Isaiah 9:5-6 Who could this child be? A detailed analysis of the Hebrew text.

Isa 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. KJV

Who, then, could this child be? The historical record of the Kingdom of Judah
recorded in the Hebrew Bible from the time of King Ahaz forward, suggests
that the name/title לוםֹ שָׁ שׂר־ַ , Ruler of Peace, alludes to the fact that there
was a prolonged period of peace in the Land of Israel during King Hezekiah’s
reign. This peaceful span was highlighted by his invitation to the remnant of
the Jews who lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel to participate in the
celebration of the Passover (see 2Chronicles 30).

The detailed analysis of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 9:5-6 and supporting passages in
the Hebrew Bible demonstrated how this passage describes events that had already
taken place during the era in which these prophetic words were spoken by Isaiah,
i.e., it is an historical, not a messianic, passage. Additional passages in the Hebrew
Bible helped establish the connection between this near-term prophecy and the
righteous King Hezekiah as the one of which Isaiah spoke.

This passage, Isaiah 9:5-6[6-7], appears to have appealed to Church translators as
an opportunity to infuse into the words of Isaiah Christological significance, since all
that was required to accomplish this were adjustments to the tenses, a manipulation
that changed the historical context (past tense) into a current and prophetic context
(present and future tenses).

Yet, it still is puzzling why this passage was targeted for revision in view of the fact
that the authors of the New Testament did not believe that it applied to Jesus, as is
evident from their silence about it.

***

ISAIAH 9:5-6[6-7]
– IS IT MESSIANIC OR HISTORICAL?

I. INTRODUCTION

The passage Isaiah 9:5-6[6-7] is an important “proof text” in the portfolio of Christian
missionaries, one that is claimed to foretell the advent of Christianity’s Messiah,
Jesus.

A detailed analysis of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 9:5-6 within its proper context
demonstrates how this passage describes historical events that occurred during the
era in which these words were spoken by Isaiah, and is not a messianic prophecy.
OVERVIEW OF CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH INTERPRETATIONS OF IS 9:5-6[6-7]

 

See detailed analysis of the Hebrew text http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Isa9_56.pdf

***

Answer: Isaiah is known for the method by which he presents many of his messages through the use of prophetic names (Isaiah 7:3, 14; 8:3). In the verse under study, the prophet expounds his message by formulating a prophetic name for Hezekiah. The words of this name form a sentence expressive of God’s greatness, which will become manifest in the benefits to be bestowed upon the future king in his lifetime. Thus, the name, though borne by the king, serves, in reality, as a testimonial to God.
Hezekiah is called “a wonderful counselor” because this name is a sign, which foretells God’s design for him.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying: “As I have thought, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, that I will break Asshur in My land, and upon My mountains trample him under foot; then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulder.” This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 14:24-27)

Be not afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he shall hear a rumor, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. (Isaiah 37:6-7)

Hezekiah is called “the mighty God” because this name is a sign that foretells God’s defense of Jerusalem through the miraculous sudden mass death of Sennacherib’s army.

Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield, nor cast a mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come to this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake. (Isaiah 37:33-35)

Hezekiah is called “the everlasting Father” because this name is a sign, which foretells that God will add years to his life. “Go, and say to Hezekiah: Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add to your days fifteen years” (Isaiah 38:5).

Hezekiah is called “the ruler of peace” because this name is a sign, which foretells that God would be merciful to him. Punishment for lack of faith in the Almighty will be deferred and peace granted during the last years of his rule. “Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah: ‘Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken.’ He said moreover: ‘If but there shall be peace and security in my days’” (Isaiah 39:8).
The fulfillment of the above-stated declarations is foretold in Isaiah 9:6, when, after the Assyrian defeat, Hezekiah’s glory increased and peace reigned for the rest of his life (2 Chronicles 32:23). Archaeologists have found that there was a sudden expansion of Judean settlements in the years following the fall of the northern kingdom. This indicates that many refugees fled south, thus giving added significance to the statement “that the government may be increased.”

Hezekiah’s kingdom is declared to be forever, for through his efforts to cleanse the Temple ritual of idolatry, even though apostasy followed under his son Menasseh, the Davidic dynasty was once more confirmed as the only true kingly rule that God would accept over his people “from henceforth and forever.” The greatness of Hezekiah lies in his setting the stage for Israel’s future. Hezekiah was a true reformer. He cleansed religious worship of foreign influence, purged the palace and the Temple of images and pagan altars, and reestablished pure monotheistic religion.

In the long run Hezekiah’s achievements would outlive him, leaving an everlasting, indelible impact on the history of his people. Thus, God, through Isaiah, bestows upon Hezekiah this name which honors the king by proclaiming the great things God will do for him, and, through him, for the people of Israel.

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