Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
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(6) For unto us a child is born.—The picture of a kingdom of peace could not be complete without the manifestation of a king. In the description of that king Isaiah is led to use words which cannot find a complete fulfilment in any child of man. The loftiness of thought, rising here as to its highest point, is obviously connected with the words which told that Jehovah had spoken to the prophet “with a strong hand.” His condition was one more ecstatic and therefore more apocalyptic than before, and there flashes on him, as it were, the thought that the future deliverer of Israel must bear a name that should be above every name that men had before honoured. And yet here also there was a law of continuity, and the form of the prediction was developed from the materials supplied by earlier prophets. In Psalms 110 he had found the thought of the king-priest after the order of Melchizedek, whom Jehovah addressed as Adonai. In Psalms 2, though it did not foretell an actual incarnation, the anointed King was addressed by Jehovah as His Son. The throne of that righteous king was as a throne of God (Psalm 45:6). Nor had the prophet’s personal experience been less fruitfully suggestive. He had given his own children mysterious names. That of the earthly Immanuel, as the prophet brooded over it, might well lead on to the thought of One who should, in a yet higher sense than as being the pledge of Divine protection, be as “God with us.” Even the earthly surroundings of the prophet’s life may not have been without their share of suggestiveness. The kings of Egypt and Assyria with whom his nation had been brought into contact delighted in long lists of epithetic names (e.g., “the great king, the king unrivalled, the protector of the just, the noble warrior.” Inscription of, Sennacherib in Records of the Past, i. p. 25), describing their greatness and their glory. It was natural that the prophet should see in the king of whom he thought as the future conqueror of all the world-powers that were founded on might and not on right, One who should bear a name formed, it might be, after that fashion, but full of a greater majesty and glory.

His name shall be called Wonderful.—It is noticeable that that which follows is given not as many names, but one. Consisting as it does of eight words, of which the last six obviously fall into three couplets, it is probable that the first two should also be taken together, and that we have four elements of the compound name: (1) Wonderful-Counsellor, (2) God-the-Mighty-One, (3) Father of Eternity, (4) Prince of Peace. Each element of the Name has its special significance. (1) The first embodies the thought of the wisdom of the future Messiah. Men should not simply praise it as they praise their fellows, but should adore and wonder at it as they wonder at the wisdom of God (Judges 13:18, where the Hebrew for the “secret” of the Authorised version is the same as that for “wonderful;” Exodus 15:11; Psalm 77:11; Psalm 78:11; Isaiah 28:29; Isaiah 29:14). The name contains the germ afterwards developed in the picture of the wisdom of the true king in Isaiah 11:2-4. The LXX. renders the Hebrew as “the angel of great counsel,” and in the Vatican text the description ends there. (2) It is significant that the word for “God” is not Elohim, which may be used in a lower sense for those who are representatives of God, as in Exodus 7:1; Exodus 22:28, 1Samuel 28:13, but El, which is never used by Isaiah, or any other Old Testament writer, in any lower sense than that of absolute Deity, and which, we may note, had been specially brought before the prophet’s thoughts in the name Immanuel. The name appears again as applied directly to Jehovah in Isaiah 10:21; Deuteronomy 10:17; Jeremiah 32:18; Nehemiah 9:32; Psalm 24:8; and the adjective in Isaiah 42:13. (3) In “Father of Eternity,” (LXX. Alex. and Vulg., “Father of the age to come “) we have a name which seems at first to clash with the formalised developments of Christian theology, which teach us, lest we should “confound the persons,” not to deal with the names of the Father and the Son as interchangeable. Those developments, however, were obviously not within Isaiah’s ken, and he uses the name of “Father” because none other expressed so well the true idea of loving and protecting government (Job 29:16, Isaiah 22:21). And if the kingdom was to be “for ever and ever,” then in some very real sense he would be, in that attribute of Fatherly government, a sharer in the eternity of Jehovah. Another rendering of the name, adopted by some critics, “Father (i.e., Giver) of booty,” has little to recommend it, and is entirely out of harmony with the majesty of the context. (4) “Prince of Peace.” The prophet clings, as all prophets before him had done, to the thought that peace, and not war, belonged to the ideal Kingdom of the Messiah. That hope had been embodied by David in the name of Absalom (“ father of peace “) and Solomon. It had been uttered in the prayer of Psalm 72:3, and by Isaiah’s contemporary, Micah (Micah 5:5). Earth-powers, like Assyria and Egypt, might rest in war and conquest as an end, but the true king, though warfare might be needed to subdue his foes (Psalm 45:5), was to be a “Prince of Peace” (Zechariah 9:9-10). It must be noted as remarkable, looking to the grandeur of the prophecy, and its apparently direct testimony to the true nature of the Christ, that it is nowhere cited in the New Testament as fulfilled in Him; and this, though Isaiah 9:1 is, as we have seen, quoted by St. Matthew and Isaiah 9:7, finds at least an allusive reference in Luke 1:32-33.

Isaiah 9:6. For, &c. — Having spoken of the glorious light, and joy, and victory of God’s people, the prophet now proceeds to show the foundation and cause thereof. And, “though he is everywhere most excellent, he is peculiarly so in this passage, which contains an emphatical description of the person and kingdom of the Son of God; the kingdom of peace; the eternal and universal kingdom, in which the church should have the highest cause for joy; which should bring with it an abolition of the whole yoke of sin, and the ceremonial law, and a destruction of all hostile and adverse powers with respect to the saints.” Who then can wonder at the joy of the church in so great a light, in so excellent a Teacher, Mediator, Saviour, and Governor, King, and Lord? Unto us a child is, or, shall be, born — The prophet, as usual, speaks of a blessing which he foresaw with certainty would be bestowed, as if it were conferred already. That the Messiah is here intended, not only Christian but Jewish interpreters, in general, of any credit or reputation, agree. For so the ancient Hebrew doctors understood the place, and particularly the Chaldee paraphrast; although the later Jews have laboured, out of opposition to the Lord Jesus, to apply it to Hezekiah. Which extravagant notion, as it hath no foundation at all in this or any other text of Scripture, and therefore may be rejected without any further reason; so it is fully confuted by the following titles, which are such as cannot, without blasphemy and nonsense, be ascribed to Hezekiah, nor indeed to any mere man or mere creature, as we shall see. The human nature of the Messiah is here first set forth. He shall be the child born, the Word made flesh, and that for us; not only for us Jews, but for us men, for us sinners, and especially for us believers. Unto us a son is given — Or, the son, namely, of the virgin, spoken of Isaiah 7:14; the Immanuel, the Song of Solomon of God, so called, not only on account of his miraculous conception, but because of his eternal generation, the Word, who was in the beginning with God, had glory with the Father before the world was, was loved by him before the foundation of the world, and by whom he made the worlds, and created all things. See John 1:1-3; John 17:5; John 17:24; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16. This person, the Father’s own Son, his only-begotten Son, is given, John 3:16; sent forth, Galatians 4:4; sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, Romans 8:3; though rich, and in the form of God, made in the likeness of men, poor, and of no reputation, Php 2:7; 2 Corinthians 8:9; given to be our infallible Teacher, our prevalent Mediator, our almighty Saviour, our righteous Ruler, and our final Judge. Accordingly, The government — Of the church, of the world, yea, of all things, for the church’s benefit, Ephesians 1:21-22; shall be upon his shoulder — That is, upon him, or in his hands; all power being given to him in heaven and on earth. In mentioning shoulder, he speaks metaphorically; great burdens being commonly laid upon men’s shoulders, and all government, if rightly managed, being a great burden, and this especially being, of all others, the most weighty and important trust. Possibly here may be also an allusion to the ancient custom of carrying the ensigns of government before the magistrates, upon the shoulders of their officers, or, as some think, to the regal robe worn by kings and governors. And his name shall be called — That is, he shall be: for the following particulars are not to be taken for a description of his proper name, but of his glorious nature and qualities; Wonderful — He is wonderful in his person, as God and man, God manifest in the flesh, which union of two such different natures in one individual, intelligent, and self-conscious being, is a great and incomprehensible mystery. Hence we are told, No man knoweth the Son but the Father, Matthew 11:27; and he is said to have had a name written, which no man knew but himself; and hence, when appearing to Manoah, he said, Why askest thou after my name, seeing it is secret: Hebrew, פלא, wonderful, the same word here used, Jdg 13:18. He is also wonderful with respect to his birth, life, doctrine, miracles; his love and sufferings; his death, resurrection, and ascension; his humiliation and exaltation; his cross and crown; his grace and glory. Counsellor — He is so called, because he knew the whole counsel of God, and, as far as was necessary, revealed it to us, and is the great counsellor of his church and people in all their doubts and difficulties, in all ages and nations, being made of God unto them wisdom. He also is the author and giver of all those excellent counsels, delivered not only to the apostles, but also by the prophets, (1 Peter 1:10-12,) and hath gathered, enlarged, and preserved his church by admirable counsels, and the methods of his providence; and, in a word, hath in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The mighty God — This title can agree to no man but Christ, who was God as well as man, to whom the title of God or Jehovah is given, both in the Old and New Testaments, as Jeremiah 23:6; John 1:1; Romans 9:5; and in many other places. And it is a true observation, that this Hebrew word אל, eel, is never used in the singular number of any creature, but only of the Almighty God, as is evident by perusing all the texts where this word occurs. The everlasting Father — Hebrew, אבי עד, The Father of eternity: having called him a child and a son, lest this should be misinterpreted to his disparagement, he adds that he is a Father also, even the Father of eternity, and, of course, of time, and of all creatures made in time. Christ, in union with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is the God and Father of all things, the maker and upholder of all creatures, John 1:3; Hebrews 1:3; and especially the Father of all believers, who are called his children, (Hebrews 2:13,) and the author of eternal life and salvation to them, Hebrews 5:9. Or, this title may be given him because he is the father of the new and eternal age, that is, of the economy which is to endure for ever; for Christ is the father of a new generation, to continue through all eternity; the second Adam, father of a new race; the head of a new and everlasting family, in which all the children of God are reckoned. The Prince of peace — This is another title, which certainly does not agree to Hezekiah, whose reign was far from being free from wars, as we see 2 Kings 18., but it agrees exactly to Christ, who is called our peace, Micah 5:5; Ephesians 2:14; and is the only purchaser and procurer of peace between God and men, Isaiah 53:5; and between men and men, between Jews and Gentiles, Ephesians 2:15; and of the peace of our own consciences; and who leaves peace as his legacy to his disciples, John 14:27; John 16:33.

