Monday, November 26, 2018

העלמה in Isaiah 7:14 Virgin, Omoiseke omwekungi

Lecture Notes for Lutheran Theological Seminary— Nyamira, Kenya

Pastor Joseph Abrahamson Isaiah Course, Fall 2018

This presentation discusses the meaning of the Hebrew word הָעַלְמָ֗ה Ha`Almah The Virgin Omoiseke omwekungi and how this word is used in the Hebrew Bible and understood in the Greek New Testament. Learning the uses in the Hebrew Bible will enable us to correct misunderstandings and mistranslations which are widely promoted in academic and non-academic areas. It will also help us to correctly understand the use of the term הָעַלְמָ֗ה Ha`Almah in context for Ebiblia Ekegusi, whether the terms used are omwekungiomoiseke, or omokungu oria. We will also look at the masculine form of the word הָעָֽלֶם omwana, lad, young man.

In the presentation we will also give the Greek version (The Septuagint) for comparison.

Several scholars have challenged the translation of the word הָעַלְמָ֗ה Ha`Almah as the Virgin. The basic assumption which these scholars share is a denial of miracles. They deny that God is able to do what He wills and has authority over the natural world—that He is Omnipotent. And they deny that God knows all things past, present, and future— that He is Omniscient. 

In Isaiah 7:14 their twofold denial means that 1) they deny that any Scripture could actually be predictive of the future. Particularly, they deny that this passage speaks specifically of the future birth of Jesus Christ. And 2) they deny the miracle of Christ’s Virgin birth. 


In order to promote their denial of God’s they have re-interpreted the word הָעַלְמָ֗ה The Virgin as meaning young girl or maiden or young woman of marriageable age. Their re-interpretation has found place in several English versions of the Bible, hundreds of books on Bible interpretation and on Isaiah, as well as thousands of scholarly and non-scholarly articles. Their denials of God’s Omnipotence and Omniscience and their denial that the Bible is actually the Word of God has become the main framework for secular academic scholarship in the world today.

What we look at here is how the word הָעַלְמָ֗ה is used in context wherever it is used in the Bible. There are nine (9) uses of the word עַלְמָ֗ה in the feminine form and two (2) in the masculine. 

We will look at the feminine forms first. 

Seven (7) of these uses are unambiguously referring to human beings (Genesis Omochakano 24:43, Exodus Okong’anya 2:8, Proverbs Emereng’anio 30:19, Song of Solomon Ogotera Gwa Sulemani 1:3, 6:8, Psalm Zaburi 68:26, and our passage Isaiah 7:14). 

Two (2) of those nine feminine forms are used with reference to a liturgical musical form (Psalm Zaburi 46:1, and 1 Chronicles Amang’ana ‘Ebiro 15:20). The exact nature of this musical form is not specified, but the reference to the holy procession of God in Psalm 68 with the עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת תּוֹפֵפֽוֹת׃ “virgins playing timbrels” among them (v 26) may indicate a chorus or musical group of young women, virgins.


הָֽעַלְמָה֙ Feminine Forms Referring to Humans

1. Genesis Omochakano 24:43

הִנֵּ֛ה אָנֹכִ֥י נִצָּ֖ב עַל־עֵ֣ין הַמָּ֑יִם וְהָיָ֤ה הָֽעַלְמָה֙ הַיֹּצֵ֣את לִשְׁאֹ֔ב וְאָמַרְתִּ֣י אֵלֶ֔יהָ הַשְׁקִֽינִי־נָ֥א מְעַט־מַ֖יִם מִכַּדֵּֽךְ׃ 
ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐφέστηκα ἐπὶ τῆς πηγῆς τοῦ ὕδατος, καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῆς πόλεως ἐκπορεύονται ἀντλῆσαι ὕδωρ, καὶ ἔσται ἡ παρθένος, ᾗ ἂν ἐγὼ εἴπω, πότισόν με ἐκ τῆς ὑδρίας σου μικρὸν ὕδωρ,
Rora ninteneine aiga ase ensoko y’amache. Tiga ebe iga: Omoiseke onde omo orache kobuucha amache, na inche imosabe oyio: Koranche ong’e amache make korwa ase enyongo yao inwe.
Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass that when the virgin comes out to draw water, and I say to her, “Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink,”


