The language problem of the Israelites (Isa 36:11-36:11)

“Then Eliakim,

Shebnah,

With Joah

Said to Rabshakeh.

‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic.

We understand it.

Do not speak to us

In the language of Judah

Within the hearing of the people

Who are on the wall.’”

In words that are word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 18, the 3 ambassadors of King Hezekiah, Eliakim, Shebnah, and Joah asked Rabshakeh to speak in Aramaic because they understood it. The language of Judah refers to local Hebrew. Perhaps as early as the 8th century BCE Aramaic was the common Mid Eastern language, while Hebrew was the unique to Israel. Apparently the ambassadors of King Hezekiah did not want the people sitting on the wall to hear this conversation. Rabshakeh may have had some prior connections with the Israelites since he knew their local language.

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