9:1-7 The Syrians and Assyrians first ravaged the countries here mentioned, and that region was first favoured by the preaching of Christ. Those that want the gospel, walk in darkness, and in the utmost danger. But when the gospel comes to any place, to any soul, light comes. Let us earnestly pray that it may shine into our hearts, and make us wise unto salvation. The gospel brings joy with it. Those who would have joy, must expect to go through hard work, as the husbandman, before he has the joy of harvest; and hard conflict, as the soldier, before he divides the spoil. The Jews were delivered from the yoke of many oppressors; this was a shadow of the believer's deliverance from the yoke of Satan. The cleansing the souls of believers from the power and pollution of sin, would be by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as purifying fire. These great things for the church, shall be done by the Messiah, Emmanuel. The Child is born; it was certain; and the church, before Christ came in the flesh, benefitted by his undertaking. It is a prophecy of him and of his kingdom, which those that waited for the Consolation of Israel read with pleasure. This Child was born for the benefit of us men, of us sinners, of all believers, from the beginning to the end of the world. Justly is he called Wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints. He is the Counsellor, for he knew the counsels of God from eternity; and he gives counsel to men, in which he consults our welfare. He is the Wonderful Counsellor; none teaches like him. He is God, the mighty One. Such is the work of the Mediator, that no less power than that of the mighty God could bring it to pass. He is God, one with the Father. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us to God; he is the Giver of peace in the heart and conscience; and when his kingdom is fully established, men shall learn war no more. The government shall be upon him; he shall bear the burden of it. Glorious things are spoken of Christ's government. There is no end to the increase of its peace, for the happiness of its subjects shall last for ever. The exact agreement of this prophecy with the doctrine of the New Testament, shows that Jewish prophets and Christian teachers had the same view of the person and salvation of the Messiah. To what earthly king or kingdom can these words apply? Give then, O Lord, to thy people to know thee by every endearing name, and in every glorious character. Give increase of grace in every heart of thy redeemed upon earth.For - This is given as a reason of the victories that were predicted in the previous verses. That it has reference to the Messiah has been almost universally conceded; and indeed it does not seem possible to doubt it. The eye of the prophet seems to have been fixed on this great and glorious event - as attracting all his attention. The scenes of coming times, like a panorama, or picture, passed before him. Most of the picture seems to have been that of battles, conflicts, sieges, dimness, and thick darkness. But in one portion of the passing scene there was light. It was the light that he saw rising in the distant and darkened Galilee. He saw the joy of the people; the armor of war laid aside; the image of peace succeeding; the light expanding and becoming more intense as the darkness retired, until he saw in this region the Prince of Peace - the Sun of Righteousness itself. The eye of the prophet gazed intently on that scene, and was fixed on that portion of the picture: he sees the Messiah in his office, and describes him as already come, and as born unto the nation.

Unto us - For our benefit. The prophet saw in vision the darkness and gloom of the nation, and saw also the son that would be born to remove that darkness, and to enlighten the world.

A child - (ילד yeled). This word usually denotes a lad, a boy, a youth. It is commonly applied to one in early life; but no particular stress is to be laid on the word. The vision of the prophet is, that the long-expected Messiah is born, and is seen growing up amidst the surrounding darkness of the north of Palestine, Isaiah 9:1.

Is born - Not that he was born when the prophet spake. But in prophetic vision, as the events of the future passed before his mind, he saw that promised son, and the eye was fixed intently on him; see the Introduction, section 7, and the note at Isaiah 1:1.

A son - בן bên. This word does not differ materially from the word translated child. In the future scenes, as they passed before the mind of the prophet, he saw the child, the son that was to be born, and described him as he appeared to his view - as a child. Fixing the eye on him, he proceeds at once to designate his character by stating the appropriate names which he would bear.

Is given - The Messiah is often represented as having been given, or sent; or as the rich gift of God; the note at Acts 4:12; John 3:16; Ephesians 1:22; John 17:4. The Messiah was pre-eminently the gift of the God of love. Man had no claim on him, and God voluntarily gave his Son to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

And the government shall be upon his shoulder - The sense of this passage is, that he shall rule, or that the government shall be vested in him. Various interpretations have, however, been given of the phrase 'upon his shoulder.' Some have supposed, that it means simply he shall sustain the government, as the shoulder is that by which we uphold any thing. Pliny and Cicero thus use the phrase; see Rosenmuller. Others, that it means that he should wear the royal purple from a child. - Grotius. Lowth supposes that it refers to the ensign of government - the scepter, the sword, the keys, or the like, that were borne upon the shoulder, or suspended from it; see the note at Isaiah 22:22. It is evident, from this latter place, that some ensign of office was usually borne upon the shoulder. The sense is, that he should be a king, and under this character the Messiah is often predicted.

And his name shall be called - That is, his attributes shall be such as to make all these applications appropriate descriptions of his power and work. To be called, and to be, in the Hebrew, often mean the same thing. The word ויקרא vayı̂qerâ' may possibly mean, Yahweh shall call him; or it may be regarded as taken impersonally. Such a use of a verb is not uncommon in Isaiah. 'One calls him,' is, according to the usage in Isaiah, as ranch as to say, he will justly bear this name; or simply, he will be.

