(KJV)Matthew 1:22-23

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

(KJV)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 Immanuel.

The prophecy was given around 740 years before Christ during the reign of Ahaz king of Judah, Judah was threatened with an invasion by the united armies of Syria & Israel, Ahaz was alarmed,instead of seeking the lord he sought help from Assyria. The prophet Isaiah came to ask Ahaz to seek for a sign & he refused so the prophet asked for a sign & it was given that a virgin should have a son.The prophecy was designed to signify to Ahaz that the land will be delivered from its calamities.What I find difficult to understand is in what sense this prophecy should be said to be fulfilled in Matthew 1:22-23 around 740 years later,since this was supposed to be a sign to Ahaz that Judah shall not be destroyed, shouldn't this have taken place within the time frame of Ahaz according to the context of Isaiah 7.Most signs in the bible took place within the timeframe of recipients like Zechariah (Luke 1:20) & Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:9)

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    BTW, Isaiah did not say "a virgin" - he said "the young woman". This was translated into the LXX as "a virgin" but that is not what Isaiah prophesied. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 21:45
  • This seems to be quite a different question than Does Isaiah 7:14 indicate that the young woman is already pregnant? even if it shares the same OT passage. Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 21:47
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    This same question could be asked of a large number of other uses of the OT in the NT, many of them in Matthew. As this Q stands, the answer is either "Because Matthew says it is", or it is simply "opinion based". Recommend OP look at the "sensus plenior" Q&As for some "hermeneutical" framework here. (I don't see the two currenlty linked questions as duplicates, though.)
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 22:48
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    @ David,thank you just read the sensus plenior, its an eye opener didn't know about it Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 4:35
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    The argument "Isaiah did not say virgin" is silly. If you say in English "a girl was on the swing" virgin is implied since 'girls' are not typically thought to be sexually active. In Hebrew the word used nearly absolutely implies virginity. To say otherwise is sophistry.
    – user34445
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 3:07

10 Answers 10


As I sketched out in this answer, Ahaz's refusal to ask for a sign is critical to interpreting what follows. For what follows is not best conceived in context as a sign "designed to signify to Ahaz that the land will be delivered from its calamities." Rather, it is indeed a prophecy of judgment.

Ahaz was already told that the Syrian/Ephraim alliance would fail (Isa 7:7-9). When the LORD has Isaiah ask Ahaz to indicate a sign (v.10-11), Ahaz's refusal to (v.12) is not looked upon with favor. Verse 13 is then a key shift in the narrative to the prophecy (NKJV):

Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?

Two things are critical to see:

  1. Ahaz's refusal to do what the LORD asked of him is wearying to God, as much of the behavior of the lineage of David had been (both the "you" references in the verse are plural, not singular, in the Hebrew). So Ahaz is being addressed, but obliquely in his connection to the lineage of David, which leads to the second point...
  2. Ahaz is no longer the sole referent, but rather the referent expands to the "house of David" (any and all those in the line of David, Ahaz included, but not exclusively or even necessarily to him alone). So the prophecy is for the "house of David" to pay attention to, such that when it is fulfilled, they will take notice of it.

The following prophecy is twofold:

  1. A child will be born under specific circumstances (see the previous answer linked to with respect to the virgin aspects, but also below for a key footnote I had there that is really more related to this question [hence why it was a footnote in the other question]), a child whose name implies God is with His people again (Isa 7:14-16)
  2. But more immediately, judgment to Judah will be coming (i.e., God not with His people). That judgment is not by the Syria/Ephraim alliance (that was already made clear), but rather by Assyria (Isa 7:17-25), the nation Ahaz would look to for help against the alliance (2 Kings 16), which judgment comes about in Ahaz's son Hezekiah's days (2 Kings 18), though Jerusalem is spared (and Judah for a time) because of Hezekiah's looking/prayer to God (2 Kings 19:20).

As to how the prophecy of Isa 7:14-16 can be conceived as fulfilled in Christ, I'll reproduce from what was my text in footnote 1 in the other answer I linked to above, but fits better in the text of this answer. Everything between the horizontal breaks was originally part of n.1 in that answer.

