Is Isaiah 7:14 about Hezekiah or Jesus?

Home >  Full Study List >  Is Isaiah 7:14 about Hezekiah or Jesus?
Question / Comment - Is Isaiah 7:14 about Hezekiah or Jesus? Isaiah 7:14 is about Hezekiah. We have proof in the Bible this verse is about Hezekiah…You will notice that Isaiah’s statement in 7:14 describes the child as one not two children. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold, the young woman shall conceive and bear a son.”… Can you point out to me how this child is a duality from this sentence?


Concerning Isa 7:14 you may the following quote interesting -
RASHI also came to the conclusion that the Immanuel prophecy could not refer to Hezekiah, because ‘if you count up the years of Hezekiah you will find that Hezekiah was born nine years before his father [Ahaz] ascended the throne.’ Hence, Hezekiah was born nine years before the prophecy was given, and yet the prophet says: ‘Behold the virgin shall (future tense) conceive...’ ” (Rachmiel Frydland, What the Rabbis Know About the Messiah- A Study of Genealogy and Prophecy [Cincinnati Ohio; Messianic Publishing Co., 1993] P40)

Isaiah 7:14 isnot about Hezekiah as Rashi pointed out. Concerning the ‘duality’ in this passage, here are some comments which may help. The following are extracts from Arnold Fruchtembaum’s books ‘Messianic Christology’ and ‘Jesus was a Jew’.

The Sign to the House of David (7:13-14)

In verse 13, Isaiah turns from addressing Ahaz as an individual and addresses the entire house of David. The English language does not distinguish between “you” addressed to one person and “you” addressed too many people. In Hebrew there is a difference, and there is a clear change between the singular :you” of verses 9,11,16,17 and the plural “you” of verses 13-14. The sign therefore is not just for Ahaz, but for the whole house of David. This becomes clear if we state the passage again with the singular [s] and the plural [pl] words indicated:

“10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself [s] from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” 13 Then he said “Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you [pl] to try the patience of men, that you [pl] will try the patience of my God as well? 14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you [pl] a sign: Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15 “He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 “For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you [s] dread will be forsaken. 17 The Lord will bring on you [s], on your people, and on your father’s house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the King of Assyria.”

In verse 14, the Hebrew word for ‘behold’ is a word which draws attention to an event which could be past, present, or future. However, grammatically, whenever “behold” is used with the Hebrew present particle, it always refers to a future event. That is the case here. Not only is the birth future, but the very conception is future. The key point of this should not be missed. God is promising that the House of David cannot be deposed or lose its identity until the birth of a virgin-born son. Again, this requires that Messiah be born prior to the destruction of the temple and its genealogical records in 70AD. 

Having concluded that Isaiah 7:12-14 is a long range prophecy concerning the birth of Messiah (my comment – this is after far more proof in his book which I have not included here), that still leaves a problem. What about Ahaz? An event 700 years in the future is of little significance to him. There is however a second sihn in verses 15-17, and this time is specifically for Ahaz (Note: from the above passage this portion is in the singular meaning a sign for Ahaz himself as opposed to the sign to the house of David in the plural of verses 13 and 14). Before Isaiah’s son 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. Isaiah again uses the definitive article before the term “boy”. The boy of verse 16 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?

ALMAH and Virgin

Arnold Fruchtembaum also states that the term “virgin” is required by both the Hebew vocabulary and the context. The birth of the son in Isaiah 7:14 is said to be a sign from God. The Lord told Ahaz that the sign could be as high as Heaven or deep as Sheol. You think that the extent of this “sign” from God was a young woman giving birth. Ooooh what a sign! Bet that hasn’t happened before! How small is your God that when He specifically tell us that He is going to give a sign (which can be something as high as Heaven), it turns out to be something that happens everyday and doesn’t need God to fulfill it! Furthermore, Fruchtenbaum states that even Rashi said the word ALMAH in Song of Solomon 1:3 and 6:8 means virgin! Fruchtembaum continues stating “A far more authoritive source than Rashi is the judgement of the seventy Jewish Rabbis who translated the Greek version of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, in about 250BC. These men lived far close to the time of Isaiah than Rashi (by about 1300 years)… and these seventy rabbis all made ALMAH to read parthenos, which is the simple Greek word for “virgin”.

You mentioned in your email that your Rabbi wrote:

"There is no scriptural authority to support the idea of the virgin birth in the New Testament. I can perhaps explain how it happened though. The earliest translation of

the Tenach, the Septuagint, renders alma as "virgin" because there is no distinction in Greek between a young woman and a true virgin. So the New Testament, being in the Greek language would naturally render it as virgin."

This is simply not true! 

The word ‘neanis’ is the Greek word for ‘young woman’ (what you think Isaiah is saying) and the 70 Jewish scholars who worked on the Septuagint were VERY careful to use the correct word. Look at the following facts:

“The OT uses the word almah only seven times: Gen 24:43; Ex 2:8; Prov 30:19; Ps 68:26; Songs 1:3 and 6:8, plus, of course Isaiah 7:14. Out of these only Genesis 24:43 and Isaiah 7:14 seemed clear enough to the Septuagint translators that they rendered it by parthenos, which, of course, definitely means virgin. In Gen 24:43 Isaac is on his way to find a bride for himself. He then proposes to God that he will stand by the well of water, and asks that the almah who comes out to draw water, and who offers water for both him and his camels may be the one he should take as a bride. Exodus 2:8 tells how the daughter of Pharaoh told the sister of the infant Moses to get a Hebrew woman to nurse him. We would think likely that the sister was a virgin, since she seems to be still living with her mother. But the Septuagint was being quite careful: it used the broader word neanis, young woman.

I say it again!!! These scholars were VERY careful to use the right word and didn’t even use 'parthenos' to describe Moses sister. They used ‘neanis’.

Please ask your Rabbi for me why he wrote such a thing.

Your Rabbi also said that “the Hebrew word harah, rendered in this verse in the KJV is not a verb but is rather an adjective meaning pregnant, not 'shall conceive'. Christian translators have also messed with the meaning of this word to suit their purposes.”

I'm not sure why he says this as the Jewish Publication Society's version (Jewish, not Christian) uses ‘shall conceive’ as well. Here it is ‘behold, the young woman shall conceive…’ JPS Version.

The virgin birth then, is the explanation of the mystery of Genesis 3:15. Messiah would be reckoned after the seed of a woman because He would have no father. Because of a virgin birth (a real sign that needs God!) he could only be traced through His mother and not his father. Thus Isaiah 7:14 clarifies the meaning of Gen 3:15.

This also answers your, and your Rabbis, objections to Jesus’ genealogy very well. Gen 3:15 is the first Messianic prophecy in scripture and it declares that it is the seed of the women that will crush the serpents head (Satan). Not the seed of a man which is the usual way of tracing a genealogy as you know. Messiah was always going to be different!!! The seed of a women but not of a man and therefore, as Luke genealogy shows us, the Messiah Jesus was of the tribe of David through Mary His mother.

May God Bless.