[b-hebrew] Understanding Aramaic & understanding Hebrew

Patrina patrina at bestmail.us
Sat May 29 09:40:54 EDT 2004

Please would someone explain to me whether Aramaic is different enough
from Hebrew that speakers of one language wouldn't be able to understand
speakers of the other language, or would they be able to follow the
majority of it apart from an occasional word?  Previously I have assumed
that the differences might be like me listening to Shakespeare's English
compared to modern English.  For example, the Aramaic version of "My El,
my El, why have you forsaken me?" being understood by a Hebrew speaker as
"My El, my El, why have you slaughtered me?" is a thought that has
crossed my mind, but I might be misunderstanding.

I am puzzling over 2 Kings 18:26-28 about how much Hezekiah's people
would, or wouldn't, have understood Rabshakeh delivering a message on
behalf of the Assyrian King.  2 Kings 18:26 - "Then Eliakim the son of
Hilkiah, and Shebnah and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, "Speak now to your
servants in Aramaic, for we understand {it;} and do not speak with us in
Judean in the hearing of the people who are on the wall." NASB

I'm wondering about the above verse, because the implication is that the
Judeans wouldn't be able to understand Aramaic, but Rabshakeh refuses to
do as Eliakim, Shebnah and Joah ask, having the full intention to be
understood by all the people within hearing of his voice (v.27). 
Wouldn't the listeners have understood the gist of it fairly easily

Patrina Nuske Small
Adelaide, South Australia
  patrina at bestmail.us

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