Note that the only immediate point of v.15-16 is that one land abhorred by Ahab that has two kings over it will cease to have kings by the time this child of Isa 7:14 is very old. Almost unanimously commentators will identify these two kings with Rezin and Pekah (Remaliah's son), identifying the single land as symbolically illustrating the united forces of two lands (quotes from commentaries found at the preceding link):

The "land" must certainly be that of the two confederate kings, Rezin and Pekah, the Syro-Ephraim-itic land, or Syria and Samaria (Pulpit Commentary)

The countries of Syria and Israel, which Ahaz abhorred for their cruel designs and practices against him (Benson Commentary)

Syria and Samaria regarded as one (2Ki 16:9; 15:30) (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

Ephraim and Syria are treated as one territory, ruled by the two allied kings (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

But this is God's message, and though the sign is broadly to the house of David, the last part of v.16 relates it to Ahab with "The land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings" (KJV). Most later translations have "dread" in place of the idea of abhor, as the word can have either idea (see BDB), and Ahaz's fear is known from v.4.

However, if one understands it as abhor (repugnance) rather than dread (fear), it can be argued that the reference God is making is to the literal singular land of the divided monarchy, that is, Israel and Judah. Ahaz has demonstrated to God his abhorrence for the land in his great wickedness (2 Kg 16:2-4; 2 Ch 28:1-4)—note the various immoral uses of the land in the references, and of course the actions themselves would lead to judgment upon the land. Ahaz's true abhorrence was for the land God had given.

Viewed so, the prophecy fits Christ exactly, for what it is saying is that Israel and Judah (the one divided land, that land abhorred by Ahaz) will both have ceased to have their kings during the early years of the child prophesied in Isa 7:14.

This is not true of Ahaz's day (Judah remained with a king). It is also not true of the time of the Babylonian captivity (no such child was born during that time). But it is true of Christ. A king (Jewish, but not Davidic) was reestablished during the time of the Maccabees in the Hasmonean dynasty:

From 110 BC, with the Seleucid empire disintegrating, the dynasty became fully independent, expanded into the neighbouring regions of Galilee, Iturea, Perea, Idumea and Samaria, and took the title "basileus" [king].

This dynasty was replaced by the Herodian dynasty, with the new king, Herod the Great:

The installation of Herod the Great (an Idumean) as king in 37 BC made Israel a Roman client state and marked the end of the Hasmonean dynasty.

He "was appointed 'King of the Jews' by the Roman Senate," but the more significant point is that:

When Herod died in 4 BCE, the kingdom was divided among his four sons into tetrarchies, the largest being the Tetrarchy of Judea.

The land of Israel was once again without a king, but this time during the youth of the one named Immanuel, Jesus Christ!

Scholars generally accept a date of [Christ's] birth between 6 and 4 BC. It is generally agreed that Herod the Great died in 4 BCE, placing the birth of Jesus before then.

Then v.17ff goes on to describe the process by which Israel and Judah will begin to lose power (and lose their kings), beginning with Israel (and even Judah is greatly affected by Assyria, so Isaiah 8:8).


Ahaz refused a sign, so he was not specifically given one, but the house of David more broadly was given a sign that God would be with them, the birth of a child named Immanuel under specific circumstances. That sign only and uniquely came to pass at the birth of Jesus Christ, per the statement of Matthew 1:22-23.

  • I like this answer, can we chat a little about it?
    – diego b
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 1:53
  • @diegob I've created a chat room for the discussion
    – ScottS
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 18:07
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    @withgrace1040 First, even Herod the Great was "appointed" by Rome, and so really was a "puppet" king (a true king is the absolute sovereign of the land with no higher government authority over him); Herod Antipas was even less than that, ruling over only 1/4 of the land of his father (hence why he was a tetrarch, specifically of Galilee and Perea). Neither was a true king over the land, and neither an Israelite king (Herod the Great was Idumean[Edomite]/Arab; his son Antipas had a Samaritan mother, which at least had some Jewish blood mixed in). Cont....
    – ScottS
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 20:44
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    Second, the Greek term translated "king" in English texts is used in other contexts to convey various ideas of an authority figure. Liddell and Scott mention uses related to various ideas: captain, judge, prince, lord, master, etc., so a word that can mean more generally a "ruler" (not necessarily a "king" in the sense we often think of it). So for Antipas, "King Herod" was likely an honorific title he was given (or more likely, pridefully took to himself), but did not contain the true idea of absolute sovereign over his area (Caesar was that, which of course the Jews emphasized in Jn 19:15).
    – ScottS
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 20:45
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    And Caesar was not really "king" of the land as God is noting in the prophecy. God is referring to the land being bereft of Jewish kings at the time that the KING is born.
    – ScottS
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 20:47

