Virgin Birth in the Book of Isaiah? No, it is a Mistranslation
Hello, my friends, this is Baal Kadmon.
I’d like to thank you for reading the transcript of this podcast. This is a drive-by podcast based on an email from a reader of mine. I’m assuming they are a reader of mine. I don’t know for sure, but they did send me an interest in question. Now before I get into it, I would just like to tell you that this is somewhat of a controversial topic. It deals with the Virgin birth of Jesus. The question was, in all English translations, it says the “Virgin will conceive a son.” Why don’t Jewish people acknowledge that? I will answer this is best as I can.
The answer is going to be straight from the source material that is present about this event. The writers of the New Testament, when referring to the Old Testament were not referencing the Hebrew version of the Books, but rather the Greek translation called the Septuagint. That was a very common translation at the time because there were actually a lot of Jews, let’s say Alexandria Egypt for example, that they couldn’t read Hebrew very well, they could only read Greek. A lot of these writers of the New Testament also couldn’t really read Hebrew well either. So they read Greek. Now the problem with the Septuagint is, is that although it is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, not all the words were translated properly.
Different words were used. Let’s break this down now. I’m going to start from the beginning. We are going to read just the first three words of Matthew 1:23 in Greek.
“HEETHU HA PARATHENOS”
“ BEHOLD THE VIRGIN…”
Parthenos is defined as Virgin. Okay, so now let’s look at the Hebrew version of this verse that Matthew is quoting from and that the Septuagint is translating from the Hebrew.
“BEHOLD THE YOUNG WOMAN”
So how did “ALMAH,” which means young woman, married or not married, translate to Virgin and Greek? And like I said, they did not use the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, but they used the Septuagint. Now let’s look at the Septuagint and how they quoted this.
And you’re going to see that it’s exactly the same way that Matthew quoted it. They’re actually quoting it verbatim.
Isaiah 7:14 in Greek:
“HEETHU HA PARATHENOS”
“ BEHOLD THE VIRGIN…”
So you see the New Testament was quoting from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew Old Testament. So what happened in the translation, Almah was lost and the word that replaced Almah was Parthenos, which means Virgin. Now to be fair, the Septuagint does use Parthenos to describe a young woman as well. But the proper word in Hebrew for Virgin in the Bible is Betula.
So the translators of the Septuagint sort of cut corners here instead of distinguishing between a young woman and Virgin, they put it together and they just said, let’s just lump them together, give it the same word Parthenos. So this is why Jewish people don’t acknowledge the Virgin birth.
And of course, there are many, many other reasons, but this is one of them. The Jewish term and the Hebrew translation, there is no indication that the woman was a Virgin. It just says she was a young woman. So you see how these translations can get a little bit complicated. That’s why I hate, I hate reading these texts in English because I just lose my mind. I look at this and I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, it doesn’t even match.’ In my book on Belial, the chapter on the Dead Sea Scrolls and how Belial is depicted there, the English translation was atrocious. I mean, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, who translated this?’ But it is a little difficult to translate, and I mentioned that in the book. In either case it might sound like we’re splitting hairs here, “young woman,” “Virgin,” there is a difference.
You can have a young woman who’s married and is not a Virgin. So that is a reason. It’s a matter of translation. Again, we don’t know that the woman in Isaiah was a Virgin or not. So she could very well be a Virgin and this could very well be a prophecy of the Virgin birth. We don’t know. But if you’re looking at the source material, the verse that Matthew is quoting from is from the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament and not from the Hebrew original Old Testament. That can make a big difference.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this podcast. Again, it’s one of those drive-bys. I’m really enjoying these actually. If you have any questions, but you know, some good solid questions about history or things that involve translations and language and things like that please let me know. I love making these, these short little videos and answering these questions because they’re important questions. Whether you believe in the New Testament or not, this is very important. This has changed history and sometimes these translations, just one, one wrong word can lead to Wars.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed it again, and I will speak to you soon. So Mote it be.