Wonderful - פלא pele'. This word is derived from the verb פלא pâlâ', to separate, to distinguish, or to make great. It is applied usually to anything that is great or wonderful, as a miracle; Exodus 15:2; Lamentations 1:9; Daniel 12:6. It is applied here to denote the unusual and remarkable assemblage of qualities that distinguished the Messiah. Those are specified more particularly in the other part of the verse; such an assemblage of quailties as to make proper the names Mighty God, etc. 'The proper idea of the word,' says Hengstenberg, 'is miraculous. It imports that the personage here referred to, in his being and in his works, will be exalted above the ordinary course of nature, and that his whole manifestation will be a miracle.' Yet it seems to me, that the proper idea of the word is not that of miraculous. It is rather that which is separated from the ordinary course of events, and which is suited to excite amazement, wonder, and admiration, whether it be miraculous or not.

This will be apparent if the following places are examined, where the word occurs in various forms. It is rendered marvelous, Psalm 118:23; Psalm 139:14; Psalm 98:1; Job 5:9; wonderful, 2 Samuel 1:26; Psalm 139:14; Proverbs 30:18; Job 42:3; Psalm 72:18; Psalm 86:10; hidden, Deuteronomy 30:2; things too high, Psalm 131:1; miracles, Judges 6:13; Exodus 15:2; Psalm 77:14; Psalm 88:10; Psalm 89:5; the word is translated wonders, in the sense of miracles, in several places; and hard, Deuteronomy 17:8; Jeremiah 32:17. From these passages, it is clear that it may denote that which is miraculous, but that this idea is not necessarily connected with it. Anything which is suited to excite wonder and amazement, from any cause, will correspond with the sense of the Hebrew word. It is a word which expresses with surprising accuracy everything in relation to the Redeemer. For the Messiah was wonderful in all things. It was wonderful love by which God gave him, and by which he came; the manner of his birth was wonderful; his humility, his self-denial, his sorrows were wonderful; his mighty works were wonderful; his dying agonies were wonderful; and his resurrection, his ascension, were all suited to excite admiration and wonder.

Counsellor - This word has been sometimes joined with 'wonderful,' as if designed to qualify it thus - "wonderful counselor;" but it expresses a distinct attribute, or quality. The name "counselor" here, יועץ yû‛ēts, denotes one of honorable rank; one who is suited to stand near princes and kings as their adviser. It is expressive of great wisdom, and of qualifications to guide and direct the human race. The Septuagint translates this phrase, 'The angel of the mighty counsel.' The Chaldee, 'The God of wonderful counsel.'

The mighty God - Syriac, 'The mighty God of ages.' This is one, and but one out of many, of the instances in which the name God is applied to the Messiah; compare John 1:1; Romans 9:5; 1 John 5:20; John 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8. The name 'mighty God,' is unquestionably attributed to the true God in Isaiah 10:21. Much controversy has arisen in relation to this expression; and attempts have been made to show that the word translated "God," אל 'ĕl, may refer to a hero, a king, a conqueror. Thus Gesenius renders, it 'Mighty hero;' and supposes that the name 'God' is used here in accordance with the custom of the Orientals, who ascribe divine attributes to kings. In like manner Pluschke (see Hengstenberg) says, 'In my opinion this name is altogether symbolical. The Messiah shall be called strength of God, or strong God, divine hero, in order by this name to remind the people of the strength of God.' But after all such controversy, it still remains certain that the natural and obvious meaning of the expression is to denote a divine nature. So it was evidently understood by the ancient versions; and the fact that the name God is so often applied to Christ in the New Testament proves that it is to be understood in its natural and obvious signification.

The everlasting Father - The Chaldee renders this expression, 'The man abiding forever.' The Vulgate, 'The Father of the future age.' Lowth, 'The Father of the everlasting age.' Literally, it is the Father of eternity, עד אבי 'ĕby ‛ad. The word rendered "everlasting," עד ‛ad, properly denotes "eternity," and is used to express "forever;" see Psalm 9:6, Psalm 9:19; Psalm 19:10. It is often used in connection with עולם ‛ôlâm, thus, עולם ועד vā‛ed ‛ôlâm, "forever and ever;" Psalm 10:16; Psalm 21:5; Psalm 45:7. The Hebrews used the term father in a great variety of senses - as a literal father, a grandfather, an ancestor, a ruler, an instructor. The phrase may either mean the same as the Eternal Father, and the sense will be, that the Messiah will not, as must be the case with an earthly king, however excellent, leave his people destitute after a short reign, but will rule over them and bless them forever (Hengstenberg); or it may be used in accordance with a custom usual in Hebrew and in Arabic, where he who possesses a thing is called the father of it.

Thus, the father of strength means strong; the father of knowledge, intelligent; the father of glory, glorious; the father of goodness, good; the father of peace, peaceful. According to this, the meaning of the phrase, the Father of eternity, is properly eternal. The application of the word here is derived from this usage. The term Father is not applied to the Messiah here with any reference to the distinction in the divine nature, for that word is uniformly, in the Scriptures, applied to the first, not to the second person of the Trinity. But it is used in reference to durations, as a Hebraism involving high poetic beauty. lie is not merely represented as everlasting, but he is introduced, by a strong figure, as even the Father of eternity. as if even everlasting duration owed itself to his paternity. There could not be a more emphatic declaration of strict and proper eternity. It may be added, that this attribute is often applied to the Messiah in the New Testament; John 8:58; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 1:11, Revelation 1:17-18; Hebrews 1:10-11; John 1:1-2.


6. For—the ground of these great expectations,

unto us—for the benefit of the Jews first, and then the Gentiles (compare "unto you," Lu 2:11).

son … given—(Ps 2:7). God's gratuitous gift, on which man had no claim (Joh 3:16; Ro 6:23).

government … upon … shoulder—The ensign of office used to be worn on the shoulder, in token of sustaining the government (Isa 22:22). Here the government on Messiah's shoulder is in marked antithesis to the "yoke and staff" of the oppressor on Israel's "shoulder" (Isa 9:4). He shall receive the kingdom of the earth from the Father, to vindicate it from the misrule of those to whom it was entrusted to hold it for and under the Most High, but who sought to hold it in defiance of His right; the Father asserts His right by the Son, the "Heir of all things," who will hold it for Him (Da 7:13, 14).

name … called—His essential characteristics shall be.

Wonderful—(See on [697]Isa 8:18; Jud 13:18, Margin; 1Ti 3:16).

Counsellor—(Ps 16:7; Ro 11:33, 34; 1Co 1:24; Col 2:3).

mighty God—(Isa 10:21; Ps 24:8; Tit 2:13) Horsley translates: "God the mighty man." "Unto us … God" is equivalent to "Immanuel" (Isa 7:14).

everlasting Father—This marks Him as "Wonderful," that He is "a child," yet the "everlasting Father" (Joh 10:30; 14:9). Earthly kings leave their people after a short reign; He will reign over and bless them for ever [Hengstenberg].

Prince of Peace—(See on [698]Isa 9:5; Ge 49:10; Shiloh, "The Tranquillizer"). Finally (Ho 2:18). Even already He is "our peace" (Lu 2:14; Eph 2:14).

Having spoken of the glorious light, and joy, and victory of God’s people, he now proceeds to show the ground of it, and by what person these things are procured.

Unto us; unto us Jews, of whom Christ was born, and to whom he was primarily sent, Matthew 15:24, for our use and benefit.

A Child; the Messiah, by the consent of interpreters, not only Christian, but Jewish; for so the ancient Hebrew doctors understood the place, and particularly the Chaldee paraphrast; although the later Jews, out of opposition to Christ, wrest it to Hezekiah; which extravagant conceit, as it hath no foundation at all in that or any other text of Scripture, and therefore may be rejected without any further reason, so it is fully confuted by the following titles, which are such as cannot without blasphemy and nonsense be ascribed to Hezekiah, nor indeed to any mere mortal man, as we shall see. But all the following particulars do so truly and exactly agree to Christ, that they cannot without great violence be alienated from him, or ascribed to any other.

Is born, for shall be born, as the prophets generally speak.

