The Hebrew-based traditions in Galatians 4:21-31

Elitzur A Bar-Asher Siegal, Michal Bar-Asher Siegal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article proposes to focus the overall argument in Gal 4:21-31 on Isaiah 54:1. Paul's train of thought seems to become clearer if the word ב ו עלה from Isaiah is interpreted in its late Hebrew meaning of "not virgin" rather than in its usual biblical meaning of "she who has the husband," which is also reflected in the Septuagint formulation (τῆς ἐχούσης τὸνἄνδρα) finds again. The proposed reading resolves some of the interpretative problems that some readers of the Galatians have pointed out, and in particular explains the argumentative function of the verse of Isaiah. The assumption of the late Hebrew meaning is also consistent with other uses of Midrashic and Semitic-based tradition found elsewhere in Gal 4.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-431
Number of pages28
JournalEarly Christianity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018


  • Bible. Isaiah LIV, 1 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • New Testament. Galatians -- Relation to Isaiah
  • New Testament. Galatians IV, 21-31 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Philo, of Alexandria
  • Hebrew language, Biblical -- Terms and phrases


Dive into the research topics of 'The Hebrew-based traditions in Galatians 4:21-31'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this