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When Avraham experiences a vision of 'fear, darkness, great, descending upon him', (Gen 15:12), the Midrash says that these four words refer to the 4 exiles. Fear is Babylon, darkness is Medea, great is Greece, and descending is Rome, (Gen rabah 44:17).

Both of the Targumim that expound upon this verse designate Persia as the 4th exile, corresponding to 'descending', (Gen 15:12).

What is the reason for this discrepancy? Did the Targumim not know about the Roman exile?

I suppose it is possible that this passage was composed before the Roman exile, meaning that up until the Roman exile, the persian exile was identified as the fourth exile, as it could have very well been the final exile. Once the second temple was destroyed, however, the Roman exile replaced it, and the Persian exile was clumped together with the Medean, hence the generally used term Persian-Medean exile, (hearsay, source needed). I have no source for this answer other than my own thoughts. Has anyone encountered sources that address this directly?

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It's very unlikely that Yonatan ben Uziel wrote a Targum on Genesis. – Double AA Dec 23 '13 at 3:13
Edited, thank you. Its very strange that this has not been corrected for in chumashim! – user4634 Dec 23 '13 at 4:13
Old habits die hard. – Double AA Dec 23 '13 at 4:16
Especially with jews – user4634 Dec 23 '13 at 4:26
Perhaps censors, taking out roman and thus christaindom. To cite myself... not a manuscript, but a critical edition based on manuscripts: has edom: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=39657&st=&pgnum=46 regarding the censors editing out edom, see whar sarati bamedinot sys, citing emes leyaakov:hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=46183&st=&pgnum=145 kt, josh – josh waxman Dec 23 '13 at 5:10

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