The government shall be upon his shoulder - That is, the ensign of government; the scepter, the sword, the key, or the like, which was borne upon or hung from the shoulder. See note on Isaiah 22:22.
And his name shall be called - גבור אל El gibbor, the prevailing or conquering God.
The everlasting Father "The Father of the everlasting age" - Or עד אבי Abi ad, the Father of eternity. The Septuagint have μεγαλης βουλης Αγγελος, "the Messenger of the Great Counsel." But instead of אד אבי Abi ad, a MS. of De Rossi has אבעזר Abezer, the helping Father; evidently the corruption of some Jew, who did not like such an evidence in favor of the Christian Messiah.
Prince of Peace - שלום שר sar shalom, the Prince of prosperity, the Giver of all blessings.
A MS. of the thirteenth century in Kennicott's collection has a remarkable addition here. "He shall be a stumbling-block, המכשלה ; the government is on his shoulder." This reading is nowhere else acknowledged, as far as I know.
For - This is given as a reason of the victories that were predicted in the previous verses. That it has reference to the Messiah has been almost universally conceded; and indeed it does not seem possible to doubt it. The eye of the prophet seems to have been fixed on this great and glorious event - as attracting all his attention. The scenes of coming times, like a panorama, or picture, passed before him. Most of the picture seems to have been that of battles, conflicts, sieges, dimness, and thick darkness. But in one portion of the passing scene there was light. It was the light that he saw rising in the distant and darkened Galilee. He saw the joy of the people; the armor of war laid aside; the image of peace succeeding; the light expanding and becoming more intense as the darkness retired, until he saw in this region the Prince of Peace - the Sun of Righteousness itself. The eye of the prophet gazed intently on that scene, and was fixed on that portion of the picture: he sees the Messiah in his office, and describes him as already come, and as born unto the nation.
Unto us - For our benefit. The prophet saw in vision the darkness and gloom of the nation, and saw also the son that would be born to remove that darkness, and to enlighten the world.
A child - (ילד yeled ). This word usually denotes a lad, a boy, a youth. It is commonly applied to one in early life; but no particular stress is to be laid on the word. The vision of the prophet is, that the long-expected Messiah is born, and is seen growing up amidst the surrounding darkness of the north of Palestine, Isaiah 9:1.
Is born - Not that he was born when the prophet spake. But in prophetic vision, as the events of the future passed before his mind, he saw that promised son, and the eye was fixed intently on him; see the Introduction, section 7, and the note at Isaiah 1:1.
A son - בן bên This word does not differ materially from the word translated child. In the future scenes, as they passed before the mind of the prophet, he saw the child, the son that was to be born, and described him as he appeared to his view - as a child. Fixing the eye on him, he proceeds at once to designate his character by stating the appropriate names which he would bear.
Is given - The Messiah is often represented as having been given, or sent; or as the rich gift of God; the note at Acts 4:12; John 3:16; Ephesians 1:22; John 17:4. The Messiah was pre-eminently the gift of the God of love. Man had no claim on him, and God voluntarily gave his Son to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
And the government shall be upon his shoulder - The sense of this passage is, that he shall rule, or that the government shall be vested in him. Various interpretations have, however, been given of the phrase ‹upon his shoulder.‘ Some have supposed, that it means simply he shall sustain the government, as the shoulder is that by which we uphold any thing. Pliny and Cicero thus use the phrase; see Rosenmuller. Others, that it means that he should wear the royal purple from a child. - Grotius. Lowth supposes that it refers to the ensign of government - the scepter, the sword, the keys, or the like, that were borne upon the shoulder, or suspended from it; see the note at Isaiah 22:22. It is evident, from this latter place, that some ensign of office was usually borne upon the shoulder. The sense is, that he should be a king, and under this character the Messiah is often predicted.
And his name shall be called - That is, his attributes shall be such as to make all these applications appropriate descriptions of his power and work. To be called, and to be, in the Hebrew, often mean the same thing. The word ויקרא vayı̂qerâ' may possibly mean, Yahweh shall call him; or it may be regarded as taken impersonally. Such a use of a verb is not uncommon in Isaiah. ‹One calls him,‘ is, according to the usage in Isaiah, as ranch as to say, he will justly bear this name; or simply, he will be.
Wonderful - פלא pele' This word is derived from the verb פלא pâlâ' to separate, to distinguish, or to make great. It is applied usually to anything that is great or wonderful, as a miracle; Exodus 15:2; Lamentations 1:9; Daniel 12:6. It is applied here to denote the unusual and remarkable assemblage of qualities that distinguished the Messiah. Those are specified more particularly in the other part of the verse; such an assemblage of quailties as to make proper the names Mighty God, etc. ‹The proper idea of the word,‘ says Hengstenberg, ‹is miraculous. It imports that the personage here referred to, in his being and in his works, will be exalted above the ordinary course of nature, and that his whole manifestation will be a miracle.‘ Yet it seems to me, that the proper idea of the word is not that of miraculous. It is rather that which is separated from the ordinary course of events, and which is suited to excite amazement, wonder, and admiration, whether it be miraculous or not.
