I read in Luke a spot where people, witnessing a miracle of Jesus, attribute it to Beelzebub "the chief of the devils."

The other apparent reference to that deity, in the Bible, is in 2 Kings 1. I have been researching, but there is not a great deal of information that I could find quickly on this particular deity, from reputable sources. Some places link him to Baal Hadad, but like many pagan gods, Baal pops up in various people groups and cultures, although some of the connections may be too speculative to count (one person even connected Baal to a celtic god).

It is almost a thousand years between the mention of Baal-zebub in 2 Kings and Beelzebub in Luke. I am wondering if there is any information on when worship of Baal in general faded away? I know with the merging and appropriating of gods it can be difficult to draw distinctions, but the Baal that is referenced in the Bible, particularly...was worship of that still going on in the Roman Empire and later?


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    has worship of baal truly ceased today? how would you define this point in time Apr 10, 2019 at 0:18
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    In North Africa, Baal became Romanized, Baal-Saturn. Does this count? Apr 10, 2019 at 0:56
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    See spread of Islam, which, by AD 750, conquered the whole region where Baal worship was known to exist, destroyed pagan temples, and prescribed capital punishment for idolatry.
    – Lucian
    Apr 14, 2019 at 20:24

3 Answers 3


The name "Hannibal" (the Carthaginian general) means "grace of Baal". Hannah (the Hebrew name, Phoenician is also a Semitic language) means 'grace' in the sense of 'gift from God'.

As the Carthaginians descended from Phoenicians, one may consider their religion at least as direct development of Phoenician Baal worship, even if specific details or names may have changed. They still had human and child sacrifice.

Therefore I think your question is: when did the Carthaginian religion die? I do not know, but certainly it was alive up to the end of the Punic Wars.

Another take at your question: The bible gives a few different names to the devil or various pagan idols. If the bible calls the devil, or any idol 'X', later jews or christians may use the name 'X' to refer to the devil, black magic, or any evil mysterious stuff, even the contexts don't exactly match.

So the people in the Luke passage may be using Beelzebub as one among various possible words for 'devil', not specifically referring to remnants of older Phoenician religions.


Baal means "master", "owner", "power" in Semitic languages and was a generic name for an idol. As long as there is idolatry among Semitic peoples, they would refer to idols as Baal X where X specifies the idol (a location or a heavenly body or ...)


Very likely the edict of Thessalonica in 380 AD was the very end of Baal as a religion.

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    ...or very likely not. A religion being illegal doesn't mean it stops being worshipped at once (think of catholicism under Henry VIII of England, protestantism in 16th century France, judaism in various parts of Europe, or Christianism in USSR), and the ancient Greek mythology, for instance, persisted for half a millenium after the edict of Thessalonika: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maniots#During_the_Macedonian_dynasty
    – Evargalo
    Apr 11, 2019 at 13:33

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