So right off the bat we get one of the more obscure prophecies. This prophecy is from Is. 7, and is a typological one. It was fulfilled shortly after it was given, by the birth of Isaiah’s son Maher-shalal-hash-baz in chapter 8; this is called “the type”.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. The LORD will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah — the king of Assyria.” Is. 7:14 -17
Matthew tells us that the Messiah’s birth fulfills this prophecy, in theological terms this is called the “antitype” to the Isaiah prophecy.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). Matt. 1:18 -23
Interesting Rabbit Trail Here: One of Tola’s favorite things to do….
The word that has been translated “a young woman” is in Hebrew Almeh, and is used only seven times in the OT and never in the NT. As you can see from the Isaiah reference Almeh cannot strictly mean virgin; as Isaiah’s wife would not have been a virgin. It therefore must refer to a class of women who danced the dance which in later days was disparaging referred to as belly-dancing by western travelers when they first were exposed to it as Napoleon moved through North Africa.
The original Almeh taught younger women the art of love. They were apparently looking for, and hoping to, assist in the birth of Messiah. The knowledge that there was to be a messiah born from one of the Hebrew women fostered a privileged place in their community for just being a woman. Unlike many other cultures who denigrated their women the Hebrews revered their woman. The Almeh were women concerned with finding out God’s plans and assisting in those plans.
By the time Napoleon came along these women were clearly not needed as Messiah had already come. Unfortunately when a belief is held onto after its time has ended it can tend to lead to corruption and in some cases the dance that had told the story of love and birth degenerated into a common dance of prostitutes; hence the confusion when defining the word.
1- “behold, I am standing by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Pray give me a little water from your jar to drink,” Gen. 24:43
2- “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.” Ex. 2:8
3- “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el.” Is. 7:14
4- “the singers in front, the minstrels last, between them maidens playing timbrels:” Psa. 68:25
5- “the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.” Prov. 30:19
6- “your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you.” Song 1:3
7- “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number.” Song 6:8