In this passage Abraham’s servant is searching for a young woman to be the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham. It is accurate to say that the word הָֽעַלְמָה֙ means young woman. But in the context it is also an essential characteristic that she be a virgin. The point at issue in the accounts of Abraham and his son is that the Promise of the Seed be believed (Genesis Omochakano 3:15; 12:7; and throughout Genesis). This is why God guarded Sarah’s sexual purity with Pharaoh (Genesis Omochakano 12:10-20) and with Abimelech (Genesis Omochakano 20). The Promise of the Seed is why Hagar was unsuitable and God preserved the line through Sarah even though Abraham and Sarah doubted (Genesis Omochakano 16-18, 21 ). The Promise of the Seed is the purpose of the Covenant of Circumcision God made with Abraham (Genesis Omochakano 17). And it is the reason Isaac is called Abraham’s only son (Genesis Omochakano 22:2, 16).


In addition to the text using הָֽעַלְמָה֙ to mean “sexually pure young woman” or virgin in reference to Rebekah, we also see God protecting her from sexual impurity in Genesis Omochakano 26. The purpose of sexual purity, whether as a virgin before marriage, or by monogamous fidelity in marriage was to establish the Promise of the Seed.


2. Exodus Okong’anya 2:8


וַתֹּֽאמֶר־לָ֥הּ בַּת־פַּרְעֹ֖ה לֵ֑כִי וַתֵּ֙לֶךְ֙ הָֽעַלְמָ֔ה וַתִּקְרָ֖א אֶת־אֵ֥ם הַיָּֽלֶד׃
ἡ δὲ εἶπεν ἡ θυγάτηρ Φαραώ· πορεύου.  ἐλθοῦσα
δὲ ἡ νεᾶνις ἐκάλεσε τὴν μητέρα τοῦ παιδίου. 
8 Omoiseke o Farao akamoiraneria, “Ee, genda!” Erio akagenda, akarangeria ng’ina omwana oria. 9 Omoiseke o Faro agatebia omokungu oria, “Moire omwana oyo, omongonkerie, na inche ninkoe eng’eria yao.” Erio omokungu oria akaira omwana, akamorera. 10 Ekero omwana oria akinire, omokungu oria akamoirania ase omoiseke o Faro koba omwana oye na ere akamoroka Musa, ogoteba, “Ndooche namorusetie.” 
And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother.
The particular young woman in this context is Miriam, the sister of Moses. From the context we know that this עַלְמָ֗ה is not the mother of the child. The emphasis in this context is not merely that Miriam is a young woman. It is that she is not the mother, and not able to nurse. And that she is unmarried. Contextually virgin is appropriate. For English speakers the term maiden or girl might seem to feel more natural to the text, the text is actually highlighting sexual purity, the chastity of Miriam along with her youthful age.

In Ebiblia Ekegusii the term הָעַלְמָ֗ה is not translated directly in verse 8. Though in verse 9 where הָאִשָּׁ֛ה “the woman” is used we find Miriam referred to as omokungu. Moses’ sister  is introduced in v 4 as Omoiseke omwabo omwana oria watching her brother. Again in verse 7 Omoiseke omwabo omwana oria speaks to the daughter of Pharaoh. In verse 8, where the Hebrew text has הָעַלְמָ֗ה she is referred to by pronoun.

However, Ebiblia Ekegusii describes Miriam as omokungu three times in this context:


In v. 9  וַתֹּ֧אמֶר לָ֣הּ בַּת־פַּרְעֹ֗ה “And the daughter of Pharoah said to her” is rendered Omoiseke o Faro agatebia omokungu oria “And the daughter of Pharaoh replied to the virgin girl.”

