Isaiah 7:14

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Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

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Commentary

Corrupt Commentaries

The Believer’s Study Bible, edited by W. A. Criswell teaches that the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled twice:

7:14 ’Almah (Heb.) is one of two words translated as “virgin.” The other term, betulah (Heb.), is very specific, only meaning “virgin,” whereas ’almah is more general and can sometimes mean “a young woman of marriageable age.” The ambiguity of this term is reflected in its being translated “virgin” in some places and “maiden” in others. . . . it is puzzling why Isaiah chose the ambiguous term, ’almah, over the more frequent and specific one, betulah. The answer may be related to vv.16, 22, which suggest a double fulfillment of the prophecy. The prophet may have used ’almah instead of betulah because the impending birth which would be a sign to Ahaz would not be a virgin birth, but the future birth of Immanuel . . . would be the Virgin Birth.

The Evangelical Study Bible, edited by Harold Lindsell says:

7:14 a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son. Before we can understand this verse, we need to consider two Hebrew words. One is betulah and the other ’almah. The former means virgin, and the latter an unmarried female. ’Almah is used here. Its use in this context covers two cases. One has to do with the wife of Isaiah and her newborn son (Isa. 8:1–4). Isaiah’s wife was a virgin until she was married. She was no longer a virgin when married. Of course, one supposes that an unmarried female is a virgin. The second case covers that of the virgin Mary. She was a virgin before the conception of Jesus. And she remained a virgin then, because Joseph was not the father of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was [sic]. Stated another way, Isaiah’s wife was no longer a virgin when she conceived; Mary was still a virgin after she conceived, for she had not yet known a male. Interestingly, the Septuagint translates ’almah by the use of the Greek word parthenos which means virgin. And Matthew uses the word parthenos for Mary’s case. The word ’almah thus covers both births involved in this prophecy and we learn that Mahershalal-hash-baz, the son of Isaiah, had a human mother and father and his birth was a natural one. Jesus, on the other hand, had a human mother but not a human father. His birth was supernatural. ’Almah allows for both prophetic views.

Life Application Bible, edited by Ronald A. Beers:

7:14–16 The Hebrew word used here sometimes means “virgin” and sometimes “young woman.” Its immediate use here refers to Isaiah’s young wife and her newborn son (8:1–4). This, of course, was not a virgin birth. God’s sign was that before this child was old enough to talk, the two invading kings would be destroyed. However, Matthew 1:23 tells us that there was a further fulfillment of this prophecy,

The NIV Study Bible, edited by Kenneth Barker:

7:14 sign. A sign was normally fulfilled within a few years (see 20:3, 37:30; cf. 8:18). virgin. May refer to a young woman betrothed to Isaiah (8:3), who was to become his second wife (his wife presumably having died after Shear-jashub was born). In Ge 24:43, the same Hebrew word (’almah) refers to a woman about to be married (see also Pr 30:19). Mt 1:23 apparently understood the woman mentioned here to be a type (foreshadowing) of the Virgin Mary. Immanuel. The name “God with us” was meant to convince Ahaz that God could rescue him from his enemies. . . . “Immanuel” is used again in 8:8, 10, and it may be another name for Maher-shalal-Hash-Baz (8:3). If so, the boy’s names had complementary significance. . . . Jesus was the final fulfillment of this prophecy, for he was “God with us” in the fullest sense (Matt 1:23; cf. Isa 9:6–7)

The Ryrie Study Bible, by Charles C. Ryrie:

7:1–16 God’s sign to Ahaz was that of a virgin (when the prophecy was spoken, it probably referred to the woman, a virgin at that time, whom Isaiah took later as his second wife, 8:1–4) and whose son would not be more than 12 to 14 years old before Syria and Israel would be captured. The virgin of Isaiah’s prophecy is a type of the virgin Mary, who, by the Holy Spirit, miraculously conceived Jesus Christ (see Matt 1:23). The Hebrew word that is here translated virgin is found elsewhere in the O.T. in Gen. 24:43; Exod. 2:8, Psa 68:25; Prov. 30:19; Song of Sol. 1:3, 6:8, and in these instances refers only to a chaste maiden who is unmarried.

