EMMANUEL, or Immanuel, a Hebrew symbolical proper name, meaning "God (is) with us." When in 734-733 B.C. Ahaz, king of Judah, alarmed at the preparations made against him by the Syro-Ephraimitish alliance, was inclined to seek aid from Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, the prophet Isaiah endeavoured to allay his fear by telling him that the danger would pass away, and as a sign from Yahweh that this should be so, any young woman who should within the year bear a son, might call his name Immanuel in token of the divine protection accorded to Judah. For before the infant should come to even the immature intelligence of childhood the lands of the foe would be laid waste (Isaiah vii. 14-16). For other interpretations, especially as regards the mother, see Ency. Bib. col. 2162-3, and the commentaries. In the post-exilic period the historical meaning of the passage was forgotten, and a new significance was given to it in accordance with the gradually developing eschatological doctrine. This new interpretation finds expression in Matt. i. 23, where the name is applied to Jesus as the Messiah. At the close of Isaiah viii. 8 for "of thy land, O Immanuel," we should probably read "of the land, for God is with us." The three passages quoted are the only instances where this word occurs in Scripture; it is frequent in hymns and devotional literature as a title of Jesus Christ.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)