(ehssh-bay' uhl) Personal name meaning, “man of Baal.” Son of Saul, the first king of Israel (1 Chronicles 8:33;
1 Chronicles 9:39). In
2 Samuel 2:8 the name is Ish-bosheth, “man of shame,” apparently an intentional corruption in the Hebrew tradition to avoid the name of the Canaanite god and to characterize the person with such a name.
1 Samuel 14:49 lists Ishui or Ishvi as Saul's son, possibly another way of respelling the name to avoid Baal. In Saul's day “baal” may have been a title applied to Yahweh indicating, “He is Lord or Master.” In this case Esh-baal would mean, “the man of the Lord.” Otherwise, Saul's name for his son would seem to indicate some devotion to the Canaanite god Baal at the period in his life when he named the son. Saul's son Jonathan named his son Merib-baal. See Ish-bosheth; Ishvi; Merib-baal; Jonathan.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'ESH-BAAL'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".