

After the Romans finally defeated Carthage and totally destroyed the city, they engaged in post-war propaganda to make their arch enemies seem cruel and less civilized. This doubtless happened at Baalbek which was also a Phoenician city conquered by Rome. The Roman scholar Diodorus relates that in their midst stood a bronze statue of Baal its hands extended over a bronze brazier, the flames of which engulf the child. When the flames fall upon the body, the limbs contract and the open mouth seems almost to be laughing until the contracted body slips quietly into the brazier. Thus it is that the ‘grin’ is known as ‘sardonic laughter,’ since they die laughing. Such was the fear that Baal and his lightning and earthquakes inspired in the city of Baalbek. By these means they sought to pacify the sky god Baal!

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  • Fran Spear

    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly – KJV Bible, Part I, Psalms 1

    • David

      Actually the first word of the psalm, אַשְׁרֵי “ashrei” means happy or fortunate, not blessed. Blessing is associated with the root brch as in baruch, berachah, and so on. Ashrei is also found in psalm 84 at verses 5 and 13 (NB sometimes Christian and Hebrew bibles are one verse number out of sync with each other. And the word רְשָׁעִים translated as “ungodly” actually translates as “the wicked”

      • Fran Spear

        Thank you for the word etymology which I value very much. Such people as yourself, knowledgeable and kindly, are so greatly needed in these times and I count it an honor to be instructed by you. Thank you.

  • Julian Periphanesteros

    The ancient Phoenicians are known to perform human sacrifice, however this article is riddled with inaccuracies.

    The most important thing that this article has gotten wrong is that all descriptions of human sacrifice are latter day inventions, written at least 100-200 years after the discontinuation of the human sacrifices.

    Bronze statue used for sacrifices, ceremonies, rituals. musical instruments and sounds used are all unknown to us and few descriptions we have are no reliable source, since they were writen by men who never saw human sacrifices themselves, and the Phoenicians made no depictions of the sacrifices, nor have they described them, and we do have some phoenician written materials.

    Baal is roughly equal to greek term Theos, or Dios. Baal, plural Baalim, as a word alone means nothing but “lord/lords”. The god described in this article is Baal-Hammon, he is not the equivalent of Zeus but Chronos, the equivalent of Zeus is Baal-Hadad.

    The word Cannibal is derived from Spanish, originally from the Taino word Caniba, a name of an Arawak tribe.
    The historian you cite is probably Alexander Hislop, who lived during the 19th century, his work is extremely outdated. The major discoveries regarding the Phoenician customs were made during the late 20th century, especially by the italian archaeologist Sabatino Moscati.

    Diodorus Siculus has been accused of inventing the mechanical bronze statue used for human sacrifice, since he has never been to Carthage which was most likely destroyed before he was even born (his exact dates of birth and death are unknown) and neither Polybius or Livy mention this statue.

    At the time of destruction of Carthage the practice of human sacrifice has been abandoned in Phoenicia for at least 4-5 centuries. The practice only survived in phoenician colonies in parts of North Africa and Sardinia, all other phoenician colonies have discontinued this practice despite being under the rule of Carthage.

    Roman propaganda was directed mostly at Carthage only, not all of the Phoenicians in general, many of whom prospered during roman rule.
    One roman imperial dynasty, the Severans were of phoenician ethnicity, and they have constructed many new public buildings and temples in North Africa as well as in Phoenicia, especially at Baalbek.

    • Max Kennedy

      This history doesn’t negate the other, as that tribe was named by Christopher Columbus, who frequently used the Bible to name things – in fact that is where “new world” comes from, and in regards to Bible prophecy. You really need to go to original sources on Columbus to prove this point.

      Also, the old testament is filled with descriptions of baal worship, and it was not written recently….

    • Fran Spear

      I most heartily agree with you and extend your argument to say that “Zeus-type” – typing, grouping, etc, may be for the man with a computer who can whiz around the world in a second and “see” similarities: But, return to the era of a donkey ride or a horse and “see” the world in its’ separateness and distance and refuse such discourse that “groups” things.

      Perhaps the word baal is “simply” a translated word; on the other hand, the Bible states a singular god mistakenly did things it had no power to do – and that a god called Baal was Baal, so it is. Elijah spent an entire day and many pages of the Bible killing 400 of its’ priests, showing its’ lack of power – Ahaz and Jezebel were terrified. They should have been.

