The meaning of Ashamed in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
a-shamd': Almost exclusively moral in significance; confusion or abashment through consciousness of guilt or of its exposure. Often including also a sense of terror or fear because of the disgrace connected with the performance of some action. Capacity for shame indicates that moral sense (conscience) is not extinct. "Ashamed" occurs 96 out of 118 times in the Old Testament. Hebrew bosh, "to feel shame" (Latin, pudere), with derivatives occurs 80 times; kalam, "to shame," including the thought of "disgrace," "reproach"; chapher, "to blush": hence shame because of frustrated plans (uniformly in the Revised Version (British and American) "confounded"); Greek aischunomai, "suffused with shame," passive only and its compounds. Uses: (1) A few times, of actual embarrassment, as of Hazael before the steadfast look of Elisha (II Kings 8:11; see also II Samuel 10:5; II Kings 2:17; Ezra 8:22). (2) Innocence not capable of shame: "both naked .... and .... not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25; see SHAME); the redeemed no occasion for (Psalms 34:5 the King James Version; I John 2:28); Christ not of "brethren" (Hebrews 2:11); nor Christian of gospel (Romans 1:16); nor God of men of faith (Hebrews 11:16); nor they who trust in God (Isaiah 50:7; Isaiah 54:4; Joel 2:26). (3) Sense of guilt: "I am ashamed .... for our iniquities" (Ezra 9:6); "of thy lewd way" (Ezekiel 16:27, Ezekiel 16:61); ascribed to idolaters chagrined at worthlessness of idols (Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 44:9, Isaiah 44:11; Isaiah 45:16; Jeremiah 2:26); to enemies (Psalms 6:10); to wicked (Psalms 31:17); to all who forsake God (Jeremiah 17:13); to those who trust in human help, as Israel of Egypt and Assyria, and Moab of Chemosh (Jeremiah 2:36; Jeremiah 48:13); to a mother of wicked children (Jeremiah 50:12). (4) Repentance causes shame for sin (Jeremiah 31:19; Romans 6:21). (5) Calamities also, and judgments (Jeremiah 14:3-4; Jeremiah 15:9; Jeremiah 20:11). (6) Capacity for shame may be lost through long-continued sin (Jeremiah 6:15; Jeremiah 8:12; compare Jeremiah 3:3), exceptionally striking passages on the deadening power of immorality, suggestive of I Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15. (7) The grace of Christ delivers from the shame of moral timidity (Romans 1:16; II Timothy 1:8, II Timothy 1:12, II Timothy 1:16; I Peter 4:16). (8) At Christ's second coming His followers will "not be ashamed before him" (I John 2:28); at the final judgment He will be ashamed of all who have been ashamed of Him (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; compare Matthew 10:33; Hebrews 11:16). (9) The word lends itself to rich poetic use, e.g. Lebanon, with faded and falling foliage, "is ashamed" (the Revised Version (British and American) "confounded") at the desolations of the land under Sennacherib (Isaiah 33:9); so great is God's glory in the new Jerusalem that "the sun (is) ashamed" in His presence (Isaiah 24:23), explaining the glorious figure in Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5. (The references in this article are from the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) frequently replaces 'ashamed' by 'put to shame.')
Dwight M. Pratt
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