Vs 3 - Notice first that the prophet is specifically told to take along with him his little son Shear-Jashub. Although the boy does nothing and says nothing, his very presence is required to make this prophecy meaningful, as we will see. The boy's name (which means, "A remnant shall return"), is the significant element that the prophet is to bring before the king. There has to be a reason for Isaiah’s son to be there. The reason for taking his son is not explained until verses 15-16. In studying the Hebrew Scriptures it is important to note the meaning of people's names as brought out in Isa 8:18 that Isaiah & both sons are signs to Israel.

Secondly the Hebrew word "almah" means a young woman of marriageable age and the seven times it is used in the Hebrew Scriptures the context(s) shows the young girl to be a virgin. The LXX correctly use the word "parthenos" which strictly means a virgin as well as Matthew. Isaiah could have used the word "betulah" but it is always accompanied by a explanatory statement when speaking of a virgin "never knew a man sexually" as in Genesis 24:16 -And the damsel (Na'a 'rah) was very fair to look upon, a virgin (betulah), neither had any man known her. Gen 24:43 uses the word "almah" and requires no additional qualifying remarks since the one word alone is sufficient to mean' virgin.' Also the Hebrew text reads "the" virgin and not "a" virgin and since there is no woman mentioned in the immediate context Hebrew grammar rules requires one the second rule is the 'principle of previous reference ‘from much earlier which has been dealt with earlier and is common knowledge among people. The only possible reference is to Genesis 3:15. Contrary to the norm, the Messiah would be reckoned after the seed of the woman. Why? Because he would have no human father; his would be a virgin birth.

I agree that the birth of the Messiah some 700 years future would not be a sign Ahaz but to the House of David. Chapter 8:3 Maher-shalal-hash-baz is very questionable as a fulfillment of the sign promised in Chapter 7 since the prophet's wife conceived after having sex with Isaiah.

There is however a second sign, in verses 15-16, and this time it is specifically for Ahaz. The 'you' in verse 16 is again singular, meaning Ahaz. Before Isaiah's son, Shear-Jashub, is old enough to make moral distinctions between right and wrong, the kings of Israel and Syria will be deposed and their threat removed. This was fulfilled within three years. "The boy in verse 16 uses a Hebrew word meaning a child at least one year old. A definite article "the" is used and this cannot be the son of verse 14 but refers back to Isaiah's son in verse 3. Why else was Isaiah commanded to take him?


Many elaborate ways have been put forth to make Isa 7:14 fit the bill of a virgin birth prophecy for Jesus. But this claim in Matthew should be seen in context: the author had a penchant for searching the Hebrew scriptures for any and all phrases that could possibly be applied to Jesus, whether they were prophecies or not. He pulled passages out of context, and often twisted meanings to make cases for "fulfillments". Some examples..

He quotes, "Out of Egypt I have called my son" (Matt 2:15), but Hosea 11:1 simply refers to the Hebrew people. It was not meant as a prophecy at all.

"Rachel weeping for her children" is quoted in connection with the supposed slaughter by Herod. But again, this is not a prophecy. In Jer 31:15, Rachel is the mother of children who were taken captive, and in the very next verse it speaks of them returning again.

Matthew 2:23: "And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He shall be called a Nazarene.'" But there is no reference at all in the Hebrew scriptures to Nazareth, or to Nazarenes. Some scholars think Matthew has misread Judges 13:5: "for lo, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth ...". But being a Nazirite has nothing to do with being from Nazareth; a Nazirite was one who took a vow of abstinence for special service. If Matthew was thinking of this verse, it would fit his pattern of misunderstandings very well.