Spirit Filled Life Bible, edited by Jack W. Hayford:

7:14 This prophetic sign was given to Ahaz as an assurance of Judah’s hope in the midst of adversity. It therefore had an immediate, historical fulfillment. Its usage in the NT shows that it also has a messianic fulfillment. The Hebrew word for virgin (’almah) means either a “virgin” or a “young woman” of marriageable age. Isaiah’s readers could have understood it to be either. Messianically, it irrefutably refers to the Virgin Mary (Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27), where the Greek parthenos (virgin) removes any question. The optional form of the Hebrew word was essential for the prophecy to serve the dual situation, relating both to the Messiah’s birth in the future and to a more immediate birth in the kingly line. A Son to Isaiah’s readers would have been an unidentified heir from Ahaz’s house, perhaps his son Hezekiah. Messianically, it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The Student Bible, edited by Philip Yancey:

7:14 A Famous Sign. Like so many prophecies, this one probably had two meanings: one for Isaiah’s time and another much later. Isaiah urged King Ahaz to seek a sign from God about Judah’s safety from its neighbors. Ahaz, notoriously stubborn and ungodly, refused. Isaiah told the sign anyway: a young boy would be born, and before he grew out of childhood Judah’s feared enemies would be destroyed. . . . The New Testament sees a further meaning in this prophecy, applying it to the birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:23).

The Quest Study Bible, edited Marshall Shelley:

Is this a prediction of the Messiah? (7:14–16) Like many prophecies, this passage seems to have a double meaning. First, a child, perhaps another son

of Isaiah, would be born to a virgin (which could simply refer to a young woman) during the time of Ahaz. By the time he was grown, Judah’s two enemies (Israel and Aram) would be destroyed. The second meaning was later applied to the birth of Christ (Matt 1:23). The name Immanuel, God with us, became a title for the Messiah.

“A” or “The”

The two articles “a” and “the” make a huge difference in translation here. By using the article “the” in conjunction with an item, it implies that the item discussed must be known; we must know the exact item in which we are discussing. If the article “a” is used in conjunction with an item, it would imply any item; an item that is not defined or known; any item will suffice.

The virgin is very specific, while a virgin is general.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;

The beginning of this verse states that the Lord will give you a sign, doesn’t explain which sign, just states a sign and then is followed by a semi-colon [;] which means the explanation will now be given.

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel 06005.

As we can read from the second part of this verse:

  1. A virgin shall conceive a son.
  2. His name will be called Immanuel by the virgin H6005.

This second portion of the verse clearly places emphasis on the fact that a virgin, who is unknown, will bear a son and shall call him Immanuel which is pre-defined. The verse does not state which virgin will bear the child, but rather it focuses on the fact that you need to watch for a sign in which a virgin will bear a son with the predetermined name of Immanuel H6005.

Image:H6005.jpg

BDB Definition

Immanuel = “God with us” or “with us is God”

1) symbolic and prophetic name of the Messiah, the Christ, prophesying that He would be born of a virgin and would be ‘God with us’

Modern translations soften the focus of the virgin birth by elevating the emphasis of “the” virgin mother. By changing the article from “a” to “the”, it elevates the virgin herself to be on the same prophetic term as the child.

(NKJV) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Not only do some of the modern versions of the Bible twist the scriptures, they also cause contention by forcing the reader to ask:

  1. Which virgin?
  2. What is her name?
  3. Who is Isaiah referring to?

By using the article “the”, this implies that at the time of writing Mary would have had to be known, which is not the case. The only known absolutes with this prophecy is that a child will be born of a virgin who will bear the name Immanuel.

Contention Causing

(ESV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(NIV) 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.
(NKJV) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

In Agreement

(KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(NASB) “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.

We need to remember that this verse is not about defining who the virgin is, but rather that a virgin will bear a son with a predefined name, a child who is the Messiah.

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