Discussing the Virgin Birth - Michael Heiser
Updated: Mar 5
Video from Bible & a Bicycle
"Michael S. Heiser is an American biblical Old Testament scholar and Christian author. His area of expertise is the nature of the spiritual realm in the Bible, namely the Divine Council and hierarchy of the spiritual order." from video introduction.
"The Almah of Isaiah 7:14
What follows is the text (pre-edit) of an article I’ve written for Logos’ print magazine, Bible Study Magazine. I thought it was worth a post at this time of year.
The Almah of Isaiah 7:14 Virgin or Not?
The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 is among the most well-known passages in the book of Isaiah. Its also one of the most controversial, for many reasons.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin (almah) shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ESV)
Its difficult to get through the Christmas season without seeing one of the major news periodicals or educational television networks cast doubt as to the meaning of almah Isaiah 7:14. A favorite argument is that the Hebrew word almah does not mean virgin but instead refers to a young woman of marriageable age without respect to prior sexual activity. The more precise word for virgin is betulah, and that is not used in Isa 7:14. The New Testament author Matthew, we are so often told, mistakenly assumed the term meant virgin. His ignorance led to the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus. Are these assertions correct?
It is true that betulah provides more contextual clues as to sexual inactivity, but does that mean almah never means virgin? Outside of Isa. 7:14, the word almah occurs only six times in the Old Testament. In all but one of those occurrences, the context provides no clue as to the sexual status of the young woman or women. Virginity is suggested, however, in Song of Sol 6:8, where almah occurs in the plural.." from the article: The Almah of Isaiah 7:14