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fire on Baal's altarinfantfire on Baal's altarsacrificefire on Baal's altar
Ba'al = 'Lord'
Baal priest carrying infant for sacrifice
Baal priest
carrying infant for sacrifice
with right hand raised in worship.
(5/4th century BC, Carthage)
"In his [Ahab's] days, Hiel of Bethel built Jericho;
he laid its foundations with Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates with his youngest son Segub,
according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun." (1 Kgs.16:34; Jos.6:26).

Infant-sacrifice
was a significant part of the cult of Baal, a Phoenician/Canaanite fertility god worshipped to make one prosperous.
Infant children were sacrificed to Baal as 'first-fruit' offerings, in performance of vows, and to secure prosperity. Hence Hiel's sacrifice of two of his children to secure the security and prosperity of his newly rebuilt city of Jericho.
This evil
practice continually reappeared in Israel's history, such as under king Ahab above. The prophet Jeremiah cites this practice as an example of why God would "hurl" His covenant people out of their land into captivity among foreign nations.
Baal
was god of prosperity because he controlled the weather, which is crucial in any agricultural economy. His statuettes show him with a lightening bolt as his spear.
In
the days of Ahab, Elijah therefore challenged Baal's priests at the point of their god's claim to supremacy (rain) and specifically on mount Carmel which was then known as Baal-rosh (the head of Baal).
(Note: 'Elijah' also serves as a prophetic analogy of the future 3½–year final witness against the final evil which ends in the rapture of believers).
Some of Baal's official titles were –
 
"Lord of the Heavens"
"Lord of Rain and Dew"
"Prince, Lord of the Earth"
"King of the Gods"
"He who rides on the Clouds"
and other ludicrous fabrications by its cruel priests...
The
religion of Baal is best attested archaeologically at ancient Ugarit in Syria, and at ancient Carthage, originally a colony of Phoenicia in North Africa.
 
The burnt bones of infants sacrificed to Baal were buried in urns under stone markers. Many thousands of these have been discovered in the ruins of ancient Carthage and its outlying towns. It is estimated that in ancient Carthage the ritual killing of infant children in sacrifice to Baal averaged about 2½–children per day.
These
practices, in the religion which Queen Jezebel had imported to Israel from Phoenicia and set up as official state religion, were the reason for Elijah's execution of all the priests of Baal and his consort.
And
later over the kingdom of Judah also, God speaks His judgment through Jeremiah in this regard –
See:
Abraham's 3-days of Pain
"They have built the high places of Topheth in the valley of Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire
something I did not command, nor did it enter My mind.
So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom,

but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room."

(Jeremiah 7:31-32).
  This level of corruption epitomizes the reason for God's expulsion of Israel from their land in the days of Jeremiah!  

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