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God of Weather, Hurricanes, Storms, Thunder and Rain
Assyrian soldiers carrying a statue of Adad
|Symbol||Thunderbolt, Bull, Lion|
|Parents||Nanna or Sin and Ningal|
|Children||Gibil or Gerra|
|Deities of the ancient Near East|
|Religions of the ancient Near East|
Hadad (Ugaritic: 𐎅𐎄 Haddu), Adad, Haddad (Akkadian: 𒀭𒅎) or Iškur (Sumerian) was the storm and rain god in the Canaanite and ancient Mesopotamian religions. He was attested in Ebla as "Hadda" in c. 2500 BCE. From the Levant, Hadad was introduced to Mesopotamia by the Amorites, where he became known as the Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad. Adad and Iškur are usually written with the logogram 𒀭𒅎 dIM—the same symbol used for the Hurrian god Teshub. 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 Greek god Zeus; the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus; the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Amun.
Adad in Akkad and Sumer
In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Rammanu ("Thunderer") cognate with Aramaic: רעמא Raˁmā and Hebrew: רַעַם Raˁam, which was a byname of Hadad. Rammanu was formerly incorrectly taken by many scholars to be an independent Akkadian god later identified with Hadad.
Though originating in northern Mesopotamia, Adad was identified by the same Sumerogram dIM that designated Iškur in the south. His worship became widespread in Mesopotamia after the First Babylonian dynasty. A text dating from the reign of Ur-Ninurta characterizes Adad/Iškur as both threatening in his stormy rage and generally life-giving and benevolent.
The form Iškur appears in the list of gods found at Shuruppak but was of far less importance, probably partly because storms and rain were scarce in Sumer and agriculture there depended on irrigation instead. The gods Enlil and Ninurta also had storm god features that decreased Iškur's distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.
When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as "great radiant bull, your name is heaven" and also called son of Anu, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.
The bull was portrayed as Adad/Iškur's sacred animal starting in the Old Babylonian period (the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE).
Adad/Iškur's consort (both in early Sumerian and the much later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagānu. She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil (named Gerra in Akkadian) is sometimes the son of Iškur and Shala.
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He is identified with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub, whom the Mitannians designated with the same Sumerogram dIM. Occasionally Adad/Iškur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites.
The Babylonian center of Adad/Iškur's cult was Karkara in the south, his chief temple being É.Kar.kar.a; his spouse Shala was worshipped in a temple named É.Dur.ku. In Assyria, Adad was developed along with his warrior aspect. During the Middle Assyrian Empire, from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is often associated with Adad in invocations. The name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames (Dadu, Bir, Dadda) are often found in the names of the Assyrian kings.
Adad/Iškur presents two aspects in the hymns, incantations, and votive inscriptions. On the one hand he is the god who, through bringing on the rain in due season, causes the land to become fertile, and, on the other hand, the storms that he sends out bring havoc and destruction. He is pictured on monuments and cylinder seals (sometimes with a horned helmet) with the lightning and the thunderbolt (sometimes in the form of a spear), and in the hymns the sombre aspects of the god on the whole predominate. His association with the sun-god, Shamash, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity.
According to Alberto Green, descriptions of Adad starting in the Kassite period and in the region of Mari emphasize his destructive, stormy character and his role as a fearsome warrior deity, in contrast to Iškur's more peaceful and pastoral character.
Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general. Whether the will of the gods is determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it is Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, are invariably invoked. Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles are referred to, Shamash and Adad are always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances is bele biri ("lords of divination").
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 to determine fertility. 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 children of Israel might cross over.
In texts from Ugarit, 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 Baal 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.
Hadad in Aram and ancient Israel
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In the second millennium BCE, the king of Yamhad or Halab (modern Aleppo) 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 is called "the god of Aleppo" on a stele of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I.
The element Hadad appears in a number of theophoric names borne by kings of the region. Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated the Midianites in the country of Moab, was the fourth king of Edom. Hadadezer ("Hadad-is-help"), the Aramean king defeated by David. Later Aramean kings of Damascus seem to have habitually assumed the title of Ben-Hadad, 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 Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram whom Asa, king of Judah, is said to have employed to invade the northern kingdom, Israel. In the 9th or 8th century BCE, the name of Ben-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. A Hadad was also the seventh of the twelve sons of Ishmael.
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 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", 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-and-rising 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. T. K. Cheyne 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.
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 the Bible
The Ba’al Cycle, also known as the Epic of Baal, is a collection of stories about the god Baal from the Canaanite area who is also referred to as Hadad, the storm-god. This collection of stories is dated between 1400-1200 B.C. and was found in Ugarit which is an ancient city north of Galilee.32 The Epic of Baal has stories about Hadad that relate him to the many different names for the god of the Israelites, the god people who practice Christianity believe created the universe, in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of Christian scriptures consisting of the Old and New Testament. Therefore, there is a parallel between the god of the Israelites and Hadad in the Bible and the Epic of Baal. In the Epic of Baal, Hadad is referred to as the “Rider of Clouds”32 in the stories which correlates with Psalm 68:4 in the Bible, “Sing to God, play music to his name, build a road for the Rider of the Clouds, rejoice in Yahweh, dance before him” where the god of the Israelites is referred to as the “Rider of the Clouds” as well.
