Who is the child in Isaiah 9:5-6?

Who is the child the prophet speaks about?

Isaiah 9:5-6 says: “For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called A wonderful counselor is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the ruler of peace; that the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it through justice and through righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts does perform this.” Who is the child the prophet speaks about?

Answer: Isaiah is known for the method by which he presents many of his messages through the use of prophetic names (Isaiah 7:3, 14; 8:3). In the verse under study, the prophet expounds his message by formulating a prophetic name for Hezekiah. The words of this name form a sentence expressive of God’s greatness, which will become manifest in the benefits to be bestowed upon the future king in his lifetime. Thus, the name, though borne by the king, serves, in reality, as a testimonial to God. Hezekiah is called “a wonderful counselor” because this name is a sign, which foretells God’s design for him.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying: “As I have thought, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, that I will break Asshur in My land, and upon My mountains trample him under foot; then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulder.” This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 14:24-27)

Be not afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he shall hear a rumor, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. (Isaiah 37:6-7)

Hezekiah is called “the mighty God” because this name is a sign that foretells God’s defense of Jerusalem through the miraculous sudden mass death of Sennacherib’s army.

Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield, nor cast a mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come to this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake. (Isaiah 37:33-35)

Hezekiah is called “the everlasting Father” because this name is a sign, which foretells that God will add years to his life. “Go, and say to Hezekiah: Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add to your days fifteen years” (Isaiah 38:5). Hezekiah is called “the ruler of peace” because this name is a sign, which foretells that God would be merciful to him. Punishment for lack of faith in the Almighty will be deferred and peace granted during the last years of his rule. “Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah: ‘Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken.’ He said moreover: ‘If but there shall be peace and security in my days‘” (Isaiah 39:8). The fulfillment of the above-stated declarations is foretold in Isaiah 9:6, when, after the Assyrian defeat, Hezekiah’s glory increased and peace reigned for the rest of his life (2 Chronicles 32:23). Archaeologists have found that there was a sudden expansion of Judean settlements in the years following the fall of the northern kingdom. This indicates that many refugees fled south, thus giving added significance to the statement “that the government may be increased.” Hezekiah’s kingdom is declared to be forever, for through his efforts to cleanse the Temple ritual of idolatry, even though apostasy followed under his son Menasseh, the Davidic dynasty was once more confirmed as the only true kingly rule that God would accept over his people “from henceforth and forever.” The greatness of Hezekiah lies in his setting the stage for Israel’s future. Hezekiah was a true reformer. He cleansed religious worship of foreign influence, purged the palace and the Temple of images and pagan altars, and reestablished pure monotheistic religion. In the long run Hezekiah’s achievements would outlive him, leaving an everlasting, indelible impact on the history of his people. Thus, God, through Isaiah, bestows upon Hezekiah this name which honors the king by proclaiming the great things God will do for him, and, through him, for the people of Israel.

 

© Gerald Sigal