Depictions of Baal, the Canaanite god of fertility and rain
“And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.” -1 Kings 18:26.
Baal is actually a title meaning master or lord. There was a large number of local Baals, such as Baal-zephon and Baal-hamon. Of these Baals was the “Great Baal,” or “the Rider of Clouds,” the son of El. Baal is usually depicted in ancient art to be wielding a club or a thunderbolt. Both shown figurines would have once held either of these items.
Baal worship likely included a number of rituals, such as a ritual dance which involved participants limping or hobbling around an altar, as described at the top of this post. The Bible describes human (particularly child) sacrifice as a part of Baal worship: “They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” (Jeremiah 19:5).
The 1st image of Baal shown dates to approx. 1400-1200 BC, and was found in Syria. The bronze figurine in the 2nd photo dates to the 14th-12th centuries, and was found in Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit). The 3rd artefact dates to between circa 1499 and circa 1299 BC, and was found at the acropolis in Ras Shamra-Ugarit.
The first image is © The Trustees of the British Museum, ME 134627. Both the 2nd and 3rd artefacts are courtesy of & currently located at the Louvre (AO 17330, AO 15775), and both photos are taken by Jastrow.