Question: What are they, and how are the Targums, Talmud, and Midrash related to the Bible?
Answer: A Targum is a translation or a paraphrase of some part of the Old Testament Scripture into the Aramaic language. The word comes from the Aramaic “targem” and means “to interpret, explain, or translate.” Therefore, the passive participle “METHURGAM,” reference Ezra 4:7.
A methurgemon was a translator and was also called a “targomon.” The Aramaic language is derived from “Aram,” one of the five sons of Shem (Genesis 10:22); and “Arama” is the word translated “Syria.” The same word, with an adjective ending, is translated with reference to the language “Syrian” five times in Scripture. (See 2 Kings 18:26; Ezra 4:7 twice; Isaiah 36:11, and Daniel 2:4.) The Aramaic language is, therefore, the language of Syria.
Now, concerning the Talmud and the Midrash, neither of these are translations or paraphrases of Scripture. Rather, they are important Jewish literature.
- The Talmud is a Jewish work which contains the civil and religious laws not found in the Pentateuch, with commentaries upon and illustrations of these laws.
- The foundation of the Talmud was the “Torah,” or Law. The Jews believed the Law contained two parts:
- The written law as found in the Pentateuch.
- The oral law, which came to be considered equally binding.
- The Talmud consists of two parts:
- The MISHNA, or oral law.
- The GEMARA, the commentaries and illustrations.
Today we have God’s completed word to mankind from Genesis to Revelation. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible, itself! In comparing Scripture with Scripture, one can never go wrong. Adding to the word of God by tradition has deceived many.
May I cite one of the many examples. Nowhere can you find in the Bible where babies are ever to be baptized; yet, many are deceived thinking their baby will not go to Heaven unless it is baptized. Here is God’s answer,
"Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” - Proverbs 30:6
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”- Psalm 118:8