324. The Fly God

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 10
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Baal-zebub is, literally, “the fly-god”; but whether this name was given in honor or in contempt is not known. It may have been at first a name of contempt, which afterward, by general use, lost its original significance. Some suppose this god to have been one of the medical idols of the Philistines, receiving its title from its imaginary influence over pestiferous insects which are said to infest Philistia. In Taylor’s Calmet there is a curious picture of an antique paste representing a head of Jupiter, and having the appearance of a huge fly.
Gale says: “The Phenicians styled their principal god Baal Samen, ‘the lord of heaven,’ (in the Phenician language.) The Jews called him Baal-zebub, lord of a fly.’ Scaliger supposes that the original name was Baal-zebahim, lord of sacrifices,’ contracted, by way of contempt, to Baal-zebub, lord of flies,’ that is, he could not keep flies away from his sacrifices” (Court of the Gentiles, book 2, c. 7, p. 80).