The woman was a gentile (Mk 7:26-7:26)

“Now the woman

Was a gentile,

Of Syrophoenician origin.

She begged him

To cast

The demon

Out of her daughter.”

 

ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἦν Ἑλληνίς, Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει· καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτὸν ἵνα τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐκβάλῃ ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς.

 

Matthew, chapter 15:22, has something similar.  This woman was a gentile Canaanite woman (ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἦν Ἑλληνίς), of Syrophoenician origin (Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει), that is in the area of Syria and Phoenicia.  Matthew never mentioned the area she was from.  The Canaanites, who worshiped Baal, were still the enemies of the Jewish people.  This Canaanite woman kept begging Jesus (καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτὸν) to cast out the demon from her daughter (ἵνα τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐκβάλῃ ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς), since her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit.

Against the strange false idol gods (Zeph 1:4-1:6)

“I will cut off

From this place

Every remnant of Baal.

I will cut off

The name

Of the idolatrous priests.

They bow down

On the roofs

To the host

Of the heavens.

They bow down.

They swear

To Yahweh,

But also swear

To Milcom.

They have turned back

From following Yahweh.

They do not seek Yahweh.

They do not inquire of him.”

In Jerusalem and Judah, Yahweh was going to cut off every last remains of the Canaanite god Baal, a very popular Semitic god, who was in charge of fertility and storms as the lord of all.  Thus, the use of the term lord might indicate Baal as well.  Apparently, there were some idolatrous priests in Judah or Jerusalem who worshiped Baal on the roofs of their houses.  On top of that, there was the cult or worship of Milcom or Moloch.  Generally, people would offer up their children as sacrifices to Milcom or Moloch.  Thus, some people were swearing by Yahweh, but also swearing by Milcom at the same time.  In other words, they were not true monotheists.  They had turned away from Yahweh.  They were no longer seeking Yahweh or inquiring about him.

The death of Ephraim (Hos 13:1-13:1)

“When Ephraim spoke,

There was trembling.

He was exalted

In Israel.

But he incurred guilt

Through Baal.

Thus,

He died.”

People used to tremble when the territory and people of Ephraim spoke. Among the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim was exalted. However, Ephraim incurred guilt with their sacrificial altars to Baal. Thus, Ephraim, like Israel, died. This statement assumes the Assyrian capture of the northern kingdom.

The infidelity of the past (Hos 9:10-9:10)

“Like grapes

In the wilderness,

I found Israel.

Like the first fruit

On the fig tree,

In its first season,

I saw your ancestors.

But they came

To Baal-peor.

They consecrated themselves

To Baal,

A thing of shame.

They became detestable,

Like the thing they loved.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, pointed out that their ancestors were like grapes plucked in the wilderness. They were like the first fruits of the first season of a fig tree. In the wilderness, they made a covenant with Yahweh. But then, their ancestors came to Baal-peor, as mentioned in Numbers, chapter 25. There, they intermarried with the women of Moab and worshipped the Canaanite fertility god of Baal. Thus, they consecrated themselves to the shameful Baal god. They became detestable, just like this Baal god. All this happened as they entered the land of Canaan.

The fight against Baal (Hos 2:16-2:17)

“Yahweh says.

‘On that day,

You will call me.

‘My husband.’

No longer

Will you call me.

‘My Baal.’

I will remove

The names of the Baals

From her mouth.

They shall be mentioned

By name

No more.’”

Yahweh said the Israelites would no longer call out the name Baal. Actually, this term meant master or lord, a term that was used later in addressing Yahweh, the God of Israel, especially with the Greek κγριος. Yahweh was going to be the husband of Israel. Baal would be removed from the mouths of these Israelites. No longer would his name be mentioned.

The punishment for Israel (Hos 2:13-2:13)

“‘I will punish her

For the festival days

Of the Baals.

There she burned

Incense to them.

She decked herself

With her ring,

With jewelry.

She went after

Her lovers.

She forgot me.’

Says Yahweh.”

The “her” here is clearly Israel in this oracle of Yahweh. Israel had prostituted itself by running to the false idol Baal gods. Yahweh was going to punish the people of Israel, because they were burning incense to these gods on the festival days of Baal. Israel, like Gomer, decked herself out with a ring and jewelry. When she sought her idol lovers, she forgot Yahweh.

The necessities of life (Hos 2:8-2:9)

“She did not know

That it was I

Who gave her

The grain,

The wine,

The oil.

I lavished upon her

Silver,

With gold,

That they used for Baal.

Therefore,

I will take back

My grain,

In its time.

I will take back

My wine,

In its season.

I will take away

My wool,

With my flax,

That were to cover

Her nakedness.

The prophet Hosea, like Yahweh, had given Gomer, like Israel, grain, wine, and oil. Silver and gold also came from him. Then they, the Israelites, like Gomer, used these precious metals on Baal. Therefore, he was going to take back his grain and wine at the right time in the season. He also was going to take back his wool and flax that she had used as clothing to cover her naked body. It was a sign of reproach to have a naked body.

Against the Israelite mountain high places (Ezek 6:1-6:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the mountains

Of Israel!

Prophesy against them!

Say!

You mountains of Israel!

Hear the word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God

To the mountains,

To the hills,

To the ravines,

To the valleys.

I!

I myself!

Will bring a sword

Upon you.

I will destroy

Your high places.’”

The oracles or words of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, personally. He was to prophesy against the mountains of Israel. Yahweh gave him the words to say to the mountains. However, there was an extension from just the mountains to include the hills, the ravines, and even the valleys. Yahweh himself was going to bring a sword, in order to destroy all the high places, where the worship or cultic practices for the various false gods, particularly Baal, took place.

The fall of the Babylonian gods (Jer 50:2-50:2)

“Declare!

Among the nations!

Proclaim!

Set up a banner!

Proclaim!

Do not conceal it!

Say!

‘Babylon is taken!

Bel is put to shame!

Merodach is dismayed!

Her images are put to shame!

Her idols are dismayed!’”

This oracle of Yahweh says that Jeremiah should proclaim to the various nations and not conceal the fact that Babylon was taken. However, Jeremiah died in 582 BCE and Babylon was defeated in 539 BCE, over forty years after the death of Jeremiah. Previously, Jeremiah had been very favorable to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Here he was told to set up a banner that said that Babylon with its false idol gods was put to shame and dismayed, especially two Babylonian gods, Bel and Merodach. Bel was another encompassing word for master or lord as some of the Hebrew words used about Yahweh. It also had some connection to Baal in the Mesopotamian area. Merodach or Marduk was the principal god or patron of the city of Babylon. Thus these two major Babylonian gods would be put to shame and dismayed. Much the same can be found in Isaiah, chapter 46.

False worship (Jer 32:34-32:35)

“They set up

Their abominations

In the house

That bears my name.

They defiled it.

They built

The high places of Baal

In the valley

Of the son of Hinnom,

To offer up

Their sons

As well as their daughters

To Molech.

I did not command them,

It did not enter my mind

That they should do

This abomination,

Causing Judah to sin.”

The major fault of the Israelites and Judeans was their false worship. First, they defiled the Temple, the house of Yahweh, by placing these false idols in the Temple itself. Then they also built the high altars for the false god Baal. Finally, they were offering up their sons and daughters to Molech in Hinnom valley, outside Jerusalem, that later became known as Gehenna or hell. Molech was a Canaanite god that demanded child sacrifices, who was specifically mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 20. Once again, Yahweh, as in chapter 19, said that he had not commanded or had it even entered his mind to ask for child sacrifices. Clearly, this worship of false gods and sacrificing children was against the will of Yahweh.