A Son; so he determines the sex of the child. Or, the Son, to wit, of the virgin, of whom I spake before, Isaiah 7:14.

Is given; is freely and graciously given to us by God. Other children also are said to be given by God, Ge 30 6 48:9, but this in a peculiar manner, and therefore he is called the gift of God, John 4:10.

The government, to wit, of Israel, or of God’s people, to whom he is given,

shall be upon his shoulder, i.e. upon him, or in his hands. He mentions shoulders, because great burdens are commonly laid upon men’s shoulders; and as all government, if it be rightly managed, so this especially, is a very heavy burden, requiring extraordinary care, and diligence, and self-denial. Possibly here may be also an allusion to the ancient custom of carrying the ensigns of government before the magistrate upon the shoulders of their officers; or to the cross of Christ, which was laid upon his shoulders, John 19:17, which also was the way to his kingdom or government, Luke 24:26.

His name shall be called; either,

1. He shall be called; for names are oft put for persons, as Acts 1:15 Revelation 3:4 11:13. Or,

2. His name shall be; for to be called in Scripture is off put for to be, as I have noted before on Isaiah 1:26, and oft elsewhere. But this is not to be taken for a description of his proper name, by which he should be commonly called, but of his glorious nature and qualities. See my notes on Isaiah 7:14.

Wonderful, Counsellor: these words may be taken either,

1. Severally, as they are in our translation, and by many others. This the Jews apply to Hezekiah, who, as they say, is called wonderful, because of the miracle which God wrought for him, 2 Kings 20:2, &c.; and counsellor, because he took counsel with his princes about God’s worship, and the defence of the city, 2 Chronicles 29:4, &c., and gave good counsel to others; which ridiculous account is sufficient to overthrow that exposition. But they agree most eminently to the Lord Christ, who is truly wonderful, in his person, and natures, and words, and works, being made up of wonders, in whom there was nothing which was not wonderful; who also may well be called Counsellor, because he knew the whole counsel of God, and (so far as it was necessary) revealed it to us, and is the great Counsellor of his church and people in all their doubts and difficulties. Or,

2. Jointly,

wonderful Counsellor; which may seem best to agree both with the following titles, each of which is made up of two words, and with Isaiah 28:29, where God is called wonderful in counsel, and makes the title more full and emphatical. To call Christ simply a Counsellor, may seem too mean a character, being common to many others with him; but to say he is a wonderful Counsellor, is a singular commendation. And so Christ is, because he hath been the Counsellor of his church in all ages, and the author and giver of all those excellent counsels delivered not only by the apostles, but also by the prophets, as is evident from 1 Peter 1:10,11, and hath gathered, and enlarged, and preserved his church by admirable counsels and methods of his providence, and, in a word, hath in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Colossians 2 3.

The mighty God: this title can agree to no man but Christ, who was God as well as man, to whom the title of God or Jehovah is given, both in the Old and New Testament, as Jeremiah 23:6 John 1:1 Romans 9:5, and in many other places. And it is a most true observation, that this Hebrew word El is never used in the singular number, of any creature, but only of the Almighty God, as is evident by perusing all the texts where this word is used. And although the title of Elohim, which is of the plural number, be twice or thrice given to some men, yet there is constantly added some diminishing expression to it, as when they are said to be afraid, Job 41:25, and to die, Psalm 49:10; whereas here he adds the epithet of mighty, which is ascribed to the great God, Deu 10:17, and elsewhere.

The everlasting Father, Heb. the Father of eternity, Having called him a Child, and a Son in respect of his human nature, lest this should be misinterpreted to his disparagement, he adds that he is a Father also, even the God and Father of all things; the work of creation being common and commonly ascribed to each of the persons of the blessed Trinity, the Maker and Upholder of all creatures, as he is said to be, John 1:3 Hebrews 1:3, and the Father of all believers, who are called his children, Hebrews 2:13, and the Father of eternity; either,

1. The first author (such persons being called fathers, as Genesis 4:20, and elsewhere) of eternal salvation, as he is called, Hebrews 5:9. Or,

2. As we render it, the everlasting Father, who, though as man he was then unborn, yet was and is from everlasting to everlasting. They who apply this to Hezekiah render it, the father of an age, and expound this of his long life and numerous posterity; which I the rather mention, to show what absurd shifts they are forced to use who interpret this text of any other but Christ. For he did not live very long, nor had he, that we read of, more than one son, Manasseh. And if both these things had been true of him, they were more eminently true of many other men. Besides, this Hebrew word being used of God, as here it is of him who was now called the mighty God, constantly signifies eternity, as Isaiah 26:4 57:15, &c.

The Prince of peace: this title doth not fully agree to Hezekiah, whose reign was not free from wars, as we see, 2 Kings 18; but it agrees exactly to Christ, who is called our peace, Micah 5:5 Ephesians 2:14, and is the only purchaser and procurer of peace between God and men, Isaiah 53:5, and of peace between men and men, Jews and Gentiles, Ephesians 2:15, and of the peace of our own consciences, and leaves peace as his legacy to his disciples, John 14:27 16:33.

For unto us a child is born,.... This is a reason of all that is said in the context; of the great light that shone upon and was seen by those that sat in darkness, and in the land of the shadow of death; of the great joy among the people; of the breaking off of the yoke, rod, and staff of the oppressor; and of the burning of garments rolled in blood, so putting an end to war, and establishing peace; all which is owing to the child here said to be born, by whom we are to understand the Messiah; as the Targum interprets it; and not Hezekiah, as many of the Jewish writers (n) apply it; who could never be represented as a child just born, when he was, at least, ten or eleven years of age when this prophecy was given out, and twenty nine when Sennacherib came up with his army against him, as Aben Ezra observes; to which time he and others refer the context; nor can any reason be assigned why he should be called a "son", in such a peculiar and unusual manner; nor can it be said of him, that he was the great light which shined upon the inhabitants of Galilee; nor was his birth the occasion of so great joy as the birth of this child is said to be; nor can it, with any justness, be said of him, that of the increase of his government and peace there was no end; seeing his government only extended to the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, and his reign was but twenty nine years, and for the most part attended with affliction, oppression, and war; besides, the many august titles here used cannot be ascribed unto him, nor to any mere creature whatever (o); but everything agrees with Christ; and to him it is applied, even by some ancient and modern writers among the Jews (p) themselves. This clause respects his humanity, his incarnation and birth, which is spoken of in the present tense, though future, because of the certainty of it; that he should really become man, assume a true body, and a reasonable soul, partake of the same flesh and blood with the children, be made flesh, and dwell among us: and this was to us, "for us": for our good, for our profit and advantage; not for angels, but for men; for the saints under the Old Testament, and under the New; for all his people, his brethren, and children; that they might have a sanctified nature; that law and justice might be satisfied in that nature which had sinned, and Satan be ruined by it, which he himself had ruined; and that Christ might be a fit Mediator and Redeemer of his people, and be capable of executing his several offices to our advantage; his priestly office, by satisfying and interceding for us; his prophetic office, by teaching us; and his kingly office, by ruling over us; and that he might answer the relations he stands in of a father, husband, brother, and friend:

unto us a son is given: even he who is the Son of God, his own Son, his only begotten Son, his beloved Son, the dear Son of his love; all which aggravate his love in the gift of him, to be the covenant and head unto us, to be the Saviour of us, and a sacrifice for us; and in delivering him up into the hands of men, justice, and death; this is a free gift of God's love, a very large and comprehensive one, is unparalleled and unspeakable, unchangeable and irreversible.

And the government shall be upon his shoulder: not only of the world in general, but of the church in particular; this child is born to royal dignity; he is King of saints; his government consists in ruling in the hearts of his people, in enacting laws for them, and causing them to submit unto them, in subduing their enemies, in protecting them, their persons and properties, rights and liberties, and in supplying them with everything necessary; and this government is delegated to him from his Father, is devolved upon him by him, is not of this world, but is spiritual; it is righteously administered, is peaceable, and will continue for ever: and its being said to be "upon his shoulder" is an allusion to magistrates having a key or rod laid on their shoulders, as ensigns of their office, or carried by their officers for them, see Isaiah 9:4 and it shows that it was laid upon him, or enjoined him by his father, though not against his will; and it denotes a weight of honour and care bore by him, whose shoulders are fit for the same, and equal to it; and that he is the prop and support of his church and people, who are safe under his government and protection:

and his name shall be called Wonderful: not that he should be commonly called among men by this name, nor by any of the following; but that he should appear to be, or to have that in him, or to do what would sufficiently answer to this name, and to the rest: he is wonderful in his person, and in the glory and beauty of it; that he should be God and man in one person, and have two natures, so different from each other, united in him; that he, being truly God, should become man; and that he should be born of a virgin; wonderful in the disposition of his mind, and in the qualities he is possessed of; in his love to his people, and his sympathy with them; in his humility, meekness, and patience; in his wisdom, conduct, courage, and greatness of soul: wonderful in his life; in his private life many wonderful things are recorded of him; as the direction of the wise men to him by a star, and their worshipping of him; the preservation of him from Herod's cruelty; his disputation with the doctors in the temple at twelve years of age; and his living such a mean and obscure life for thirty years together: and his public life was nothing but a continued series of wonders; his baptism in Jordan; his temptations in the wilderness; his doctrines and miracles, and his transfiguration on the mount: wonderful in his death; that he should die at all, who is the Prince of life, the Lord of life and glory; that he should die with his own and his Father's consent, and that for sinners, even the chief of sinners; and by dying procure life for us; abolish death; destroy him that had the power of it, the devil; and obtain eternal salvation and redemption: the circumstances attending his death were marvellous: such as the darkness that was upon the earth; the rending of the vail, and cleaving of the rocks: wonderful in his resurrection from the dead, which was by his own power, before he saw corruption, at the time signified by types and prophecy, and with the same body exceedingly glorious; and which has an influence on our justification, regeneration, and resurrection: wonderful in his ascension to heaven, both in the manner of it, in a cloud, and in the effects of it, receiving gifts for men, and giving them to them; in his entrance into heaven; session at the right hand of God; and intercession for transgressors: wonderful he will be in his second coming to judgment; the signs of it are many and marvellous; the manner of it wonderfully glorious; the different effects of it on men, filling some with joy, and others with terror; and the things that will then be done; as the raising of the dead; placing all nations before him; separating the righteous from the wicked; pronouncing their distinct sentences, and executing them; in a word, Christ is wonderful, in all he is, has, or belong unto him; in his person, offices, and relations; in his people, who are for signs and wonders; in his doctrines and ordinances; and in the manifestations of himself and of his grace to his people, now and hereafter; nay, the word signifies not only "wonderful", but a "miracle" itself, as Christ is in his person (q), see Judges 13:17,

Counsellor; this some read in conjunction with the former title, thus, "Wonderful Counsellor"; so the Arabic version; and the Septuagint, which calls him, "the Angel of the great council"; and the Targum is,

"who does wonderfully in council;''

and which agrees with Isaiah 28:29. This title belongs to Christ, as concerned with his Father, and the blessed Spirit, in the works of nature, providence, and grace. God stands in no need of counsel, nor does it properly fall on him, though it is sometimes ascribed to him, speaking after the manner of men. Creatures are not of his council, but Christ is; he was privy to all his thoughts, purposes, and decrees; he was consulted in creation, and in the works of providence, Genesis 1:26, Genesis 11:7 and in the great affair of redemption and salvation; the council held concerning that is the great council the Septuagint version here makes mention of; and may be called the council of peace, Zechariah 6:13 in which the scheme of salvation was fixed; the author of it was found, and pitched upon; the way of it agreed on, to be through the assumption of human nature, and by obedience, sufferings, and death; and the time of Christ's incarnation and death settled, as well as all blessings of grace and glory, for the persons who were to share in this salvation. This title also agrees with Christ in respect to his people, to whom he is council, and for whom he is council; he is council to them; he gives them council; so he did in person, when on earth; he advised sinners to repentance; encouraged souls to believe in him; directed the weary to come to him for rest; the hungry and thirsty for food; such as were healed and pardoned, he counselled them to sin no more; and he advised his followers to do to all men as they would men should do to them; to behave in an humble and modest manner; to bear reproaches and persecutions cheerfully; to love one another; and to pray to his Father, in his name, for all things they wanted: and now he gives his people counsel by the ministry of the word, which is the counsel of God, the produce of his wisdom, a transcript of his eternal council and covenant, a declaration of the will of God, and of Christ; and in which Christ counsels the poor in spirit to come to him for riches, the naked for clothing, the ignorant for spiritual light and knowledge, such as are ready to perish for salvation; and he counsels those that believe to abide in him, and by his truths and ordinances; which counsel is wholesome and suitable, hearty, sincere, and faithful; is wise and prudent, and freely given; and which being taken, infallibly succeeds: he is council for them in heaven; he appears there in the presence of God for them; represents their persons, and presents their petitions; answers to all charges exhibited against them; and, as their advocate, pleads their cause; and calls for blessings agreed to be bestowed upon them, which they want; for all which he is abundantly qualified, being the only wise God, the Ancient of days, the Father of his people; and, as Mediator, the Wisdom of God, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are, and on whom the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, and of counsel and might, rests:

the mighty God; or "God the mighty One" (r); as some read the words with a comma; but if read together, the sense is the same; Christ is God, truly and properly so; as appears from his name Jehovah, which is peculiar to the most High; from his nature and perfections, being the same with his Father's: from the works performed by him, as those of creation, providence, miracles, redemption, resurrection from the dead, &c.; and from the worship given him, which only belongs to God; also he is called our God, your God, their God, my God, by which epithets those that are not truly God are never called; he is said to be God manifest in the flesh; God over all, blessed for ever; the great God, the living God, the true God, and eternal life; and he is "the mighty One" as appears by the works he did, previous to his incarnation; as the creation of all things out of nothing; the upholding of all things by the word or his power; the management of all the affairs of providence, there being nothing done but what he was concerned in; as the confusion of languages; the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah; bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt; leading and going before them through the Red Sea and wilderness; and bearing and carrying them all the days of old: and also by the works he did when here on earth; as his miracles, called his mighty works; such as healing all manner of diseases by a word speaking, or by touching the person, or by the person touching him, even his garment, or without seeing the person at all, and always without the use of medicines; dispossessing devils out of the bodies of men; power over the elements, as to change water into wine, rebuke the wind and seas, &c.; raising the dead, and even his own body when dead; and, above all, the great work of redemption, by which he appears to be the mighty One indeed; his Father's call of him to it shows it; his undertaking it confirms it; and his actual performance of it puts it out of all doubt; as well as what was then done by him; such as bearing all the sins of his people; engaging with all their enemies; conquering them, and delivering them out of their hands: likewise by what he does now, partly in the conversion of his people; quickening men dead in trespasses and sins; causing dry bones to live; giving spiritual sight to such as were born blind; plucking out of the hands of Satan, and turning from his power to God; which shows him to be stronger than the strong man armed; beginning, carrying on, and finishing the work of faith with power on them; as well as at first making them willing to submit to his righteousness and to be saved by him; and partly in his care of them afterwards; he having the government of them on his shoulders; supplying all their wants; bearing all their burdens; and supporting them under all their afflictions, temptations, and desertions; protecting them from all their enemies; strengthening them to do his will and work; and keeping them from falling totally and finally, and preserving them safe to his everlasting kingdom and glory: moreover, by what he will do hereafter; binding Satan, and confining him for the space of a thousand years; clearing the world of all his and his people's enemies; raising the dead; and judging the world; and destroying wicked men and devils with an everlasting destruction.