The phrase וַתִּקַּ֧ח הָאִשָּׁ֛ה הַיֶּ֖לֶד “And the woman took the child” is clarified in Ebiblia Ekegusii as Erio omokungu oria akaira omwanaThe virgin girl took the boy...” This prevents confusion as to which הָאִשָּׁ֛ה woman is meant to be taking the boy. Ebiblia Ekegusii makes one more clarification.

In verse 10 וַתְּבִאֵ֙הוּ֙ לְבַת־פַּרְעֹ֔ה “And she brought him to the daughter of Pharaoh” is translated omokungu oria akamoirania ase omoiseke o Faro the virgin girl brought him to the daughter of Pharaoh.” The translation technique is to dereference the pronounce to make the subject explicit.

Thus, even though Ebiblia Ekegusii does not translate הָעַלְמָ֗ה directly in verse 8, the translation does make the הָעַלְמָ֗ה omokungu oria clear and explicit through dereferencing pronouns and the more general noun הָאִשָּׁ֛ה in the verses which directly follow.

3. Proverbs Emereng’anio 30:19 (LXX 24:73)


18  שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה הֵ֭מָּה נִפְלְא֣וּ מִמֶּ֑נִּי ׳וְאַרְבַּע׳ ״וְ֝אַרְבָּעָ֗ה״ לֹ֣א יְדַעְתִּֽים
19  דֶּ֤רֶךְ הַנֶּ֨שֶׁר׀ בַּשָּׁמַיִם֮ דֶּ֥רֶךְ נָחָ֗שׁ עֲלֵ֫י צ֥וּר דֶּֽרֶךְ־אֳנִיָּ֥ה בְלֶב־יָ֑ם וְדֶ֖רֶךְ גֶּ֣בֶר בְּעַלְמָֽה

19 ἴχνη ἀετοῦ πετομένου καὶ ὁδοὺς ὄφεως ἐπὶ πέτρας
καὶ τρίβους νηὸς ποντοπορούσης καὶ ὁδοὺς ἀνδρὸς ἐν νεότητι.


18 Ebinto mbire bitato bire bi’ogokumia asende:
         ee, mbire bine ebio ntamanyeti, nabio ebi:
19 Enchera y’ensoti igoro,
    Na       ey’eng’iti igoro ase egetare,
    Na           ey’emeeri igoro ase amache ‘enyancha,
    Na enchera y’omosacha gochia ase omoiseke.


18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
             Yes, four which I do not understand:
19 The way of an eagle in the air,
     The way of a serpent on a rock,
       The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
And  the way of a man with a virgin.

This proverb is the third of six in this chapter which uses number parallelism. These are found in the words of Agur ben Jakeh. The thematic sequence of the poems, as I see it can be laid out in groups:

1-2 I am a stupid man, I cannot even know God on my own.
2-3 Who is the Almighty God  in 5 questions.
5-6 Trust in God through His Word, Don’t change His Word.


7-9 Two things I ask: Neither poverty nor Riches: Let me trust in You, God.
10 Slander: Do not slander
11-14 Vindictiveness: The wicked Generation in four examples
15a  Greed: The Leech
15b-16 Three/Four: never filled or satisfied
17 Insolence: Mocking Parents: The mocking eye


18-19 Three/Four: Things too wonderful, beyond comprehension
20 Adultery: The self-justification of the Adulterer
21-23 Three/Four: Things which cannot be tolerated


24-28 Four: Things small but wise
29-31 Three/Four: Things of Majesty and Stately Walk
32-33 Pride: The danger of self-exaltation

The first group (1-6) forms the introduction of humility, confession, and faith in God through His Word. The second group (7-17) center on trusting in God by contrasting the dangers of poverty and spite with the dangers of riches, greed, and insolence. The third group (18-23) center on trusting in God by contrasting chastity with the consequences of promiscuity. The fourth group (24-33) center on trusting in God who has given each creature beautiful and appropriate gifts in contrast to pride.

