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The Syrian Tongue Of Jesus

Along with Hebrew and Arabic, Aramaic is a member of the ancient Semitic family of languages (although the names are similar, Aramaic and Arabic are not the same). The Aramaic alphabet consists of 22 letters, written from right to left. Originally the language of the Arameans who inhabited northwestern Mesopotamia and Syria (the reason that some Bible translations, such as the King James, refer to Aramaic as "the Syrian tongue" - see below), the various dialects of Aramaic were eventually widely used over a vast area, from Greece to India, which included Galilee in northern Israel.

As a man of Galilee (see also The Prophet Of Galilee), Aramaic was the everyday language of Jesus Christ, along with Hebrew (The Messiah was able to read the Hebrew scrolls e.g. "4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written" Luke 4:16-17 KJV; see also Translation Of Translations) and Greek (which was the "world language" of the time, similar to how English is used around the world today).

"14:36 And he said, Abba ["Abba" is the Aramaic word for Father; see Abba, Payter], Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." (Mark 14:36 KJV)

"15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted ["Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" is Aramaic; see Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?], My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34 KJV)

"1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone [Note: Cephas is an Aramaic name, Peter is a Greek name; see also Peter's Ministry]." (John 1:42 KJV)

"20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary [see The Christian Marys and The First Witness]. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni ["Rabboni" is Aramaic, "Rabbi" is Hebrew; see also Rabbi John]; which is to say, Master." (John 20:16 KJV)

"The writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue"

Aramaic is found throughout Bible History. Jacob (see The Origin Of 'Israel') spoke Hebrew, while Laban spoke Aramaic (see Jacob and Laban):


"31:45 And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. 31:46 And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. 31:47 And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha [Aramaic]: but Jacob called it Galeed [Hebrew]." (Genesis 31:45-47 KJV)

The Assyrian forces (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) that attacked King Hezekiah of Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah) spoke Aramaic:

"18:26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language [i.e. Aramaic]; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall." (2 Kings 18:26 KJV)

Those who opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia) allowed the people of Judah (see The Southern Kingdom) to return from the Babylonian captivity in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah spoke Aramaic:

"4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 4:5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia [see Darius The Mede]. 4:6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 4:7 And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue [i.e. Aramaic], and interpreted in the Syrian tongue." (Ezra 4:4-7 KJV)

The astrologers who served King Nebuchadnezzar spoke to the king in Aramaic. They were unable to reveal the meaning of the king's dream (see Daniel's Statue), but God revealed the meaning to Daniel:

"2:4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack [i.e. Syrian, Aramaic], O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation." (Daniel 2:4 KJV)

The Writing On The Wall to Belshazzar was in Aramaic:

"5:24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. 5:25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 5:26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 5:27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 5:28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." (Daniel 5:24-28 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why are languages called "tongues"?
See The Origin Of Speaking In Tongues

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