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Their worship began to consist in the study of the Law in common, in chanting of the Psalms and united prayers.This study of the Law implied that it should be understood.The Law was read by the reader verse by verse, and each verse was followed by a recitation by the meturgheman of the Aramaic version.Three verses of the prophetic books were read before the Aramaic was recited.The Talmudists were particular that the reader should keep his eye on the roll from which he read, and that the meturgheman should always recite his version without looking at any writing, so that a distinction should be kept between the sacred word and the version.At first the Targum was not committed to writing, but was handed down by tradition from meturgheman to meturgheman.This threefold process implies more than merely distinct enunciation.If this passage is compared with Ezra it would seem that mephorash ought to mean "interpreted." The most natural explanation is that alongside of the readers of the Law there were interpreters, meturghemanim, who repeated in Aramaic what had been read in Hebrew.
The probability is that in no long time the practice of reading the Law with an Aramaic interpretation was common in all Jewish synagogues.The language common to all these, in addition to their native dialect, was Aramaic.The Jewish inhabitants that had been left in the land would, like their relatives in Babylonia, have become accustomed to the use of Aramaic, to the exclusion, more or less complete, of Hebrew. Away from the site of their destroyed temple, the exiles did not, like those in Upper Egypt, erect another temple in which to offer sacrifices.See Muss-Arnolt, Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language, 1191, and the references there given.
The word is used as the Aramaic interpretation of shiggayon (Psalms 7:1), a term the precise force of which is yet unfixed.The Aramaic of the Targums is Western Aramaic, but it is Western Aramaic tinctured with Hebrew.