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A Hebrew signifying a "young woman ", unmarried as well as married, and thus distinct from bethulah , "a virgin" (see Hebrew Lexicons ). The interest that attaches to this word is due to the famous passage of Isaiah 7:14 : "the Alma shall conceive", etc. We can only mention some of the various opinions with regard to the meaning of Alma in this verse. She is said to be
- the wife of Achaz;
- the prophetess mentioned in Isaiah 8:3 ,
- any young married woman, who on account of the promised victory of Judah, could at some near date call her child Immanuel ( God with us),
- metaphorically, the Chosen People;
- the Virgin Mother of the Messiah . This last view is the one adopted by St. Matthew 1:23 , and after him by Christian tradition. (See EMMANUEL; MESSIAS.)
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