🔼The name Baal-perazim: Summary
- Lord Of Breakings Through, Possessor Of Breaches
- From (1) the verb בעל (ba'al), to be lord, and (2) the verb פרץ (paras), to break or breach.
🔼The name Baal-perazim in the Bible
Provoked by the Philistines, David inquired of YHWH on what he should do, and the Lord promised him that he would give him the victory. When that happened, David named that location Baal-perazim, saying, "The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters" (2 Samuel 5:20).
The prophet Isaiah seems to refer to this battle when he says that "YHWH will rise up at as at Mount Perazim" (28:21). That the name Perazim may actually have originally belonged to a mountain, or perhaps the highest of two mountains with a prominent pass in between, is suggested by its proximity to the Valley of Rephaim, where the Philistines made their stand (2 Samuel 5:18).
Note that both in 2 Samuel 5:20 and the parallel account of 1 Chronicles 14:11, the first occurrence of our name is spelled with a maqqep (בעל־פרצים) and the second one without (בעל פרצים).
🔼Etymology of the name Baal-perazim
The name Baal-perazim 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).
Modern readers of the Bible know this word as the name of the signature idol of Canaan, but in several cases this word is applied to the Lord. The name Baal-perazim is an example of that.
The second part of our name comes from the verb פרץ (paras), meaning to break (through). It is the plural form of the noun פרץ (peres), meaning a breach:
Verb פרץ (paras) means to breach or break, whether through something, out of something or something into pieces. Noun פרץ (peres) means a breach or bursting forth.
For a meaning of the name Baal-perazim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List avoids the plural and reads the interpretive Lord Of Breaking Through. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has the paraphrastic and rather incorrect Place Of Breaches. And BDB Theological Dictionary proposes the odd Possessor Of Breaches.