Aramaic Idioms

He knew her Matt 1:19
He had no intercourse with her
Following the star Matt 2:9
Walking in the direction of the stars
Generations of vipers (scorpions) Matt 3:7
Sly, deceptive
Baptism of fire Matt 3:11
Thorough cleansing
Untying another man’s shoes Matt 3:16
Respect and meekness

Heavens were open Matt 3:16
The heavens were receptive; a revelation
Spirit descending like a dove. Matt 3:16
Signifies commission and meekness
Angels ministered to him Matt 4:11
Being comforted by God’s thoughts, God’s messengers
He opened his mouth. Matt 5:2
He broke the silence
Poor in spirit. Matt 5:3
Poor in pride, humble

Pure in heart. Matt 5:8
Pure in mind
Salt of the earth. Matt 5:13
The flavor of this world, good conduct.
Raca Matt 5:22
To spit
Hell fire. Matt 5:22
Mental suffering; torment.
If your right eye offend thee, pluck it out Matt 5:29
If you have a habit of envying, cut it out. Stop it

Cut your hand off. Matt 5:30
Stop stealing
Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matt 5:39
Don’t start a quarrel or fight. Be humble.
Be ye perfect Matt 5:48
All inclusive. To know all lines of a trade.
Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matt 6:3
Don’t advertise your giving

Closet Matt 6:6
Inner heart or mind
Treasure in heaven. Matt 6:20
Good deeds recorded in heaven.
Jude not. Matt 7:1
Don’t criticize.
Pearls before swine. Matt 7:6
Wise sayings before fools
By their fruit you shall know them. Matt 7:16
By their works you will now them

Good tree/evil tree. Matt 7:17
A good man/evil man
Bury my father. Matt 8:21
Take care of my father until he dies
Devils besought him. Matt 8:31
The insane man besought him
New cloth unto an old garment. Matt 9:16
New teaching mixed with an old one.
The way of the Gentiles. Matt 10:5
Pagan practices.

The lost sheep. Matt 10:6
The lost tribes of Israel, Lost men and women.
Shake the sand off your feet. Matt 10:14
Have nothing to do with the; leave them alone.
Sheep in the midst of wolves. Matt 10:16
Good people among evil leaders
Wise a serpents. Matt 10:16
Avoid trouble.
Harmless as doves. Matt 10:16
Trustful, pure of heart.

To bring a sword. Matt 10:34
To bring division
Take up the cross. Matt 10:38
Willing to die, risk your life
Born of a woman. Matt 11:11
A human being with limitations, weakness.
We have piped to you. Matt 11:17
We have tried to inform, to induce you to come out.
Eating and drinking. Matt 11:19
Living comfortably

My burdens are light. Matt 11:29
My religion is simple and easy. My demands are few.
My yoke is easy. Matt 11:29
My rule is easy
Kingdom of heaven. Matt 13:24
A universal state; a reign of peace and harmony.
Wheat and tares. Matt 13:25
Good people and bad people
Pearl of a great price. Matt 13:46
A great truth

Plant. Matt 15:13
Teaching, doctrine.
To take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs. Matt 15:26
Sharing the truths of Judaism with the pagans.
Gates of hell. Matt 16:18
Evil forces; opposition.
Upon this stone. Matt 16:18
Upon this truth.
The keys. Matt 16:18
Authority and power.

Keys of the kingdom Matt 16:18
Spiritual authority
Shekel in the mouth of a fish. Matt 17:27
A fish worth a shekel
If your hand or foot offend you, cut them off. Matt 188
Stop stealing. Stop trespassing
If two of you shall agree. Matt 18:19
If two of you are worthy
In His name. Matt 18:20
In His method, His religion; His approach to God

If thou will be perfect. Matt 19:21
All inclusive; thorough in every way
Camel to go through the eye of a needle. Matt 19:24
With great difficulty.
Is your eye evil? Matt 20:15
Are you envious or jealous?
My cup shall you drink. Matt 20:23
You shall die as I die
Riding on an ass. Matt 21:5
Humble, meek

Removing mountains. Matt 21:21
Overcoming seemingly unsurmountable difficulties and problems
Stone which the builders rejected. Matt 21:42
Truth which religious men rejected
Like the angels of God. Matt 22:30
Spiritual, pure, pious
A child of hell. Matt 23:15
A corrupt person
Fill up the measure of your father. Matt 23:32
You are as evil as your father

Wherever the carcass is, the eagles will be… Matt 24:28
Wherever the weak nations are, the powerful nations will be…
Shep and goats. Matt 25:33
Good people and bad people
The cup. Matt 26:27
The conspiracy; death
Fruit of the vine. Matt 26:29
Son of man. Matt 26:24
A human being; a man born of woman

