Joseph Crea Joseph.Crea at
Wed Sep 29 01:09:27 EDT 1999

Hello George!

At 01:20 PM 9/29/99 +1000, George Athas wrote:
>John Ronning wrote:
>> > That's, in essence, my point. The root N(R does imply inexperience.
Therefore, when it's
>> > applied to the word _na`arah_, it implies a girl who has had no sexual
experience - ie, a
>> > girl who is not yet married but ready to be married.
>> Problem with that George - Ruth (a widow) is called NA`ARAH
>> Ruth 4:12 etc.
>Well pointed out, John. Widows who had no children had their status
changed from "wife" to
>"virgin/maiden" (_na`arah_) because they returned to their paternal
household (_beyt-'ab_) and
>could be married off again. Being a "virgin" in ancient Palestine was not
so much about
>physical status as marital status. Ruth is an exceptional case in that she
choses not to return
>to her paternal household - ie, she goes completely against the logical
norm of the day.
>The root N(R does still imply "inexperience". That is why it is used in a
range of situations
>with meanings such as "apprentice", "junior", "acolyte", "lad", "girl",
etc. Eg, at 40 years
>old, Rehoboam was a _na`ar_. The word commonly translated as "maiden" or
"virgin" has its
>etymology in this understanding.

    Pardon my breaking in on this thread but I'm confused.  If _na`arah_
denotes (or at least implies) someone lacking in sexual experience, how
come it's applied to Dinah (Genesis 34:3) AFTER her rape by Shechem?  Is it
a matter of DEGREE concerning sexual experience?   And what about
Deuteronomy 22:13-21 
(especially verse 15) in which the parents of the married _na`arah_  are
presumed to be able to produce evidence of the "tokens of virginity"
(_betulim_) of the _na'arah_?  Obviously at this point in time, the
_na'arah_ is no longer sexually innocent (though just how inexperienced is
open to debate) though it is assumed that she should have been prior to her

With Mettaa,

Joseph Crea
<Joseph.Crea at>

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