When Did the Hebrew Language Begin to Fade In Use?

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All

$5.00

The Hebrew Language

Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Hebrew is the language in which the thirty-nine inspired books of the Old Testament were penned, apart from the Aramaic sections in Ezra 4:8–6:18; 7:12–26; Dan. 2:4b–7:28; Jer. 10:11, as well as a few other words and phrases from Aramaic and other languages. The language is not called “Hebrew” in the Old Testament. At Isaiah 19:18 it is spoken of as “the language [Literally “lip”] of Canaan.” The language that became known as “Hebrew” is first shown in the introduction to Ecclesiasticus, an Apocrypha[1] book. Moses, being raised in the household of Pharaoh, would have been given the wisdom of Egypt, as well as the Hebrew language of his ancestors. This would have made him the perfect person to look through any ancient Hebrew documents that may have been handed down to him, giving him the foundation for the book of Genesis.

Later, in the days of the Jewish kings, Hebrew came to be known as “Judean” (UASV) that is to say, the language of Judah (Neh. 13:24; Isa. 36:11; 2 Ki. 18:26, 28). As we enter the period of Jesus, the Jewish people spoke an expanded form of Hebrew, which would become Rabbinic Hebrew. Nevertheless, in the Greek New Testament, the language is referred to as the “Hebrew” language, not the Aramaic. (John 5:2; 19:13, 17; Acts 22:2; Rev. 9:11) Therefore, for more than 2,000 years, Biblical Hebrew served God’s chosen people, as a means of communication.

However, once God chose to use a new spiritual Israel, made up of Jew and Gentile, there would be a difficulty within the line of communication as not all would be able to understand the Hebrew language. It became evident, 300 years before the rise of Christianity; there was a need for the Hebrew Scriptures to be translated into the Greek language of the day, because of the Jewish diaspora who lived in Egypt. Down to our day, all or portions of the Bible have been translated into about 2,287 languages.

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02

Even the Bible itself expresses the need for translating it into all languages. Paul, quoting Deuteronomy 32:43, says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles [“people of the nations”], with his people.” And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.’” (Rom 15:10) Moreover, all Christians are given what is known as the Great Commission, to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matt 28:19-20) In addition, Jesus stated, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations.” (Matt 24:14) All of the above could never take place without translating the original language into the languages of the nations. What is more, ancient translations of the Bible that are extant (still in existence) in manuscript form have likewise aided in confirming the high degree of textual faithfulness of the Hebrew manuscripts.

[1] The Old Testament Apocrypha are unauthentic writings: writings or reports that are not regarded as authentic.

The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Many Hebrew Old Testament scholars hold the belief that the Jews switched from Hebrew over to Aramaic while they were exiled in Babylon for 70-years. However, there is no real strong evidence to support such a claim. History has shown us that groups of people who have been defeated, crushed, and enslaved for much longer than seventy-years have retained their native tongue. We must keep in mind, the Jews were well aware of the prophecies that one day God would intervene and return them to their homeland. It, therefore, stands to reason that they would not be moved to set aside Hebrew in favor of either Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) or Aramaic, the common languages of the day. Some will point to the fact that Aramaic passages and words are found in the exilic and postexilic books of Daniel, Ezra, and Esther. However, we must keep in mind that Daniel, Ezra, and Esther include records of events that took place in Aramaic-speaking lands, as well as formal communication, and they deal with the Israelite people who had been made subjects of foreign powers, who used Aramaic as a diplomatic language.

Nehemiah 8:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

They continued reading aloud from the book, from the Law of the God, explaining it and putting meaning into it, so that they could understand the reading.

Many have used Nehemiah 8:8 to say that the returned exiles could not perfectly understand Hebrew, so there was some Aramaic paraphrasing being done. While that might have been the case, what Nehemiah meant concerning this text is the exposition of the sense and how the Law was to be applied. (Compare Matt. 13:14, 51, 52; Lu 24:27; Ac 8:30-31) Look as you may, there is not one Scripture in all of the Bible that says the Jewish people abandoned their language, Hebrew, at any time as the tongue of their people. Yes, it is true, Nehemiah said, “In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples but could not speak Hebrew.” (Neh. 13:23-27) However, looking at the context of the indignation of Nehemiah at the Jews, who were involved in these pagan marriages with non-Israelites means that such slighting of Hebrew was very much disapproved. we would expect such when we think of the value they placed on the reading of the Word of God, which was primarily in Hebrew at this time.

