34 Isaiah 9:5; The Star of Bethlehem

Isaiah 9:5; The Bethlehem Star. Five or four points?

5 Pointed star and 6 pointed star in building in Bethlehem. Photo credit: Mike Silberman

I recently received a question concerning the translation of Isaiah 9:5. Roughly it boils down to the statement that “the Star of Bethlehem should have five points, representing the head, two legs and two arms of a man, for He will be called Immanuel, God with us”. The NIV makes this interpretation impossible, since it combines the first two points into one!

KJV: “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. “

NIV: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “

Looking at the Hebrew grammar, we find that “wonderful” (peh’-leh) is a pronoun describing “counselor” (yaw-ats’) and therefore not a separate attribute.

Not only do most modern translations render these attributes in this way, but even the “Complete Jewish Bible” (Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. Clarksville, Maryland USA; Jerusalem, Israel), translated by David H. Stern, has the same rendering: “Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace”.

The main problem with this reasoning however, is that one would try to force a translation to fit into a certain plan or dogma. Our reasoning should be the other way round. We should test our dogmas to the correct grammatical translation. The idea of a five pointed star of Bethlehem could be pretty, but it is not supported by either the plain grammatical facts of the sentence, or by any theological fact, and should therefore be discarded.

Even when we look at these attributes, all have to do with what this Child would do for his followers. If we take “wonderful” as a separate attribute, it does not fit into the scheme, but together with Counselor, makes perfect sense.

It is extremely important that we should derive understanding our doctrine from Scripture, and not bend or alter Scripture to fit or prove our doctrine!

God bless!


About Herman of bibledifferences.net

The reasons for the differences between older Bibles like the King James Version and newer Bibles like the New International Version have fascinated me ever since my studies in Theology at the University of Pretoria in the seventies. I have great respect for scribes through the ages as well as Bible translators, so there must be good reasons for the differences. With more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and more than 19000 manuscripts of ancient translations to our disposal, the original autographs of the New Testament can be established without doubt. I investigate the reasons behind the differences and publish the facts in a post on my blogs www.bibledifferences.net (Afrikaans: www.bybelverskille.wordpress.com) to enable my readers to judge for themselves. Personally I love to make an informed decision based of facts. That is why I endeavor to provide that same privilege to the readers of my blogs. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page, founder director of Act-Up Support (www.actup.co.za) a prayer ministry for families struggling with drug-, occult- and other dependencies. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, four grand sons and two grand daughters. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman Grobler.
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