As the Israelites settled in the land of Canaan, clashes over religious beliefs and practices developed with other inhabitants of the land. Baalism, the belief in the Canaanite god of water and storm, became a threat to the true belief in Yahweh (Jehovah). This paper is an investigation of the implicit polemical usage of water and storm language in the Deuteronomic History (hereafter referred to as DH). The DH consists of the book of Deuteronomy as well as what is referred to in the Hebrew Bible as the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings). Many passages in the Deuteronomic corpus instructed Israel that Yahweh, not Baal, held the power over water, storm, and prosperity in the land and were thereby launching a literary attack against Baalism. This paper will proceed by first examining Baalism; then I will give a brief overview of the role of the book of Deuteronomy in the DH. Finally, I will analyze and summarize various passages in the remaining Deuteronomic corpus of Joshua–2 Kings.

Original Publication Citation

Fred E. Woods, "Who Controls the Water? Yahweh vs. Baal." FARMS Occasional Papers, no. 4, (2003): 1-12

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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FARMS Occasional Papers




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine