🔼The name Baalah: Summary
- From the verb בעל (ba'al), to be lord.
🔼The name Baalah in the Bible
There is an indefinite number of towns and one mountain named Baalah in the Bible:
- A town in Judah (Joshua 15:9) with pretty much a different name every time it gets mentioned. It's also called Kiriath-jearim (Joshua 15:9), and Kiriath-jearim is equated with Kiriath-baal (Joshua 15:60). In Joshua 19:3 a town named בלה (Balah) is mentioned in the territory of Simeon. Simeon's inheritance was situated within the territory of Judah and the two towns are supposedly the same. In 1 Chronicles 4:29 a place named בלהה (Bilhah) is mentioned in Simeon, and that's probably yet another name for the same town. In 2 Samuel 6:2 we read about בעלי יהודה (Baale-judah), which is probably again the same town.
- A mountain close to one of the places called Baalah (Joshua 15:11).
🔼Etymology of the name Baalah
The name Baalah is the same as the feminine noun meaning mistress:
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).
For a meaning of the name Baalah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Mistress and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Lady or Mistress. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name but does confirm that it is identical to the noun בלעה (ba'ala).