D ISAIAH 7:14
Charles L. Feinberg, Th.D., Ph.D.Former Dean and Professor of Old TestamentTalbot Theological Seminary – La Mirada, CA
Isaiah 7:14 continues to be one of the most debated texts in the Bible. After surveying various scholarly opinions, two key Hebrew words,
(young woman) and
(maiden) are discussed as to the immediate historical and prophetic intent of Isaiah. After also consulting the LXX version and Matthew’s use (1:23) of Isaiah 7:14, it is concluded that the passage is a signal and explicit prediction of the miraculous conception and nativity of Jesus Christ.
***** No student of the Old Testament need apologize for a treatment of Isaiah 7:14 in relation to the doctrine of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.From earliest times to the present the discussions which have centered about thistheme have been both interesting, varied, and at times even heated. Lindblomcharacterizes Isaiah 7:14 as “the endlessly discussed passage of the Immanuelsign.”
Rawlinson maintains: “Few prophecies have been the subject of so muchcontroversy, or called forth such a variety of exegesis, as this prophecy of Immanuel. Rosenmueller gives a list of twenty-eight authors who have writtendissertations on it, and himself adds a twenty-ninth. Yet the subject is far from being exhausted.”
Barnes emphasizes the obscurity of the passage: “Who thisvirgin was, and what is the precise meaning of this prediction, has given, perhaps, more perplexity to commentators than almost any other portion of theBible.”
Again, he insists, “Perhaps there is no prophecy in the Old Testament
Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg (1909–1995), longtime Dean of Talbot Theological Seminaryand highly esteemed Old Testament scholar, served as Dr. MacArthur’s mentor and favoriteseminary professor during his study for ministry at Talbot. This essay was published by Dr.Feinberg in
Is the Virgin Birth in the Old Testament?
(Whittier, CA: Emeth Publishing, 1967), 34– 48 and is used by permission of the
Charles Lee Feinberg Family Trust
. This article appearsessentially in its original form.
Johannes Lindblom, “A Study on the Immanuel Section on Isaiah vii, 1–ix, 6,”
1957–58:4 (Lund, Sweden: Lund CWK Gleerup, 1958), 15.
George Rawlinson, “Isaiah: An Exposition,” in
The Pulpit Commentary
, ed. H. D. M.Spence and Joseph S. Excell (1892; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 10:129.
Albert Barnes, “Isaiah,” in
otes on the Old Testament: Explanatory and Practical,
ed.Robert Frew (1853; repr., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1950), 1:148.
22/1 (Spring 2011) 11-17