ish-bo'-sheth (ish-bosheth, "man of shame"' Iesbosthe):
Called 'eshba`al, "man of Baal" (1 Chronicles 8:33), and yishwi, "man of Yahweh" (?), perhaps for 'isheyo (1 Samuel 14:49). Compare ESHBAAL and ISHVI (the King James Version "Ishui"). We probably have the right meaning of the name in Eshbaal and Ishvi, the words Baal and Yahweh being frequently interchanged. The change to Ish-bosheth, "man of shame," in 2 Samuel, where the story of his shameful murder is related, may be better explained as reference to this (see MEPHIBOSHETH, whose name was also changed from Merib-baal for similar reasons), than to find here a suggestion of Baal-worship, but see HPN, 121, where the change is explained as a correction of the scribes, in consequence of prophetic protests.
One of the sons of Saul (1 Chronicles 8:33; 9:39; 1 Samuel 14:49) who, when his father and brothers were slain in the battle of Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:1), was proclaimed king over Israel by Abner, the captain of Saul's host, at Mahanaim (2 Samuel 2:8). Ishbosheth was 40 years old at this time and reigned over Israel 2 years (2 Samuel 2:10). Judah, however, proclaimed David its king. The consequence was war (2 Samuel 2:12). The house of David prevailed against the house of Saul (2 Samuel 3:1), but the war did not come to a close until Abner, angry on account of the rebuke he suffered from Ish-Bosheth for his unlawful intimacy with Rizpah, Saul's concubine, joined David (2 Samuel 3:6). David's condition to return to him Michal, his wife before peace could be made, was fulfilled by Ish-Bosheth (2 Samuel 3:14), but it was not until after Abner's death that Ish-Bosheth seems to have given up hopes of retaining his power (2 Samuel 4:1). The shameful murder of Ish-Bosheth by his own captains is recorded in 2 Samuel 4:5. David punished the murderers who had expected reward and buried Ish-Bosheth in the grave of Abner at Hebron (2 Samuel 4:12).
Arthur L. Breslich
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