Astonied, Astonished, or Amazed

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him, Daniel 4:19.


The King James translators were wordsmiths of the first order. First, they carefully crafted a language fitting for holy writ. The English of the King James Bible is a contrived language never spoken before its crafting and never spoken since by any populace other than those quoting scripture. It answers perfectly to the original languages in its careful construct of the interaction between nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs. It is precise, accurate and pleasing to the ear.

An example of the precision with which the translators worked can be found in the three words of our title, astonied, astonished or amazed. They are not synonyms. Each has a distinct meaning somewhat similar to the other but with a difference. As we see in our opening verse when Daniel was astonied, he was in that condition for one hour. There is a sense of incapacity in the word astonied. Its roots go back to the word stoned and stunned which are both words which came from a common Anglo-Saxon word for stone.

To astonish someone in a King James Bible is to shock someone with wonderment. The Oxford English Dictionary uses Matthew 7:28 as one of its sample sentences to illustrate the use of the word in Early Modern English; when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine. You'll note that the people were not incapacitated in any sense as was Daniel in Daniel 4:19.

A verse which self defines the word "astonied" is Jeremiah 14:9, Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? Here we see the sense of incapacity. The man is mighty, but because he is astonied he cannot save anyone.

A similar word in our King James Bible is "amazed". Amazement bears a sense of incapacitating, but to be amazed is to have the mind brought into a state of confusion. The root word is no longer stone or stun, it is maze. In John Wesley's journal he says that people accused him of being a "mazed man". They accused him of being a man who could not use his mind clearly because it was all muddled like a maze.

And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them, Judges 20:41. These men go beyond astonishment or beyond a momentary stunning. Their very ability to think clearly has been driven from them. It is an important distinction when we see the people of Jesus's day.

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion, Mark 2:12. These people glorified God for what they saw, but not with a clear mind. By the use of the word "amazed" your King James Bible gives us an insight into why Jesus Christ did not trust them. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man, John 2:25. They are reacting to events and emotions. They are not reacting to clear thought.

Keeping that definition of "amaze" in mind, 1st Peter 3:6 comes into focus. Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. There is no glory to anyone when a woman obeys out of a confused mind unable to think clearly. Usually, such a woman is browbeaten by a cultish mentality, or by emotional or physical abuse. There is a deep shame associated with such obedience. It is the woman who with clear thought decides to follow Sarah in her obedience to her husband that brings honor to herself and to her husband.

There really is no substitute for a King James Bible. What is lacking is a clergy capable and willing to teach their people.

152 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All