Thoughts for the Day

Wednesday, 8th June 2022: Elijah, Baal and Asherah

Baal Prophecy Asherah Isaiah 1 Kings 18 Prophet

Reading : Verses from 1 Kings, Chapter 18

Elijah and Baal

When King Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, 'Is it you, you troubler of Israel?' He answered, 'I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore have all Israel assemble for me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Queen Jezebel's table.'

So King Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel. Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ The people did not answer him a word.

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The prophet Elijah engages his enemies, and the whole story makes a wonderful of piece of drama, but who were these pagan gods? Well, Baal was a Canaanite and Phoenician deity and the son of the chief god El. He is often shown as a bull or ram and had associations with fertility. Baal worship sometimes included child sacrifice. This god also, apparently according to Canaanite lore, defeated El and had associations with the sun and thunder. Of all the foreign gods the Israelites came into contact with, this is the one that seemed to attract them the most. In the end Baal worship morphed into the worship of Zeus for the Greeks and eventually for the Romans.

Asherah , was the name of the chief female deity worshiped in Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan. She was often called Astarte or Ishtar. She was shown as a tree trunk planted in the ground. Because of this her places of worship were often called “groves.” Considered a moon-goddess she was often shown as the consort of Baal, and worship of her involved prostitution.

Why should we be concerned with all of this? Well evil practices don't exactly go away - they usually change slowly into something less ovbvious. We need constantly to look at ourselves and our worship to check we don't let practices creep into our lives and our worship that do not really have a place for children of the living God.


Lord God Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
You calls us to worship,
and serve only You.
May we be sure that we
only worship You,
and not the gods of this world.

Follow Up Thoughts

If you would like to learn more about Baal and Asherah worship and their influence upon the people of Isarel, look up this site:

Or, you might like to listen to the story of Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal, told as a story with pictures:

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