      The lack of power -what they think is running the show is not running the show – whatever the name they gave it and however they ran to it, “it” wasn’t in charge, did not have the power; darkness, confusion and fear reigned in the world.

      I suggest this generation relearn logic and demand it exist in every paragraph; not to “summarize” what cannot be summarized, but rather what can be enumerated as gross grappling with the “darkness” Jesus describes when he announces he brings “light”. Imagine hearing the true answer for the first time. He alone brings it and no other name under Heaven and Earth ever can.

      First you have to contemplate the true nature of the gross darkness he was talking about – street by street, city corner by city corner, grove by grove, 3 miles down another thing again and onward around the world – all in darkness and that is the only similarity that can be pronounced.

  • conor henderson

    Nimrod is not Baal completely different person, characters beings and origins both biblically/Hebrew mythos and true real non biblical world so this false godless somewhat blasphemous untrue claim is a lie from hislop who’s been completely debunked and disproven Baal not only is different than nimrod like all Gods and people in pretty every aspect but Baal is real in this world unlike nimrod and Abraham and Noah and Moses and also Baal predates nimrod by hundreds to thousands of years earlier as well as pre date all the biblical characters like Noah and even Adam and Abraham as well as Shem and ham and Cush to along with all the others in reality. Hislop was a liar and antihistorian deceiving propaganda sensationalist who like many should never been given attention ever since the truth was never with but against him. Hislop is dead and probably in hell for his lies and blasphemy against The Gods and reality and truth and I hope every person repents and destroys hislops two Babylons permanently because it is absolute lies and anti truth and against the Facts. It is not only outdated it is far more false than that there’s a lot more. Blessings

    • conor henderson

      One more thing if I haven’t already mentioned real true historians and scholars even of his day who were honest and not false agenda driven would criticize and refute and debunk hislops book as deception and purely untruthful propaganda that are against the actual facts and even propagandists of his didn’t see it the way he did and would call him wrong and a liar who made up false claims from his butt which are contrary to actual truth. Blessings people wake up.

      • Fran Spear

        As a “fundamentalist” I have to explain that I take literally the words of God as given in King James Version – but as David, below, explains and increases true knowledge by giving etymology lessons in the words of the Bible, we are indebted to true scholarship, not fake.

        The book of Nahum, small in size in the Old Testament, roars out the admonition that God is a jealous God and does not want his people to use “other names” nor worship “other gods”.

        What I have seen since 1960 is an effort for universities, etc. try to create a linking of all local gods from any given location into a “greater” linking to other local gods from other locations – lump them together and then “imply” they are worshipping the “same god”. A fertility god of Arabia – “Ka-bala” twists and contorts to Islam; Ishtar, whatever the name, wherever named becomes “lumped” into one name religion which, by implication leads the reader to think “they are all worshipping the same thing”.

        I beg to disagree with this entire method of false enlightenment – each city had a god, each local had a god, each grove had a god, the names are as numerous as the stars in the sky – different, individual, unique and held great personal attraction to those who believed in it.

        Personal worship of “it” and any understanding of committed worship is lost when the concept of a unique “it” is thrown into a vat of a number of similar gods or goddesses.

        Molech was Molech; the few names recorded in the Bible are for edification, not for summary of groups.

        The God of Abraham demands personal worship of him alone, with his identified names, no others; nor does he intend to share the limelight with 500 other lessor gods.

        Does that imply there exists these myriad “lessor gods”? – I have no idea; I just know God is God, singular, very jealous and people who dare to speak of Him and how to worship Him, should instruct people first that He alone has a name which is what he is called by and no other.

        Read Nahum and be scared; the “fear of the Lord” is missing even now in this generation, though holocausts unprecedented are held out to us daily to show us terror and error.

        • Tony_G_AZ

          Outstanding observation!

    • viasly2009

      calm down, your getting hysterical

  • Rick Mark

    An interesting thought?
    The temple of Baal in Lebanon reminds me of Kings Solomon’s Temple.
    AND…I might point out…the freemasons and Israelis are working hand in hand, to rebuild Kings Solomon’s Temple while replicas of Baal’s temple are being created. Coincident? I think not!

    • David

      freemasons?? Oh dear we don’t need that conspiratorial nonsense

      • Rick Mark

        Is the Kabbalah conspiratorial nonsence?