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

From the close of the Hebrew Old Testament (Ezra and Malachi) from mid-fifth century BC (450) down until the penning of the book of Matthew, about 50 A.D., the Hebrew language is not mentioned in Scripture, for there are no canonical Old Testament books for this period. We have very few secular records as well. Of those scant few that we have, there is no major support for a move from Hebrew to Aramaic as far as the Jewish people are concerned. What we have are many of the Apocryphal books, such as Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and First Maccabees, all being written in Hebrew, and these works are generally dated to the last three centuries before the arrival of Jesus Christ. Some of the non-Biblical writings found among the Dead Sea Scrolls were also written in Hebrew. In addition, Hebrew was used when the Jewish Mishnah was compiled after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The Mishnah was compiled around 200 A.D. by Judah the Prince. Dr. William Chomsky says of the Mishnaic Hebrew: “This language bears all the earmarks of a typical vernacular employed by peasants, merchants and artisans. . . . On the basis of the available evidence it seems fair to conclude that the Jews were generally conversant, during the period of the Second Commonwealth, especially its latter part, with both languages [Hebrew and Aramaic]. Sometimes they used one, sometimes another.”—Hebrew: The Eternal Language, 1969, pp. 207, 210.

The substantial evidence supporting the belief that Hebrew continued on as a living language from the exile of Bababyin in 537 BC into the first century AD is found in the Bible itself where it refers to the Hebrew language in the Greek New Testament. (John 5:2; 19:13, 17, 20; 20:16; Rev. 9:11; 16:16) It is true that many scholars argue that the term “Hebrew” in these verses should instead read “Aramaic,” yet there are very good reasons to believe that the term actually was a reference to the Hebrew language.

Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All

$5.00

Another support suggesting that there was the use of a form of Hebrew in Palestine during Jesus’ life and ministry here on earth, is early proof that the apostle Matthew first wrote his Gospel account in Hebrew. Papias of the first and second centuries wrote, “Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p. 155) Early in the third century, Origen, in discussing the Gospels, is quoted by Eusebius as saying that the “first was written … according to Matthew, … who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language.” (The Ecclesiastical History, VI, XXV, 3–6)  Quoted in the same work are the words of Eusebius of the third and fourth centuries who states: “The evangelist Matthew delivered his Gospel in the Hebrew tongue.” Jerome of the fourth and fifth centuries who said in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers that Matthew “composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters, for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed. . . . Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea which the Martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected.” (Translation from the Latin text edited by E. C. Richardson and published in the series “Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur,” Leipzig, 1896, Vol. 14: 8–9.) Bible scholar, Hugh G. Schonfield’s comments should also interest us. He writes on page 11 of An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel: “As far back as the fourth century we hear of a Hebrew Matthew preserved in the Jewish archives at Tiberias.” (Schonfield, Hugh. An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel: Translated and with an Introduction Notes and Appendices (p. 20). The Hugh & Helene Schonfield World Service Trust.)

G. Ernest Wright says, “Roman soldiers and officials might be heard conversing in Latin, while orthodox Jews may well have spoken a late variety of Hebrew with one another, a language that we know to have been neither classical Hebrew nor Aramaic, despite its similarities to both.” Biblical Archaeology (Westminster Press, 1962, p. 243) Also, in Daily Life in Bible Times, Albert Edward Bailey offers the reader a picture of how Jewish youths were trained in the time of James, son of Zebedee:

“Boys were trained in piety from their earliest days. This would mean that the boys had a knowledge of the Law, which they showed by being able to read it, write it and explain its obvious meaning. . . . The boys sat on the ground in a half-circle facing the teacher. There James was taught to read the Law in Hebrew beginning with the Book of Leviticus, the contents of which it was necessary for every Jew to know if he was to regulate his life acceptably to God; and he must pronounce the words correctly and reverently. Hebrew was a strange language to him, for at home and at play they spoke Aramaic, and later when he began to do business he would have to speak Greek. Hebrew was only for the synagogue. . . . After learning to read came writing, probably in Hebrew and certainly in Aramaic.”—Pp. 248, 249.

