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Aramaic and the Roman Empire

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In previous lessons, we have looked at the use of Aramaic in the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire and the Greek Empire.

In this lesson, we continue our journey in time looking at the major Biblical empires across the Middle East, by looking at the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was the fourth kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream of Daniel chapter 2. It was the fourth beast system of Daniel chapter 8, a terrifying beast that would arise out of the sea (the Mediterranean) and crush underfoot the saints of the Living God.

As we shall see in this lesson, the Roman Empire would crush God's people - first, in A.D. 70 in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but also in A.D. 135, when Jerusalem was ploughed as a field under the Emperor Hadrian. We shall look at these two highly significant events in more detail in the next two lessons.

But, importantly, as Deuteronomy's prophecy tells us, the Jews would not understand the language (Latin) of the Roman Empire. They would continue to speak Aramaic, with Hebrew as the Holy Language. It is an important time, as we consider the interaction between Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin at the time of Jesus.

Even in the Roman Empire, Jews in the Land of Israel continued to speak Aramaic. They did not learn Latin, the language of the Roman people. Latin was, to them, a foreign language.

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