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Old 02-02-2019, 02:49 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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I'm posting this for the benefit of Christians who may have doubts about Matthew's use of Isaiah 7:14, but are open minded enough to consider the following.

Christians have long understood Isaiah 7 to be a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus. But in modern times, even among evangelical Christians, it is common to deny that Isaiah's prophecy is a Messianic prophecy at all or that the Hebrew word almah can refer to a virgin. Scholars and commentators have had much to say on the subject. Some have regarded Matthew's use of Isaiah 7:14 as a dual fulfillment of prophecy, with both a near term and a far term fulfillment. Some regard it as a typical fulfillment. Some say that it is a pesher (a rabbinic style creative interpretation). Others claim that Matthew misunderstood Isaiah's prophecy and got it wrong.

I agree with the view of scholars such as Michael Rydelnik, Michael Brown, and Michael S. Heiser, who hold that a close look at the passage of Isaiah 7:1-16 shows the prophecy has not only a near term fulfillment pertaining to the days of Ahaz, the king of Judah, but also a long range prophecy which concerns the house of Israel and finds its ultimate fulfillment in the virgin birth of Jesus.

Two things have a bearing on how Isaiah 7:14 is to be understood. One is the context or situation in which the prophecy was given, and the other is whether or not the word almah can refer to a virgin.

Regarding the first, the situation which existed in Judah at the time the prophecy was given was that Judah was under threat of attack by Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the king of the Northern kingdom of Israel. The two kings wanted Ahaz to join them in an alliance against the Assyrians. When he refused to join them Rezin and Pekah decided to form an alliance against Ahaz. Their intent was to remove Ahaz from the throne and replace him with Tabeel who would then join the alliance against the Assyrians.

If king Ahaz was removed from the throne this would endanger the Messianic promise given in the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14) that David would have a descendant who would be the Messiah and who would sit on the throne forever. The threat to the house of David if Ahaz was removed provided the basis for a long range prophecy assuring the Davidic house that Messiah would be born and that the Davidic covenant was secured.

Therefore, God sent Isaiah to Ahaz with the promise that the threat against Ahaz and Judah would not succeed. To confirm the promise, Ahaz was told to ask God for a sign of his own choosing which could be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven. The sign was to be of such a nature as to elicit faith in the promise. Ahaz refused, claiming that he would not test God. Therefore God provided a sign of His own choosing.
Isaiah 7:14 ''Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. . .
The sign, in view of the nature of the offer, was to have been of a miraculous nature. A young woman giving birth hardly qualifies as an out of the ordinary event. Young women give birth every day. The long range aspect of the prophecy dealt with assuring the House of David that Messiah would indeed be born in a future time. In this part of the prophecy it is the House of David which is addressed rather than Azah. When the prophecy addresses Ahaz himself as in 7:5,11, the singular pronoun 'you' is used. When the entire House of David is being addressed the language changes from the singular to the plural pronoun 'you.' This is not evident in the English but it is clear in the Hebrew and in the Greek Septuagint. It's easier to show this from the Septuagint. In Isaiah 7:5,11 the singular 'σοῦ - of you; your' is used. But when the House of David is addressed, the plural 'ὑμῖν - to you' is used. https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/gree...book=43&page=7

With the long range part of the prophecy taken care of, the prophecy turns to the near term aspect in which Ahaz is addressed and assured that the attack by Aram and Pekah will fail. The child mentioned in the near term part of the prophecy is not the future Messiah, but probably refers to Isaiah's son Shear-jashub who Isaiah was to take with him when he gave the prophecy to Ahaz. There seems to be no other reason why Isaiah was told to take his son with him. Before Shear-jashub knew enough to refuse evil and choose good 'the land whose two kings you (σὺ -you; singular) dread will be forsaken (7:16).

Regarding the word almah, the claim is made by skeptics that if Isaiah had intended to mean virgin he would have used the word bethulah instead of almah. But neither word exclusively and only means virgin. When used in the context of a virgin the word bethulah could refer to a virgin of any age, while the word almah would refer to, or imply, a young virgin. To make this clear, in Song of Solomon, the king's harem consists of three categories; sixty queens - mə·lā·ḵō·wṯ, eighty concubines - pi·laḡ·šîm, and maidens (virgins) - wa·‘ă·lā·mō·wṯ (the plural of almah) without number.
Song of Solomon 6:8 "There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, And maidens without number;
Both the queens and the concubines had had sex with the king. The maidens are a separate category of the harem and have not yet had sex. If they had they would have promoted to the category of concubine and no longer referred to as an almah. In the context of Song of Solomon 6:8, almah therefore refers to or implies virgins.

To keep this post from being any longer. . .some people complain about long posts . . . I've excluded a lot of what could be added to this. Matthew understood the Hebrew Scriptures and knew what he was doing. He didn't make a mistake.

My source material is:

1. The Messianic Hope, Michael Rydelnik, chapter 10

2. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, volume three, Michael Brown, part 4.3

3. A lecture by Old Testament scholar Michael Heiser ; 'Virgin Birth Prophecy, Jesus and the Old Testament'

Virgin Birth Prophecy Jesus and the Old Testament - Dr. Michael S. Heiser


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puLgX-zp0_c


Michael Brown also has a short lecture concerning Isaiah 7:14.

