Category Archives: isaiah 7:14

Does παρθενος mean "virgin" in Greek?

και προσεσχεν τη ψυχη δινας της θυγατρος ιακωβ και ηγαπησεν την παρθενον και ελαλησεν κατα την διανοιαν της παρθενου αυτη

μετάφραση μου – translation

His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her

– Gen. 34:3

According to the LXX, Genesis 34:3 also defeats the claim that παρθενος (parthenos) is used exclusivly for “a virgin”. Dinah, who was raped by Shechem, is referred to as a παρθενος after being raped, which is contrary to the claim on the exclusivity of παρθενος for identifying “a virgin”

Quite possibly, the meaning of the word changed. The LXX, at least the Torah portion of it, was composed because the Greek king Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who reigned 285–246 BCE, wanted to read Hebrew scriptures. So in the span of about 400 years, the meaning of the word παρθενος might have changed from simply a young woman (like Dinah) to mean specifically “virgin” in Matthew’s lifetime.

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Posted by on September 28, 2009 in gospel of matthew, isaiah 7:14, parthenos, virgin


Isaiah 7:14

This is the huge mistranslation that Matthew quotes at the beginning of his gospel – the one that speaks about a virgin birth. However, this is the entire thing taken from here in context:

י וַיּוֹסֶף יְהוָה, דַּבֵּר אֶל-אָחָז לֵאמֹר. 10 And YHWH spoke again unto Ahaz, saying:
יא שְׁאַל-לְךָ אוֹת, מֵעִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; הַעְמֵק שְׁאָלָה, אוֹ הַגְבֵּהַּ לְמָעְלָה. 11 ‘Ask thee a sign of YHWH thy God: ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.’
יב וַיֹּאמֶר, אָחָז: לֹא-אֶשְׁאַל וְלֹא-אֲנַסֶּה, אֶת-יְהוָה. 12 But Ahaz said: ‘I will not ask, neither will I try YHWH.’
יג וַיֹּאמֶר, שִׁמְעוּ-נָא בֵּית דָּוִד: הַמְעַט מִכֶּם הַלְאוֹת אֲנָשִׁים, כִּי תַלְאוּ גַּם אֶת-אֱלֹהָי. 13 And he said: ‘Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my God also?
יד לָכֵן יִתֵּן אֲדֹנָי הוּא, לָכֶם–אוֹת: הִנֵּה הָעַלְמָה, הָרָה וְיֹלֶדֶת בֵּן, וְקָרָאת שְׁמוֹ, עִמָּנוּ אֵל. 14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
טו חֶמְאָה וּדְבַשׁ, יֹאכֵל–לְדַעְתּוֹ מָאוֹס בָּרָע, וּבָחוֹר בַּטּוֹב. 15 Curd and honey shall he eat, when he knoweth to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
טז כִּי בְּטֶרֶם יֵדַע הַנַּעַר, מָאֹס בָּרָע–וּבָחֹר בַּטּוֹב: תֵּעָזֵב הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה קָץ, מִפְּנֵי שְׁנֵי מְלָכֶיהָ. 16 Yea, before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou hast a horror of shall be forsaken.

Now I’ll put it into plain English:
10: And God spoke to Ahaz and said

11: “Come on and test men, man”

12: “I ain’t gonna do it, God.”

13: Then he said “Come on, King Ahaz. You’re quick to not trust people, but you’re not going to trust God as well?”

14:”God’s gonna give you a sign. Check out this chick right here. The kid she’s bearing is going to be named “Immanuel”

15: “He’s going to eat the finest crap and be a really good kid”

16: “But before he gets hair on his nuts, your enemies will be defeated”

Interestingly, the “lord” in Is. 7:14 isn’t written as YHWH, but is actually ADNY (אֲדֹנָי) – “lord”, possibly implying that it’s a human being that’s providing the sign (getting the woman pregnant) and not YHWH…

Edit: Well I read it again, and it does seem that the “lord” here is YHWH. There are two versions of ADNY, which depend on the vowel points associated with it. (אדֹנִי) is pronounced as “adoni” due to, among others, the vowel point underneath the N that looks like a little dot. (אֲדֹנָי) is pronounced as “adonai” due to, among others, the vowel point under the N that looks like a little “T” or a plus sign.

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Posted by on August 28, 2008 in Adonai, adoni, gospel of matthew, isaiah 7:14

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