[b-hebrew] virgin vs. young woman

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Jul 9 20:19:07 EDT 2007


Dear Rev. Jim Cunningham:

Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to B-Hebrew forum, and any
insights you may provide us from your study of Biblical Hebrew.

When I read your comment, my heart fell. True, many of us agree with
you in every point below, but it is such an explosive issue that we
all know about, but agree not to push in order to preserve this forum
as a forum for the discussion of the Biblical Hebrew language open to
all people, not just some. After all, those of us who have joined this
forum are educated, we have already heard the arguments pro and con,
and have made our decisions how we are to understand it.

It is like the elephant in the living room: we all know it's there,
but have agreed not to discuss it as we gingerly walk around it.

Let me add another point: as a lexicographer, I noticed that the root
(LM עלם has a meaning referring to being unknown, the opposite of
being known, i.e. sexually active c.f. Genesis 4:1. But beyond
mentioning this, I have agreed not to push it for the reasons listed
above.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph,

On 7/9/07, Rev. Jim Cunningham <kjv_gods_word at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
>   I'm new here and I just read your posts. I've always considered the issue of virgin vs young woman an interesting and important issue.
>
>   The Hebrew word used was Alma in the Old Testament, as you know. As a Jew I can tell you that it does not simply mean "young woman", although it is describing a young woman. Alma specifically means a maiden or damsel - a young woman who has not been married/sexually touched. There is no such thing as an "alma" who has had sex. She ceases to be alma after sexual intercourse. Therefore, though "virgin" is not the strict definition of alma, "alma" does most certainly and emphatically refer to a virgin young woman. Besides this, the point of the verse in question declares that this pregnancy is a "sign", and the verse itself is a prophecy of that pregnancy and birth. "Young women" give birth all the time. There is no sign or miracle in that. "Unmarried young women" also give birth all the time, so there is no miracle in that either. The focus of the verse is that a miracle will take place, a sign - a sexually untouched "maiden" girl will conceive and give birth to Immanuel.
>  The New Testament writers, when quoting this verse, specifically used the Greek word "parthenos" - a virgin (we see this word in use with the Parthenon, referring to a vigin goddess). So in the minds of the Gospel writers, who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the young woman's virginity was indisputable.
>   Kindly,
>   Rev. Jim Cunningham
>   King James Bible Ministries


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