Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
From the context we see that this king is undoubtedly Christ. But is he called "The LORD our righteousness" because he is God?
Trinitarian scholar Adam Clarke did not believe so:Dahler translates the text thus: - Et voici le nom dont on l’appellera:
L’Eternel, Auteur de notre felicite.
“And this is the name by which he shall be called;
The Lord, the Author of our happiness.”
Dr. Blayney seems to follow the Septuagint; he translates thus, “And this is the name by which Jehovah shall call him, Our Righteousness.”
In my old MS. Bible, the first English translation ever made, it is thus: -
And this is the name that thei schul clepen him: oure rigtwise Lord.
Coverdale’s, the first complete English translation of the Scriptures ever printed, (1535), has given it thus: -
And this is the name that they shall call him: even the Lorde oure rightuous Maker.
Matthews (1549) and Becke (1549) follow Coverdale literally; but our present translation of the clause is borrowed from Cardmarden, (Rouen, 1566), “Even the Lord our righteousness.”
Dr. Blayney thus accounts for his translation: -
“Literally, according to the Hebrew idiom, ‘And this is his name by which Jehovah shall call, Our Righteousness;’ a phrase exactly the same as, ‘And Jehovah shall call him so;’ which implies that God would make him such as he called him, that is, our Righteousness, or the author and means of our salvation and acceptance. So that by the same metonymy Christ is said to ‘have been made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,’ 1Co_1:30.
I doubt not that some persons will be offended with me for depriving them, by this translation, of a favourite argument for proving the Divinity of our Savior from the Old Testament. But I cannot help it; I have done it with no ill design, but purely because I think, and am morally sure, that the text, as it stands, will not properly admit of any other construction.
The Septuagint have so translated before me, in an age when there could not possibly be any bias or prejudice either for or against the fore-mentioned doctrine, a doctrine which draws its decisive proofs from the New Testament only.
Dahler paraphrases -
“This Prince shall be surnamed by his people, ‘The Lord, the author of our happiness.’ The people shall feel themselves happy under him; and shall express their gratitude to him.”
I am satisfied that both the translation from Cardmarden downwards, and the meaning put on these words, are incorrect. I prefer the translation of Blayney to all others; and that it speaks any thing about the imputed righteousness of Christ, cannot possibly be proved by any man who understands the original text.
As to those who put the sense of their creed upon the words, they must be content to stand out of the list of Hebrew critics. I believe Jesus to be Jehovah; but I doubt much whether this text calls him so. No doctrine so vitally important should be rested on an interpretation so dubious and unsupported by the text.
That all our righteousness, holiness, and goodness, as well as the whole of our salvation, come by Him, from Him, and through Him, is fully evident from the Scriptures; but this is not one of the passages that support this most important truth. See on Jeremiah 33 (note).
[/list]Modern translations uphold this view, sensibly refraining from any theological commentary in their footnotes:
- New American Bible
In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: "The LORD our justice."
- New English Translation
Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety
and Israel will live in security.
This is the name he will go by:
‘The Lord has provided us with justice.’