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MAID, MAIDEN. 1. Hebrew ’āmâh, handmaiden, or female slave, the property of her owners (Exod.2.5; Exod.21.20, Exod.21.26) and often a bondmaid (Lev.25.44).

2. Hebrew bethûlâh, virgin, a girl secluded and separated from intercourse with men. Often used with this meaning (Exod.22.16; Judg.19.24; Ps.78.63; Ps.148.12).

3. Hebrew har‘ărâh, girl, maiden (Exod.2.5; Ruth.2.8, Ruth.2.22-Ruth.2.23; Ruth.3.2).

4. Hebrew ‘almâh, a girl of marriageable age, occurs only seven times (Gen.24.43; Exod.2.8; Ps.68.25; Prov.30.19; Song.1.3; Song.6.8; Isa.7.14).


1. אָמָה, H563, “maid,” “a maidservant,” “handmaid” (female slave); ancilla, pelex (Exod 23:12; Judg 19:9; 1 Sam 1:11; Ps 116:16). Frequently a bondmaid (Lev 25:44). This word appears fifty-one times in the OT.

4. עַלְמָה, H6625, “a girl,” “maiden,” “young woman” ripe sexually; of marriageable age, the age of puberty: maid or newly married. KJV “virgin.” This word occurs fourteen times in the OT. Only context can determine the precise meaning; e.g., from Matthew 1:23 it is indisputable that the only proper Messianic concept in Isaiah 7:14 is “virgin.”


1. Κοράσιον is a diminutive (in later Gr.) of κόρη, “little girl,” “maiden.” LXX for three Heb. words. It occurs twenty-nine times in the LXX; eight times in the NT. It might be a tr. of the Aram. רְבִיתָא.

2. Νεα̂νις, “girl,” “maiden.” A poetic word; LXX for two Heb. terms. It appears thirty-nine times in the LXX; absent from the NT. As an adjective, it means “youthful,” “new.”

3. Νύμφη, “young wife,” “bride”; “marriageable maiden”; “daughter-in-law”; “young girl.” LXX for two Heb. words. It occurs in both Philo and Josephus; eighty-eight times in the LXX; eight times in the NT.

4. Παιείσκη is a diminutive of παι̂ς, G4090, “young girl,” “maiden.” Originally παιδίσκη, G4087, meant “a young woman”; later it came to denote “a female slave.” In Christian lit. invariably of the servant class (“maid” “servant girl,” “female slave”). Thus Herodotus, papyri, and Philo. The LXX uses it to tr. four Heb. words. It appears ninety times in the LXX; thirteen times in the NT.

5. Παρθένος is the usual Gr. term for “virgin.” LXX for three Heb. words. It occurs sixty-four times in the LXX; fourteen times in the NT. In Biblical usage a “virgin” is either a male (Rev 14:4) or a female (Gen 24:16; Matt 1:18, 23; Luke 1:27) who has never experienced coitus. In the KJV “virgin” appears thirty-three times, “virgins” twenty-nine times; RSV “virgin” thirty-three times, “virgins” nine times.


F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, I (1877), 216-220; G. F. Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament, I (1880), 355; J. Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah the Prophet, I (1953), 103, 244-248; J. P. Lange, The Prophet Isaiah, Vol. VI in Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (1960), 121; J. G. Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ (1967), 289-297.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

mad, mad’-’n: Used in the King James Version in the sense of a girl or young female; of an unmarried woman or virgin, and of a female servant or handmaid. Thus, it translates several Hebrew words:

(2) The Hebrew `almah, also rendered "maid," refers to a woman of marriageable age (Ex 2:8; Pr 30:19), whether married or not, whether a virgin or not. The same word is translated "virgin" in several places (Ge 24:43 the King James Version; So 13; 6:8; Isa 7:14).

(4) Two Hebrew words covering the idea of service, handmaid, handmaiden, and in numerous passages so rendered:

(a) ’amah, translated "maid" (Ge 30:3; Ex 2:5; 21:20,26; Le 25:6; Ezr 2:65; Job 19:15; Na 2:7);

(b) shiphchah, "a family servant," "a handmaid," so rendered in numerous passages ("maid," "maiden," Ge 16:2 ff; 29:24,29; 30:7,9,10,12,18; Isa 24:2; Ps 123:2; Ec 2:7). In the King James Version they are variously translated "maid," "handmaid," etc.

(5) The rather rare word habra, "favorite slave," is rendered "maid" in Judith 10:2,5; 13:9; 16:23; Additions to Esther 15:2,7.

(6) doule, "female slave," in the King James Version Judith 12:49 (the Revised Version (British and American) "servant").

Maidservant means simply a female slave in the different positions which such a woman naturally occupies. They were the property of their masters; sometimes held the position of concubines (Ge 31:33); daughters might be sold by their fathers into this condition (Ex 21:7). It is regrettable that no uniform translation was adopted in the King James Version. And in the Revised Version (British and American) compare Tobit 3:7; Judith 10:10; Sirach 41:22.

"Maidservants" replaces "maidens" of the King James Version in Lu 12:45. Compare Job 31:13.