“When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king. When Baal-Hanan son of Akbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.”-Genesis 36:38-39
The many sons, grandsons, and even great grandsons who are listed in Genesis 36 are there because each one of them will go on to create a tribe named after them.
Now notice in verses 38-39 there is fellow named Baal-hanan.
Hmm, doesn’t that name “Baal” seem familiar to you?
Baal was the Canaanite name of the deified Nimrod and was the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan.
The word baal means “master” of “lord” like in the British sense of “Yes, my lord“.
The plural form is “baalim“.
In those times, Baal was essentially the fertility god responsible for bringing rain to water crops.
As different regions worshiped Baal in different ways, Baal was quite an adaptable God.
Before the Hebrews entered the Promised Land, YHVH issued a stern warning against worshiping Canaan’s gods but to no avail.
By the Book of Judges, we will see Baal-worship penetrate practically every sector of Israelite society.
God will eventually directly confront this paganism through the famed prophet Elijah.
In the NT, Yeshua is accused by the pharisees of driving out demons by the power of “Beelzebub“.
This is actually “Baal-Zebub”, a Philistine Baal offshoot.
Of course, these Baalim were nothing more than demons masquerading as gods.
Now why do we have the name Baal attached to the name of one of Esau’s sons?
It was a common practice of these ancient tribes to adopt the name of the chief god they worshiped as part of their family name.
This is just more evidence of how far Esau and descendants had descended into rebellion and idolatry in contrast with Jacob and his descendants.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Baal-Zebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Baal-Zebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”- Matthew 12:24-28
Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?-1 Corinthians 10:18-22