(By the way, Matthew implies that the move to Nazareth was new, due to Joseph being afraid to return to Judea. But Luke's story has them as residents of Nazareth all along!)

The above is all within the Matthew birth narrative. Here is one more from Jesus' ministry, Matt 13:35: "This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.'" This is a distortion of the meaning of Psalm 78:2-3: "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us." Again, no prophecy intended... this is simply the Psalmist announcing that he will tell an old story. Not something "hidden since the foundation of the world", but things "heard and known". The Psalm describes a summary of the Exodus.

An author's patterns are worth noting...


For other aspects of prophecy on this site see: Does Isaiah 7:14 indicate that the young woman is already pregnant?, and Does Isaiah 7:14 refer to a virgin?.

Those who disagree the prophecy is Messianic and fulfilled in the birth of Jesus as Matthew states, commonly see this as Christian eisegeses because the literal translation is non-Messianic:

Assuredly my Lord will give you a sign of his own accord! Look the young woman is with child and about to give to a son. Let her name him Immanuel. (JPS 1985)

The Hebrew הָֽעַלְמָה֙ literally is “the young woman,” not "virgin." In fact, בְּתוּלָה is virgin. Yet a young woman giving birth to a son is a common occurrence, not a sign. Adding to this is the use of “Lord,” Adonai not LORD, YHVH. So a Lord saying a young woman with child will give birth to a son is hardly prophecy or a sign.

The first use of הָֽעַלְמָה֙ as “young woman” is helpful in understanding Isaiah:

As I stand by the spring of water, let the young woman (הָֽעַלְמָה֙) who comes out to draw and to whom I say, “Please, let me drink a little water from your jar.” And who answers, “You may drink, and I will also draw for your camels” – let her be the wife whom the LORD has decreed for my master’s son. (Genesis 24:43-44 JPS 1985)

When seeking a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s servant describes Rebekah as a הָֽעַלְמָה֙. She is a young woman who is a virgin (Genesis 24:16). If Isaiah had been written as Matthew, it would be "Assuredly my Lord will give you a sign of his own accord! Look the virgin is with child and about to give to a son. Let her name him Immanuel." Since "virgin" by itself says nothing about a woman's age, the prophecy no longer identifies her as a young woman.

The prophecy states the time by which it will be fulfilled:

For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. (Isaiah 7:16 ESV)

Commentators like Barnes discuss why Isaiah 7:14 refers to two events, one soon to occur (fulfilled as stated in 7:16) and another which refers to the Messiah. However, this Messianic aspect of the prophecy is not origin to Matthew:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son and you shall name him Emmanouel. (LXX NETS)

διὰ τοῦτο δώσει κύριος αὐτὸς ὑμῖν σημεῖον ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Εμμανουηλ

Greek, like Hebrew and English, has a specific word for virgin: παρθένος and the LXX translator(s) rendered the Hebrew הָֽעַלְמָה֙ as a παρθένος, virgin, long before Matthew.

Jewish scholars who translated Isaiah into Greek understood the meaning as ἡ παρθένος, literally “the virgin”. So Matthew’s reading of Isaiah follows that of the Jewish scholars who translated the passage well before the birth of Jesus. The difference is Matthew sees its fulfillment when the virgin Mary conceives and gives birth to Jesus.

