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|Deities of the ancient Near East|
|Religions of the ancient Near East|
Hadad (Ugaritic 𐎅𐎄𐎆 Haddu) is a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the earlier attested East Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad. Hadad was also called "Pidar", "Rapiu", "Baal-Zephon", or often simply Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Set; the Greek god Zeus; and the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus.
Hadad in Ugarit
In religious texts, Ba‘al/Hadad is the lord of the sky who governs the rain and thus the germination of plants with the power of his desire that they be fertile. He is the protector of life and growth to the agricultural people of the region. The absence of Ba‘al causes dry spells, starvation, death, and chaos. Also refers to the mountain of the west wind. The Biblical reference[clarification needed] occurs at a time when Yahweh has provided a strong east wind (cf. Exodus 14:21,22) to push back the waters of the Red or Erythrian Sea, so that the sons of Israel might cross over.
In the Ugaritic texts El, the supreme god of the pantheon, resides on Mount Lel (perhaps meaning "Night") and it is there that the assembly of the gods meet. That is perhaps the mythical cosmic mountain.
The Ba‘al cycle is fragmentary and leaves much unexplained that would have been obvious to a contemporary. In the earliest extant sections there appears to be some sort of feud between El and Ba‘al. El makes one of his sons who is called both prince Yamm ("Sea") and judge Nahar ("River") king over the gods and changes Yamm's name from yw (so spelled at that point in the text) to mdd ’il, meaning "Darling of El". El informs Yamm that in order to secure his power, Yamm will have to drive Ba‘al from his throne.
In this battle Ba‘al is somehow weakened, but the divine craftsman Kothar-wa-Khasis strikes Yamm with two magic clubs, Yamm collapses, and Ba'al finishes the fight. ‘Athtart proclaims Ba‘al's victory and salutes Ba‘al/Hadad as lrkb ‘rpt ("Rider on the Clouds"), a phrase applied by editors of modern English Bibles to Yahweh in Psalm 68.4. At ‘Athtart's urging Ba‘al "scatters" Yamm and proclaims that Yamm is dead and heat is assured.
A later passage refers to Ba‘al's victory over Lotan, the many-headed sea-dragon. Due to gaps in the text it is not known whether Lotan is another name for Yamm or a reference to another similar story. In the Mediterranean area, crops were often threatened by winds, storms, and floods from the sea, indicating why the ancients feared the fury of this cosmic being.
A palace is built for Ba‘al/Hadad with cedars from Mount Lebanon and Sirion and also from silver and from gold. In his new palace Ba‘al hosts a great feast for the other gods. When urged by Kothar-wa-Khasis, Ba’al, somewhat reluctantly, opens a window in his palace and sends forth thunder and lightning. He then invites Mot 'Death' (god of drought and underworld), another son of El, to the feast.
But Mot is insulted. The eater of human flesh and blood will not be satisfied with bread and wine. Mot threatens to break Ba‘al into pieces and swallow Ba‘al. Even Ba‘al cannot stand against Death. Gaps here make interpretation dubious. It seems that by the advice of the goddess Shapsh 'Sun', Ba‘al has intercourse with a heifer and dresses the resultant calf in his own clothes as a gift to Mot and then himself prepares to go down to the underworld in the guise of a helpless shade. News of Ba‘al's apparent death leads even El to mourn. ‘Anat, Ba‘al's sister, finds Ba‘al's corpse, presumably really the dead body of the calf, and she buries the body with a funeral feast. The god ‘Athtar is appointed to take Ba‘al's place, but he is a poor substitute. Meanwhile ‘Anat finds Mot, cleaves him with a sword, burns him with fire, and throws his remains on the field for the birds to eat. But the earth is still cracked with drought until Shapsh fetches Ba‘al back.
Seven years later Mot returns and attacks Ba‘al in a battle which ceases only when Shapsh tells Mot that El now supports Ba’al. Thereupon Mot at once surrenders to Ba‘al/Hadad and recognizes Ba‘al as king.
In Sanchuniathon's account Hadad is once called Adodos, but is mostly named Demarûs. This is a puzzling form, probably from Ugaritic dmrn, which appears in parallelism with Hadad, or possibly a Greek corruption of Hadad Ramān. Sanchuniathon's Hadad is son of Sky by a concubine who is then given to the god Dagon while she is pregnant by Sky. This appears to be an attempt to combine two accounts of Hadad's parentage, one of which is the Ugaritic tradition that Hadad was son of Dagon. The cognate Akkadian god Adad is also often called the son of Anu ("Sky"). The corresponding Hittite god Teshub is likewise son of Anu (after a fashion).
In Sanchuniathon's account, it is Sky who first fights against Pontus ("Sea"). Then Sky allies himself with Hadad. Hadad takes over the conflict but is defeated, at which point unfortunately no more is said of this matter. Sanchuniathion agrees with Ugaritic tradition in making Muth, the Ugaritic Mot, whom he also calls "Death", the son of El.
Hadad in Aram and Israel
In the second millennium BCE, the king of Yamhad, (modern Aleppo) or Halab, received a statue of Ishtar from the king of Mari, as a sign of deference, to be displayed in the temple of Hadad located in Halab Citadel. The king of Aleppo called himself The beloved of Hadad, The god "Adad" is called on a stele of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I "the god of Aleppo".
Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated the Midianites in the country of Moab, was the fourth king of Edom and Hadad was also the seventh of the twelve sons of Ishmael. The name Hadad appears in the name of Hadadezer ("Hadad-is-help"), the Aramean king defeated by David. Later Aramean kings of Damascus seem to have habitually assumed the title of Benhadad, or son of Hadad, just as a series of Egyptian monarchs are known to have been accustomed to call themselves sons of Ammon.
An example is Benhadad ("Son of Hadad"), the king of Aram whom Asa, king of Judah, employed to invade the northern kingdom, Israel, according to 1Kings 15:18. In the 9th or 8th century BCE, the name of Bar-Hadad 'Son of Hadad', king of Aram, is inscribed on his votive basalt stele dedicated to Melqart, found in Bredsh, a village north of Aleppo (National Museum, Aleppo, accession number KAI 201).
As a byname we find Aramaic rmn, Old South Arabic rmn, Hebrew rmwn, Akkadian Rammānu ("Thunderer"), presumably originally vocalized as Ramān in Aramaic and Hebrew. The Hebrew spelling rmwn with Massoretic vocalization Rimmôn (2Kings 5:18) is identical with the Hebrew word meaning 'pomegranate' and may be an intentional misspelling and parody of the original.
The word Hadad-rimmon, for which the inferior reading Hadar-rimmon is found in some manuscripts in the phrase "the mourning of (or at) Hadad-rimmon" (Zechariah 12:11), has been a subject of much discussion. According to Jerome and all the older Christian interpreters, the mourning is for something that occurred at a place called Hadad-rimmon (Maximianopolis) in the valley of Megiddo. The event alluded to was generally held to be the death of Josiah (or, as in the Targum, the death of Ahab at the hands of Hadadrimmon). But even before the discovery of the Ugaritic texts some suspected that Hadad-rimmon might be a dying god like Adonis or Tammuz, perhaps even the same as Tammuz, and the allusion could then be to mournings for Hadad such as those which usually accompanied the Adonis festivals. (Hitzig on Zechariah 12:2, Isaiah 17:8; Movers, Phonizier, 1.196).
T. K. Cheyne (Encyclopædia Biblica s.v.) pointed out that the Septuagint reads simply Rimmon, and argues that this may be a corruption of Migdon (Megiddo), in itself a corruption of Tammuz-Adon. He would render the verse, "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of the women who weep for Tammuz-Adon" (Adon means "lord").
No further evidence has come to light to resolve such speculations.
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