Now follows the miracle, A woman shall surround a ’man. Christians, almost with one consent, explain this of the virgin Mary; and the "new thing," leads them to this opinion, and probably, also, they were anxious to lay hold on whatever might seem to refer to the mystery of our salvation. They, therefore, say that the new thing of which the Prophet speaks is the virgin carrying the infant Christ in her womb, and that he is called man, because he was full of divine power, though he increased according to the flesh in stature, wisdom, and strength. All this is deservedly laughed at by the Jews; yet they themselves, as I think, do not rightly understand the meaning of the Prophet. They apply it to the people of Israel, because they were like a woman divorced from her husband. They then say, "A woman shall embrace a man after having been alienated from him, and prostituted herself to many adulterers." The Jews seem to think that they give the meaning of the Prophet; but I think otherwise, for there is here a comparison made between a woman and a man, which they do not consider. For the Prophet does not speak here simply of a man, but of a strong man; for the word rbg geber, means a man who is brave or courageous. When, therefore, he compares a woman to a man, I doubt not but the Prophet means that the Israelites, who were like women, without strength, were destitute of any means of help; but then he says, that they would be superior in strength to their enemies, whose power filled the whole world with terror. We, indeed, know what sort of monarchy Babylon was when the Jews were led into exile. If then we consider what the Jews at that time were, we must say that they were like weak women, while their enemies were strong and warlike: A woman then shall surround a man. 
The word bbo, sebab, means not to embrace, but oftentimes to besiege; and it is taken in many places of Scripture in a bad sense, "Enemies have surrounded me." When, therefore, a siege is mentioned, the Scripture uses this word. It is then the same as though the Prophet had said, "Women shall bring men into such straits that they shall hold them captive."  But he uses the singular number, as though he had said, "One woman shall be superior to many men, or each Jew shall exceed in valor a Chaldean; so the Jews shall gain the upper hand, though the strength of their enemies be great and terrible." This is what I regard as the meaning of the Prophet; and justly does he set forth this as a wonderful thing, for it, was a sort of revolution in the world when God thus raised up his servants, so that they who had enslaved them should become far unequal to them.
 Whatever may be the meaning of this clause, it cannot certainly be applied to the miraculous conception of our Saviour, and for this plain reason, as Blayney observes, that the only thing the passage announces, if viewed in this light, is this, —that a woman shall conceive a male child, which is nothing new, but a common event; for the word here for "woman," is not what signifies a virgin, but what designates only the sex; it means properly a female as distinguished from a male. Henry, as well as Blayney and Adam Clarke, agree materially with Calvin, as to the meaning of this sentence. — Ed.