Alma, Parthenos, Virgin

John Ronning ronning at
Mon Nov 1 15:53:01 EST 1999

Moshe, you wrote:

> (re. Joel 1:8, the bethulah who weeps for the husband of her youth)
> You arew aware that ALL marriages were arranged? Youa re also aware that
> Bibilically once one became 'engaged' one was as if married. (That is the
> point of the story of Joseph and Mary in the NT. Hew needed to divorce her
> even though they had not married.)

I guess you're right all or most marriages were arranged, or at least needed the
parents' permission, and I acknowledge that an engaged woman is called the "woman"
(i.e. wife) of the man she is engaged to, and vice versa.  But I doubt that "married"
= "engaged" and this girl's husband is called a ba`al (same root as "married").

> Which verse says
> >the marriage was  never
> >consummated?
> That she was stil a virgin would indicate that she had not yet consumated
> it.

That was basically my point - you don't get from the context (or from similar
expressions like "wife of your youth") that the marriage was not consummated - you
have to assume what you're trying to prove, that bethulah is a technical word for
virgin ("virgo intacta").  As a point of interest, TWOT cites the followings as
holding that the cognates of bethulah do not mean virgo intacta in Akkadian, Ugaritic,
and Aramaic, but rather marriageable young woman - CAD, TDOT, Cyrus Gordon JBR 21,

> >Then you must be able to point out a place where `almah
> >refers to a woman who is not a
> >virgin, or at least a woman who is married, and you must be
> In Proverbs, the context is that the women, like a prostitute has relations
> that are no longer observable.

The writer is not talking about things that are unobservable, but about things that
are amazing (or befuddling) to observe - the way of a man with an `almah being one of
them - sounds like the infatuation of courtship to me.

>  the Messiah is given four or five other
> >names in Isaiah, and more
> >are given in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  It's not gymnastics to
> >recognize that fact and
> >suggest that not all of them are given names (how would you
> >explain it?).
> Really? I would love to see the list. (I know only of ben Dovid, or notzer
> Yishai.)

I would include:

pele' yo`ets
'el gibbor
'abi `ad
sar shalom (9:6)
Israel (49:3)
the Lord our Righteousness Jer 23:6
David Ezek 37:25, et al.



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