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

Initially, the primary focus of the first seven years of Christianity was to bring in fellow Jews; thereafter, the Gentile population became more the target audience. Therefore, we see that Matthew’s publishing of his Gospel in two languages was simply responding to two audience needs. Therefore, Jesus Christ as a man on earth very well could have used a form of Hebrew and a dialect of Aramaic.

Please Support the Bible Translation Work for the Updated American Standard Version (UASV) http://www.uasvbible.org

$5.00

SCROLL THROUGH DIFFERENT CATEGORIES BELOW

BIBLE TRANSLATION AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS King James Bible The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2
The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02
The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS
APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS I AM John 8.58
English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II
9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

BIBLICAL STUDIES / INTERPRETATION

CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM THE NEW TESTAMENT how-to-study-your-bible1
How to Interpret the Bible-1 INTERPRETING THE BIBLE how-to-study-your-bible1
israel against all odds ISRAEL AGAINST ALL ODDS - Vol. II AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01

EARLY CHRISTIANITY

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1 The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02 THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1
The Epistle to the Hebrews EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1 Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES APOLOGETICS CONVERSATION EVANGELISM
Young Christians AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01 EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1
INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK
REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS APOLOGETICS
REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ FEARLESS-1
Satan BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLD_02 HEROES OF FAITH - ABEL
is-the-quran-the-word-of-god UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM THE GUIDE TO ANSWERING ISLAM.png
DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM
Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE
The Holy Spirit_02 THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

TECHNOLOGY

9798623463753 Machinehead KILLER COMPUTERS
INTO THE VOID

CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

The Holy Spirit_02 Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Understaning Creation Account
Homosexuality and the Christian second coming Cover Where Are the Dead
The Holy Spirit_02 THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. II CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. III
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. IV CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY Vol. V MIRACLES
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DIE Human Imperfection HUMILITY

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME READ ALONG WITH ME

PRAYER

Powerful Weapon of Prayer Power Through Prayer How to Pray_Torrey_Half Cover-1

TEENS-YOUTH-ADOLESCENCE-JUVENILE

THERE IS A REBEL IN THE HOUSE thirteen-reasons-to-keep-living_021 Waging War - Heather Freeman
Young Christians DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)
Homosexuality and the Christian THE OUTSIDER RENEW YOUR MIND

CHRISTIAN LIVING

GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS Wives_02 HUSBANDS - Love Your Wives
ADULTERY 9781949586053 PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCE
WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD THE BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND (1)-1 WAITING ON GOD
ADULTERY 9781949586053 PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCE
APPLYING GODS WORD-1 For As I Think In My Heart_2nd Edition Put Off the Old Person
Abortion Booklet Dying to Kill The Pilgrim’s Progress
WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS THE POWER OF GOD
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITS-1 GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS A Dangerous Journey
ARTS, MEDIA, AND CULTURE Christians and Government Christians and Economics

CHRISTIAN COMMENTARIES

Book of Philippians Book of James Book of Proverbs Book of Esther
CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONALS
40 day devotional (1) Daily Devotional_NT_TM Daily_OT
DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDY
DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1) daily-devotional_darker

CHURCH ISSUES, GROWTH, AND HISTORY

LEARN TO DISCERN Deception In the Church FLEECING THE FLOCK_03
The Church Community_02 THE CHURCH CURE Developing Healthy Churches
FIRST TIMOTHY 2.12 THE NEW TESTAMENT EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1

Apocalyptic-Eschatology [End Times]

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover
ANGELS AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_ ezekiel, daniel, & revelation

 

CHRISTIAN FICTION

Oren Natas_JPEG Sentient-Front Seekers and Deceivers
Judas Diary 02 Journey PNG The Rapture

 

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: