Document Type


Publication Date



Excerpt: "Ezra 4–7 narrates the reconstruction of the house of the Lord during the Judean repatriation under the Persian Empire. In the narration, there is a linguistic alteration between Hebrew and Aramaic for an extended portion of the narrative. The first Aramaic portion occurs in Ezra 4:8–6:18, beginning with the royal letter to King Artaxerxes, which would naturally be composed under the standard lingua franca of Aramaic. Similarly, the second Aramaic portion in Ezra 7:12–26 begins with the Artaxerxes Rescript, giving imperial support for the reconstruction. The contents of these passages befit the Aramaic language. Although the shift between the languages is rare in biblical text, it is not entirely unwarranted as Aramaic was the official language of Persian correspondence. Yet, what is puzzling is the deployment of Aramaic beyond the royal epistolary texts to include significantly substantial portions in the narrative."


Originally published as a chapter in Landscapes of Korean and Korean American Biblical Interpretation (SBL Press, 2019).

Included in

Religion Commons