Bible passage: Isaiah 7:14
Written: Between 701-681 BC
In Isaiah 7:14, the prophet Isaiah addresses the "house of David," meaning the family and descendants of King David, and speaks of a virgin conceiving a child and giving birth to the child. Isaiah says this in the context of it being a sign from God. He also says that the child would be referred to as "Immanuel," which means "God with us" or "God among us."
The New Testament books of Matthew (Matthew 1:18-25) and Luke (Luke 1:26-38) record details involving the birth of Jesus, who was born about 700 years after the time of Isaiah. Both Matthew and Luke say that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus is the Son of God. Because Jesus is both fully human and fully God, he literally can be referred to as "God with us" or "God among us."
In Isaiah 7:14, there is a Hebrew word, almah, which many Christian Bibles translate into English as virgin. Some commentators have claimed that the word actually should be translated as young maiden and not as virgin. The fact is, the Bible uses the word almah in various passages to refer to young unmarried women who were culturally and religiously expected to be virgins. One example can be found in Genesis 24:43, where it speaks of a woman being sought as a bride for Isaac.
It is interesting to note that the etymology of the English word virgin shows that centuries ago it could be defined as "maiden, unwedded girl or woman," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, at etymonline.com.
In other words, the word virgin was used to refer to a person of a specific gender (female), and of a specific age (old enough to get married), and of a specific marital status (unmarried), just like the usage of the Hebrew word almah in Genesis 24:43 and in other Bible passages.
- Research and commentary is based on the book 100 Prophecies. © Ray Konig and AboutBibleProphecy.com.
Here is Isaiah 7:14:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
(New International Version translation)