Even without the surrounding context the poem in verses 18-19 show a progression under the theme: things which God has created to happen without great knowledge or study. These things are profound and humbling: How can an eagle know that it can fly and do it so beautifully? How can a serpent, which has no limbs, know how to move so expertly? How can a ship, so frail and small, stay atop the waters? These are questions which reach their crescendo in the mystery of how a young man and woman who have no experience know how to interact with each other. The lack of experience and external teaching is the backdrop for this list. This brief immediate context is based on understanding עַלְמָ֔ה as virgin.

When we add to our consideration the context of the passages which follow we see the contrast of הָֽעַלְמָ֔ה with sexual impurity of the Adulteress and the worst of intolerable things: the Adulterer who puts away his wife for his maidservant.

4. Song of Solomon Ogotera Gwa Sulemani 1:3 (עַלְמָ֗ה in Plural)


לְרֵ֙יחַ֙ שְׁמָנֶ֣יךָ טוֹבִ֔ים שֶׁ֖מֶן תּוּרַ֣ק שְׁמֶ֑ךָ עַל־כֵּ֖ן עֲלָמ֥וֹת אֲהֵבֽוּךָ׃

καὶ ὀσμὴ μύρων σου ὑπὲρ πάντα τὰ ἀρώματα· μῦρον ἐκκενωθὲν ὄνομά σου.
διὰ τοῦτο νεάνιδες ἠγάπησάν σε,


Amaguta ao akweakwa nigo are ne rimisu rigiya;
Erieta riao nigo ringa buna amaguta aumoirwe,
Ase ayio abaiseke abekungi nigo bagwanchete.


Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.

The term עֲלָמ֥וֹת is used twice in the Song of Solomon, this verse and the next under consideration. This first use is in the speech of the Shulamite, the Bride. The use here is synonymous with the Daughters of Jerusalem. The Daughters of Jerusalem form the chorus in the Song of Songs. The Shulamite repeatedly exhorts them not to stir up love. 

In this context the Shulamite speaks of her beloved, her groom. She professes how blessed she is because all the young girls wish to be his bride. In this context עֲלָמ֥וֹת is most appropriately virginsabaiseke abekungi, that is sexually pure young women who have not been married or known a man.

5. Song of Solomon Ogotera Gwa Sulemani 6:8 (עַלְמָ֗ה in Plural)


שִׁשִּׁ֥ים הֵ֙מָּה֙ מְּלָכ֔וֹת וּשְׁמֹנִ֖ים פִּֽילַגְשִׁ֑ים וַעֲלָמ֖וֹת אֵ֥ין מִסְפָּֽר׃

ἑξήκοντά εἰσι βασίλισσαι, καὶ ὀγδοήκοντα παλλακαί, καὶ νεάνιδες ὧν οὐκ ἔστιν ἀριθμός.


Mbareo abakungu chiting’ana chi’omoruoti emerongo etano nomo,
Na abakungu ba sere-sere emerongo etano na etato,
Boigo mbareo abaiseke abekungi abange batari kobareka.


There are sixty queens
And eighty concubines,
And virgins without number.

In this second use of עֲלָמ֥וֹת in Song of Solomon it is the Beloved, the Groom, who is speaking. He is praising the Shulamite, his Bride, for her beauty. Nothing and no one compares with her. In the context the queens, the concubines and the virgins are among the great host praising the unique beauty of the Bride. None of them compare to her.

The progression from queens, to royal concubines, would miss the mark if the meaning of עֲלָמ֖וֹת is intended to be “young woman” excluding virginity. The concubines are already in the progression. The purpose of using עֲלָמ֖וֹת in this verse is its meaning of sexual innocence: virginity.

The Use of הָֽעַלְמָ֔ה in Liturgical or Musical Contexts

In these contexts the term is used in the plural עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת. There are two uses which are generally interpreted as a liturgical or musical term. In this connection we first note another use of עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת referring to virgins in a liturgical and musical context.


