🔼The name Baali: Summary
- My Master
- From the verb בעל (ba'al), to be master, owner or lord.
🔼The name Baali in the Bible
The "name" Baali isn't really a name and very few members of the original audience of the Book of Hosea would have thought it was. But then, most names in the Hebrew Bible are either common words or else brief descriptions that, for the most part, were as easily recognizable as modern nicknames are to us.
The name Baali occurs in Hosea 2:16, where the Lord promises that when Israel is restored — and that is when the Word rules it, i.e. when every person's knowledge of nature is complete, correct and understood — the people will no longer call the Creator My Master (Baali) but rather My Husband (Ishi).
The difference between the two is that when a person is immature, they better do what they are told, whereas when they are mature, they can do whatever they want because they understand every situation at hand. Or to give an example: when a parent instructs a child to not play with fire, the child better do what it is told. Then, when the child is grown and wants to be a smith, she is free to do so and will be wise enough to first study fire and metallurgy and smithing and such. If a child thinks it's old enough to be a smith, and then sneaks into the local smithery and has a go at it, the chances are excellent that the child will be burned.
Of course, people are free in Christ, because it's for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). The question is therefore not whether something is permitted but whether we are in Christ or not. If not, we better do as instructed by Moses and the prophets. If so, we understand every yod and tittel of the Law and act, freely, accordingly.
🔼Etymology of the name Baali
The name Baali comes from the very common noun בעל (ba'al), meaning lord or master:
The verb בעל (ba'al) means to exercise dominion over; to own, control or be lord over. The ubiquitous noun בעל (ba'al) means lord, master and even husband, and its feminine counterpart בעלה (ba'ala) means mistress or landlady.
God is obviously called 'lord' all over the Bible and the sin of the Baal priests (1 Kings 18:40) was not that they called upon some other deity but rather their incessant howling of the word 'lord' without any further responsibility or effects (see Matthew 7:21 and 11:4-5).
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, has the general meaning of "pertaining to [the noun]." In effect it may either create an adjective (such-and-such-like), or a possessive form (my such and such).
There are no two ways about it: the name Baali means My Master or My Lord.