The everlasting Father; which does not design any relation of Christ in the Godhead; and there is but one Father in the Godhead, and that is the first Person; indeed Christ and the Father are one, and the Father is in him, and he is in the Father, and he that has seen the one has seen the other, and yet they are distinct, Christ is not the Father; the Son and Spirit may be considered with the first Person as Father, in creation and regeneration, they being jointly concerned therein, but not in the Trinity: it is easy to make it appear Christ is not the Father, but is distinct from him, since he is said to be with the Father from eternity, to be the Son of the Father in truth and love, his own Son, his only begotten and beloved Son; Christ frequently calls the first Person his Father, prayed to him as such, and is our advocate with him, as well as the way unto him; he is said to be sent by the Father, to come from him, and to go to him; and many things are said of Christ that cannot be said of the Father, as his being made flesh, suffering and dying in the room of his people; and the Father is said to do many things unto him, as to anoint him, to seal him, to show him all he did, to commit all judgment to him, and give him to have life in himself as he had: but Christ is a Father with respect to chosen men, who were given him as his children and offspring in covenant; who are adopted into that family that is named of him, and who are regenerated by his Spirit and grace: and to these he is an "everlasting Father"; he was so from everlasting; for regeneration and faith do not make men children, but make them appear to be so; God's elect are children previous to the Spirit's work upon them, and even to the incarnation and death of Christ; adoption is an act of the will of God in covenant from eternity: and Christ is a Father to these unto everlasting; he will never die, and they shall never be left fatherless; he and they will ever continue in this relation; he as such supplies them with everlasting provisions, he clothes them with everlasting raiment, he gives them an everlasting portion, promotes them to everlasting honour, saves them with an everlasting salvation, bearing an everlasting love to them. Some render the words, "the Father of eternity" (s); the author of eternal life, who has procured it for his people, and gives it to them; or to whom eternity belongs, who inhabits it, and is possessed of it, is the everlasting I AM, was before all persons and things, was set up in an office capacity from everlasting, and had a glory with the Father before the world was, in whom eternal election, and with whom the everlasting covenant, were made. The Septuagint version is, "the Father of the world to come" (t); of the Gospel dispensation; so called, Hebrews 2:5 the legal dispensation, when in being, was the then present world, at the end of which Christ came; this is now at an end, and a new state of things has taken place, which with respect to the Old Testament saints was the world to come, and of this Christ is the Father or author; as the law came by Moses, and he was the father of the legal dispensation, grace and truth are come by Christ, the Father and author of the Gospel dispensation; the doctrines of it are from him, and the ordinances of it by him; and he is the father of that state or world to come after the resurrection, the New Jerusalem church state, and also of the ultimate glory.

The Prince of peace; Christ is a Prince, often so called, Ezekiel 34:24 he is so by birth, being the King's Son, the Son of God, and by office, power, and authority; he is so a Prince as that he is a King; he is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour; and he is a Prince superior to kings, being the Prince of the kings of the earth, Acts 5:31 and he is called the "Prince of peace", because he is the author of peace; just as he is said to be the "Prince of life", Acts 3:15 for the same reason: he is the author of peace between Jew and Gentile, by abrogating the ceremonial law, the enmity between them, and by sending the Gospel to both, and making it the power of God to salvation to some of each of them, and by bringing them into the same Gospel church state, and making them partakers of the same privileges and blessings, internal and external, Ephesians 2:14 and he is the author of peace between God and sinners; he has made it by the blood of the cross, having the chastisement of their peace laid upon him, in consequence of a covenant of peace he made with his Father, who was in him reconciling the world to himself, and he is so called likewise, because he is the giver of peace; of all outward peace and prosperity to his churches, as rest from their enemies, concord among themselves, and additions to them of such as shall be saved; of internal peace through the discoveries of his love, and the application of his righteousness, blood, and sacrifice in a way of believing in him, and in a course of obedience to him; and likewise of eternal peace and rest in the world to come. Moreover, all that concern him as a King or Prince show him to be the Prince of peace: his kingdom lies, among other things, in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; the sceptre of his kingdom is the golden sceptre of grace and mercy; his royal proclamation is the Gospel of peace; the fruit of his Spirit is peace; and his subjects are peaceable ones, both in church and state. With this compare Hebrews 7:2. It is observable that at his birth there was a general peace, not only in the Roman empire, Luke 2:1 but in all the world; and it is remarkable, that whereas at this time the Chinese empire enjoyed a profound peace, the emperor of it changed his name, and would not be called by his name Ngayus, but Pingus, which signifies "peaceable" (u).

(n) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. & 99. 1. Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, & Abarbinel, in loc. Nizzachon Vet. p. 87. R. Isaac. Chizzuk Emuna, par. 1. c. 21. p. 195. Lipman. Carmen. p. 115. (o) See my book of the Prophecies of the Messiah, &c. p. 200, 201. (p) Debarim Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 234. 4. Perek Shalom, fol. 20. 2. Maimon. apud Maji Synops. Theolog. Jud. p. 121. Vid. Reuchlin de Arte Cabal. p. 745. (q) "non admirabilis tantum sed" , "miraculum ille est; per se Deus, per unionem hypostaticam", Gusset. Ebr. Comment, p. 675. (r) "Deus, fortis", V. L. Montanus. (s) "Pater aeternitatis", Montanus, Cocceius, &c. (t) , so some copies; with which agrees the Vulgate Latin version, "Pater seculi futuri". (u) Martin, Hist. Sinic. p. 361.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting {k} Father, The Prince of Peace.

(k) The author of eternity, and by whom the Church and every member of it will be preserved forever, and have immortal life.

6. unto us] the survivors of the judgment. Cf. “Immanuel,” “God with us.”

the government] This word is found only here and in Isaiah 9:7, and is of uncertain interpretation, perhaps “princedom.”

his name shall be called] The name of the Messiah consists of a series of honorific titles, pertaining to Him in His kingly capacity and expressing mainly the qualities displayed in His government. We may compare, with Guthe and others, the high-sounding titles assumed by Egyptian and Babylonian monarchs in their inscriptions, such as, “Giver of Life in perpetuity,” “Ever Living,” “Lord of Life,” “Lord of Eternity and Infinity” &c.

Wonderful, Counseller] Since each of the other names is compounded of two words, these expressions are also to be taken together as forming a single designation—Wonder-Counseller. The construction is either construct followed by genitive—“a wonder of a Counseller” (cf. Genesis 16:12), or acc. governed by participle—“one who counsels wonderful things.” Cf. “wonderful in counsel” (of Jehovah) in ch. Isaiah 28:29. On counsel as the function of a king, see Micah 4:9.

The mighty God] (’êl Gibbôr) either “God-like Hero” or Hero-God. The second is to be preferred, because the title is applied to Jehovah in ch. Isaiah 10:21 (cf. Deuteronomy 10:17; Jeremiah 32:18). These two titles ascribe to the Messiah the two fundamental virtues of a ruler, wisdom and strength (cf. ch. Isaiah 11:2), both in superhuman measure. The predicate of divinity (like that of eternity in the next name) is not to be understood in the absolute metaphysical sense; it means that the divine energy works through him and is displayed in his rule (cf. Isaiah 11:2 ff.; Mi. Isaiah 5:4; Zechariah 12:8). In the fulfilment the words receive a larger sense.

The remaining two titles describe the character of the Messiah’s government, as (a) paternal, and (b) peaceful.

The everlasting Father] lit. Father of Eternity. The translation “Father of booty” is grammatically unimpeachable (see ch. Isaiah 33:23; Genesis 49:27), but the ideas of fatherhood and booty form an unnatural association. “Father of Eternity” describes the king, not as “possessor of the attribute of eternity” but as one who continually acts as a father to his people.

Prince of Peace] Cf. ch. Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 11:4 ff.; Micah 5:5; Zechariah 9:10.

6, 7. The last and greatest cause of joy is the birth of the Messiah and his wonderful character and government. When Isaiah expected the event to take place, cannot be gathered from this prophecy. There is no reason for supposing that the reference is to a child already born; the perfect tense is used, as throughout the passage, from the ideal standpoint of the writer, which is within the Messianic age. The birth of the child is most naturally conceived as taking place in the age of miracle which succeeds the overthrow of the Assyrian; hence no part is assigned to him in effecting the national emancipation.

