🔼The name Eshbaal in the Bible
Eshbaal is one of the sons of Saul (1 Chronicles 8:33), and probably the same as Ish-bosheth (איש־בשת), who succeeded Saul as king of Israel, but who was defeated by David two years later. Eshbaal and Ish-bosheth are never openly equated, but the two names never appear side by side (which would prove that there are two different sons of Saul). Scholars assume that the relation between the names Eshbaal and Ish-bosheth is like that between the names Merib-baal and Mephibosheth — the two names of the certainly one son of Jonathan, son of Saul — namely that the baal-part of the original name, which refers to the ungod Baal, was exchanged for the word boshet, meaning shame.
🔼Etymology of the name Eshbaal
The name Eshbaal consists of two elements, the second one being בעל (ba'al), which also serves as the name of the familiar Canaanite deity Baal:
The origin and meaning of the first element of the name Eshbaal is disputed. BDB Theological Dictionary and apparently NOBSE Study Bible Name List as well, radically assume that of our name only the baal-element was replaced and that the first element therefore had to stay the same. And so, to make Eshbaal correspond to Ish-bosheth, BDB and NOBSE derive the esh-part of Eshbaal from איש ('ish), which is one of a few words for man:
Other scholars (Alfred Jones, and most of us here at Abarim Publications) see no reason why the esh-part of Eshbaal should be the same as the ish-part of Ish-bosheth. It isn't. The name Ish-bosheth is a word play on Eshbaal, just like Mephibosheth is a word play on Merib-baal, and just like the mephi-part isn't the same as the merib-part, so is the esh-part not the same as the ish-part.
The esh-part, namely, according to Alfred Jones and us here at Abarim Publications, is the noun אש ('esh), meaning fire:
For a meaning of the name Eshbaal, NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read Man Of Baal. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Fire Of Baal.