Isaiah 7:14


#1

Hi, hope your all well.

I wanted to know what the original Hebrew translation was for Isaiah 7:14 (the Hebrew scripture before the 250bc Septuagint) and not the Jamaica Greek bible nor the Hebrew translation later.
I am asking this as the Septuagint has the word virgin in Isaiah 7:14 and the others have changed it to young woman.
I know from what I read that the Jews changed it to try and stop the spread of Christianity but I wanted to know if it was the same in the original Hebrew.

Hope I have made sense.

Thanks in advance.

Jon


#2

The Hebrew word is עַלְמָ֗ה (almah), which could be translated as either “virgin” or “young woman”. I believe the Septuagint translated it correctly as “virgin” first and foremost because that’s how it’s used in the New Testament, but also because it’s more amazing that a virgin would conceive than a young woman. Also, it’s quite possible this had an immediate fulfillment in the life of Isaiah, in which a “young woman” would have a child (keep in mind what was being discussed in the chapter) as well as being a Messianic prophecy.

Hope this helps!

Pax!


#3

If you ask yourself what was the great sign they speak about earlier, then it becomes obvious that a young woman having a baby was a rather common occurrence, and does not stand out as a great sign. However, if you translate it as maid or virgin, then it indeed would be consistent with a great sign. The pre-Christian Jewish rabbis of the Septuagint had it right.


#4

Many thanks to both of you for your replies.

The other thing that I forgot to ask was does anyone think that the virgin birth could of been copied from earlier religions like the Egyptian, pagans and so on to strengthen Christianity?

I only ask this as like most people who don’t have a solid foundation with faith are seeking it by asking questions to help there faith grow by asking people who have the answers or understanding. I don’t want to offend I just want to get closer to God and have true faith.


#5

this is the most controversial verse in the Bible, that I have seen so far.

Yes, the crux is in the translation of the word as ‘virgin’ or as ‘young woman.’

The Hebrew Study Bible, while maintaining the standard Jewish position about the meaning as “young woman” nevertheless says that it is puzzled that would be a “sign” as it is so common an occurrence. HSB does not allow the possibility that it is inclusive of the meaning of “virgin” even though the Jewish-origin Septuagint translates it that way.

This (amazon.com/Mary-Fathers-Church-Blessed-Patristic/dp/0898706866/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370159944&sr=1-1&keywords=Mary+and+the+early+church+fathers) book and its second volume (amazon.com/Mary-Middle-Ages-Medieval-Theologians/dp/0898708451/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y) were written by a priest who researched and documented the development of the theology of Mary – and in particular, the perpetual virginity of Mary.

The development of this idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity has its roots in heresies that started in the very early church, either denying the divinity of Christ or denying his humanity. The fulfillment of Is 7:14 anticipates what is recorded in the gospels, about Jesus’ conception in Mary and his later birth.

The crux of that point is that Mary conceived Jesus in a divine way, not in a normal way by human sexual relations. So, her perpetual virginity is a consequence of the divine method of his conception and birth.

Following closely on the heels of the perpetual virginity of Mary is the related issue that Mary experienced no pain of childbirth – an idea that I had long ago dismissed as extreme piety towards Mary but – which is thought to be addressed by Is 66:7
Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. NIV (for example).


#6

[quote=Jonni] The other thing that I forgot to ask was does anyone think that the virgin birth could of been copied from earlier religions like the Egyptian, pagans and so on to strengthen Christianity?
[/quote]

Why would a monotheistic poeple like Israel copy anything from from a polytheistic mythology? Have you ever examined any of these so called “virgin birth” stories? Having a fetus sewn into the thigh of a god to complete its development is hardly comparable to what Isaiah recorded, and Christians believe. Likewise, resurrection stories from these pagan religions are more like zombie tales than the true resurrection Christians hold to. There is no comparison!

[quote=sirach2v4] The crux of that point is that Mary conceived Jesus in a divine way, not in a normal way by human sexual relations. So, her perpetual virginity is a consequence of the divine method of his conception and birth.
[/quote]

Sorry, but perpetual virginity does not follow from this. Isa 7:14 shows that Mary would conceive in a special way (by divine decree without sexual contact), and that she would remain a virgin throughout the pregnancy, but there is nothing here to indicate that this virginity would continue after childbirth. For that matter, there is nothing here that would indicate that her virginal integrity would remain intact even while giving birth. Not even Isa 66:7 would indicate this. However, since the perpetual virginity is not the topic, I see no reason to pursue it further.


#7

It was not from piety that the claim of no birthing pains arose, it was from the recognition of her Immaculate Conception. If she was without original sin, then she would not have been cursed with the pain for giving birth as detailed in genesis.


#8

Perhaps my wording was a bit misleading. The early church fathers took Is 66:7 as a prophecy of Jesus’ birth and hence concluded that Mary had no pain in childbirth.

I am stating the position that I read in the two books I cited in my earlier post.

But, in regard to your point, Augustine was not convinced of the idea of the immaculate conception and many fathers followed his lead. The pain-free birth was independently attributed to the prophecy in Isaiah. While the pain-free birth is not recorded as such, it was considered that Isaiah’s prophecy referred to Mary, in itself, AND because of her perpetual virginity – that neither the conception nor the nativity followed the expected course.


#9

There have always been skeptics in Christianity (and outside of it, too) so that is not news. The prophecy of virgin birth has an independent status in Judaism, fulfilled in Mary/Jesus.

Funny, a lot of early church fathers were convinced otherwise, that Is 7:14 EXACTLY prophesied a virgin birth and perpetual virginity. The issue is CAREFULLY examined in the books I referred to earlier. Is 7:14 is just the tip of the argument. As I recall, this was figured out by the second century. I mean, this was a no-brainer to them.


#10

[quote=sirach2v4] There have always been skeptics in Christianity (and outside of it, too) so that is not news. The prophecy of virgin birth has an independent status in Judaism, fulfilled in Mary/Jesus.
[/quote]

Absolutely no disagreement on this point (especially since the writers of the NT referred to it in this way).

Funny, a lot of early church fathers were convinced otherwise, that Is 7:14 EXACTLY prophesied a virgin birth and perpetual virginity. The issue is CAREFULLY examined in the books I referred to earlier. Is 7:14 is just the tip of the argument. As I recall, this was figured out by the second century. I mean, this was a no-brainer to them.

Again, since this is not the topic, I will not carry on the discussion other than to say I strongly disagree in regard to the perpetual virginity and immaculate conception (which was mentioned in an earlier post). Let’s try and stay on topic, OK?


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.