Verse 6. - Unto us a child is born (comp. Isaiah 7:14-16, where the promise of "a child," "a son," is first made - a child who was, like this Child, to be "God with us"). The government shall be upon his shoulder. The word translated "government" (misrah) occurs only here and in ver. 7. It is probably to be connected with sat, "prince," and Israel. Government was regarded as a burden, to be born on the back or shoulders, and was sometimes symbolized by a key laid upon the shoulder (Isaiah 22:22). Vizier means "burdened." The Latin writers often speak of the civil power as borne on the shoulders of magistrates (Cic., 'Orat. pro Flacc,' § 95; Plin., 'Paneg.,' § 10). As God, our Lord governed all things from the beginning; as man, he set up a "kingdom" which he still governs - upon the earth. His name shall be called. It is perhaps not very important whether we view what follows as one name or several. Isaiah does not really mean that the "Child" should bear as a name, or names, any of the expressions, but only that they should be truly applicable to him. Wonderful, Counselor. It has been proposed to unite these two expressions and translate, "Wondrous Counselor" (compare "wonderful in counsel," Isaiah 28:29). But Dr. Kay is probably right in saying that, if this had been the meaning, it would have been expressed differently. Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Delitzsch, and Vance Smith agree with Dr. Kay in taking the words separately. Wonderful. The Messiah would be "wonderful" in his nature as God-Man; in his teaching, which "astonished" those who heard it (Matthew 7:28); in his doings (Isaiah 25:1); in the circumstances of his birth and death; in his resurrection, and in his ascension. "Wonder" would be the first sentiment which his manifestation would provoke, and hence this descriptive epithet is placed first. As the Word, as Wisdom itself, as he who says, "Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am Understanding" (Proverbs 8:14), he is well named "Counselor." None will ever seek his counsel in vain, much less repent of following it. The mighty God; rather, perhaps, Mighty God; but the difference is not great, since El, God, contains within itself the notion of singularity, which is given to ordinary nouns by the article. The term El, God, had been previously applied to the Messiah only in Psalm 45:6. It denotes in Isaiah always (as Mr. Cheyne observes) "divinity in an absolute sense; it is never used hyperbolically or metaphorically." The Everlasting Father; rather, Everlasting or Eternal Father. But here, again, there is a singularity in the idea, which makes the omission of the article unimportant; for how could there be more than one Everlasting Father, one Creator, Preserver, Protector of mankind who was absolutely eternal? If the term "Father," applied to our Lord, grates on our ears, we must remember that the distinction of Persons in the Godhead had not yet been revealed. The Prince of Peace; literally, Prince of Peace. A "Prince of Peace" had been long shadowed forth, as in Melchizedek, "King of Salem," i.e. "of Peace;" and again in Solomon, "the peaceful one;" and Isaiah himself had already prophesied the peacefulness of the Messiah's kingdom (Isaiah 2:4). Compare the song of the angels at our Lord's birth (Luke 2:14). If the peacefulness has not vet very clearly shown itself, the reason would seem to be that our Lord's kingdom has yet to come into the hearts of most men. Isaiah 9:6Upon the two sentences with ci the prophet now builds a third. The reason for the triumph is the deliverance effected; and the reason for the deliverance, the destruction of the foe; and the reason for all the joy, all the freedom, all the peace, is the new great King. - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government rests upon His shoulder: and they call His name, Wonder, Counsellor, mighty God, Eternal-Father, Prince of Peace." The same person whom the prophet foretold in chapter 7 as the son of the virgin who would come to maturity in troublous times, he here sees as born, and as having already taken possession of the government. There he appeared as a sign, here as a gift of grace. The prophet does not expressly say that he is a son of David in this instance any more than in chapter 7 (for the remark that has been recently made, that yeled is used here for "infant-prince," is absurd); but this followed as a matter of course, from the fact that he was to bear the government, with all its official rights (Isaiah 22:22) and godlike majesty (Psalm 21:6), upon his shoulder; for the inviolable promise of eternal sovereignty, of which the new-born infant was to be the glorious fulfilment, had been bound up with the seed of David in the course of Israel's history ever since the declaration in 2 Samuel 7. In chapter 7 it is the mother who names the child; here it is the people, or indeed any one who rejoices in him: ויּקרא, "one calls, they call, he is called," as Luther has correctly rendered it, though under the mistaken idea that the Jews had altered the original ויּקּרא into ויּקרא, for the purpose of eliminating the Messianic sense of the passage. But the active verb itself has really been twisted by Jewish commentators in this way; so that Rashi, Kimchi, Malbim, and others follow the Targum, and explain the passage as meaning, "the God, who is called and is Wonder,' Counsellor, the mighty God, the eternal Father, calls his name the Prince of Peace;" but this rendering evidently tears asunder things that are closely connected. And Luzzatto has justly observed, that you do not expect to find attributes of God here, but such as would be characteristic of the child. He therefore renders the passage, "God the mighty, the eternal Father, the Prince of Peace, resolves upon wonderful things," and persuades himself that this long clause is meant for the proper name of the child, just as in other cases declaratory clauses are made into proper names, e.g., the names of the prophet's two sons. But even granting that such a sesquipedalian name were possible, in what an unskilful manner would the name be formed, since the long-winded clause, which would necessarily have to be uttered in one breath, would resolve itself again into separate clauses, which are not only names themselves, but, contrary to all expectation, names of God! The motive which prompted Luzzatto to adopt this original interpretation is worthy of notice. He had formerly endeavoured, like other commentators, to explain the passage by taking the words from "Wonderful" to "Prince of Peace" as the name of the child; and in doing this he rendered יועץ פלא "one counselling wonderful things," thus inverting the object, and regarded "mighty God" as well as "eternal Father" as hyperbolical expressions, like the words applied to the King in Psalm 45:7. But now he cannot help regarding it as absolutely impossible for a human child to be called el gibbor, like God Himself in Isaiah 10:21. So far as the relation between his novel attempt at exposition and the accentuation is concerned, it certainly does violence to this, though not to such an extent as the other specimen of exegetical leger-demain, which makes the clause from פלא to אבי־עד the subject to ויקרא. Nevertheless, in the face of the existing accentuation, we must admit that the latter is, comparatively speaking, the better of the two; for if שמו ויקרא were intended to be the introduction to the list of names which follows, שׁמו would not be pointed with geresh, but with zakeph. The accentuators seem also to have shrunk from taking el gibbor as the name of a man. They insert intermediate points, as though "eternal Father, Prince of Peace," were the name of the child, and all that precedes, from "Wonder" onwards, the name of God, who would call him by these two honourable names. But, at the very outset, it is improbable that there should be two names instead of one or more; and it is impossible to conceive for what precise reason such a periphrastic description of God should be employed in connection with the naming of this child, as is not only altogether different from Isaiah's usual custom, but altogether unparalleled in itself, especially without the definite article. The names of God should at least have been defined thus, הגּבּור פּלא היּועץ, so as to distinguish them from the two names of the child.

Even assuming, therefore, that the accentuation is meant to convey this sense, "And the wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, calls his name Eternal-Father, Prince of Peace," as appears to be the case; we must necessarily reject it, as resting upon a misunderstanding and misinterpretation.

