Free Online Bible Library | Astonishment

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ASTONISHMENT. (תִּמָּהוֹן, H9451, meaning confusion of mind, bewilderment, panic; שָׁמֵם, H9037, meaning to be appalled, desolate; שַׁמָּה, H9014, meaning horror, waste, or an object of horror; ἔκ-στασις, meaning displacement, confusion of mind; any casting down of a thing from its proper place or state; a throwing of the mind out of its normal state; alienation of the mind). Amazement, meaning mental stupefaction, bewilderment, consternation (Mark 5:42b). General use of the term indicates “to strike with sudden fear or wonder; amaze,” or “an object causing such an emotion.” Emotional properties attend this condition in varying combination of excitation (impression, an over-whelming sense, stimulation), fear (awe-inspiring, perturbation), and surprise (marvel, sensation, unexpected, wonder).

Psychological definition and description.

Astonishment depicts and describes a state characterized by bewilderment, emotional disturbance, lack of clear thinking and (sometimes) perceptual disorientation. In mild form, it is experienced by everyone. In an extreme form it may indicate conditions of lunacy (Deut 28:28) or signify a trance condition. (See Trance.) Expressions, ideas, figures of speech, situations, shades of meaning and applications or inclusions which may be explicit and implicit within the concept are manifold. These variations may indicate that the term is not a simple concept, but one which is arresting, emotionally charged, and pregnant with possibilities of expression. Choices of words and phrases as used in the RSV reveal the complex dimensions and comprehensive inclusions present and possible in the concept. The term is linguistically and psychologically varied and expressive.

As used in the OT.

As used in the NT.

The scriptural uses of the term in noun and verb forms seem to be consistent and developmental of the basic properties intended in the original languages—confusion of mind, bewilderment; displacement, blended fear and wonder. Emotional factors pervade any and all uses. Elements of excitation, fear, surprise and wonder are evident. Cognate and/or helpful terms may include: ecstasy, cognitive dissonance, awe, perturbation, and wonder.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

as-ton’-ish-ment: Amazement; mental surprise, excitement, wonder; often the cause of the startled emotion, as in De 28:37: "Thou shall become an astonishment." The chosen people, visited with calamities for idolatry would become a source of amazement to all nations (Jer 25:9,11,18); Solomon’s’ lofty and beautiful temple would be "an astonishment" (2Ch 7:21 the King James Version). For original terms and fuller study see Astonished.

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