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Isaiah 9:6; Young's Literal Translation;

6...Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6; English Standard Version;

6...called[b] Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6; Douay Rheim's Bible;

6...called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

According to textual criticism which translation is the most accurate:

  • Father of eternity
  • Everlasting Father
  • Father of the world to come.?
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  • What does "according to textual criticism" mean? Apr 12, 2022 at 11:49
  • @TomasMarkov textual criticism Looks between Original copies of the text and shows which is more accurate, also, which is more accurate translation.
    – salah
    Apr 12, 2022 at 13:14

2 Answers 2

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The word father (אב ab) — construct state אבי ("father of") — is not so much at issue as much as the word meaning futurity, beyond (עד od). "Father," in Semitic culture can mean originator, or source, or the first, or the progenitor, etc.

Genesis 4:21 And his brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of them that play upon the harp and the organs.

עד (od) carries the meaning of until, as far as, beyond, for the remainder etc.

Genesis 8:22 [עד/For/until/for the remainder of] all the days of the earth, seedtime and harvest, cold and hot, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.

(The context refers to the post-flood era as safe from nature-shaking changes to the flow of seasons etc.)

So the Father of (אבי) עד (futurity, beyond, coming, until, yet to come, etc.) means the father of "the world/age to come" (עולם הבא), as such is simply a more poetic rendering of the same. That is, the meaning of "father of the [what is] beyond" is obvious.

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  • I think this answer is helpful as well. +1.
    – Dottard
    Apr 12, 2022 at 2:03
  • @SolaGratia very helpful answer, +1, best answer. Thank you.
    – salah
    Apr 12, 2022 at 2:46
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There is no dispute about the Hebrew text of Isa 9:6, so textual criticism does not help here.

The differences in the OP's versions lies in the different ways the Hebrew word/phrase אֲבִיעַ֖ד (made of two words, father + perpetuity). This phrase can be legitimately rendered:

  • everlasting/eternal father
  • father of eternity (this one slightly more literal)

It is the slightly more interpretive translations that give results like, "Father of the future age" (Vulgate & DRB), etc.

The Pulpit commentary observes:

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?

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