[b-hebrew] Understanding Aramaic & understanding Hebrew

FPutnam at biblical.edu FPutnam at biblical.edu
Mon May 31 09:35:47 EDT 2004

Hi, Trevor.

Cf. the statement of Hezekiah's officials to the Rab-shakeh when he 
challenged them with the futility of resistance:

"Then Eliakim ben Hilkiah, Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rab-shakeh, 
'Speak now to your servants in Aramaic, because we hear [understand/know] 
it, and do not speak to us in Jehudit [Judahite(?)] in the hearing of the 
people on the wall.'
"But Rab-shakeh said to them, 'Did my master send me to speak these words 
only to your master and you, not to the men who sit on the wall ...' (2 
Kgs 18.26-27a).

This implies that there was sufficient linguistic distance between the 
spoken languages that knowing one did not entail being able to understand 
the other.

Of course, there could be inter-lingual situations where speakers of 
language A understand language B, but not vice versa.



Kyrie eleison.
Frederic Clarke Putnam, Ph.D.
Professor of Old Testament
Biblical Theological Seminary
Hatfield, Pennsylvania

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