A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. There are those who like to state the simple fact that almah isn't the spacific Hebrew term for "virgin".
Is.7:14 Therefore the LORD Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a "virgin" (almah) shall concieve, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The reason some people make this obvious point is to attempt to discredit Christianity. Sure "betulah" is the specific Hebrew term for virgin, However almah in general context would often be Expected to be a virgin much like a (pure/ young) Lady of today (yesterday). This should be evident to those interested in (and familure with) the Hebrew term. The indepth understanding of how the "seed of the woman" (Gen.3:15) relates to "virgin" is too often overlooked. The Hebrew term in Is.7 is Not the same as that for a literal virgin however the "NT" (Brit Chadashah) says Mary was a virgin in more than on place! (Matt.1:20,23/ Jn 1:14/ Lk.1:34-35/Matt.3:17) So in modern Christian sources it seems someone took the liberty of changing the Hebrew word in the texts of Is.7 to Virgin since it is revelation later revealed. No one had the authority to do this.
Those with limited knowledge also say that the English sources of Matt.1:23 Perverted and changed the Word cause they claim its quoting Is.7:14 but using the word for literal virgin which doesnt allow for the Hebrew almah which was used in the earlier texts. Shem Tov's Hebrew Mathew (which Many see as a true Hebrew manuscript of The book of Matthew) uses the (correct!) Hebrew Word almah here! Also & the revelation of Mary was given elsewhere in the "NT" (Before documented) and some claim we dont have a Hebrew manuscript of Matt and since the revelation was given that she was a virgin elsewhere that its possible when this verse was given in the NT Greek that it was somewhat different from the earlier Hebrew texts to allow for this revelation.
Almah- a lass: (as veiled or private) - translated: damsel, maid, virgin
Its the femine of elem and its root is alma.
Alma - hide, veil, kept out of sight.
So which sounds more like a almah?
A female that gets around and is liberated sexually? /or/
A reserved lady who in most cases would also be a virgin?
The term virgin in the English doesn't only mean one untouched sexually. Example: Virgin is used to describe one who hasn't been seduced spiritually as well. A nonintoxicating mixed drink,... The context of almah would be used to describe a innocent lady (undefiled, unbeguiled,...) weather she be a literal virgin or not and Mary's physical virginity wouldn't have been the only thing The Almighty would have been interested in when it comes to the mother of Messiah.
So while such critics don't have any regard for the context of the Gospels (Matt.1:20,23/ Jn 1:14/ Lk.1:35/ Matt.3:17) they also seek to put almah into their own context, quick to claim what one isn't yet never really telling you what one is.
Lets look at other areas where almah is used:
Gen.24:43 Rebekah was called an almah before meeting Isaac!^
Ex.2:8 Sister of Moses (Marium) called almah when Moses was drawn from the water as a baby.
Would you naturally exspect these to be (phy) virgins at this time? YES
Many may ask: How does a virgin concieve and bare a child? By devine intervention! (son of God). This was not the first Super natural child birth in the Word. Sarah was over natural childbearing age when she recieved the news that she would bear a child. Her responce was laughter which is what Isaac means.
Other such births include: Isaac, Jacob (Esau), Joseph, Samson, Samuel, John the baptist of which the mothers were barren. Mary was the only virgin birth
Ps.2:7 also describes the king of Yisrael as a begotten son of God.
More on Yeshua (Jesus) being begotten son of God found HERE (Lions Den Group)
Is.7:14 is a double prophacy that directly relates to the son of Isiah being a sign of G-d's favor (Immanuel) in a time when the king was rebellious. Is.7:14 does NOT mention a literal physical virgin it uses the term almah again cause it relates to both son of Isiah and is a FORESHADOW of messiah who also is a sign of G-d's presence and favor (Emmanuel). Thus the reason the Tanakh doesnt spacifically mention a physical virgin and its not until we get to the NT (* Matt.1:18,25/* Lk.1:33-35) that we learn this detail that Mary was a physical virgin. As far as Matt 1:23 goes Shem Tov's uses the term almah (for those who give wieght to that source), which is a direct quote from Tanach. However almah never says it Cant be a physical virgin its just not the Hebrew word for virgin. (the Greek texts uses a word in vs.23 that does say virgin and flows with the fore mentioned verses/ as well as Shem Tov's does!). Its not dependant that Matt 1:23 say physical virgin (Those who embrace Shem Tov's Hebrew Matt have no literal contradiction and those who embrace the Greek must acknowledge its not a direct quote from Tanach).
There are 4 layers of interpretation (understanding) to be applied to every revelation in complete Jewish thought. 4 layers of ("Jewish") understanding (in "Judaism") - "P.R.D.S." (Pardes- Paradice)
1) Peshat- Literal
2) Remez- Implied
3) Derash- Allegorical
4) Sod- Mystical........ Thus to draw a conclusion while not addressing each one would be premature but an interpretation that embodies each is deemed all encompassing!.
To be counted among the congregation of Israel (a "Jew") at birth your mother has to be a "Jew" (member of Israel). Other than that *Tribal identification is done through the males (your father's, fathers, father.... Num.1:18 ). However in Gen. following sin we have mention of "the seed of the woman" (zera) in the first prophesy given. . Eve is the mother of all living however this is only applying limited understanding to the "seed of the woman" (Gen.3:15). To identify this one (tribally) we still have to document male relation (zera). With the knowledge that there was a woman who was a literal virgin then her zera (identification) is done through her tribal identification and her tribal identification like all Jews is made through her *father and his father and his father, (Lk.3)...... This tribal identification is "the seed of the woman" that is Yeshua seeing as there is No phy. father. (Legality relation is still carried through Yoseph Matt.1/ Father in law/ "as was supposed". King David was adopted btw!). THis is the ONLY person in history in which you can relate the "seed of the woman" to her offspring in Every way. So the tribal identification of the daughter of Eve that is Mary is considered with her seed, if you have the knowledge that she is a virgin. This requires the understanding that tribal identification is done through the males rather than argues it.
Lk 3 ..... tags: Samson, miracle, divine, birth, Immanuel, Emmanual
Last updated by William H. Dec 4.