The language of the Middle East or Levant (what is today Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Israel) was Aramaic. The Jewish elite was taken to Babylon during the captivity in Babylon, about 590 BCE, where they learned Aramaic. That become the universal language of the region when they returned home. Much of the ‘Old Testament’ was compiled in Aramaic, and we’ve compiled a Christian playlist of some of those songs.
Jesus was from Nazareth and they spoke Galilean Aramaic, but of course he could converse in Hebrew to the multitudes as well. Arabic is of the same language family as Aramaic and Hebrew, but was limited to Arabia at the time.
Small parts of Syria still speak Aramaic. The ancient language is used in Catholic and Orthodox liturgy and Aramaic can be written and understood in the Hebrew script.
Syria – Orthodox Prayer “Abun D’Bashmayo” (The Lord’s Prayer)
Lebanon – Maronites Catholic Church Choir of Lebanon
Lebanon – شلوملخ مريم – عبير نعمه / Shlom Lekh Maryam – Abeer Nehme
Assyrian Song Iraq Christian الاشوريين – اغنية اشورية
Syria – Orthodox – To Ba-Shlom
Palestine – Ya Mariam Al Bikr يا مريم البكر – Lina Sleibi with Schmidt Choir
Gadol Adonai..(Great is the Lord) :: Lovely Hebrew Christian Song
EXTRA: Egyypt – Modern – My life is Yours (Love Story) :: Arabic Christian Song-Middle East
Some variants of Aramaic are also retained as sacred languages by certain religious communities. Classical Syriac is still used asthe liturgical language of Syriac Christianity. It is used by several communities, including the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Maronite Church, and also the Saint Thomas Christian denominations of India. You can hear this in the Christian playlist.