[b-hebrew] Isaiah 9:6 Wonderful Counselor

Schmuel Schmuel at escape.com
Thu Dec 30 23:23:31 EST 2004

Hi b-hebrew,

>>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. 

>The LXX text is complex and variable, but this is not an accurate translation of the Codex Alexandrinus text at this point; in all LXX MSS it seems this list starts with something like "messenger of mighty counsel". Brenton's translation very likely owes more to KJV than is admitted.

I'll leave that up to Greek OT experts to comment on, whether Bretton did a reasonable translation here or not.  As I said, I really don't pay much attention to the Greek OT.  Lacking other comment, I will accept your view that his translation of Alexandrinus was poor. 

Peter Kirk
>Here, by the way, is Wycliffe's version of this verse, from http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/wycliffe/Isa.txt 
>6 Forsothe a litil child is borun to vs, and a sone is youun to vs, and prinsehod is maad on his schuldre; and his name schal be clepid Wondurful, A counselour, God, Strong, A fadir of the world to comynge, A prince of pees.

Thanks, I didn't know we had Wycliffe online -- got it bookmarked. 
I thought he had only done a portion of Tanach, so I may have to check into that some.

Peter Kirk
>But Matthew's Bible of 1537, from http://pcministry.com/tanak/isa.htm, has:
>9:6 For unto us a child shall be born, and unto us a son shall be given. Upon his shoulders shall the kingdom lie, and he shall be called with his own name: the wonderous giver of counsel, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace,
>So Wycliffe, translating the Vulgate, separated "wonderful" from "counsellor", and "God" from "strong/mighty"; but Matthew, largely an independent translation from the Hebrew, combined both of these phrases.
>For some reason which is now unclear, KJV separated the first pair but combined the second pair. So did the Douay-Rheims version of 1609, see http://www.hebrewoldtestament.com/B23C009.htm. This is interesting because it seems highly improbable that these two apparently independent translations would have made the same improbable choice independently. 

Peter, I don't think you are remotely in sound statistics land :-)

We have only four possible ways of handling the question that you isolated.
Here are some of the most significant, and less related, English translations I could find -
 6 historical biggies, 2 literal, and 3 other more recent

1) Wonderful, Counsellor  --  Mighty, God -    Wycliffe 
2) Wonderful Counsellor   --  Mighty, God -    

3) Wonderful, Cousellor   --  Mighty God   -   ASV, KJB, Geneva, Douay, Youngs, WEB 
4) Wonderful Counsellor  --  Mighty God  -    NAS, Rotherdam, NIV, Tyndale, Matthew

Well, its pretty clear that the separation of Mighty and God is the singular oddball anomaly,
(understandably), coming from Wycliffe. 

Omitting such, we than have only two real possibilities, both frequently used.  
So seeing KJB and Douay match, (with the Geneva), should not be at all surprising,
is reasonably likely, and not even remotely "highly improbable" :-)

Geneva - http://www.genevabible.org/files/Geneva_Bible/Old_Testament/Isaiah.pdf
Tyndale - http://alleluya.com/ot/isaiah_9.html

Peter Kirk
>But in any of these cases the punctuatuion could have been adjusted by later editors.

Not in the King James Bible.
The 1611 is  "Wonderfull, Counsellor, The mightie God"

Significant changes in the King James Bible, even punctuation, are very rare, from the 1611 to the Cambridge and Oxford editions of around 1780, to the Scrivener edition, to today.

Sidenote:  Jewish translations are particularly poor here, as in -
  JPS-1914              -  left the Hebrew, as if it was one long name
  JPS-1985 (Tanakh) - The Mighty God is planning grace
Steven Avery
Queens, NY


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list