The Targums

What were the Targums and Why were they Written?

The Targums were Aramaic translations or interpretations of portions of the Hebrew Old Testament books. They were oral translations and paraphrases, which became the Midrash or commentaries by the rabbis on the Torah. The Targums became necessary as the use of Aramaic became prevalent in Israel. As Hellenism spread the Hebrew language was no longer the vernacular language of most of the Jews, they learned and spoke Aramaic. Later this became the language of Jesus and the early church.