[b-hebrew] Definite Article 7:14

Tory Thorpe torythrp at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 15 02:33:20 EDT 2007

This is becoming offensive. Citing it is one thing, but I cannot see  
how it is even remotely list-appropriate to actually quote from a  
Christian commentary on the significance of the definite article in  
Isa. vii 14.

Tory Thorpe

On Jul 15, 2007, at 2:12 AM, Bryant J. Williams III wrote:

> Dear Joe,
> See the following quote from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, Volume II, Job- 
> Isaiah,
> Jer.-Mal., page 586:
> "a virgin - from the root, to lie hid, virgins being closely kept  
> from men's
> gaze in their parent's custody in the East. The Hebrew [ha'almah]  
> and the
> LXX. here, and the Greek [hH PARQENOS], Matt. i.23, have the  
> article, 'the'
> virgin, some definite one known to the speaker and his hearers;  
> primarily,
> the woman, then a virgin, about immediately to become the prophet's  
> second
> wife,, and to bear a child, whose attainment of the age of  
> discrimination
> (about three years) should be preceded by the deliverance of Judah  
> from its
> two invaders. The term 'ha'mah' denotes 'a girl of marriageable  
> age,' but
> not married, and therefore a 'virgin' by implication. Bethulah is  
> the term
> more directly expressing virginity of a bride or betrothed wife  
> (Joel 1.8).
> Its fullest significancy is realized in " 'the' woman (Gen. iii.15)  
> whose
> 'seed should bruise the serpent's head,' and deliver captive man (Jer.
> xxxi.21,22, "O virgin of Israel, turn again...for the Lord hath  
> created a
> new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man;" ..."
> It should be noted that the discussion is not the meaning of  
> "virgin" which
> has been covered in previous sessions (see archives on B-Hebrew and  
> B-Greek
> and respective passages), but on the use of the article being  
> definite. It
> appears that way in Genesis 3:15, "THE woman," et al. It is clear  
> that God,
> through Isaiah, wants to make it quite clear to Ahaz that a "definite
> virgin" is clearly in mind and is known. Who that "virgin" is or  
> whether I
> agree with the above quote that it refers to "Isaiah's second wife"  
> is not
> the issue. That is a speculative thought, albeit may fit the  
> context of
> 8:1ff. What is the issue is that the "article" is definite regardless
> whether it refers to Isaiah's wife/betrothed or another's wife/ 
> betrothed who
> is a virgin, of marriageable age and presumed to be a virgin unless
> otherwise indicated. It is not used in a generic and indefinite  
> sense in
> this passage.
> Furthermore, the actual sign given to Ahaz is prove to him, even in  
> his
> unbelief as a descendant of David that the promise of II Samuel 7  
> is an
> unconditional promise to have a descendant on the throne of David  
> regardless
> of the two kings who were trying to force is hand. Therefore, the  
> article is
> used to point in that direction.
> En Xristwi,
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <JoeWallack at aol.com>
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 5:25 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Definite Article 7:14
>> In a message dated 7/10/2007 2:52:30 PM Central Daylight Time,
>> hholmyard3 at earthlink.net writes:
>> Dear  Joseph,
>>> HH: I  should have been clearer. If the context lacked a  specific
> person
>>> that the  hearer could identify, he might have  been able to  
>>> understand
>>> that the  reference was generic and  indefinite.
>>> JW:
>>> Genesis  14:13 is Narrative, not Dialogue.
>> HH: What difference does that make to  the discussion one way or the
> other?
>> JW:
>> Because 7:14 is Dialogue and in Dialogue there is a clear Hearer.  
>> A better
>> question for you is why is it so hard to find an example of a  
>> speaker in
>> Dialogue using the definite article and the Hebrew Hearer not  
>> knowing the
> identity?
>>> JW:  "If the context" lacked a specific
>>>  person
>>> that the hearer could identify". The most likely explanation is   
>>> that
> the
>>> identity is known to the speaker and not the hearer and  the hearer
>> understands
>>> this.
>> HH: It would be good if you  identified exactly what you meant by the
>> terms "speaker" and "hearer"  because there is no direct speech in  
>> Gen
>> 14:13. The speaker could be the  narrator; the hearer could be the  
>> one
>> who hears the words read.
>> JW:
>> I'm using Hebrew Hearer in connection with Explicit Dialogue.
>>> JW: You want the possibility that the identity is known  to the   
>>> Speaker
>> and
>>> the Hearer does not know that the identity is  known to the speaker.
> Even
>> if
>>> this is possible, isn't it  unlikely? And considering that the same
> Author
>> is
>>> writing the  part for Speaker and Hearer isn't it more than unlikely
> that
>> there
>>> would be this type of misunderstanding? Still waiting for an   
>>> example
> of
>> this
>>> in the Hebrew Bible.
>> HH:  If I accept that the escapee is the speaker and Abraham is the
>> hearer in Gen 14:13, since the author is writing the part for  
>> them, what
>> difference does it make whether or not Abraham the hearer knows the
>> identity of the person speaking, beyond the fact that he is an  
>> escapee?
>> And of course, the escapee knew his own identity as the speaker. And
>> Abraham would know that the speaker knew his own identity. I think  
>> I am
>> misunderstanding what you are saying. Are you perhaps ambiguously  
>> giving
>> two different meanings to the term speaker (narrator and escapee).
>> JW:
>> My point (remains) is that 14:13 is not very relevant to our issue of
> 7:14.
>> In addition to its lack of
>> Dialogue, you youself have pointed out that the Speaker (escapee)  
>> is not
>> identifying any third party.
>> When I say "Narrator" I mean author.
