New English Translation
New English Translation
14 For this reason the Lord himself will give you a confirming sign.[a] Look, this[b] young woman[c] is about to conceive[d] and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him[e] Immanuel.[f]Read full chapter
- Isaiah 7:14 tn The Hebrew term אוֹת (ʾot, “sign”) can refer to a miraculous event (see v. 11), but it does not carry this sense inherently. Elsewhere in Isaiah the word usually refers to a natural occurrence or an object/person vested with special significance (see 8:18; 19:20; 20:3; 37:30; 55:13; 66:19). Only in 38:7-8, 22 does it refer to a miraculous deed that involves suspending or overriding natural laws. The sign outlined in vv. 14-17 involves God’s providential control over events and their timing, but not necessarily miraculous intervention.
- Isaiah 7:14 tn Heb “the young woman.” The Hebrew article has been rendered as a demonstrative pronoun (“this”) in the translation to bring out its force. In addition, the syntactical sequence of הִנֵּה (hinneh) followed by the article followed by a noun always refers to something definite and present to the speaker and audience. It is very likely that Isaiah pointed to a woman who was present at the scene of the prophet’s interview with Ahaz. Isaiah had met him where the people wash clothes (7:3) and likely there were many women present at the scene. Isaiah’s address to the “house of David” and his use of second plural forms directly suggest other people were present, and his use of the second feminine singular verb form (“you will name”) later in the verse is best explained if addressed to a woman who is present.
- Isaiah 7:14 tn Traditionally, “virgin.” Because this verse from Isaiah is quoted in Matt 1:23 in connection with Jesus’ birth, the Isaiah passage has been regarded since the earliest Christian times as a prophecy of Christ’s virgin birth. Much debate has taken place over the best way to translate this Hebrew term, although ultimately one’s view of the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is unaffected. Though the Hebrew word used here (עַלְמָה, ʿalmah) can sometimes refer to a woman who is a virgin (Gen 24:43), it does not carry this meaning inherently. The word is simply the feminine form of the corresponding masculine noun עֶלֶם (ʿelem, “young man”; cf. 1 Sam 17:56; 20:22). The Aramaic and Ugaritic cognate terms are both used of women who are not virgins. The word seems to pertain to age, not sexual experience, and would normally be translated “young woman.” The LXX translator(s) who later translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek sometime between the second and first century b.c., however, rendered the Hebrew term by the more specific Greek word παρθένος (parthenos), which does mean “virgin” in a technical sense. This is the Greek term that also appears in the citation of Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:23. Therefore, regardless of the meaning of the term in the OT context, in the NT Matthew’s usage of the Greek term παρθένος clearly indicates that from his perspective a virgin birth has taken place.
- Isaiah 7:14 tn Elsewhere the adjective הָרָה (harah), when used predicatively, refers to a past pregnancy (from the narrator’s perspective, 1 Sam 4:19), to a present condition (Gen 16:11; 38:24; 2 Sam 11:5), and to a conception that is about to occur in the near future (Judg 13:5, 7). (There is some uncertainty about the interpretation of Judg 13:5, 7, however. See the notes to those verses.) In Isa 7:14 one could translate, “the young woman is pregnant.” In this case the woman is probably a member of the royal family. Another option, the one followed in the present translation, takes the adjective in an imminent future sense, “the young woman is about to conceive.” In this case the woman could be a member of the royal family, or, more likely, the prophetess with whom Isaiah has sexual relations shortly after this (see 8:3).
- Isaiah 7:14 tn Heb “and you will call his name.” The words “young woman” are supplied in the translation to clarify the identity of the addressee. The verb is normally taken as an archaic third feminine singular form here, and translated, “she will call.” However the form (קָרָאת, qaraʾt) is more naturally understood as second feminine singular, in which case the words would be addressed to the young woman mentioned just before this. In the three other occurrences of the third feminine singular perfect of I קָרָא (qaraʾ, “to call”), the form used is קָרְאָה (qarʾah; see Gen 29:35; 30:6; 1 Chr 4:9). A third feminine singular perfect קָרָאת does appear in Deut 31:29 and Jer 44:23, but the verb here is the homonym II קָרָא (“to meet, encounter”). The form קָרָאת (from I קָרָא, “to call”) appears in three other passages (Gen 16:11; Isa 60:18; Jer 3:4 [Qere]) and in each case is second feminine singular.
- Isaiah 7:14 sn The name Immanuel means “God [is] with us.”