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Baal-zephon meaning

בעל צפון
בעל צפן
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🔼The name Baal-zephon in the Bible

The name Baal-zephon is associated to the place where Israel crossed the Sea of Reeds, near Pi-hahiroth and Migdol (Exodus 14:2 and 14:9, spelled בעל צפן). At some early point in their wanderings, Moses led Israel back to Baal-zephon (Numbers 33:7, spelled בעל צפון).

It's not clear whether Baal-zephon is a city or a center of worship of a god named such. The wording is peculiar and seems to favor the idol perspective. In their treatment of the root-verb צפן, BDB Theological Dictionary carefully submits that our name is "perhaps" the name of a deity, but does not elaborate. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) is more confident and declares Zephon to be the same as the Egyptian god Typhon, better known as Set.

Note that for undisclosed reasons, the name of Gad's son Ziphion evolved into Zephon.

🔼Etymology of the name Baal-zephon

The name Baal-zephon consists of two parts. The first part is the familiar word בעל (ba'al), Baal, meaning lord or master:

The second part of the name Baal-zephon — the way it is transliterated (or perhaps translated) — shows a close resemblance of the common Hebrew noun צפון (sapon), meaning north:

🔼Baal-zephon meaning

For a meaning of the name Baal-zephon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the secondary meaning of צפון as indicated by BDB Theological Dictionary, and reads Lord Of Darkness. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names: Lord Of The North, or Place Of Typhon. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name.

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