Coming on the clouds of heaven. Matt 26:64
The coming with glory, honor and victory
The field of blood. Matt 27:8
Purchased with blood money
Held him by his feet. Matt 28:9
Implored him
Kingdom of God. Mark 1:15
God’s counsel; a reign of harmony
Repent ye. Mark 1:15
Do not do it again

Staff. Mark 6:8
Corban. Mark 7:11
My sacrifice; a token of love or devotion.
Cast the devil out of his daughter. Mark 7:26
He restored her to sanity
Have salt in yourselves. Mark 9:50
Have good manners; good conduct
Eat my body. Mark 14:22
Share my suffering. Make my teaching a part of you. Think of me when you celebrate the Passover

Drink my blood. Mark 14:24
Make my teaching a part of your life. Be willing to suffer for my truth. Think of me when you
celebrate the Passover
Take up a serpent. Mark 16:18
Handle an enemy; overcome opposition.
Horn. Luke 1:69
Strength and triumph
Valleys filled up. Luke 3:5
Wrongs righted, injustices removed.
Mountains and hills leveled. Luke 3:5
Proud and arrogant men humbled

Crooked place made straight. Luke 3:5
Crooked teachings replaced by the truth
Offering of scorpions. Luke 3:37
Subtle and deceptive men.
Old and new wine. Luke 5:39
Judaism and Jesus’ teaching
Looking back. Luke 9:62
A lazy worker
Tread upon serpents. Luke 10:19
To overcome enemies and opposition

Names written in heaven. Luke 10:20
You will be rewarded, your deeds are never to be forgotten
Keys of knowledge. Luke 11:52
Access to knowledge
Little flock. Luke 12:32
A small group of believers
Set the earth on fire. Luke 12:49
Upsetting the order of the day; revolutionizing the world.
Blood mingled with the sacrifices. Luke 13:1
Slain at the same time with their annual offerings

Fox. Luke 13:32
Shrewd and subtle
Mammon of the world. Luke 16:9
Money and other material things
Sell your garment and buy a sword. Luke 22:36
Danger is imminent
Sweat turned into blood. Luke 22:44
Greatly distressed; tense; in agony.
Green tree and dry tree. Luke 23:31
Green tree-innocent man. Dry tree-an evil man.

In the bosom of the Father. John 1:18
Very close to the Father-God
The lamb of God. John 1:29
Dedicated to God, innocent and blameless
The Messiah. John 1:41
The anointed one; ordained, commissioned
Zeal eaten me up. John 2:17
Made me courageous
Born again. John 3:3
To become like a child; to start over.

To set his seal. John 3:33
Approval of an act
Living water. John 4:11
True teaching
One soweth and another reapeth. John 4:37
One works hard, and another enjoys the fruits of his labor
Bread of life. John 6:35
Eternal truth
Let him come to me and drink. John 7:37
Let him come and learn from me

Out of his belly shall flow. John 7:38
Abundant and eternal truth. Spiritual satisfaction
Fell down at his feet. John 11:32
Paid him homage
Let your heart not be troubled. John 14:1
Don’t worry
I am the true vine. John 15:1
I am the true religion
Feed my lambs. John 21:15
Feed my young people, take care of them.

Feed my sheep. John 21:15
Feed the adults
Feed my ewes. (Lamsa) John 21:17
Feed the young women
Taken up. Acts 1:9
Glorified, ascended.
A cloud received him. Acts 1:9
Welcome with glory and honor
Breaking bread. Acts 2:42
At peace together

At the feet of the apostles. Acts 4:37
Gifts given with no strings attached
At the young man’s feet. Acts 7:58
Under his care
Kick against the pricks. Acts 9:5
To hurt one’s self
Rent their clothes. Acts 14:14
They were horrified; a sign of mourning
Shook his raiment. Acts 18:6
Exonerated himself of further responsibility

Hebrew tongue. Acts 21:40
Aramaic dialect spoken by the Jews
Thou whited wall. Acts 23:3
You hypocrite
Their throat is an open sepulcher. Rom 3:13
They utter lies, and they are corrupt
Table as a snare. Rom 11:9
Let their conspiracy turn against themselves
Heap coals of fire on their head. Rom 12:20
Cause them to regret

Laid down their necks. Rom 16:4
Willing to work hard; to die for the truth
Bruise satan under your feet. Rom 16:20
Crush evil or error
Feed with milk. 1 Cor. 3:2
Trained with simple teachings
Ye have reigned like Kings. 1 Cor. 4:8
You are very independent
A little leaven. 1 Cor. 5:6
A little teaching; a little truth

Tongues of angels. 1 Cor 13:1
Speech without deception; truthful
A door was opened. 2 Cor 2:12
An opportunity came
Open face. 2 Cor. 3:18
Without blame; guiltless
From glory to glory. 2 Cor 3:18
Highly honored
Our mouth is open. 2 Cor. 6:11
We have told you everything and we have hidden nothing

