SPECIAL TOPIC: VIRGIN (Isa. 7:14)
The Hebrew term in Isa. 7:14 is almah (BDB 761, KB 835). This term is used for a young woman of marriageable age (i.e., "maiden," cf. Gen. 24:43; Exod. 2:8; Ps. 68:25; Pro. 30:19). It designates a woman who is sexually mature. There is another Hebrew term for virgin, bethulah (BDB 143, KB 166), which is used often (e.g., Gen. 24:16; Deut. 22:23; 1 Kgs. 1:2; Esther 2:3; Isa. 23:4,12; 37:22; 47:1; 62:5). The Septuagint translates Isa. 7:14 with the Greek term "virgin." These terms are semantically overlapping because all of the young girls in Israeli culture were expected to be virgins. However, I do not believe in two virgin births, but one. There was a normal conception in Ahaz's day (note Isa. 7:15-16) as a sign and a ("the," MT) virgin conception in Jesus' day (cf. Matt. 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-38; this is a multi-fulfillment prophecy with a clarification)!
I think the reason that the NT does not emphasize the virgin birth more (only appears in the two birth narratives [i.e., Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:31,34] and never in a sermon in Acts or an Epistle by any Apostle) is because of the possible misunderstanding of Greco-Roman religion where the cohabitation of gods and humans, resulting in offspring, was common.
To try to base a doctrine of sin as transmitted through male sperm and, therefore, show the reason for a virgin birth is, in my opinion, folly! In reality it is similar to the barren wives of the Patriarchs having children only at God's instigation. God is in control of the Messiah! An even greater truth is revealed in the NT where the Messiah is presented clearly as incarnated Deity (i.e., John 1:1; 5:18; 10:33; 14:9-11; Phil. 2:6)! Thus the need for a virgin birth!
NASB "will be with child and bear a son"
NKJV, Peshitta "shall conceive and bear a son"
NRSV "is with child and shall bear a son"
TEV "who is pregnant will have a son"
NJB, REB "is with child and will give birth to a son"
LXX "shall be with child and bear a son"
The adjective (BDB 248) usually denotes someone who is already pregnant, but there is some ambiguity, as is obvious from the versions.
This must refer to some lady in Isaiah's day; whether it was the king's wife (i.e., birth of Hezekiah), the prophet's wife, or a young woman at court, is uncertain, but Hezekiah (Ahaz's son) fits the Davidic context best.
"Immanuel" This name (BDB 769) means "God with us" (cf. Isa. 8:8,10). In Isaiah's day many children were named with names involving Deity (i.e., Isa. 9:6). The "name" of the child is the sign to Ahaz, not His unique birth! These people were not expecting a supernatural, virgin born, incarnate Deity, supernatural child! This is not an OT truth, but a NT progressive revelation truth!
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