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Holman Bible Dictionary [1]

 2 Kings 18:26 Ezra 4:8-6:18 Ezra 7:12-26 Daniel 2:4-7:28 Jeremiah 10:11 Mark 5:41 Mark 14:36 Mark 15:34

Old Testament Although the Arameans never founded a great national state or empire, by the eleventh century they had established several small states in Syria, and their language came to be known from Egypt to Persia.

The oldest inscriptions in Old Aramaic are from Syria around 800 B.C. In the ninth century official or Royal Aramaic appeared. This was a dialect known from documents from Assyria and known best from documents from the Persian empire, for which Aramaic had become the official court language. Before 700 B.C. Aramaic had begun to supplant Akkadian as the language of commerce and diplomacy ( 2 Kings 18:26 ). Important for biblical history are the fifth century papyri from Elephantine, the site of a Jewish colony in Egypt. Official Aramaic continued to be used widely throughout the Hellenistic period.

Parts of the Old Testament were written in Aramaic:  Ezra 4:8-6:18;  Ezra 7:12-26;  Daniel 2:4-7:28;  Jeremiah 10:11 . Two words in  Genesis 31:47 , Jegar-sahadutha (heap of witness) are in Aramaic. A number of Aramaic words came into common Hebrew usage, and several passages in the Hebrew Bible show Aramaic influence.

New Testament The wide diffusion of Aramaic, along with its flexibility and adaptability, resulted in the emergence of various dialects. In Syria-Palestine the western group includes Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, Samaritan, Palmyrene, and Nabataean. Jewish Palestinian Aramaic words and phrases occur in the New Testament, such as Abba (father) (  Mark 14:36 ), talitha, qumi (maiden, arise) (  Mark 5:41 ), lama sabachthani (why hast thou forsaken me?) (  Mark 15:34 ). The Palestinian Talmud and the Targums (translations of Old Testament books into Aramaic) also were written in Palestinian Jewish Aramaic. The eastern (Mesopotamian) group includes Babylonian Jewish Aramaic, Mandaean, and Syriac.

Characteristics Hebrew and Aramaic, as cognates or closely related languages, share several formal and phonological characteristics, including the predominance of basic root words with three consonants, the position of word accent, the use of pronominal suffixes, and the use of verbal stems or conjugations to indicate simple, intensive, and causative actions. However, the differences in the two languages show that they are not merely dialectical variations; each language has its own character and integrity.

Tom Smothers

Morrish Bible Dictionary [2]

This word occurs  2 Kings 18:26;  Ezra 4:7; and  Isaiah 36:11 , where it is translated 'the Syrian language' or 'tongue;' also in  Daniel 2:4 , where it is 'Syriack.' Aramaic is the language of Aram, and embraces the language of Chaldee and that of Syria. Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Syria were its proper home. The first time we meet with it in scripture is in  Genesis 31:47 , where Laban called the heap of witness 'Jegar-sahadutha,' which is Chaldee; whereas Jacob gave it a Hebrew name, 'Galeed.' In  2 Kings 18:26;  Isaiah 36:11 the heads of the people asked Rab-shakeh to speak to them in Aramaic that the uneducated might not understand what was said. In   Ezra 4:7 the letter sent to Artaxerxes was written in Aramaic, and interpreted in Aramaic, that is, the copy of the letter and what follows as far as   Ezra 6:18 is in that language and not in Hebrew. So also is   Ezra 7:12-26 .

In  Daniel 2:4 the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, the popular language of Babylon, and what follows to the end of chap. 7: is in that language, though commonly called Chaldee. This must not be confounded with the 'learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans' in   Daniel 1:4 , which is the Aryan dialect and literature of the Chaldeans, and probably the ordinary language which Daniel spoke in the court of Babylon.  Jeremiah 10:11 is a verse in Aramaic.

This language differs from the Hebrew in that it avoids the sibilants. Where the Hebrew has ז z, שׁ sh, צ tz, the Aramaic has ד d, ת th, and ט t. Letters of the same organ are also interchanged, the Aramaic choosing the rough harder sounds. The latter has fewer vowels, with many variations in the conjugation of verbs, etc.

When the ten tribes were carried away, the colonists, who took their place, brought the Aramaic language with them. The Jews also who returned from Babylon brought many words of the same language. And, though it doubtless underwent various changes, this was the language commonly spoken in Palestine when our Lord was on earth, and is the language called HEBREWin the N.T., and is the same as the Chaldee of the Targums. In the ninth century the language in Palestine gave way to the Arabic, and now Aramaic is a living tongue only among the Syrian Christians in the district around Mosul.

Webster's Dictionary [3]

(1): (n.) The Aramaic language.

(2): (a.) Pertaining to Aram, or to the territory, inhabitants, language, or literature of Syria and Mesopotamia; Aramaean; - specifically applied to the northern branch of the Semitic family of languages, including Syriac and Chaldee.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [4]

See Language.