|vur'-jin; vur-jin'-i-ti ((bethulah) separated, ('almah) damsel, maiden, (neanis) young woman)
RELATED: Mary, Jesus, Virgin Birth
Easton's Bible Dictionary
In a prophecy concerning our Lord, ( Isaiah
7:14 ) says, "A virgin [RSV marg., 'the virgin'] shall conceive, and bear
a son" (Compare Luke
1:31 - 35
). The people of the land of Zidon are thus referred to by ( Isaiah
23:12 ), "O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon;" and of the people of
Israel, ( Jeremiah
18:13 ) says, "The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing."
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) bethulah, from a root meaning "separated," is "a woman living apart," i.e.
"in her father's house," and hence "a virgin." Bethulah seems to have been the
technical term for "virgin," as appears from such a combination as na'arah bhethulah,
"a damsel, a virgin," in Deuteronomy 22:23 , 28 , etc. An apparent exception is
Joel 1:8, "Lament like a virgin bethulah .... for the husband of her youth," but
the word is probably due to a wish to allude to the title "virgin daughter of
Zion" (the translation "a betrothed maiden" is untrue to Hebrew sentiment). and
the use of "virgin" for a city (Isaiah 37:22, etc.; compare Isaiah 23:12 ; 47:1)
probably means "unsubdued," though, as often, a title may persist after its meaning
is gone (Jeremiah 31:4). The King James Version and the English Revised Version
frequently render bethulah by "maiden" or "maid" (Judges 19:24 , etc.), but the
American Standard Revised Version has used "virgin" throughout, despite the awkwardness
of such a phrase as "young men and virgins" (Psalms 148:12). For "tokens of virginity"
("proofs of chastity") see the commentary on Deuteronomy 22:15.
(2) 'almah, rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) by either "damsel"
(Psalms 68:25), "maiden" (so usually, Exodus 2:8, etc.), or "virgin" with margin
"maiden" (Song of Solomon 1:3 ; 6:8 ; Isaiah 7:14). The word (see OHL) means simply
"young woman" and only the context can give it the force "virgin." This force,
however, seems required by the contrasts in Song of Solomon 6:8, but in 1:3 "virgin"
throws the accent in the wrong place. The controversies regarding Isaiah 7:14
are endless, but Septuagint took 'almah as meaning "virgin" (parthenos). But in
New Testament times the Jews never interpreted the verse as a prediction of a
virgin-birth--a proof that the Christian faith did not grow out of this passage.
See IMMANUEL; VIRGIN BIRTH.
(3) parthenos, the usual Greek word for "virgin" (Judith 16:5 , etc.; Matthew
1:23 , etc.). In Revelation 14:4 the word is masculine. In 1 Corinthians 7:25
the Revised Version (British and American) has explained "virgin" by writing "virgin
daughter" in 7:36-38. This is almost certainly right, but "virgin companion" (see
Lietzmann and J. Weiss in the place cited.) is not quite impossible.
(4) neanis, "young woman" (Sirach 20:4).
(5) Latin virgo (2 Esdras 16:33).
The Old Testament lays extreme emphasis on chastity before marriage (Deuteronomy
22:21), but childlessness was so great a misfortune that death before marriage
was to be bewailed (Judges 11:37 , 38). Paul's preference for the unmarried state
(1 Corinthians 7:29) is based on the greater freedom for service (compare Matthew
19:12), and the Greek estimate of virginity as possessing a religious quality
per se is foreign to true Jewish thought (such a passage as Philo Mund. opif.,
section symbol 53, is due to direct Greek influence). Some have thought to find
a trace of the Greek doctrine in Revelation 14:4. But 144,000 lst-century. Christian
ascetics are out of the question, and the figure must be interpreted like that
of James 4:4 (reversed).
Burton Scott Easton
'almah, bethulah, bible commentary, bible reference, bible study, define, neanis, parthenos, virgin, virgo