  • "Jewish scholars who translated Isaiah into Greek understood the meaning as ἡ παρθένος, literally “the virgin”" What's the source that the translator of Isaiah 7 was a Jewish scholar? Commented Mar 12 at 14:42
  • @AviAvraham Is the objection to the term Jewish instead of Hebrew? There is no doubt the LXX was the product of Judaism. The folklore of miraculous translations by 6 from each tribe; the widespread use of the LXX in the Diaspora is a priori evidence. Excepting the use by Christians, the LXX was arguably the greatest evangelical tool in the history of Judaism. Prior to its abandonment because of Christian use it brought the word of God and a correct understanding of God to an otherwise pagan world, something which would never would have happened from the Hebrew text. Commented Mar 14 at 17:56
  • The Letter to Aristeas specifically states the translation of the 70/72 was only the pentateuch. There were certainly other collections of Hellenic-Jewish books including translations of the hebrew bible in antiquity, but they are almost all lost to history. The main issue is the assumption in your conclusion that the fact that Jewish translators chose parthenos makes it a correct translation - that just doesn't follow. There are numerous mistakes in the LXX we have today, it'd be amusing to start a religion based on those 1st century mistakes Commented Mar 14 at 20:12
  • @AviAvraham Philo of Alexandria used it. It was read in every Greek speaking synagogue in the Roman Empire. It resulted in the conversion of thousands from pagan beliefs to Judaism. The only reason it fell out if favor is Christian use. Were there "mistakes" sure. Were there many more Biblical truths? Yes. I say "mistakes" because the original Hebrew was open to more than one meaning. Case in point is explaining almah to a Greek. Commented Mar 14 at 23:00
  • "because the original Hebrew was open to more than one meaning" - I'm not sure what that means. The meaning of עלמה is quite clear and unambiguous. The male version עלם is found elsewhere in the Hebrew and is universally translated into English as "lad". The meaning of the shoresh is also unequivocally clear to have no relation to 'virginity', it means "youth, endurance" Commented Mar 15 at 21:41

It seems as though the typical Christian approach to any New Testament "fulfillment" is to try and force their square peg into a round hole.

The Hebrew word here is clearly young woman otherwise the Hebrew word for virgin would have been used.

Context is also important as that is something else Christians fail to use. It shows that this is clearly about the Hezekiah story.

Even in the Christian story, his "virgin" birth is never mentioned again. For something that significant, you would assume it would be brought up again.


almah means virgin. The root of the word means "unknown", which is the Biblical way of saying sexual innocence. It means an innocent young woman. The Hebrew word bethulah, usually translated as virgin, does not mean the same as our English word virgin. Bethulah means a chaste woman who was a virgin before marriage and was faithful to one husband after marriage. It is an honorable term. It is used to refer to a married woman in Joel 1:8; Es 2:17,19; Deu 22:19. If Isa 7:14 had said bethulah instead of almah, it would mean a normal, proper birth.

How could the virgin birth be a sign to Ahaz? It wasn't. The virgin birth is the reason that God will rescue Judah. Because the virgin must give birth to Immanuel, who is God with us, therefore God needs to preserve Judah and the Davidic kingship.

The sign to Ahaz is in the next verse: The people will eat yogurt and honey. This is further explained in vv 21-22.

  1. There is not a single scholarly source that translates almah as virgin

    n.f. young woman—pl. עֲלָמוֹת—1. young woman, girl, perh. specif. uninitiated, unknowing female,* David J. A. Clines, ed., The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press; Sheffield Phoenix Press, 1993–2011), 428.

    Ernest Klein's "A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for English Readers" gives the meaning as "maiden", which means a girl that has never been married.

  2. The shoresh of almah is עלם which means youth, vigor, and persistence.
    Can you give me an example in the Bible where almah or some derivative word means what you say? Examples of the root word alam meaning hidden are Ps 90:8; Lev 4:13; 5:2-4; Num 5:13; etc.

  3. The sign is not the virgin conceiving, it’s the birth of the child that precedes the victory of Judah in the Syro-Ephraimite War
    Yes, the sign is not conceiving. Neither is it the birth of a child. That is no sign. There is nothing miraculous about that. The sign is the miracle that all the people will eat butter and honey.

  • 1. There is not a single scholarly source that translates almah as virgin 2. The shoresh of almah is עלם which means youth, vigor, persistence. It’s the same shoresh as ‘Olam which commonly means eternity. 3. The sign is not the virgin conceiving, it’s the birth of the child which precedes the victory of Judah in the Syro-Ephraimite War Commented Mar 6 at 4:07
  • @SteveMiller You seem to have two Stack Exchange accounts (your edit was on a new account). Please merge them so you can continue to post under one account.
    – agarza
    Commented Mar 8 at 4:11

The Greek word translated as "that it might be fulfilled" in Matthew 1:22 is "pleroo" (G4137) and is defined by Thayer as "to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full".

