Another Reason Why "Alma" Can Not Possibly mean "Virgin!"
It's interesting. In Genesis 24 Avraham (Abraham) sends his loyal servant, Eliezer of Damascus (Gen 15:2), to find a wife
for his son Yitzchak (Isaac); his mission was to find a girl from among Avraham's relatives (24:4). Well, when Eliezer arrived
at the city of Nachor (Nahor, Gen. 24:10), he took a look around and realized that finding a wife was not going to be an easy
task! So, he asked G-d to help him. Eliezer proposed a sign which would indicate who the right girl is. He said, "And let
it come to pass, that the girl to whom I shall say, 'Let down your water jar, I beg you, that I may drink;' and she shall
say, 'Drink, and I will give your camels drink also;' let the same be she whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac;
and thereby shall I know that you have shown kindness to my master" (24:14; Davka C.). And of course, that is exactly what
happened. Rivka (Rebecca) came and fulfilled this sign (24:19), and after informing Eliezer that she is a descendent of Nachor
(Nahor. 24:24. [a brother of Avraham - ]), Eliezer declared his thanks to Hashem (G-d) for helping him to find the right
Well, after that, Rivka took Eliezer to meet the in-laws. Eliezer immediately sought to reveal the purpose of his visit,
which was to bring Rivka as a wife to Yitzchak. Eliezer explained the whole story: how Avraham had sent him, how he asked
Hashem to make a sign with the right girl, and how Rivka fulfilled that sign. He then asked if they would agree to let Rivka
be wed to Yitzchak. They said yes, and the rest is history.
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However, there is one interesting thing in particular in this text. When Eliezer asks G-d to help him with the sign,
he calls the girl an "alma," but when he is repeating over the sign to Rivka's family, he uses the word "na'aruh." Obviously,
we see from here that these two words, "alma" and "na'aruh", are essentially the same thing. And since no-one would argue
that na'ara means virgin, we CLEARLY SEE FROM HERE THAT "ALMA" DOES NOT MEAN VIRGIN!!!
I'll repeat the idea in case someone didn't get it.
When Eliezer asks G-d to help him with the sign, he calls the girl an "alma," but when he is repeating
over the sign to Rivka's family, he uses the word "na'aruh." Obviously, we see from here that these two words, "alma" and
"na'aruh", are essentially the same thing. And since no-one would argue that na'ara means virgin, we CLEARLY SEE FROM HERE
THAT "ALMA" DOES NOT MEAN VIRGIN!!!
That wasn't too complicated now was it?! (By the way, in case someone wanted to know, the real word
for virgin in the bible is "besula" or "bethula".)
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Now, of course, I'm sure many adamant Christians are at this very moment, as they read this, racking their brains to
invent a solution to this obvious proof against them. I too thought this over to see whether there were any holes in the argument,
to see whether there was any way to argue that this wasn't a 100% solid proof. I don't think there is.
However, the following argument, which I have heard Christians make at other times, was the only possible argument
I could even imagine. "Aha! I know the answer! You see, alma really does mean virgin, but when speaking to the family, Eliezer
switched it to a less 'racy' word. You know, ' virgin' isn't such a household word. And that's why he changed it! But really
it does mean virgin !!"
Now I have just a few points to make about this hypothetical argument.
1 - I just really don't buy the whole psycho-analysis answer. It just doesn't seem real enough.
I mean c'mon, "virgin" is enough of a household word in even the most prude christian's home. In fact, in the Talmud, which
is around as old as the New TESTament, it has an entire book devoted to marriage, and one of the issues discussed is finding
out if the girl is a virgin. So, evidently, it was not such a racy term. But I could still understand someone disagreeing
with this point, though I think it's a stretch.
2 - If Eliezer was looking for a virgin, how would he know if he found one??!! What? When she bent
over the water-well he called over a team of gynecologists to check her out?!? Obviously not. So how could he even know if
this requirement had been fulfilled??!!
3 - This is probably the most important point to make about this argument. I'm sorry to have had
to do this, but in actuality, it says "alma" the second time and "na'aruh" the first time!! In other words, when Eliezer
was talking with G-d he said "na'aruh," and when he was talking with Rivka's family, he said "alma"!!
So basically, according to the very logic of christians, the word "alma" CANNOT mean "virgin" because they wouldn't
use such a racy word.
But even with that aside, we clearly see from this text that the word alma and na'aruh are interchangeable. And hence,
the word ALMA MEANS YOUNG WOMAN.
(I've have received some responses asking for places where the word "naaruh" is used. the word Naaruh
can be found in Gen. 24:14. it can also be seen in Esther 2:4, Deut 22:15, and Judges 19:3 - to name a few.)