There are many stories that coincide with each other in the Epic of Baal and the Bible. The golden calf story was when the Israelites worshipped a false god in the shape of a golden calf and they called it “El the Bull” which represented Elohim, which is another name for the god of the Israelites in the Hebrew language.35 Hadad is associated many times with a bull which shows the relationship between the god of the Israelites and Hadad to both of their worshippers. Hadad is characterized and seen as a god who has the same power and authority that the god of the Israelites holds in Christianity. Another story that can be compared is the Creation story in the Bible, where the god of the Israelites created the world in seven days and the story in the Epic of Baal, where Hadad built his temple in seven days on top of a mountain where he was able to portray his dominance to his worshippers.
Hadad and the god of the Israelites do not possess the same qualities in these books, but Hadad’s worshippers relate him to the god of the Israelites from Christiantiy because they see many similarities between the two. In the Semitic language, Baal means “lord” or “god”31 so that shows the correlation between the two gods in each of their sacred texts, the god of the Israelites and Hadad, who is also called Baal. There are some books in the Bible that prove there was competition between the worship of Yahweh, which is the name god of the Israelites is referred to in Judaism36, and Baal or Hadad. In these accounts, the god of the Israelites, Elohim, and Yaweh are closely related to Hadad because they tend to show a lot of the same characteristics and have some of the same authority in each of their various religions.
There are a variety of names for the god of the Israelites in the same way that Hadad is known by various names. Different religious groups and languages use these names as they refer to their gods. The god of the Israelites is known as El, Elohim, and Yahweh. They are distinctive of the religion that the specific group practices. Hadad is known as Baal, Adad, and Iskur. They all mean the same thing in context, but they are used throughout various languages and religious groups based on the religion a person practices. Hadad and the god of the Israelites are similar in many ways including their variety of names, their stories in each of their respective sacred texts, and the power they hold over their followers.
- Sarah Iles Johnston (2004). Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. p. 173. ISBN 9780674015173.
- Spencer L. Allen (5 March 2015). The Splintered Divine: A Study of Istar, Baal, and Yahweh Divine Names and Divine Multiplicity in the Ancient Near East. p. 10. ISBN 9781614512363.
- Albert T. Clay (1 May 2007). The Origin of Biblical Traditions: Hebrew Legends in Babylonia and Israel. p. 50. ISBN 9781597527187.
- Theophilus G. Pinches (1908). The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. p. 15. ISBN 9781465546708.
- Joseph Eddy Fontenrose (1959). Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins. p. 157. ISBN 9780520040915.
- Green (2003), p. 166.
- ORACC – Iškur/Adad (god)
- Green (2003), p. 130.
- Gibson, John C. (1 April 1978). Canaanite Myths and Legends. T&T Clark. p. 208. ISBN 978-0567080899.
- Sacred bull, holy cow: a cultural study of civilization's most important animal. By Donald K. Sharpes –Page 27
- Studies in Biblical and Semitic Symbolism - Page 63. By Maurice H. Farbridge
- Academic Dictionary Of Mythology - Page 126. By Ramesh Chopra
- The New Encyclopædia Britannica: Micropædia. By Encyclopædia Britannica, inc – Page 605
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- Green (2003), p. 54.
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- Green (2003), pp. 18-24.
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- Trevor Bryce (March 2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 111. ISBN 9780199646678.
- Ulf Oldenburg. The Conflict Between El and Ba'al in Canaanite Religion. p. 67.
- 1Kings 15:18
- National Museum, Aleppo, accession number KAI 201.
- 2Kings 5:18
- Zechariah 12:11
- Hitzig on Zechariah 12:2, Isaiah 17:8; Movers, Phonizier, 1.196.
- T. K. Cheyne (1903), Encyclopædia Biblica IV "Rimmon".
- Oldenburg, Ulf. The conflict between El and Baʿal in Canaanite religion. Brill Archive. pp. 59–. GGKEY:NN7C21Q6FFA. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
30. ^Baal-Hadad, www.angelfire.com/planet/mythguide/baal_hadad.html. 31. ^Gilad, Elon. “When the Jews Believed in Other god of the Israelitess.” Haaretz.com, 26 July 2018, www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium.MAGAZINE-when-the-jews-believed-in-other-god of the Israelitess-1.6315810. 32. ^Q, Jeff. “Ba'al Hadad.” The Dying-and-Rising god of the Israelitess: Ba'al Hadad, https://lost-history.com/baal_hadad.php 33. ^“Baal Cycle.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Nov. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baal_Cycle 34. ^“Hadad.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Jan. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadad. 35. ^“Names of god of the Israelites.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Apr. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_god of the Israelites. 36. ^“Yahweh.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Apr. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Adad". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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- Jewish Encyclopedia
- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- Online text: The Epic of Ba'al (Hadad)
- Kadash Kinahu: Complete Directory
- Gateways to Babylon: Adad/Rimon
- Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses: Iškur/Adad (god)
- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- Mesopotamian Gods: Adad (Ishkur)
- Stela with the storm god Adad brandishing thunderbolts