Several sections of the Old Testament are written in Aramaic. With the Old Testament, we will often examine translations like the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targumim, and the Syriac Peshitta in order to see how Rabbis and historic scholarship have translated and interpreted texts. This provides a historic snapshot of hermeneutics in some cases.

To this end, are there any historic translations of Aramaic sections of the Tanakh into Hebrew?

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    What makes your question challenging is that Aramaic was the lingua franca of the early common era. The Rabbis would seem to have had little motivation for translating Biblical Aramaic to Hebrew, as they spoke the former language amongst themselves. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 5:27
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    OP didn't specify when the translation(s) of interest may have occurred, but I suppose, @TimBiegeleisen, that caveat depends in part on how one dates Daniel. (It probably relates also to how one feels about the Hebrew sections that are there).
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 20:43
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    @Susan Also Ezra has a chapter in imperial Aramaic. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 23:19
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    Isn't the Masoretic Text version of the books that were in Aramaic not essentially a Hebrew translation of the Aramaic?
    – user33515
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 18:00
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    The Aramaic sections of the MT, a large part of Daniel and a letter in Ezra, are still in Aramaic. I've read parts of them, and they are definitely Aramaic.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


If any of the Aramaic passages in the Hebrew Old Testament (Tanakh) were ever translated to Hebrew, apparently we have no record of such; much less manuscripts of such.

Aramaic is a language so close to Hebrew that translating Aramaic to Hebrew normally doesn't seem helpful for hermeneutics. Because of the lack of early Hebrew external documents for Tanakhic lexigraphy, Semitic languages such as Aramaic, Akkadian, Phoenician, etc. are used to help understand the meaning of Hebrew words seldom used in the Tanakh.

If there are Hebrew translations of the Aramaic sections of the Tanaka, they aren't in the Masoretic test (MT).

Look at Why is Daniel Chapter 2:4 - 7:28 written in Aramaic?

In Ezra:

 In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. 8 Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: 9 Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the governors, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, (Ezra 4:7–9, ESV)

Taking words out of the Masoretic Text (MT) from Ezra 4:9, סָֽפְרָ֔א "the scribe" has the Aramaic emphatic state instead of the Hebrew direct article.

4:10 MT has the Aramaic relative pronoun דִּי .

In Daniel 2:4 MT "the king" has the Aramaic emphatic מַלְכָּא֙.

In Daniel 2:32 gold is the Aramaic דְהַ֣ב instead of the Hebrew זָהָב.

We could keep going on. Essentially, for someone who reads Hebrew, the Aramaic sections of the MT are still in Aramaic.

Why are there grammars oriented to teach those who read the MT in Hebrew to be able to the the Aramaic sections of the MT? http://www.learnassyrian.com/assyrianlibrary/assyrianbooks/Language/05%20A%20Short%20Grammar%20of%20Biblical%20Aramaic.pdf

This text tries to take these facts seriously. Recognizing students’ existing knowledge and motivation, it treats Aramaic as if it were a dialect of Hebrew, without trying to cover all of the language’s depth and richness. This is a widespread, if seldom acknowledged, approach with a long pedigree. -- Greenspahn, F. E. (2003). An introduction to Aramaic (2nd ed., Vol. 46, p. xi). Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature.

Here are examples of how similar the differences are in Hebrew and Aramaic: enter image description here


Most likely thru the miscaratic texts. Is important to note that these were translations from 8th century AD. They were flawed due to the adding of dots and commas under the words to emphasize vowels. Ultimately this changed scripture and was revised in the 11th century AD. The OT was not written in modern square lettered hebrew, which is actually a mix of Assiryan and BabylonIan. Paleo Hebrew was the original text and it is much like Phoenician. Aramaic is a Hebrew like language that was the product of the BabylonIan captivity. Most Judean Isrealites returning from captivity could not read or write the original hebrew. Therefore the targamum was produced which is as accurate as a NLT. It's just a paraphrasing of the original hebrew

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    Aramaic is a Hebrew like language that was the product of the BabylonIan captivity. -- um, no. (Also, what is "miscaratic"?) (commas? nikkud, maybe?)
    – Susan
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 5:05

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