In Hosea 2:18, if G-d was called "Baali," does this allude to the concept that God was perceived as a bull as Baal was portrayed in Ugaritic texts?

  • Do you mean Hosea 2:15? ופקדתי עליה את ימי הבעלים – user5540 Jan 2 '15 at 0:24
  • I don't see any use of any term related to בעל in Hosea 2:16 – user5540 Jan 2 '15 at 0:25
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    I'm also unfamiliar with Ugaritic, so I apologize if I'm being misplaced, but בעלי simply means "my master". I don't know if you can make any connection with this relatively common Hebrew term. – user5540 Jan 2 '15 at 0:26
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    To answer your question though, Baal just means master. The semitic god which with God is most associated would be El, not Baal, and the similarity is only that people called the object of their worship Baal. I am not aware of any situation in which God was depicted as a bull or thought of as a bull; calling your god "master" then as now, was common in many different religions. – user5540 Jan 2 '15 at 0:41
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    You might be looking at Hoshe'a 2:18, in which "Ba'l", appears in parallel with the synonymous "Ish". – WAF Jan 2 '15 at 0:50


As WAF pointed out, the word is used synonymously in that verse with the word "אישי," "my husband," so that the word means "my husband" in context.

Rashi to that verse explains:

בעלי. לשון אדנות ומורא ורבותינו פירשו ככלה בבית חמיה ולא ככלה בבית אביה

Baali: An expression of mastership and fear. And our Rabbis (Pesachim 87a, Kethuboth 71b) explained: Like a bride in her father-in-law’s house, and not like a bride in her father’s house.

( Chabad (Judaica Press) translation )

Rashi teaches us that the word means "husband," particularly in the sense of the husband being the "man of the house," the one in control; as opposed to "Ishi/אישי," which also means "my husband," but with a different connotation:

תעבדוני מאהבה ולא מיראה אישי לשון אישות וחיבת נעורים

[...] Ishi is an expression of marriage and the love of one’s youth.

( Chabad (Judaica Press) translation )

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