(Note: The telisha in פלא is the smallest of all disjunctive accents; the geresh in שׁמו separates rather more strongly than this; the pashta in יועץ separates somewhat more than the other two, but less than the zakeph in גבור; and this zakeph is the greatest divider in the sentence. The whole sentence, therefore, distributes itself in the following manner: אבי־עד גבור אל יועץ פלא שׁמו ויקרא שׂר־שלום . All the words from ויקרא onwards are subordinate to the zakeph attached to גבור, which is, to all appearance, intended to have the force of an introductory colon: as, for example, in 2 Samuel 18:5 (in the case of לאמר in the clause לאמר ואת־אתי ואת־אבישי יואב). In smaller subdivisions, again, פלא (telisha) is connected with יועץ (pashta), and both together with גבור אל (munach zakeph). If only sar shalom (Prince of Peace) were intended as the name of the child, it would necessarily be accentuated in the following manner: שמו ויקרא kadma geresh, יועץ פלא teilsha gershayim, גבור אל mercha tebir, עד אבי tifchah, שׂר־שׁלום silluk; and the principal disjunctive would stand at עד instead of גבור. But if the name of the child were intended to form a declaratory clause, commencing with יועץ פלא, "determines wonderful things," as Luzzatto assumes, we should expect to find a stronger disjunctive than telisha at פלא, the watchword of the whole; and above all, we should expect a zakeph at שׁמו, and not at גבור. This also applies to our (the ordinary) explanation. It does not correspond to the accentuation. The introductory words שׁמו ויקרא ought to have a stronger distinctive accent, in order that all which follows might stand as the name which they introduce. Francke (see Psalter, ii. 521) perceived this, and in his Abyssus mysteriorum Esa (ix. 6) he lays great stress upon the fact, that God who gives the name has Himself a threefold name.)

We regard the whole, from פלא onwards - as the connection, the expression, and the syntax require - as a dependent accusative predicate to שמו ויקרא (they call his name), which stands at the head (compare קרא, they call, it is called, in Genesis 11:9; Genesis 16:14; Joshua 7:26, and above Isaiah 8:4, ישׂא, they will carry: Ges. 137, 3). If it be urged, as an objection to the Messianic interpretation of Isaiah 7:14-15, that the Christ who appeared was not named Immanuel, but Jesus, this objection is sufficiently met by the fact that He did not receive as a proper name any one of the five names by which, according to this second prophecy, He was to be called. Moreover, this objection would apply quite as strongly to the notion, which has been a very favourite one with Jewish commentators (e.g., Rashi, A. E. Kimchi, Abravanel, Malbim, Luzzatto, and others), and even with certain Christian commentators (such as Grotius, Gesenius, etc.), that the prophecy refers to Hezekiah - a notion which is a disgrace to those who thereby lead both themselves and others astray. For even if the hopes held out in the prophecy were attached for a long time to Hezekiah, the mistake was but too quickly discovered; whereas the commentators in question perpetuate the mistake, by forcing it upon the prophecy itself, although the prophet, even after the deception had been outlived, not only did not suppress the prophecy, but handed it down to succeeding ages as awaiting a future and infallible fulfilment. For the words in their strict meaning point to the Messiah, whom men may for a time, with pardonable error, have hoped to find in Hezekiah, but whom, with unpardonable error, men refused to acknowledge, even when He actually appeared in Jesus. The name Jesus is the combination of all the Old Testament titles used to designate the Coming One according to His nature and His works. The names contained in Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6 are not thereby suppressed; but they have continued, from the time of Mary downwards, in the mouths of all believers. There is not one of these names under which worship and homage have not been paid to Him. But we never find them crowded together anywhere else, as we do here in Isaiah; and in this respect also our prophet proves himself the greatest of the Old Testament evangelists.

The first name is פּלא, or perhaps more correctly פּלא, which is not to be taken in connection with the next word, יועץ, though this construction might seem to commend itself in accordance with עצה הפליא, in Isaiah 28:29. This is the way in which it has been taken by the Seventy and others (thus lxx, θαυμαστὸς σύμβουλος; Theodoret, θαυμαστῶς βουλεύων). If we adopted this explanation, we might regard יועץ פלא as an inverted form for פלא יועץ: counselling wonderful things. The possibility of such an inversion is apparent from Isaiah 22:2, מלאה תשׁאות, i.e., full of tumult. Or, following the analogy of pere' âdâm (a wild man) in Genesis 16:12, we might regard it as a genitive construction: a wonder of a counsellor; in which case the disjunctive teilshâh gedolâh in pele' would have to be exchanged for a connecting mahpach. Both combinations have their doubtful points, and, so far as the sense is concerned, would lead us rather to expect עצה מפליא; whereas there is nothing at all to prevent our taking פלא and יועץ as two separate names (not even the accentuation, which is without parallel elsewhere, so far as the combination of pashta with teilshah is concerned, and therefore altogether unique). Just as the angel of Jehovah, when asked by Manoah what was his name (Judges 13:18), replied פּלי (פּלאי), and indicated thereby his divine nature - a nature incomprehensible to mortal men; so here the God-given ruler is also pele', a phenomenon lying altogether beyond human conception or natural occurrence. Not only is this or that wonderful in Him; but He Himself is throughout a wonder - παραδοξασμός, as Symmachus renders it. The second name if yō‛ētz, counsellor, because, by virtue of the spirit of counsel which He possesses (Isaiah 11:2), He can always discern and given counsel for the good of His nation. There is no need for Him to surround Himself with counsellors; but without receiving counsel at all, He counsels those that are without counsel, and is thus the end of all want of counsel to His nation as a whole. The third name, El gibbor, attributes divinity to Him. Not, indeed, if we render the words "Strength, Hero," as Luther does; or "Hero of Strength," as Meier has done; or "a God of a hero," as Hofmann proposes; or "Hero-God," i.e., one who fights and conquers like an invincible god, as Ewald does. But all these renderings, and others of a similar kind, founder, without needing any further refutation, on Isaiah 10:21, where He, to whom the remnant of Israel will turn with penitence, is called El gibbor (the mighty God). There is no reason why we should take El in this name of the Messiah in any other sense than in Immanu-El; not to mention the fact that El in Isaiah is always a name of God, and that the prophet was ever strongly conscious of the antithesis between El and âdâm, as Isaiah 31:3 (cf., Hosea 11:9) clearly shows. And finally, El gibbor was a traditional name of God, which occurs as early as Deuteronomy 10:17, cf., Jeremiah 32:18; Nehemiah 9:32; Psalm 24:8, etc. The name gibbor is used here as an adjective, like shaddai in El shaddai. The Messiah, then, is here designated "mighty God." Undoubtedly this appears to go beyond the limits of the Old Testament horizon; but what if it should go beyond them? It stands written once for all, just as in Jeremiah 23:6 Jehovah Zidkenu (Jehovah our Righteousness) is also used as a name of the Messiah - a Messianic name, which even the synagogue cannot set aside (vid., Midrash Mishle 57a, where this is adduced as one of the eight names of the Messiah). Still we must not go too far. If we look at the spirit of the prophecy, the mystery of the incarnation of God is unquestionably indicated in such statements as these. But if we look at the consciousness of the prophet himself, nothing further was involved than this, that the Messiah would be the image of God as no other man ever had been (cf., El, Psalm 82:1), and that He would have God dwelling within Him (cf., Jeremiah 33:16). Who else would lead Israel to victory over the hostile world, than God the mighty? The Messiah is the corporeal presence of this mighty God; for He is with Him, He is in Him, and in Him He is with Israel. The expression did not preclude the fact that the Messiah would be God and man in one person; but it did not penetrate to this depth, so far as the Old Testament consciousness was concerned. The fourth name springs out of the third: אבי־עד, eternal Father (not Booty Father, with which Hitzig and Knobel content themselves); for what is divine must be eternal. The title Eternal Father designates Him, however, not only as the possessor of eternity (Hengstenberg), but as the tender, faithful, and wise trainer, guardian, and provider for His people even in eternity (Isaiah 22:21). He is eternal Father, as the eternal, loving King, according to the description in Psalm 72. Now, if He is mighty God, and uses His divine might in eternity for the good of His people, He is also, as the fifth name affirms, sar-shâl, a Prince who removes all peace-disturbing powers, and secures peace among the nations (Zechariah 9:10) - who is, as it were, the embodiment of peace come down into the world of nations (Micah 5:4). To exalt the government of David into an eternal rule of peace, is the end for which He is born; and moreover He proves Himself to be what He is not only called, but actually is.

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