6. Psalm Zaburi 68:26 (in Plural) [English & Ekegusii v 25]


קִדְּמ֣וּ שָׁ֭רִים אַחַ֣ר נֹגְנִ֑ים בְּת֥וֹךְ עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת תּוֹפֵפֽוֹת׃

προέφθασαν ἄρχοντες ἐχόμενοι ψαλλόντων ἐν μέσῳ νεανίδων τυμπανιστριῶν.


Abateri nigo batang’aine bosio, nyuma yabo abakobugia amakano,
Na ase egati yabo abaiseke bakobugia chinchigiri:


The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after;
Among them were the maidens playing timbrels.

As we noted above, the use of עֲלָמֽוֹת in the opening of Psalm 46, and 1 Chronicles Amang’ana ‘Ebiro 15:20 seems significantly different than its use in the previously discussed verses. But I believe that Psalm Zaburi 68:26 may provide a possible clue. What we have in this Psalm is a list of groups of performers in the procession of God to His temple. The order: first שָׁ֭רִים singers, afterward נֹגְנִ֑ים instrumentalist. These last were in the midst of the עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת תּוֹפֵפֽוֹת. Perhaps all the singers and instrumentalists were surrounded by the עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת תּוֹפֵפֽוֹת. Let us assume the word עֲ֝לָמ֗וֹת means the same here as elsewhere. In that case we would have the singers and instrumentalists surrounded by young sexually chaste unmarried women who are playing an instrument— perhaps percussion. If this is a special hand-bell choir or timbrel choir then both of the next two passages simply refer to the type of musical group for which they were arranged.


7. Psalm Zaburi 46:1 (in Plural) (LXX 45:1)


לַמְנַצֵּ֥חַ לִבְנֵי־קֹ֑רַח עַֽל־עֲלָמ֥וֹת שִֽׁיר׃
Εἰς τὸ τέλος· ὑπὲρ τῶν υἱῶν Κορέ, ὑπὲρ τῶν κρυφίων ψαλμός.


Ogotera kwa bainto ba kora


To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.

In this title עַֽל־עֲלָמ֥וֹת could be a musical mode, setting, group, or performance. If the interpretation just above is correct, then this psalm inscription would be directions for the kind of choir for which it was written. 

8. 1 Chronicles Amang’ana ‘Ebiro 15:20


וּזְכַרְיָ֨ה וַעֲזִיאֵ֜ל וּשְׁמִֽירָמ֤וֹת וִֽיחִיאֵל֙ וְעֻנִּ֣י וֶֽאֱלִיאָ֔ב וּמַעֲשֵׂיָ֖הוּ וּבְנָיָ֑הוּ בִּנְבָלִ֖ים עַל־עֲלָמֽוֹת׃

Ζαχαρίας καὶ ᾿Οζιήλ, Σεμιραμώθ, ᾿Ιεϊήλ, ᾿Ωνί, ᾿Ελιάβ, Μασαίας, Βαναίας ἐν νάβλαις ἐπὶ ἀλαιμώθ.


Zakaria na Yasieli, Semiramoti na Yehieli, Uni na Eliabu, Maaseya na Benaya,
aba babe bakobugia amakano koreng’ana buna amariogi a igoro ay’Alamoti.
[“Alamoti, ring’ana rigwatora eriogi ri’ogotera”]


Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah,
with strings according to Alamoth;

The use of עַֽל־עֲלָמ֥וֹת in this passage parallels that of Psalm Zaburi 46:1. Their interpretation would stand together. In either case there is no evidence that the term הָעַלְמָ֗ה used elsewhere cannot or does not mean virgin.


הָעַלְמָ֗ה in Isaiah Ebuku Ya Isaya 7:14


לָ֠כֵן יִתֵּ֨ן אֲדֹנָ֥י ה֛וּא לָכֶ֖ם א֑וֹת הִנֵּ֣ה הָעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙
וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃


διὰ τοῦτο δώσει Κύριος αὐτὸς ὑμῖν σημεῖον·
ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει,
καὶ τέξεται υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ᾿Εμμανουήλ·


Ase ayio Omonene omonyene nabae ekemanyererio eke:
Naama! Omoiseke omwekungi nabe morito,
erio aibore omwana omoisia, namoroke erieta riaye Imanueli.