This will be apparent if the following places are examined, where the word occurs in various forms. It is rendered marvelous, Psalm 118:23; Psalm 139:14; Psalm 98:1; Job 5:9; wonderful, 2 Samuel 1:26; Psalm 139:14; Proverbs 30:18; Job 42:3; Psalm 72:18; Psalm 86:10; hidden, Deuteronomy 30:2; things too high, Psalm 131:1; miracles, Judges 6:13; Exodus 15:2; Psalm 77:14; Psalm 88:10; Psalm 89:5; the word is translated wonders, in the sense of miracles, in several places; and hard, Deuteronomy 17:8; Jeremiah 32:17. From these passages, it is clear that it may denote that which is miraculous, but that this idea is not necessarily connected with it. Anything which is suited to excite wonder and amazement, from any cause, will correspond with the sense of the Hebrew word. It is a word which expresses with surprising accuracy everything in relation to the Redeemer. For the Messiah was wonderful in all things. It was wonderful love by which God gave him, and by which he came; the manner of his birth was wonderful; his humility, his self-denial, his sorrows were wonderful; his mighty works were wonderful; his dying agonies were wonderful; and his resurrection, his ascension, were all suited to excite admiration and wonder.
Counsellor - This word has been sometimes joined with ‹wonderful,‘ as if designed to qualify it thus - “wonderful counselor;” but it expresses a distinct attribute, or quality. The name “counselor” here, יועץ yû‛ēts denotes one of honorable rank; one who is suited to stand near princes and kings as their adviser. It is expressive of great wisdom, and of qualifications to guide and direct the human race. The Septuagint translates this phrase, ‹The angel of the mighty counsel.‘ The Chaldee, ‹The God of wonderful counsel.‘
The mighty God - Syriac, ‹The mighty God of ages.‘ This is one, and but one out of many, of the instances in which the name God is applied to the Messiah; compare John 1:1; Romans 9:5; 1 John 5:20; John 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8. The name ‹mighty God,‘ is unquestionably attributed to the true God in Isaiah 10:21. Much controversy has arisen in relation to this expression; and attempts have been made to show that the word translated “God,” אל 'ĕl may refer to a hero, a king, a conqueror. Thus Gesenius renders, it ‹Mighty hero;‘ and supposes that the name ‹God‘ is used here in accordance with the custom of the Orientals, who ascribe divine attributes to kings. In like manner Pluschke (see Hengstenberg) says, ‹In my opinion this name is altogether symbolical. The Messiah shall be called strength of God, or strong God, divine hero, in order by this name to remind the people of the strength of God.‘ But after all such controversy, it still remains certain that the natural and obvious meaning of the expression is to denote a divine nature. So it was evidently understood by the ancient versions; and the fact that the name God is so often applied to Christ in the New Testament proves that it is to be understood in its natural and obvious signification.
The everlasting Father - The Chaldee renders this expression, ‹The man abiding forever.‘ The Vulgate, ‹The Father of the future age.‘ Lowth, ‹The Father of the everlasting age.‘ Literally, it is the Father of eternity, עד אבי 'ĕby ‛ad The word rendered “everlasting,” עד ‛ad properly denotes “eternity,” and is used to express “forever;” see Psalm 9:6, Psalm 9:19; Psalm 19:10. It is often used in connection with עולם ‛ôlâm thus, עולם ועד vā‛ed ‛ôlâm “forever and ever;” Psalm 10:16; Psalm 21:5; Psalm 45:7. The Hebrews used the term father in a great variety of senses - as a literal father, a grandfather, an ancestor, a ruler, an instructor. The phrase may either mean the same as the Eternal Father, and the sense will be, that the Messiah will not, as must be the ease with an earthly king, however excellent, leave his people destitute after a short reign, but will rule over them and bless them forever (Hengstenberg); or it may be used in accordance with a custom usual in Hebrew and in Arabic, where he who possesses a thing is called the father of it.
Thus, the father of strength means strong; the father of knowledge, intelligent; the father of glory, glorious; the father of goodness, good; the father of peace, peaceful. According to this, the meaning of the phrase, the Father of eternity, is properly eternal. The application of the word here is derived from this usage. The term Father is not applied to the Messiah here with any reference to the distinction in the divine nature, for that word is uniformly, in the Scriptures, applied to the first, not to the second person of the Trinity. But it is used in reference to durations, as a Hebraism involving high poetic beauty. lie is not merely represented as everlasting, but he is introduced, by a strong figure, as even the Father of eternity. as if even everlasting duration owed itself to his paternity. There could not be a more emphatic declaration of strict and proper eternity. It may be added, that this attribute is often applied to the Messiah in the New Testament; John 8:58; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 1:11, Revelation 1:17-18; Hebrews 1:10-11; John 1:1-2.
