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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Virgin

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VIRGIN usually represents ( a ) Heb. bĕthûlâh , an unmarried maiden. The word is frequently applied to countries, often with the addition of ‘daughter,’ e.g . Israel ( Jeremiah 18:13 , Amos 5:2 ), Zion ( 2 Kings 19:21 , Lamentations 2:13 ), Babylon ( Isaiah 47:1 ), Egypt ( Jeremiah 46:11 ). In Joel 1:8 it is used of a young widow. Deuteronomy 22:23 ff. has laws for the protection of virgins; Deuteronomy 22:13 insists on the importance of virginity in a bride. ( b ) In Isaiah 7:14 a rare word ‘almâh is used (RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘ maiden ’). The OT usage is indecisive as to whether it is confined to the unmarried ( e.g . Exodus 2:8 , Song of Solomon 1:3 ; Song of Solomon 6:8 ; masc. 1 Samuel 17:56 ; 1 Samuel 20:22 ). The Arab. [Note: Arabic.] root means ‘to be mature,’ and the Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] does not connote virginity. The word apparently means ‘one of marriageable age,’ and is certainly not the word which would naturally be used if ‘virginity’ were the point to be emphasized. LXX [Note: Septuagint.] has parthenos (‘virgin’); so Matthew 1:23 ; but the complaints of Justin and Irenæus against the later Jewish tr. [Note: translate or translation.] neânis (‘damsel’) are hardly justifiable. A modern view holds that Isaiah was adopting the language of a current mythological tradition, and intended the word to convey the idea of a divine mother (note ‘ the virgin,’ RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ). ( c ) Revelation 14:4 uses the word of men, probably metaphorically, implying chastity, not celibacy; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2 . Acts 21:9 Acts 21:9 is probably the germ of the later ‘order’ of virgins. For ‘ Virgin-birth ’ see pp. 589 b , 705 a .

C. W. Emmet.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Virgin'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/v/virgin.html. 1909.

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