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Maid; Maiden

MAID; MAIDEN

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:

(1) The more generic word is na`arah, "girl," feminine form of the common na`ar, "boy" (1 Samuel 9:11; 2 Kings 5:2,4; Esther 2:4,7; Job 41:5; Amos 2:7) In several places masculine form na`ar, with feminine form of verb rendered "damsel" (Genesis 24:14,16,28,55; 34:3,12; Deuteronomy 22:15); compare he pais (Luke 8:51,54); see also paidiske, diminutive (Sirach 41:22; Mark 14:66,69; Luke 12:45; korasion, Septuagint for na`arah, "maid," in Matthew 9:24 f with Job 6:12; Susanna verses 15,19).

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

(3) The word bethulah, a common Hebrew word for "virgin," a chaste woman Septuagint parthenos), is frequently rendered "maid" and "maiden" (Exodus 22:16; Judges 19:24; 2 Chronicles 36:17; Psalms 78:63; 148:12; Jeremiah 51:22; Lamentations 5:11; Ezekiel 9:6; 44:22; Zechariah 9:17; compare Deuteronomy 22:14,17, having "the marks (tokens) of virginity"); bethulim, rendered "maid." See VIRGIN.

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

(a) 'amah, translated "maid" (Genesis 30:3; Exodus 2:5; 21:20,26; Leviticus 25:6; Ezra 2:65; Job 19:15; Nahum 2:7);

(b) shiphchah, "a family servant," "a handmaid," so rendered in numerous passages ("maid," "maiden," Genesis 16:2; 29:24,29; 30:7,9,10,12,18; Isaiah 24:2; Psalms 123:2; Ecclesiastes 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 (Genesis 31:33); daughters might be sold by their fathers into this condition (Exodus 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 Luke 12:45. Compare Job 31:13.

Edward Bagby Pollard


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'MAID; MAIDEN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.