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


We come now to the focal point of this presentation: the meaning of הָעַלְמָ֗ה Ha`Almah in Isaiah 7:14. First let us summarize what we have found from the previous passages. From what we have considered above the best understanding of הָעַלְמָ֗ה in the contexts where it is used is to note the sexual purity of the young woman or women in those contexts. That is, they are young women who are not fornicators; they are not adulteresses; they are not sexually active concubines; they are not maids who have married their master to replace his wife; they are not wet-nurses, they are not mothers, and they are not wives. 

They are young women who are appropriate to be wed to the Bridegroom; they were sexually uncompromised so as to be bearers of the Promised Seed; they were able to serve as musicians in the processional service for the worship of God— thus also they were not eunuchs (if that need be pointed out).

From those contexts הָעַלְמָ֗ה is used to convey these main features of meaning: female, young but able to wed, unmarried, chaste or sexually pure.

And now to the immediate context:

As we consider this passage we are to understand that the virgin is to be an א֑וֹת a sign. This was not a mundane, everyday, normal event! From the context the sign is meant to be abnormal. In the midst of the terrors assailing King Ahaz — with the kingdoms of Samaria and Damascus threatening to destroy Judah and Jerusalem — the Lord directed the king to seek his comfort from the promise of God rather than elsewhere. The Lord had promised that the enemies would come to nothing. But as for Ahaz, the Lord called on him to believe the promise so that Ahaz would not perish: 

“Onye timori nokwegena timokogenderera kobao.”
“If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.” (v. 9)

God’s promise to Ahaz was by direct inspiration to the prophet Isaiah. And considering his weakness, the Lord added a specific and unique promise for double assurance:

10 Omonene agakwana na Ahasi naende, akamotebia,
11 “Boria Omonene, Nyasae oo, akoe ekemanyereria  [א֑וֹת] ;
tiga kerwe aase abakure inse, gose kerwe igoro mono.”
10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11 “Ask a sign [א֑וֹת] for yourself from the Lord your God;
ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

The nature of the Lord’s command to Ahaz is that Ahaz should ask for something that is humanly impossible and impossible according to nature itself. The Lord wanted Ahaz to ask for something that could only be miraculous, something that only God Himself could do.

The response King Ahaz gave demonstrates his lack of faith. His refusal to believe God’s Word is disguised as piety and humility:

Korende Ahasi akairaneria, “Tinkonyara koboria, na tinkonyara komoteema Omonene.”
But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” (v. 12)

But it was the Lord who commanded him to ask. When Ahaz refuses the Word which Isaiah spoke to him, Ahaz was refusing the Lord Himself. The Lord’s response to Ahaz through Isaiah makes this clear in no uncertain terms:

Erio Isaya agateba, “Inwe ab’ororeria rwa Daudi, igwa bono! Inee!
Namang’ana amasinini mono asemore korosia abanto,
na bono mwamorosirie na Nyasae one boigo?
Ase ayio Omonene omonyene nabae ekemanyererio [א֑וֹת] eke:”
Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David!
Is it a small thing for you to weary men,
but will you weary my God also?  
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign [א֑וֹת]:” (v. 13-14a)


Ahaz refused to ask for a miraculous sign. The Lord then chooses the impossible sign.


הִנֵּ֣ה הָעַלְמָ֗ה הָרָה֙
וְיֹלֶ֣דֶת בֵּ֔ן וְ
קָרָ֥את שְׁמ֖וֹ עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃
Naama! Omoiseke omwekungi nabe morito,
erio aibore omwana omoisia,
namoroke erieta riaye Imanueli.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive
and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.

