The Aramaic language appears only once in the Book of Jeremiah in the following verse.

Jeremiah 10:11 (MT)
ִּדְנָה֙ תֵּאמְר֣וּן לְה֔וֹם אֱלָ֣הַיָּ֔א דִּֽי־שְׁמַיָּ֥א וְאַרְקָ֖א לָ֣א עֲבַ֑דוּ יֵאבַ֧דוּ מֵֽאַרְעָ֛א וּמִן־תְּח֥וֹת שְׁמַיָּ֖א אֵֽלֶּה׃

For reference, the English translation is as follows--

Jeremiah 10:11 (MM)
11 Thus shall ye say unto them: 'The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens.'

What Jewish sources bear upon the literary and/or historical significance of this one-time use of Aramaic in the Book of Jeremiah? If the answer is because the quote was intended for the Gentiles, then why was not Jer 25:27 written in Aramaic, since that verse is also intended to be repeated to the Gentile nations?

In other words, is there any peculiar significance for Jewish readers (both then and now) when they come upon this one particular verse written in Aramaic in the Book of Jeremiah?

  • 1
    This question is asked and answered in the bible hermeneutics beta forum - hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/4940/… You may or may not like the 2 answers there - one says it may or may not be a later gloss using Aramaic wordplay and the other quotes the Zohar. Someone here might have something better as an answer, who knows-mi yodeya?
    – Gary
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 3:49
  • @Gary - I am the author of the question referenced on the other StackExchange website. The reason that I posted the same question here was that I was interested not in Christian, but Jewish commentaries and perspectives bearing on this question.
    – Joseph
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 12:19
  • sorry! didn't notice that...it DID look like a question that would be there also....there should be some Talmud scholars, etc here that know this one...
    – Gary
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


Radak says that the verse (except the initial "tell them thus") is what Jeremiah was telling the Jews outside Israel to tell the Gentiles there — which would of course be in Aramaic. And the "tell them thus" is in Aramaic to keep the entire verse one language.

He doesn't comment on the issue of 25:27.

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    +1. The distinction between the two verses seems to be that HaShem is addressing Yirm'yahu in 25:27, while in 10:11 Yirm'yahu is addressing the Jewish people (who didn't all speak Aramaic very well, see Y'sha'ya 36:11) regarding how to say what they should say.
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 8:09
  • At that time, many Jews still were not fluent in Aramaic. See, for another example, Daniyeil 1:4, where the king chose young Jewish men and had to instruct them in "ספר ולשון כשדים" (and see M'tzudas David on 2:4, who interprets "לשון כשדים" as referring to standard Aramaic; Ibn Ezra ad loc. appears to say likewise).
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 20:34
  • 1
    In general, see Ramban on Sh'mos 30:13 ("וכן הטעם אצלי במה שרבותינו קוראין לשון התורה לשון הקודש שהוא מפני שדברי התורה והנבואות וכל דברי קדושה כולם בלשון ההוא נאמרו").
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 6:50

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