The Birth Myth – Part 2 December 15, 2009Posted by Matt in Christmas.
Tags: Isaac, Jesus, miraculous birth stories, myth, nativity, Samson, Samuel, virgin birth
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Miraculous birth stories have long been a part of the traditions involving religious leaders, particularly in the Bible where these extraordinary occurrences seem to happen over and over again. While it is certainly true in the Biblical tradition that the virgin birth of Jesus is unique among the others, it is hardly the only one of significance.
In the Hebrew Bible one can read of God opening and closing wombs a good deal. The most famous example is probably that of Sarah, the 90 year old wife of Abraham, who gave birth to their son Isaac long after it was physically possible. This same sort of miraculous event is repeated in Luke, where one can find the story of John the Baptist’s birth to his aged mother, Elizabeth. One can find stories throughout the Hebrew Bible of God opening and closing the wombs of Jacob’s wives, of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and of Samson’s mother.
So, by the time Jesus came along, the Jewish people had a long history of using miraculous birth stories to signify important people. It should also come as no surprise that the Jesus’ birth first comes into play in the gospel of Matthew, the work written specifically to the Jewish people.
But, I’ll get more into the actual birth story later.