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!
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.
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!