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300px|thumbnail|left|Statue of Baal of Ugarit]]__NOTOC__
Among all the ancient Near East's major deities, Baal is perhaps one of the least understood. Much of the modern misunderstanding of Baal comes from passages in the Old Testament of the Bible, where the Israelites would turn from Yahweh to Baal, often with disastrous results. Part of the confusion also comes from the name “Baal,” or “Ba’al,” itself. In many of the Western Semitic languages of the Bronze Age, the word “baal” meant lord and was often used generically. Although the god Baal did become the primary deity in the pantheon of many of the Canaanite peoples and was therefore “lord” of the gods, the generic name was sometimes used to refer to other Canaanite gods, such as El and Dagan.