Heart is enlarged. 2 Cor 6:11
I am relieved
Thorn in the flesh. 2 Cor 12:7
Grievance; annoyance
For everyman shall bear his own burden. Gal 6:5
Let every man solve his own problem
Have your feet shod. Eph. 6:15
Be alert; ready
Bowels. Phil. 1:8

Beware of dogs. Phil 3:2
Beware of gossipers and trouble makers
Trust in the flesh. Phil 3:4
Trust in man-made teachings and ordinances; trust in the arm of man
Walk in Him. Col 2:6
Follow His religion, His teaching
Mortify your members. Col 3:5
Bring your members under control
Lifting of hands. 1 Thess 2:6
Imploring God in prayer

For now we live. 1 Thess 3:8
Now we rejoice
Spirit speaketh. 1 Tim 4:1
Lay hands on no man. 1 Tim. 5:22
Do not ordain any man (It also means don’t falsely accuse any man)
Evil beast with slow bellies. Titus 1:12
Vicious men hungry for power; greedy
Put that on my account. Phil 1:18
Forget it

Flame of fire. Heb. 1:17
Speed, power and prompt action; fluency in speech
The fruit of our lips. Heb 13:15
Thanksgiving offered to God through prayer
Beholding face in a glass. James 1:23
Tongue is a fire. James 3:6
Powerful, fluent
Living stone. 1 Peter 2:4
Strong, good men and women worthy to be in the church of God

Chief shepherd. 1 Peter 5:4
The leader of the church
Wells without water. 2 Peter 2:17
False teachers
Dog is turned into his own vomit. 2 Peter 2:22
A man who repeats his mistakes
Born of God. 1 John 3:9
God-like, holy; one who has repented from evil
My little children. 1 John 2:1
My dear ones; my beloved

Spirits. 1 John 4:1
Spirit that confesses. 1 John 4:2
True prophesies; true persons who confess the truth
With cloud. Rev 1:7
With glory
Seven candlesticks. Rev. 1:12
Seven lights of the truth; seven churches
Golden girdle. Rev 1:13
Kingly power

Fiery eyes. Rev 1:14
Beautiful, attractive and sincere
White. Rev 1:14
Purity and innocence
Feet like unto brass. Rev 1:15
Tree of life. Rev 2:7
Eternal life
Sword of the mouth. Rev 2:16
The truth which exposes and destroys error

Hidden manna. Rev 2:17
Hidden truth
White stone. Rev 2:17
A distinguished person. (His name is engraved on a white stone for a memorial)
Rod of iron. Rev 2:27
Strong discipline
You lived and are dead. Rev 3:1
You are finished, useless
An open door. Rev 3:8
An opportunity

I was in the spirit. Rev 4:2
I saw a vision
White horse. Rev 6:2
Red horse. Rev 6:6
Black horse. Rev 6:5
Pale horse. Rev 6:8

Washed their robes in blood. Rev 7:14
Living waters. Rev 7:17
Eternal life-truth
Sun and air darkened by smoke. Rev 7:18
Impending catastrophe; confusion
Clothed in a cloud. Rev 10:1
Gloriously arrayed
Take the little book and eat it. Rev 10:9
Remember it by heart; make it a part of you

Sweet in my mouth like honey. Rev 10:10
I was overcome by the secret which the book contained
My belly was bitter. Rev 10:10
I could not impart the secret
The dragon. Rev 12:13
Evil forces; adversary-opposition to the truth. Also a dictator
Ten horns. Rev 13:1
Ten kings
Temple was filled with smoke. Rev 15:8
God’s reverence greatly felt

Keeps his garments. Rev 16:15
Angels standing in the sun. Rev 19:17
An announcement made openly
Twelve foundations. Rev 21:14
The teaching of the twelve apostles
Twelve pearls. Rev 21:21
Twelve fundamental truths
Dogs. Rev 22:15
Vicious men, gossipers

The bright and morning star. Rev 22:16
The dawning of the truth

In English,we have sayings like “kick the bucket” which are not meant to be taken literally. In the language of Jesus and the disciples, they had a few idioms of their own. Usually, the closer to the time of the idiom origin, the more literally the saying could be taken. For example; “Close, but no cigar” was more literal in the 1920’s when slot machines gave out cigars for prizes. In 16th century England; “Raining cats and dogs” were literal when families pit their animals on straw
rooftops and saw them literally come through the roofs during heavy rain (
canopy beds came in handy then).
Currently there are 1,000,000 Syrians who still speak the same language with the same customs Abraham himself would be used to even today. Over the centuries Europe would not touch the Byzantine empire and until 1909 they were pretty much cut off from our western world (

and Europe; the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics). The RSV writers wanted to translate is back to Aramaic to catch the idioms and writing style, but they didn’t have access or ability to translate the original writings at the time. For the past 2,000 years Jewish Christians have meticulously copied the old scrolls when the older ones began to deteriorate.               Rev Dr Jeff Lowe