        • B1B

          Actually, no; it’s an esoteric and mystical form of Judaism that is not supported by Scripture. Whether or not it’s aligned with freemasonry is not important; the point is it’s false doctrine and practice whether one is an observant Jew or Bible believing Christian. The apostle Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 4: 6 tells us: “Do not go beyond what is written.”. The specific context of this verse is an exhortation to not prefer one Christian minister over another. However, I believe it can safely be applied to elevating personal, mystical experiences over the revealed Word of God. That’s not to say the Holy Spirit doesn’t sometimes tap us on the shoulder when we’re reading on Bibles and say: “Son (or daughter) check this out”. Finally, I think Kabbalah is just silly.

    • Tony_G_AZ

      All kidding aside, scripture, old and new testaments, demonstrates God’s abhorrence of worshiping make-believe gods, or worse, demons. This is a recurring theme in the Bible, one that when ignored, inevitably carried with it unfortunate repercussions. Baal was either one or the other. Superficial similarities between the Temple and structures made either for demon worship or adulation of human-created fantasies are not particularly telling, IMHO. Consistent with B1B’s opinion, the proponents of rebuilding the Temple aren’t relevant in comparing the Temple of the Children of Israel with fanciful monuments to man’s folly.

  • Tony_G_AZ

    This is a compelling reason why the God of the children of Israel abhorred worship of other “Gods.” The Bible is full of references to making children “pass through the fire.” Good thing we don’t do that anymore. All we do is abort children on the alter of personal convenience.

    • Abortion of unborn babies seems to be the worse form of making children pass through the fire of evil sacrifice.
      The alter is the body of the womb of the woman. This is worse since The Bible calls our body the temple of the living God.

    • Pamela Bridges

      With the new law in some states, the new-born child is now made available to be “sacrificed” even after birth (in some cases in order to harvest it’s organs). Horrifically, I think this may qualify as being passed through the fire.

    • Nicki Elmore

      The chemical induction of aborting a baby has been physically described as “fiery” or burning hot like fire…

      • Tony_G_AZ

        I think there’s about 2 bits worth of difference between late-term abortions and child sacrifice to Baal.

  • Ian

    I don’t worship any god and the true God would not expect anyone to bow down to them. A real god would rather see humanity be kind to each other and live by the law of the universe, that is no to harm or cheat anyone.

  • Mark

    This will be taken the wrong way, I’m sure, so let me first say that I’m a believer. My question is for personal edification in the historical context, namely to answer the age-old “if God is so great, then why did His followers cause so much death?” question. It is my hypothesis, that death existed in numbers far exceeding that “caused” (I’m sure it happened, I’ve seen data with correlation) by His followers. This article is concise and easy-to-read, but I would like quantified references documenting the actual numbers sacrificed (ballpark figures) for Baal Worship in this time period.

    • David

      It seems to me that people will argue, fight, kill, whether or not religion is involved. But the current era is probably the most peaceful in the history of the world, and it cloud be argued that this is underpinned by the notion of democracy and human rights. There’s a great book that argues this in detail, called “the better angels of our nature” by Stephen Pinker. Well worth a visit to the library

      • Mark

        Good, I’ll check it out. Thanks!

      • Peso Booher

        Not being one of those being bombed or otherwise murdered you might think so, but just because our media is controlled by the same people who are committing all these atrocities and choose not to publicize it, doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.

  • middle class

    It’s a part of the Global Power Elites Rituals.

    • Crusaders

      Thats why Bill Gates promotes it in Africa, Health is just a lame excuse.

  • sheckyshabaz

    So when Yahovah tells Israel to annihilate the Canaanites to stop this crap he’s violent, but if he does nothing and is a neutral peace loving hippie then he’s also an incentive prick? That’s what many critics of the bible would think.

    • Huldah1776

      God’s red line for every nation is legalized child sacrifice. Pre-born or post-born. The Israelites were warned that if they followed the practices of the native people the same consequence would be enforced. Consequence? Invasion and eventual conquest. Making it ILLLEGAL grants a reprieve from His justice that will still be enforced.

      “Surely at the command (mouth) of the LORD it came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also for the innocent blood which he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; AND THE LORD WOULD NOT FORGIVE.” (All caps mine) 2 Kings 24:3 & 4

  • Crusaders

    Do you still Circumcise? To produce a permanent harm on the children manhood, to produce pain and even death is the purpose of Circumcision even if is sugarcoated with lame benefits.