"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?


3 Answers 3


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.

  • So, is El Gibor a normal personal name or divine name?
    – user4951
    Feb 23, 2014 at 8:35
  • That makkeph is not in the original language right?
    – user4951
    Feb 23, 2014 at 8:36
  • No. IIRC, it was added the same time as the vowel points.
    – Frank Luke
    Feb 24, 2014 at 15:29

Saying that this name REFERS to YHWH is not exactly saying that the subject given this name IS YHWH.

Saying that a "messiah" for instance who would save Israel at the time in near-view is not saying Jesus is YHWH either in far view.

Jesus was not LITERALLY given this name. No one EVER calls him "Emmanuel." He also did not insist or ask anyone to call him this. And "yehoshuah" or "YHWH saves," is also not saying he IS YHWH. In fact he says he comes IN this name, whom he actually calls "the Father." By the authority of. In actuality he NEVER calls himself the same Referent as the Father, and says of himself in relation,

...my Father is greater than all. And, ...the Father is greater than I.


sounds like the answer a member of the Jehovah's witnesses would give

perhaps add in John chapet 20 and verse 28 and those verses around this verse as Jesus appears to 'doubting' Thomas

also try Titus chapter2 verse 13 and 2 Peter 1 verse1 in a 'normal' version of the bible

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