🔼The name Baal-meon: Summary
- Lord Of The Hideout
- From (1) the verb בעל (ba'al), to be lord, and (2) the verb עון (wn), to cover or conceal.
🔼The name Baal-meon in the Bible
The name Baal-meon occurs three times in the Bible. It's the name of one of the cities which were built or fortified (and renamed) by the tribe of Reuben, which settled east of the Jordan (Numbers 32:38, 1 Chronicles 5:8). It was situated close to Nebo and Heshbon and by the time of the prophet Ezekiel, Baal-meon had apparently fallen into the hands of the Moabites (Ezekiel 25:9).
In Joshua 13:15 mention is made of a Reubenite city called Beth-baal-meon (= House of Baal-meon), which is generally assumed to be the same place. In his sermon on the destruction of Moab, Jeremiah mentions a Beth-meon in close proximity to Nebo, and scholars again assume that it's the same place (Jeremiah 48:23).
🔼Etymology of the name Baal-meon
The name Baal-meon consists of two parts. The first part is the familiar word בעל (ba'al), Baal, 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 second part of our name is as good as the same as the name Maon, and comes from the root עון (wn), meaning to conceal or hide out:
The verb ענן ('nn) appears to describe the deriving of solid theories out of hardly related observations. It's used to mean to divine, and noun ענן ('anan) means cloud (which appears like a solid object but is really a bunch of barely relating droplets).
Verb עון ('wn) probably means to conceal or cover. Nouns מעון (ma'on) and מענה (me'ona) refer to the lair, refuge or hideouts of animals, but often too to the habitation of the Creator, which is heaven. And that links this word back to the previous word meaning cloud.
For a meaning of the name Baal-meon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Lord Of Meon (Habitation) and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has a slightly askew Place Of Habitation, but explains it with "i.e. the habitation of Baal". BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name, lists it under its article on בעל (ba'al), and does not make a connection to the root עון (wn).