Verses from the Jewish Publication Society Bible (JPS) Tanach:
Genesis 24: 43 behold, I stand by the fountain of water; and let it come to pass, that the maiden that cometh forth to draw, to whom I shall say: Give me, I pray thee, a little water from thy pitcher to drink;
Exodus 2: 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her: 'Go.' And the maiden went and called the child's mother.
Isaiah 7: 14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
How is this a SIGN if Almah means "young woman"? Why does the JPS translate "almah" as "maiden" in most verses yet translate the same word as meaning "young woman" in Isaiah 7:14? This is VERY strange and seems to show a bias on the part of the Jewish (mis)translators.
"Almah" (1917 JPS Tanach):
|Song of Solomon 1:3
|Song of Solomon 6:8
The Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew scriptures into a Greek version of the Tanach, translated "almah" in Isaiah 7:14 as parthenos, which means "virgin". Since these Jewish Torah experts were well acquainted with the meaning of the Hebrew words as well as the Greek, their choice of words is very meaningful (this was several hundred years before Yeshua's birth).
If "young woman" means she is considered too young to have children, did you know that there have been girls as young as eight years old that have given birth in modern times? And there is an increasing number of ten-year-olds that give birth every year? So if a young woman giving birth is a sign, it is an extremely poor sign!
If this is supposed to be a SIGN from G-d, then how young would the Messiah's mother need to be? Since many (if not most) traditional Jews believe Yeshua is not the Messiah and the Messiah is to be born in modern times, then they believe that Messiah has been born within the past few decades, or is soon to be born. With the laws against marrying young children in modern times, this would mean either an illegal marriage or the Messiah's mother was raped by a pedophile.
Obviously the rabbi's own definition of almah meaning "young woman" leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Since there are so many "young women" giving birth in modern times, then a "young woman" giving birth is no sign at all - And therefore, insisting almah means "young woman" as a SIGN from Adonai is a meaningless sign. Do the rabbis think ADONAI would give a non-sign as A SIGN? Obviously, almah means more than "young woman"....
Most traditional Jews seem to forget the rest of the verse: ...and shall call his name Immanuel which means "God [is] with us"
Rabbis claim Isaiah 7:14 is not a Messianic verse, so what is a young woman giving birth (in the days of Ahaz according to traditional rabbis) a sign of? If this verse was about that, then who was the "young woman" and what was the sign and what is the significance of this that G-d would give it as a prophecy?
Take a look at the following verse which shows that Isaiah says that the Messiah will definitely be born as a child and is definitely YHWH-Come-in-the-Flesh:
Isaiah 9: 5 For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom;
The JPS Tanach, for some reason, does not translate Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom as "Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace"...
Wonder why that is?
Further info borrowed from an appendix entitled "Almah" in Andrew Gabriel Roth's Aramaic English New Testament:
The strongest aspect to the Jewish argument on Isaiah 7:14 is also the most obvious. It's called "reading the first thirteen verses before talking about verse fourteen"! To wit:
In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzzi'ah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remali'ah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it. When the house of David was told, "Syria is in league with E'phraim," his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
And YHWH said to Isaiah, Go forth to meet Ahaz, you and She'ar-jash'ub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller's Field, and say to him, 'Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remali'ah. Because Syria, with E'phraim and the son of Remali'ah, has devised evil against you, saying, "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Ta'be-el as king in the midst of it,'"
Thus says YHWH ELOHIM: 'It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin. (Within sixty-five years E'phraim will be broken to pieces so that it will no longer be a people.) And the head of E'phraim is Sama'ria, and the head of Sama'ria is the son of Remali'ah. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.'"
Again YHWH spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask a sign of YHWH your Elohim; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, and I will not put YHWH to the test.' And he said, 'Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my Eloah also?'"
If Isaiah 7:1-13 sets the scene for us, this is what we know:
- The start of Isaiah's prophecy in this chapter is rooted during his day, specifically the time of King Ahaz, and not seven centuries later. In fact, as early as verse 3, we see YHWH telling Isaiah to speak these words of comfort to Ahaz directly.
- The time-limit for this prophecy is clearly established in verse 8 as 65 years, so once again this is not talking about Y'shua's day.
- The "sign" that is about to be revealed in verse 14 is one that YHWH prompts Ahaz to ask of Him, yet another indicator tying the prophecy to the time of Isaiah.
Therefore, it is only with this background that the next line can be interpreted: "Therefore YHWH Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman (almah) shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman'u-el. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted."
As we can easily see, the birth of Immanuel is within the lifetime of the two earthly kings mentioned earlier. So where is Y'shua in all of this, the rabbis rightly ask? In fact, if you follow the line to the end of chapter 7, and even well into chapter 8, there is no indication of a future well beyond the 65-year window that the prophet himself gives. That being the case, by this reasoning, Matthew's direct quoting of this passage in support of a virgin birth seems at best misguided and at worst, irresponsibly deceptive....
....Fortunately, there is more to the story! The answer lies within the "Almah" appendix in the Aramaic English New Testament.