The Library Basement
Reading under ground

The Virgin Will Conceive

When Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14, is he really making an assertion about the meaning of that passage? > This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the > prophet would be fulfilled: "***Look! The virgin will conceive and > bear a son, and they will call himEmmanuel***,” which means “*God with > us*.” When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord > told him. He took his wife, but did not have marital relations with > her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus. There is a lot of controversy concerning Matthew's quote and the meaning of the word "young woman" in the original context of Isaiah. Namely, some suggest that Matthew is exploiting a mistranslation in the Septuagint to prove the virgin birth from the Old Testament, while Isaiah itself is not talking about a virgin at all. First question: Is Matthew making an assertion that the meaning of "alma" is "virgin" over and against "young woman"?  It is not entirely clear. Remember, there are two parts of the prophesy, the conception of a child, and his name. I wold raise the question of whether Matthew is actually quoting this as a proof of the virgin birth as opposed to quoting as a prophecy about the salvific mission of Jesus. The emphasis in Matthew is on salvation and not on virginity, if you look at how the quote is framed. See what the angel says directly before what I quoted above: > She will give birth to a son and you will name himJesus, because he > will save his people from their sins. This leads to my second question: Is Matthew even making an assertion about the meaning of Isaiah 7? This goes to the heart of what is meant by "fulfilled." I have become convinced in my studies that fulfillment formulae often are analogical or typological. They are a way of showing the connection between a past action of God and Jesus' present work. Matthew is not saying that it was a virgin in Isaiah 7. What he is saying is that Mary was a virgin, and that Jesus' birth was a sign of deliverance in a greater way than the salvation Judah experienced in the days of King Ahaz. **Note**: This article of mine was previously published on another site.