Objection 4.3: Isaiah 7:14 does not prophesy a virgin birth!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI15ExvNzvM
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:25 PM
 
Location: US
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Yeshayahu - Isaiah - Chapter 7

14 Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:32 PM
 
Location: US
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You’re wrong about Almah...
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:41 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
Yeshayahu - Isaiah - Chapter 7

14 Therefore, the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign; behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel.
Michael Rydelnik points out that 'Immanuel' is a throne title (rather than a proper name) of the Messiah just as the titles 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace are throne titles in Isaiah 9:6 (9:5 in the Tanack). If that is the case then the title Immanuel would be used of the Messiah when He sits upon the throne of David in the future.

On the other hand, Michael Brown points out that 2 Samuel 12:24-25 says that Solomon was to be called Jedidiah, but was never referred to by that name, not even once, in the Tanack.

Since Solomon was never called Jedidiah in the Tanack, it becomes a weak argument to say that because Jesus was never called Immanuel in the New Testament, the prophecy doesn't refer to Him in the long range part of the prophecy.

Last edited by Michael Way; 02-02-2019 at 03:58 PM..
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:14 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
You’re wrong about Almah...
Even the medieval French rabbi, Rashi, while not interpreting the word almah as virgin in Isaiah 7:14 does interpret almah as virgin in Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) 1:3.
Song of Songs 1:3 Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is 'oil poured forth.' Therefore, the maidens (ă·lā·mō·wṯ) loved you.
Rashi's comment on Song of Songs 1:3 - maidens - (ă·lā·mō·wṯ - virgins.
Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils: A good name is referred to by the expression, “good oil.”

Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils: that those dwelling at the ends of the earth smelled, [i.e.,] those who heard of Your good fame when You performed awesome deeds in Egypt.

your name is ‘oil poured forth.’: Your name is [thus] called. It is said about you that you are oil that is constantly being poured forth so that your fragrant scent wafts forth to a distance, for so is the nature of fragrant oil. As long as it is in a sealed bottle, its scent does not carry. If one opens it and pours the oil into another vessel, its scent carries.

Therefore, the maidens loved you: Jethro came at the sound of the news and converted; also Rahab the harlot said, (Josh. 2:10f.): “For we have heard how the Lord dried up, etc.,” and thereby, “the Lord your God, He is God in heaven, etc.”

maidens: virgins, since the text compares Him to a youth whose beloved holds him dear, and according to the allegory, the maidens are the nations. [Bolding mine)

https://www.chabad.org/library/bible...showrashi=true
Rashi understood that the world almah could refer to a virgin, even if that is not its primary meaning.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
Even the medieval French rabbi, Rashi, while not interpreting the word almah as virgin in Isaiah 7:14 does interpret almah as virgin in Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) 1:3.
Song of Songs 1:3 Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is 'oil poured forth.' Therefore, the maidens (ă·lā·mō·wṯ) loved you.
Rashi's comment on Song of Songs 1:3 - maidens - (ă·lā·mō·wṯ - virgins.
Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils: A good name is referred to by the expression, “good oil.”

Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils: that those dwelling at the ends of the earth smelled, [i.e.,] those who heard of Your good fame when You performed awesome deeds in Egypt.

your name is ‘oil poured forth.’: Your name is [thus] called. It is said about you that you are oil that is constantly being poured forth so that your fragrant scent wafts forth to a distance, for so is the nature of fragrant oil. As long as it is in a sealed bottle, its scent does not carry. If one opens it and pours the oil into another vessel, its scent carries.

Therefore, the maidens loved you: Jethro came at the sound of the news and converted; also Rahab the harlot said, (Josh. 2:10f.): “For we have heard how the Lord dried up, etc.,” and thereby, “the Lord your God, He is God in heaven, etc.”

maidens: virgins, since the text compares Him to a youth whose beloved holds him dear, and according to the allegory, the maidens are the nations. [Bolding mine)

https://www.chabad.org/library/bible...showrashi=true
Rashi understood that the world almah could refer to a virgin, even if that is not its primary meaning.
Its primary meaning is young girl or lady.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:17 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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Originally Posted by Jerwade View Post
Its primary meaning is young girl or lady.
Which in no way excludes it from referring to a young virgin. In Jewish culture young unmarried girls were presumed to be virgins.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:44 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
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In paragraph 5 of the first post I wrote that king Rezin the king of Aram and Pekah the king of the Northern kingdom of Israel wanted to put Tabeel as king of Judah. Actually, it was the son of Tabeel (Isaiah 7:6) that they wanted to put on the throne in place of Ahaz.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:47 PM
 
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The promise of a descendant of David was not of the blood of man but a man like David in the spiritual sense.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerwade View Post
Its primary meaning is young girl or lady.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
Which in no way excludes it from referring to a young virgin. In Jewish culture young unmarried girls were presumed to be virgins.
But in its primary sense (young woman), it's the feminine of elem or young man; not young virgin boy.
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