It is in the nature of the promise made in the context that the א֑וֹת ekemanyererio, sign be impossible. We already have established that the הָעַלְמָ֗ה Ha`Almah Omoiseke omwekungi, virgin is sexually pure, chaste, unmarried. The virgin birth, a unique birth without any human father is the miraculous nature of the א֑וֹת ekemanyererio, sign. 

The א֑וֹת ekemanyererio sign is to be even more significant. This is to be no ordinary human son. Virgin birth fulfills the Promise of Genesis Omochakano 3:15

וְאֵיבָ֣ה׀ אָשִׁ֗ית בֵּֽינְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה
וּבֵ֥ין זַרְעֲךָ֖ וּבֵ֣ין זַרְעָ֑הּ
ה֚וּא יְשׁוּפְךָ֣ רֹ֔אשׁ
וְאַתָּ֖ה תְּשׁוּפֶ֥נּוּ עָקֵֽב


“Inche nimbeke obobisa ase egati yao na omokungu oyo,
na ase egati y’oroiboro rwao na oroiboro rwaye;
tororwo narogosenyente omotwe oo,
Na aye nomorome egetingiro kiaye.”
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”


This son born is to be עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל “Nyasaye amo naintwe,” “God with us.” God was present with Adam and Eve in Eden before the Fall into sin. But they could no longer live in His presence. In order to preserve them from destruction in His presence God covered their shame and put them out of the garden (Genesis Omochakano 3:22-24). Sinful humans could not see God and live (Exodus Okong’anya 33:20). God dwelt among His people, but protecting them by remaining behind the screen, the tent, and the veil in the Holy of Holies (Exodus Okong’anya 26). The Lord’s Promise was to restore fallen man to the pure image of God: without sin, without death. This would be through the Seed of the Woman.

The miracle proclaimed by the Lord to Ahaz is the Virgin birth of the Son of God in human flesh, עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל “Nyasaye amo naintwe,” “God with us.”

Uses of the Masculine Form הָעָֽלֶם


There are also two uses of the masculine form of הָעַלְמָ֗ה. Context has already shown us how the feminine form is used and what its meaning is. But it is helpful to note that the uses of the masculine form do not exhibit anything meanings which would contradict or undercut the notion of sexual purity and unmarried youth.

1 Samuel 17:56




וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ שְׁאַ֣ל אַתָּ֔ה בֶּן־מִי־זֶ֖ה הָעָֽלֶם

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ βασιλεύς· ἐπερώτησον σύ, υἱὸς τίνος ὁ νεανίσκος οὗτος.


Omoruoti agatebia Abineri, “Genda oborie omanye gose omosae oyo noyo ng’o?”


So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.”


This is used of David when he was too young to fight with the army. Here he is the virginally pure young man who defeats the enemy of God and His people. 

1 Samuel 20:22


וְאִם־כֹּ֤ה אֹמַר֙ לָעֶ֔לֶם הִנֵּ֥ה הַחִצִּ֖ים מִמְּךָ֣ וָהָ֑לְאָה לֵ֕ךְ כִּ֥י שִֽׁלַּחֲךָ֖ יְהוָֽה׃

ὰν εἴπω λέγων τῷ παιδαρίῳ· ὧδε ἡ σχίζα ἀπὸ σοῦ καὶ ὧδε, λάβε αὐτήν,
παραγίνου, ὅτι εἰρήνη σοι, καὶ οὐκ ἔστι λόγος, ζῇ Κύριος·
ἐὰν τάδε εἴπω τῷ νεανίσκῳ· ὧδε ἡ σχίζα ἀπὸ σοῦ καὶ ἐπέκεινα,
πορεύου ὅτι ἐξαπέσταλκέ σε Κύριος.


Korende onye ngotebia omwana oria: Rigereria, emegwe eyio bosio bwao aaria moino,
rirorio aye Daudi otame, ekiagera n’Omonene okogotebia ogende.


But if I say thus to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you’—
go your way, for the Lord has sent you away.


This use refers to a young man who assists at the court of King Saul when he was persecuting David. Again, there is nothing here in this use that would undercut or contradict what has been established by the previous contexts.


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