A better translation of verses 22-23 would be:

Now all this was done, that it might be made full which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:22-23 KJV emphasis and revision mine)

The portion of verse 23 that says, "which being interpreted is, God with us" is not part of Isaiah's words. These words are that of the author of Matthew.

The words of Isaiah pertained to a sign given to the house of David in King Ahaz' day to demonstrate to him that God was still with them. He had feared that his throne, the throne of David, was going to be overthrown by a conspiracy of men (the king of Israel conspiring with the king of Aram), but the LORD (YHVH) said what was being plotted against the house of David was not going to come to pass.

And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.

Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field; And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal: Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. (Isaiah 7:1-7 KJV)

The sign that was given to King Ahaz was not so much about the status of the mother, who was said would be with child and bring forth a son, as it was about the son.

And then, it wasn't so much about who this son would be, as it was about what would take place when this son reached a certain age. YHVH would bring upon his enemies the king of Assyria.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria. (Isaiah 7:14-17 KJV)

So, to King Ahaz, this sign was just a demonstration that when the "almah" in Hebrew (or "parthenos" in Greek) came to be with child and brought forth a son, that son was to be called "Emmanuel", that it was a signal that God was with them. He wasn't saying to literally name the child "Emmanuel".

This is made evident in Isaiah 8 when the prophetess came to be with child and brought forth a son, and he was named something else. But given the verses that follow, it is clear that this is the signal that was being referenced in the previous chapter.

And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

The LORD spake also unto me again, saying, Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son; Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. (Isaiah 8:3-10 KJV)

Now the author of Matthew, after laying out a physical genealogy of Jesus, who is called "Christ" (or the Anointed), being the son of David, son of Abraham, by way of Joseph in a very specific way, relays a scene with Joseph, the husband of Mary, who is found to be with child, and that child is the Christ.

The genealogy is presented through a specified framework of three distinct legs: from Abraham to David, specifically identified as "the king"; from David to the carrying away to Babylon, which marked the end of the continuous Davidic dynasty; and from the carrying away to Babylon to the Christ, as summed up in Matthew 1:17.

In that genealogy five mothers are mentioned. Four of those mothers are notable in that they were all known by other men prior to the men for whom they bore children. The fifth mother is identified as being the wife of Joseph, having been betrothed to him before they came together, suggesting she was not known by another man prior to him.

There are three generations of kings that are omitted in the genealogy, one of which is Joash, which was an infant when his father, Ahaziah, who had been reigning on the throne of David had been killed. Upon the death of that king, that king's mother, Queen Athaliah, killed off all the heirs to David's throne (except for Joash, because the child was hidden from her at the time to prevent his demise), and she reigned as queen for six years (until she was ousted, and then Joash was made king).

And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land. (2 Kings 11:1-3 KJV)

Now the episode in which the author of Matthew shares during the pregnancy of Mary, involves Joseph, the husband of Mary, being righteous and unwilling to make a show/example of his wife who was pregnant with the heir to David's throne. He had minded to send her away secretly. But a messenger in a dream reassured him to keep her with him, saying that she would bring forth a son, and he was to name the child "Jesus" (or "Yeshua" in Hebrew, which means "YHVH is Salvation") for he would save his people from their sins.

The author evidently saw all this as making full the words spoken of the prophet Isaiah, given that Mary having been a virgin/young woman, who was with child and was expected to bring forth a son, and that her son would act as a saviour. He must have seen this as a demonstration that God was still with the house of David. (Emmanuel)


This is a comment I wanted to make in reference to Mike B's response on 1 Jan. 2017

The link between the 'almah' in Isaiah 7:14 and the "Seed" of Eve is a very good observation. It is easy to assume that we understand the context of a prophetic passage by looking at the things that are mentioned nearby in time and/or space, but often times the "big picture" is in view, and a more far-reaching and subtle reference is being made. I have always suspected that the human part of the future "Seed" (Jesus) spoken of in Genesis 3 was "built" into Eve when God "built" her. Adam was squeezed out like a lump of clay (yatz-ahr), simple and straightforward, which is how guys typically are. Eve was "built" (beyn) which implies something more complicated, requiring skill and understanding. Maybe the word 'beyn is used as a hint at the necessity of using 'bin-ah' to realize that there is something a little complicated going on? Something to out-wit the nachash (serpent)? Arthur Custance wrote a book titled "The Seed of The Woman" in which he explains how God provided ahead of time for the human part of this Seed to be protected from the results of the "fall" and passed down un-corrupted, to be BROUGHT FORTH (not created) by the Holy Spirit at the chosen time. What he describes is basically what we now call the mitochondrial dna process.

