Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. [Emphasis mine.]
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” [Emphasis mine.]
I used the New Revised Standard Version, which does not pull punches with inconvenient scriptures. Although I do not read ancient Hebrew, I've seen commentary that says that Isaiah 7:14 is indeed written in the present tense.
Whether present or future tense, the context of the verse is clearly contemporary events. The author of Matthew clearly changed a prophecy about events contemporary to Isaiah and King Ahaz to a prophecy about hundreds of years in the future; this cannot be disputed honestly.
This in itself is not an issue; "Matthew" was using the Midrash methodology, and changing the context of ancient stories is perfectly acceptable in that methodology. But there is still a problem:
"Matthew" quotes the passage as future tense. Although I do not read Greek, I know of no English translation that quotes it in the present tense. Reinterpreting an ancient story is one thing; but presenting the original story incorrectly is not kosher. I don't think.
So where did the change in tense occur?
- If the change was in the Septuagint translation, then "Matthew" was midrashing the wrong scripture (just as he did when he wrote "virgin" instead of "young woman"). I would imagine this to be a problem.
- If "Matthew" made the change, then either he misremembered the passage, or he was dishonest in his quotation. I would imagine both cases to be a problem.
Edited by Cousin Ricky, 08 March 2012 - 07:13 PM.