[b-hebrew] bethulah equals virgin?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Oct 12 00:20:59 EDT 2005

Hi Steve,

Bethulah means "virgin". Na'arah neans "young woman" - either unmarried or 
betrothed but unconsumated. Ahasuerus collected "na'aroth bethuloth" "young 
virgins", kept them in his harem, but only consumated his "marriage" to them 
after a year - up to that point, they were still virgins. So that in 2:17, 
Esther is compaired to the other "women" and "virgins".

2:19 seems to be a problem, since afetr their first night with the king, the 
women were no longer virgins. Might it mean that he had a second round of 
collectng virgins; maybe this was why Mordecai was worried - he thought that 
Esther had failed at her mission!

Joel 1:8 compares Israel to a betrothed virgin whose husband died before 

Deut. 22:19 uses both terms to reffer to her previous status, since that is 
what the husband is challenging.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Miller" <smille10 at sbcglobal.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:22 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] bethulah equals virgin?

>I came across this in my daily reading:
> In Esther 2:17, 19, the Hebrew word betulah seems to refer to married 
> women:
> In 2:2 and 2:3 the king's advisors advise to gather naaroth bethuloth 
> נְעָרֹות בְּתוּלֹות for the king. The word naaroth leaves no doubt that 
> the women are unmarried.
> In 2:4, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13 before the consumation of the marriage, the young 
> women are just called naaroth נְעָרֹות by the Bible narrative.
> In 2:14-16 their marriages to the king are consumated
> In 2:17, & 19 they are called בְּתוּלֹות but never again נְעָרֹות by the 
> Bible narrative.
> The Septuagint translates bethuloth in 2:14 as parthenos. 2:19 does not 
> exist in the Septuagint.
> These go along with Joel 1:8 & Deut 22:19.
> -Steve Miller
> Detroit
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