Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

"For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom; "

There are words like

Elizabeth, emanuel. All those words contains "el" which means God.

But Elizabeth is not divine. At least not that I know off.

What about elohim? ElShaddai? or what about ElGibbor? in Isaiah 9?

Are those regular people's name or one of God's epithets?

How do we know a name containing el is god's name and another name containing el is just regular people's name?

share|improve this question
You seem to be struggling with asking questions that are received well on this site. You may benefit from checking out this helpful flowchart for asking questions. – Dan Feb 19 '14 at 7:32
I quoted that already. – Jim Thio Feb 23 '14 at 8:34

Often, but not always, a title given to and associated with God will be written as two words in Hebrew. They might separate the words with a makkeph, which looks like a dash but is at the top of the line instead of the middle (technically, this makes the words one in Hebrew and shifts the accent).

If there is no makkeph, the words will be written as two words, El Roi.

In personal names, the name will translate in a way that shows this person is not to be confused with God. For example, Daniel means "El is my judge" and Michael means "Who is like God?" In the second, we know this is a question and not a description of the person (saying the angel is like God) because Hebrew grammar says the Mi prefix (and that's a long I sound) at the start of a clause is the question "who." To say "X, who is like Y" would use the relative pronoun asher.

Regarding El Gibbor in Isaiah 9:6, the same name is used in Isaiah 10:21.

A remnant will come back, a remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. [NET Bible]

This verse stands in parallel to the last half of 20:

Instead they will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.

The Holy One of Israel refers to YHWH. Therefore, El Gibbor would be referring to God in 10:21. I would interpret El Gibbor in 9:6 the same way.

share|improve this answer
So, is El Gibor a normal personal name or divine name? – Jim Thio Feb 23 '14 at 8:35
That makkeph is not in the original language right? – Jim Thio Feb 23 '14 at 8:36
No. IIRC, it was added the same time as the vowel points. – Frank Luke Feb 24 '14 at 15:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.