(Baʹal-beʹrith) [Owner of a Covenant; once, at Jg 9:46, El-berith, God of a Covenant].
The Baal of Shechem, whom the Israelites began worshiping after the death of Judge Gideon. (Jg 8:33) The designation “Baal-berith” may denote that this particular Baal was believed to watch the keeping of covenants.
A kind of treasury was evidently attached to the house or temple of Baal-berith at Shechem. (Jg 9:4) In connection with the grape harvest, the Shechemites apparently held a festival in honor of Baal-berith, climaxed by a kind of sacrificial meal in the temple of their god. It was in the temple of Baal-berith on the occasion of their eating and drinking and cursing Abimelech, likely under the influence of wine, that Gaal incited the Shechemites to revolt against King Abimelech. (Jg 9:27-29) Later, when threatened by Abimelech, the landowners of the tower of Shechem (Migdal-Shechem, AT) sought refuge in the vault of the house of El-berith (Baal-berith), only to perish in the conflagration when Abimelech and his men set the vault on fire.—Jg 9:46-49.