Why Does Matthew Give Us Another Language and Then Translate It?
Why does Matthew provide the original words of Jesus in Aramaic in Matthew 27:46, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (Matthew 27:46). Matthew never gives us any other Aramaic, so why here?
I think that a foreign language to the text is used because the content, what is happening is so foreign. The form matches the content. God’s anointed king is killed, forsaken by his Father, the most unknown foreign event conceivable. It is fitting that the language used to communicate is equally foreign and strange.
But perhaps there’s more. Matthew interprets it. That is, it doesn’t remain foreign. And if the language mirrors reality, perhaps the death that is so foreign to Jesus’ life will also be interpreted, translated into something intelligible.