Re: hO QEOS in Mt 1:23b

From: Steve Puluka (
Date: Sun Nov 28 1999 - 07:04:29 EST

<x-flowed>>From Ken Hall
>Does Matthew 1:23b use of the definite article [for hO QEOS] denote
>specific identity (articular) to the noun it preceeds or is there
>an exception in the Greek grammar of this text?

I think there is a simpler explanation of this construction. This is a
direct lift of the the language at the end of Isaiah 8:8 from the
Septuagint. Having quoted Isaiah 7:14 Matthew goes on to connect this
prophechy with the song of victory in the very next Chapter by saying this
name, Emmanuel, is the victor of the song, God with us.

>From: Steven Craig Miller <>
>Matthew translates Emmanuel (Immanuel) as: MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS. What does
>this mean? Some scholars have suggested ... >others have suggested that it
>was a ***war cry: "God is with us!"; ****
>(clipped and emphasis added)

Isaiah 8:8 through 9:7 is a song of victory in war and liberation. Matthew
is connecting the prophecy of the child to this victory by assigning the
name of the child the reason for the victory, even so far as to make the
name the war cry of the victory. This selection from Isaiah is used by the
Eastern Churches during the Great Compline service on the Eve of the Feast
of the Nativity of Christ. We sing selections from Isaiah's song with the
refrain after each verse of:

God is with us! God is with us! Understand all nations and submit
yourselves for God is with us!

>Some scholars seem to understand MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS without any verb so as
>to imply that Jesus is: "God with us." This last interpretation I would
>personally find very unlikely since no where (else) does Matthew refer
>explicitly to Jesus as "God."

This is exactly the view of the early Christian writers. I will not go into
the theology of this on b-greek but I will list the Patristic references and
the date of authorship for those who are interested in this line of thought.
  Perhaps the text alone does not support this conclusion, but I see nothing
here that prevents this either. In fact, these references demonstrate that
this is the early interpretation given this verse.

Steve Puluka
Adult Education Instructor
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

Most of these are available on-line at:
Ecole Intiative

Wheaton has downloadable and searchable versions at:

Fordham has an extensive bibliography on these texts

Ignatius Circa 107 to the Ephsians Chapters 28-29
Irenaeus Circa 182 Against Heresies Chapters 9 and 21
Tertullian Circa 190 Answers to the Jews Chapters 9
                               On the Flesh of Christ Chapters 17-24
                               On the Resurrection of the Flesh Chapter 20
Origen Circa 170 Against Celus Book 1 Chapter 34
Cyprian Circa 250 Treaties Book 2 Chapter 7
Novatian Circa 250 Concerning the Trinity Chapter 24
Lactanitus Circa 315 Epitome on Divine Institutions Chapters 43-44
Syrian origin author unknown Circa 270 Constitutions of Apostles Book 5
Chapter 16

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