The Prince of Peace - This is a Hebrew mode of expression denoting that he would be a peaceful prince. The tendency of his administration would be to restore and perpetuate peace. This expression is used to distinguish him from the mass of kings and princes who have delighted in conquest and blood. In contradistinction from all these, the Messiah would seek to promote universal concord, and the tendency of his reign would be to put an end to wars, and to restore harmony and order to the nations; see the tendency of his reign still further described in Isaiah 11:6-9; the note at Isaiah 2:4; see also Micah 5:4; Hosea 2:18. It is not necessary to insist on the coincidence of this description with the uniform character and instructions of the Lord Jesus. In this respect, he disappointed all the hopes of the Jewish nation, who, in spite of the plain prophecies respecting his peaceful character. expected a magnificent prince, and a conqueror.
The expressions used here imply that he would be more than human. It is impossible to believe that these appellations would be given under the Spirit of inspiration to a mere man. They express a higher nature; and they coincide with the account in the New pressions of a pompous and high-sounding character were commonly assumed by Oriental princes. The following is a single instance of their arrogance, ostentation, and pride. ‹Chosroes, king of kings, lord of lords, ruler of the nations; prince of peace, saviour of men; among the gods, a man good and eternal, but among people, a god most illustrious, glorious; a conqueror rising with the sun and giving vision at night.‘ - Theoph. Simocatta Chr., iv. 8, quoted by Gesenius. But it cannot be pretended, that the Spirit of inspiration would use titles in a manner so unmeaning and so pompous as this. Besides, it was one great object of the prophets to vindicate the name and character of the true God, and to show that all such appellations belonged to him alone.
However, such appellations might be used by surrounding nations, and given to kings and princes by the pagan, yet in the Scriptures they are not given to earthy monarchs. That this passage refers to the Messiah has been generally conceded, except by the Jews, and by a few later critics. Jarchi and Kimchi maintain that it refers to Hezekiah. They have been driven to this by the use which Christians have made of the passage against the Jews. But the absurdity of this interpretation has been shown in the notes at Isaiah 7:14. The ancient Jews incontestably referred it to the Messiah. Thus the Targum of Jonathan renders it, ‹His name shall be called God of wonderful counsel, man abiding forever, the messiah, משׁיח mâshı̂yach whose peace shall be multiplied upon us in his days.‘ Thus rabbi Jose, of Galilee, says, ‹The name of the Messiah is שׁלום shâlôm as is said in Isaiah 9:6, “Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.” ‹Ben Sira (fol. 40, of the Amsterdam Edition, 1679) numbers among the eight names of the Messiah those also taken from this passage, Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace. The later Jews, however, have rejected this interpretation, because the Messiah is here described as God.
So it is still. Events upon which the attention of all heaven is centered are undiscerned, their very occurrence is unnoticed, by religious leaders, and worshipers in the house of God. Men acknowledge Christ in history, while they turn away from the living Christ. Christ in His word calling to self-sacrifice, in the poor and suffering who plead for relief, in the righteous cause that involves poverty and toil and reproach, is no more readily received today than He was eighteen hundred years ago. DA 56.1
Mary pondered the broad and far-reaching prophecy of Simeon. As she looked upon the child in her arms, and recalled the words spoken by the shepherds of Bethlehem, she was full of grateful joy and bright hope. Simeon's words called to her mind the prophetic utterances of Isaiah: “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.... And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.... For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 11:1-5; 9:2-6. DA 56.2
Yet Mary did not understand Christ's mission. Simeon had prophesied of Him as a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as a glory to Israel. Thus the angels had announced the Saviour's birth as tidings of joy to all peoples. God was seeking to correct the narrow, Jewish conception of the Messiah's work. He desired men to behold Him, not merely as the deliverer of Israel, but as the Redeemer of the world. But many years must pass before even the mother of Jesus would understand His mission. DA 56.3Read in context »
In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character the opposite of the character of Satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. “Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8. As the high priest laid aside his gorgeous pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” Isaiah 53:5. DA 25.1
Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” DA 25.2
By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. DA 25.3Read in context »
In Christ the cry of humanity reached the Father of infinite pity. As a man He supplicated the throne of God till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that should connect humanity with divinity. Through continual communion He received life from God, that He might impart life to the world. His experience is to be ours. DA 363.1
“Come ye yourselves apart,” He bids us. If we would give heed to His word, we should be stronger and more useful. The disciples sought Jesus, and told Him all things; and He encouraged and instructed them. If today we would take time to go to Jesus and tell Him our needs, we should not be disappointed; He would be at our right hand to help us. We need more simplicity, more trust and confidence in our Saviour. He whose name is called “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace;” He of whom it is written, “The government shall be upon His shoulder,” is the Wonderful Counselor. We are invited to ask wisdom of Him. He “giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” Isaiah 9:6; James 1:5. DA 363.2
In all who are under the training of God is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices; and everyone needs to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Here alone can true rest be found. And this is the effectual preparation for all who labor for God. Amid the hurrying throng, and the strain of life's intense activities, the soul that is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. The life will breathe out fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men's hearts. DA 363.3Read in context »
Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. DA 483.1
However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father.” John 10:14, 15, R. V. What a statement is this!—the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the Man that is My fellow” (Zechariah 13:7),—the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth! DA 483.2
Because we are the gift of His Father, and the reward of His work, Jesus loves us. He loves us as His children. Reader, He loves you. Heaven itself can bestow nothing greater, nothing better. Therefore trust. DA 483.3Read in context »