>>> JW: I'm beginning to fear that at the present rate  of discussion  
>>> the
>> Messiah
>>> could actually arrive before we  determine his/her identity.
>> HH: Are you trying to identify whether the  person in Isa 7:14 is  
>> or is
>> not the Messiah? I think you can have it both  ways, given the  
>> structure
>> of the Book of Isaiah and the possibility for a  double use of the  
>> words.
>> I believe Isaiah uses Immanuel to speak about near  events and  
>> also about
>> far events. His appearance in chapter 8 (8:8, 10), a  transition  
>> chapter
>> between 7 and 9, points in this direction to me, since  the  
>> historical
>> Immanuel is an otherwise unknown person, yet the Immanuel in   
>> chapter 8
>> may be an important person, like the child in chapter 9. There is   
>> a lot
>> of reuse of elements from 7:14 in 9:6, which also suggests a relation
>> between the two children.
>> JW:
>> Peter, this is Exegesis.
>>> JW:  In order to try and
>>> avoid this contingency  let me try to speed things up here.  
>>> Regarding
> the
>>> offending word  of 7:14 and with Apologies to Isaac Fried, you and I
> agree
>> that
>>>  the Hebrew Definite article is used. My position is that for  
>>> starters
> this
>>> indicates a defnite and therefore, known person to the Hebrew  
>>> speaker,
>> Isaiah.
>> HH: But you haven't proved that the definite article implies that   
>> the
>> person is known to Isaiah in the sense that he knows the name of the
>> person.
>> JW:
>> If the person is known to Isaiah this Implies that Isaiah knows  
>> the  name.
>> HH:
>> Isaiah could simply know the person as a woman within God's
>> prophecy.  Even if the definite article clearly indicates  
>> definiteness,
>> there is no  requirement that Isaiah personally knew or could  
>> identify
>> the person when he  conveyed a prophecy that had a general  
>> application.
>> JW:
>> The definite article Implies (as opposed to "proves") that Isaiah  
>> knows
> the
>> who and the name.
>>> JW:   At
>>> this point, whether or not this  known person is known to the Hebrew
>> hearer, I
>>>  say that "the" is  the likely English translation. I'm guessing  
>>> that
> your
>>> current   position is that you agree with me that this known  
>>> person is
>> likely
>>>  known to  Isaiah. Yes or no?
>> HH: This is a complex question,  especially because this prophecy  
>> seems
>> to involve a double fulfillment. I  believe it had a fulfillment in
>> Isaiah's time, and I don't think he knew  what virgin he was speaking
>> about there, since the term "the virgin" could  be generic, one  
>> who is in
>> the status of virginity.
>> JW:
>> Do you think Isaiah knew it was a double prophecy?
>> HH:
>> The generic use could become more specific as
>> details pile up. Or it  could have been a specific woman God  
>> informed him
>> about in prophecy without  his having any idea who in particular  
>> it was:
>> someone in Israel. I think  Isaiah associated Immanuel with the child
>> described in chapter 9. However,  how much Isaiah knew or did not  
>> know
>> about the mother of the child in  chapter 9 is unclear. All  
>> mothers are
>> virgins at some point in their lives.  The virgin in Isa 7:14 did not
>> have to give birth while she was still a  virgin. The understood  
>> verbs
>> could be future: one who is a virgin (now) will  in the future be
>> pregnant and will be bearing a child.
>> JW:
>> You keep answering "possible" when I ask "probable". When you do  
>> that are
>> you refusing to give a "probable" or conceding my "probable"?
>>> JW: I understand you think it possible that this person
>>> is  unknown to the Hebrew hearer. Do you think that likely?   
>>> Finally, if
>> you
>>> agree  that the person is known to Isaiah but  think this person is
> unknown
>> to the
>>>  Hebrew hearer, do you think  "a" is a possible translation or  
>>> should be
>>>  probable?
>> HH: If by hearer you mean the person  Isaiah was speaking to, of  
>> course I
>> think it is possible that the virgin was  unknown to him.
>> JW:
>> You again answer a question I didn't ask.
>> HH: No woman is
>> mentioned in the context. It would probably be  poor writing to  
>> speak so
>> significantly about a specific person in the  context and not even
>> identify the person or even indicate that she was in  the context.  
>> It is
>> a bit doubtful that there was some particular person  identified  
>> to all
>> Israel as "the virgin." But this book was written for the  nation of
>> Israel. Not only that, it was written for future generations, as   
>> Isaiah
>> elsewhere speaks of events in the future and of people who will  
>> live  in
>> the future. He addresses generations that go into exile to Babylon  
>> and
>> later return to Israel.
>> JW:
>> See my previous comment.
>> HH: If you believe in the NT, then it was written
>> for future  generations for many centuries to come (1 Pet  
>> 1:10-12). So it
>> would seem to  be poor writing, if the woman was well-known, not to
>> identify her for all  these people, who were not there in Isaiah's  
>> time
>> and would perhaps not  otherwise know who he was talking about,
>> JW:
>> Now you are using 1 Pet 1:10-12 to help translate 7:14?
>> HH: I can only go by what the text says, and there is no  
>> indication in
>> the text that Isaiah knew the person he was talking about or that the
>> readers did. The generic use of the definite article seems to make
>> assumptions about Isaiah or his audience knowing the person   
>> unnecessary.
>> JW:
>> "I can only go by what the text says". First consider what preceded.
> Raymond
>> Brown would
>> find your "no indication" above "fantastic". Is your position now  
>> that
> the
>> definite article in
>> 7:14 is probably used generically?
>> Joseph Wallack
>> ************************************** Get a sneak peak of the all- 
>> new AOL
> at
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