None of what I have said is explicitly stated in the scriptures, but there are so many times where hindsight reveals hints that are scattered throughout the scriptures, which taken together paint a clearer picture. The fact that the births of both Cain and Seth are specifically linked to Adam "knowing" Eve leaves Abel in a different category. Was he a twin to Cain? The verb describing Eve's "continuing to bear" does not have to mean that she bore Cain and Abel in one continuous period of labor. It can also mean to continue to do the same thing as before, but at a later point in time. And if Cain and Abel were twins it seems unusual that the world's first occasion of this out-of-the-ordinary situation would pass without being noted. I am not saying that, in the historical sense, Abel was born without Adam mating with Eve. What I am saying is that the Lord inspired the text to be written in such a way that it begs us to ask "why is the text worded in an unusual and unexpected way here?". Same thing happens in Genesis 22 where Abraham tells his servants "I and the lad will go yonder and worship and WE will come back to you", but then later on it says "And ABRAHAM returned to his servants....". Why isn't Isaac mentioned? What was going through the minds of these servants when Isaac is no longer with Abraham? Did Isaac return with Abraham and the fact is just not mentioned? If that was the case, why was it written the way it was? It wouldn't be hard to make it clear, but for whatever reason, the Lord inspired the text to be written in such a way that this was not done. When one looks at all of the prophetic "types" in the scriptures it becomes easier to see why.


How can the virgin birth in Matthew 1:22 be a fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14?

The second fulfillment

It is important to read the scriptures in context rather than in isolation. The prophecy has a two-fold fulfillment, the first part of that prophecy is often applied to the birth of the Messiah, and rightly so. (Matt. 1:23) However, since the "two kings,2" the king of Syria and the king of Israel, were no longer a threat to Judah in the first century C.E. (Read footnotes [k] NET the two kings Vs 16), the prophecy about Immanuel must also have had an initial fulfillment in Isaiah’s day.

Isaiah 7:14-16 NET

14 For this reason the Lord himself will give you a confirming sign.[a] Look, this[b] young woman[c] is about to conceive[d] and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him[e] Immanuel.[f] 15 He will eat sour milk[g] and honey, which will help him know how[h] to reject evil and choose what is right. 16 Here is why this will be so:[i] Before the child knows how to reject evil and choose what is right, the land[j] whose two kings you fear will be desolate.[k]

The initial fulfillment.

The removal of Axaz by the invaders Syria and Israel would put an end to the Davidic line of kings. “Immanuel” means “With Us Is God.” God is with Judah and will not allow his covenant with David to be canceled. In addition, Ahaz and his people are told not only what God will do but also when he will do it. Before the boy Immanuel is old enough to distinguish between good and bad, the enemy nations will be destroyed. This prophecy came true, Assyria carried away the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria.(read Isaiah 8:3-4)

Isaiah 8:3-4 NET

3 So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Name him [a]Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the boy knows how to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

The Bible does not tell whose child Immanuel is. But since the young Immanuel is to serve as a sign that God will not abandon the house of Judah and Isaiah later states that he and his children "are as signs," Immanuel may be a son of the prophet. (Isaiah 8:18)


It seems to me that Isaiah's prophecy was clearly fulfilled in the time of Ahaz.

16 Before the child learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of those two kings whom you dread shall be deserted. 17 The Lord shall bring upon you and your people and your father’s house such days as have not come since Ephraim seceded from Judah - the king of Assyria.

This was fulfilled historically when the Assyrians invaded both Syria Israel/Ephraim, removing the immediate threat Ahaz was worried about.

On the other hand, this does not preclude the idea that the prophecy also applied to Jesus. Matthew interpreted scripture this way more than once. For example, he understood the verse "Out of Egypt I called my son" to refer to Jesus when it originally applied to Israel. (Hosea 11:1)

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