[b-hebrew] Isaiah 7:13 ha-alma and xarah

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Wed May 12 10:49:26 EDT 2004

Hi b-hebrew

>.... your views concerning ha-alma and xarah in Isaiah 7:14. MT says ha-almah ( a young woman), with a footnote indicating that the LXX  says pathenos (virgin).But Isaiah uses the perfect verb xarah, which shows that the young woman is already pregnant (no longer a virgin). ..

>HH: The woman does not have to be already pregnant. The adjective "pregnant" (HRH) is part of a verbless clause. That clause is parallel with another clause with a verb, which is imperfect and probably means "will give birth" (WYLDT). Therefore, many translate that the young woman/virgin "will become pregnant and will give birth." One supplies a verb for the verbless clause that matches the verb of the verbal clause.

Thank you Harold.
Please note also that the same verb form is used in Judges in the angelic announcement, to Manoah's wife, of the forthcoming birth of Samson.

Judges 13:5 
For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. 

Judges 13:7
But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. 

In this case the understanding of the pregnancy being future is virtually universally accepted,
even in the Jewish English translations of Tanach

JPS - 1985 - "Your are going to conceive and bear a son"
JPS - 1917 - "thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Art/Scroll     "Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son." 
Soncino     - "For, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son"

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

Schmuel at escape.com

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list