“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth [עֲלוּמַיִךְ], and the reproach of your widowhood [אַלְמְנוּתַיִךְ] you will remember no more. For your husband [בֹעֲלַיִךְ] is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer [גֹאֲלֵךְ] is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth” (Isa 54:4-5).
In a recently published book on Isaiah 7:14 (“The Mother of the Infant King, Isaiah 7:14”), Christophe Rico and Peter Gentry demonstrate that the word “youth” here must refer to the virginity of a young woman. In this passage, God describes how he will repopulate the land of Israel which had become completely emptied of “her children” because of the exile (and empty land was a shame!). He describes this reversal by metaphorically applying two conditions which caused women in ancient Israel to be childless and terribly ashamed. God will reverse the shame of Israel’s “young virginity” (עֲלוּמִים) by becoming her husband (בֹעֲלַיִךְ). God will remove the reproach of not having children because of “widowhood” by becoming Israel’s Redeemer (גֹאֲלֵךְ). The word “young virginity” (עֲלוּמִים) in Isaiah 54:4 comes from the same root as the word used for the young virgin woman in Isaiah 7:14 (עַלְמָה). Friends, there are at least two glorious truths from Rico and Gentry’s interpretation of this passage. First, God’s desire is to completely remove (and even reverse) the shame of our sin! Second, Isaiah 7:14 really and truly describes one of the greatest miracles of all times: a young virgin is pregnant and gives birth to the Messiah. Through Immanuel’s shame on the cross our shame is eternally removed!
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a young virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14).