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Does the Bible prophecy say that the mother of the Messiah would be a virgin–or only a young girl?

Full Question

A friend of mine contends that the Bible nowhere makes the prophecy that Mary would be a virgin, only that she would be a young girl. He says that’s what it means in the original Hebrew. Is he correct?


The controversy surrounds the translation of Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.” This Old Testament prophecy is quoted in the gospel of Matthew (Mt 1:23) and specifically applied to the virginal conception of Christ.

Christians have always cherished this prophecy of Isaiah and its miraculous fulfillment in the virgin birth of Jesus the Messiah. Likewise, non-believers have attacked this prophecy in an attempt to discredit Christ and his Church; the attack is a weak one that is easily refuted.

The Hebrew word translated as virgin, almah, can also be translated as “young woman” but as Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon notes “there is no instance where it can be proved that almah designates a young woman who is not a virgin.”

Additional evidence that the correct translation is “virgin” is supplied by the Septuagint version of the Bible, a Greek translation of the Old Testament made several centuries before Christ. It was translated by Jewish scholars for use by Greek-speaking Jews, mainly in Alexandria.

The Septuagint translates the Hebrew almah into Greek as parthenos. This Greek term has the precise meaning of “virgin.” So several centuries before the birth of Christ, before there was any reason to attack his Church, the meaning of Isaiah 7:14 was clear: almah = parthenos = virgin.


  1. Javier Nino Reply

    I saw the Lady with the Sun on her back when I was 3 years old. I woke up in the early morning hours and I got up out of bed and was guided to the front door of the house. My mother, my she rest in peace, would always lock all doors before we went to bed, but when I got to the front door, it was opened, and when I looked outside, it was dark and I saw a Lady with the Sun on her back, My mother came and asked what I was doing there, I just pointed outside, where the Lady with the Sun on her back was. My mother later told me that she had also seen the Lady with the Sun on her back, my mother said that the Lady had a Crown of Twelve Stars on her head, the Sun on her back and the Moon under her feet. I still remember the color blue on the clothes of the Lady with the Sun on her back.
    And in 2008, the Word of God spoke to me in the early morning hours and the first message the Word of God said is, “This is the Word of God.”

  2. EvenSo Reply

    If Mary was a ‘young maid’ and not a virgin, she would have been stoned so regardless of the translation used, she was obviously was a virgin, otherwise she would have been dead!

    1. Raimee Reply

      If she was married to Joseph then why would she have been a virgin? That is something that has always had me curious but that would be a good reason for why she wasn’t stoned to death.

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  4. LackOfEvidenceIsNotEvidence Reply

    “there is no instance where it can be proved that almah designates a young woman who is not a virgin” because every woman’s sexual history wasn’t printed? Then it can’t be disproven either, as a lack of evidence isn’t evidence for anything. Weren’t women married (including consummation) very young? Maybe the term it was a nicety and colloquialism since people generally don’t go around identifying themselves as Virgin Nick or Made-It Michael.

  5. tom Reply

    ITS so sad that the flesh gets in the way of people thinking,the person that use another Bible that said she wAS A YOUNG LADY doesnt know the word even in the old testament (Is:7:14) =JOSEPH KNEW the law but GOD”S angel came to him,He done the right thing.

  6. Keri Reply

    The virgin birth was foretold in Genesis 3:13 – And I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed. ( a woman does not have a seed, she has an egg. This is a reference to the virgin birth). He (Messiah Jesus) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (a reference to the crucifixion nail piercing through Jesus heel). Jesus is hidden throughout every page of the Torah. I only wish Jewish people could recognize that.

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