[b-hebrew] Isaiah 9:6 Wonderful Counselor

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Thu Dec 30 17:05:26 EST 2004

Hi b-hebrew,

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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace

Charles Rempel
> The words for Wonderful Counselor in Isaiah 9:6 are translated without a comma in the NASB and 
> with a comma in KJV..... the word for Wonderful is a common noun masculine singular and the the 
> word for counselor is Qal participle masculine singular. I know that th Qal participle is used in a 
> nominative sense and so could be translatd as a separate characteristic of Christ. Is there anything > which would contribute to translating one way or the other?

Great question :-)  

> First, its 9:5 in Hebrew. The first word- pele- is a simple masculine singular (segholate) noun. = 
> "wonder, marvel" the second- the verb yoetz- is a qal masc. singular participle. = "to advise, 
> counsel"
>     the LXX has "messenger of mighty counsel"
>     the Targum has "wonderful counselor"
>     the Vulgate has "Admirabilis, consiliarus"

Hi Jim,

  John Gill also gives a little backdrop on the early translations, basically confirming 

"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;"

> The simple, straightforward exposition (translation) of the phrase in hebrew is "marvelous advisor" or 
> the more common "wonderful counselor".

   From what you say, I gather either thought "wonderful, counselor" (noun, noun), or "wonderful counselor" (adjective,noun) could possibly be represented with the same Hebrew expression, even though wonderful is grammatically a noun. 

      However, is there a different construction that *could* be used, or that would be more clear , 
if  'wonderful'  was defined as an adjective ?  I believe that we haven't answered that, and Charles
was putting it forth.

      Here are some folks who seems to think so.  I really don't know if they are right or wrong on the technical Hebrew, so comments here would be welcome.  The first one repeats what we know, giving his grammatical interpretation.  The second one is either in over his head, or making a deep point :-)

God in a Manger - Adam Blumer
Many writers and scholars alike mistakenly treat the word wonderful as an adjective as in "Wonderful Counsellor" (with the comma deleted). Actually, in the original Hebrew, the word wonderful of Isaiah 9:6 stands alone as a noun...

Modern translations remove the comma between Wonderful and Counsellor thereby removing one of the titles of Jesus Christ changing it from a noun to an adjective. The difference in this example is in an accent in the Hebrew or as Jesus called them: a tittle. 

> (and hence is the origin of the common contained in the KJV)

Well I don't claim to know anything about commas in Latin, 
   ( www.crosswalk.com has 'Admirabilis consiliarius' )
but it is not likely that the King James Bible gave the Vulgate much notice.

Generally both the socalled LXX and the Vulgate were simply noted as 
auxiliary sources and bypassed in the King James Bible Tanach,
translated using the Ben Hayim Masoretic Text as the primary source text,
by men who were skilled semiticists.

Note that the Greek OT (the socalled LXX), as often, varies greatly.
Personally I do not consider it of much relevance, but for background
here is a differing Greek OT text.

“Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty One, Potentate, Prince of Peace, Father of the age to come.”­The Septuagint, as found in the Codex Alexandrinus, translated by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, c. 1850. 

Thanks for the forum.  Good stuff.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

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