Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." NKJV. My emphasis.

A. Does the Hebrew word for "name" here have the same meaning as in the Greek e.g.

Matthew 1:21

"and you shall call His name JESUS"? [name/onoma].

B. NKJV MacArthur Study Bible footnotes has:

"Wonderful, Counselor. "The remanining 3 titles consist of two words each, so the intention was probably that each pair of words indicate one title."

Are these pairs of words names or titles? [Or "descriptions"?]

C. Why is "name" singular?

There are several questions here. To make a central focus I am particularly asking: Why is "name" singular? But other insights into the meaning of "name" are welcome?

There are several qustions on this site concerning aspects of this verse but I have not seen one that focuses on "name".

1 Answer 1


Question A:

Basically, the Greek ὄνομα (onoma), and the Hebrew שֵׁם (shem) have essentially the same meaning - the name of a person or object, which includes their reputation etc.

Question B:

The Hebrew suggests four pairs of double titles; thus we might more helpfully translate Isa 9:6 as:

... And His name will be called

  • Wonderful Counselor,
  • Mighty God,
  • Eternal Father,
  • Prince of Peace.

Question C:

The word שֵׁם (shem) is singular for a very simple reason - the name of Messiah was "Jesus" (Matt 1:21) and it was that name that was to be blessed and called, "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

That is, the name of Jesus is associated with these double titles. The NT makes clear that Jesus Christ was all these things:

  • Jesus was called "counselor" (παράκλητος) in 1 John 2:1
  • Jesus is called "God" in Matt 1:23, John 1:1, 18, 20:28, Phil 2:5, 6, Titus 2:13, Heb 1:8, 9, 2 Peter 1:1, etc.
  • Jesus was the father of the Christian church (see below)
  • Jesus was the "Prince of peace" par excellence!

Comments by Ellicott on Isa 9:6.

It is noticeable that that which follows is given not as many names, but one. Consisting as it does of eight words, of which the last six obviously fall into three couplets, it is probable that the first two should also be taken together, and that we have four elements of the compound name: (1) Wonderful-Counsellor, (2) God-the-Mighty-One, (3) Father of Eternity, (4) Prince of Peace. Each element of the Name has its special significance.

(1) The first embodies the thought of the wisdom of the future Messiah. Men should not simply praise it as they praise their fellows, but should adore and wonder at it as they wonder at the wisdom of God (Judges 13:18, where the Hebrew for the “secret” of the Authorised version is the same as that for “wonderful;” Exodus 15:11; Psalm 77:11; Psalm 78:11; Isaiah 28:29; Isaiah 29:14). The name contains the germ afterwards developed in the picture of the wisdom of the true king in Isaiah 11:2-4. The LXX. renders the Hebrew as “the angel of great counsel,” and in the Vatican text the description ends there.

(2) It is significant that the word for “God” is not Elohim, which may be used in a lower sense for those who are representatives of God, as in Exodus 7:1; Exodus 22:28, 1 Samuel 28:13, but El, which is never used by Isaiah, or any other Old Testament writer, in any lower sense than that of absolute Deity, and which, we may note, had been specially brought before the prophet’s thoughts in the name Immanuel. The name appears again as applied directly to Jehovah in Isaiah 10:21; Deuteronomy 10:17; Jeremiah 32:18; Nehemiah 9:32; Psalm 24:8; and the adjective in Isaiah 42:13.

(3) In “Father of Eternity,” (LXX. Alex. and Vulg., “Father of the age to come “) we have a name which seems at first to clash with the formalised developments of Christian theology, which teach us, lest we should “confound the persons,” not to deal with the names of the Father and the Son as interchangeable. Those developments, however, were obviously not within Isaiah’s ken, and he uses the name of “Father” because none other expressed so well the true idea of loving and protecting government (Job 29:16, Isaiah 22:21). And if the kingdom was to be “for ever and ever,” then in some very real sense he would be, in that attribute of Fatherly government, a sharer in the eternity of Jehovah. Another rendering of the name, adopted by some critics, “Father (i.e., Giver) of booty,” has little to recommend it, and is entirely out of harmony with the majesty of the context.

(4) “Prince of Peace.” The prophet clings, as all prophets before him had done, to the thought that peace, and not war, belonged to the ideal Kingdom of the Messiah. That hope had been embodied by David in the name of Absalom (“ father of peace “) and Solomon. It had been uttered in the prayer of Psalm 72:3, and by Isaiah’s contemporary, Micah (Micah 5:5). Earth-powers, like Assyria and Egypt, might rest in war and conquest as an end, but the true king, though warfare might be needed to subdue his foes (Psalm 45:5), was to be a “Prince of Peace” (Zechariah 9:9-10).

Thus, Jesus had a singular name, but that name would be associated with numerous titles, four double titles listed by Isa 9:6 and many more such as:

  • Creator: John 20:13, 28, Luke 1:43, Phil 3:8, Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34
  • Savior: Matt 1:21; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11
  • Shepherd: John 10:11-16; Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4; Rev 7:17
  • First and Last: Rev 1:17, 18, 2:8, 22:13
  • Lord of Lords: Rev 17:14, 19:16
  • Son of David: Matt 1:1, 20, 9:27, 15:22, 20:30, 21:9, 22:42, Mark 10:47, 48, Luke 18:38, 39, etc.
  • King of Israel: Luke 1:32, 33, John 1:49, 50, 12:13
  • etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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