Boshet means shameful or abomination.

Did his parents name him that?


In short, the question is whether that's his original name.

  • 3
    Your question may be more acceptable if you refrain from criticizing his parents, especially since you yourself question whether that was his given name. A more appropriate way of asking is: The simple meaning of boshet is shameful. Why was this part of the name of Ishboshet? Was that his given name? I suggest you wait for an answer before following with other questions.
    – YDK
    Feb 28, 2012 at 17:11
  • Well, his parent is Saul. Also what kind of parents name his son ahistophel (=boring)?
    – user4951
    Mar 9, 2012 at 11:41
  • I was wondering if Saul is a worshiper of Baal or whether during Saul era, Baal is just another name for Adonai. They both mean master/lord right?
    – user4951
    Mar 9, 2012 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


According to Divrei HaYomim 1 8:33 and Divrei Hayomim 1 9:39 his real name was Ashba'al.

ונר הוליד את קיש וקיש הוליד את שאול ושאול הוליד את יהונתן ואת מלכי שוע ואת אבינדב ואת אשבעל

The Radak explains why he is called Ish Boshes since his name ended in Ba'al it was translated to Boshes, and according to Rashi it was changed to Boshes as a deragortory to the Ba'al.

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    Things you could add to improve this answer: Verse citation and link; translation; information about who, according to the commentaries, translated or changed the name.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:32
  • As I have said in an earlier post, at times I put an answer which I later update with the pertinent information. Feb 28, 2012 at 18:41
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    According to the commentaries, who translated/changed the name? Ishboshet himself, for actual use? The author of the book of Shmuel, for literary purposes? Someone else?
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:54
  • If I knew I would put in the answer. However I have not been able to find anywhere who changed the name, I have only been able to find why it was changed. Feb 28, 2012 at 18:57
  • Yet another explanation of the "Baal" part of the name is Abarbanel's, that it means "master" or "lord"; thus, Eshbaal would mean "the lordly man," and similarly Meriv Baal (8:34 and 9:40) would mean "fighter against foreign nations, and lord of his people." Daas Soferim then suggests that those members of Shaul's family who bore "-baal" names renamed themselves "-boshes," in token of their embarrassment at the failure of his kingship and his ignominious death.
    – Alex
    Feb 28, 2012 at 19:49

Bosheth means shame. In Jewish though "shame" is a praiseworthy character trait. "Shame" means that one is "ashamed" of doing the wrong thing, this is a characteristic to strive for.

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    Indeed, one characteristic of Jews is that we're bayshanim.
    – msh210
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:05
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    I think it is more accurate to state that one can be shamed, not one is ashamed. What is one ashamed of if he has done nothing wrong? The characteristic to strive for is one of accepting shame when appropriate, not constantly walking around shamefaced for no good reason. @msh210, I believe that fulfills Bayshanim as well.
    – Seth J
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:45

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