|Surely thou also art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee,| Matthew 26:73. Let these passages, which are delivered by the masters, be instead of a comment: --
|To the men of Judea who were exact in their language, their law is established in their hands. To the men of Galilee, who were not exact in their language, their law is not established in their hands.| -- The Gloss is, |They [the men of Judea] were exact in their language: so that their speech was pure, not corrupt.|
|To the men of Judea, who are exact about their language, and appoint to themselves certain signs, their law is established in their hands: to the men of Galilee, who are not exact about their language, nor appoint to themselves signs, their law is not established in their hands.| The Gloss is; |They were exact about their language, namely, in rendering the same words which they had heard from their masters. And because they were taught orally, by hearing after hearing, they appointed to themselves from them sign after sign. And because they were exact about their language, they knew how to appoint to themselves fit signs that they might not forget.|
|The men of Judea learn from one master, and their law is established in their hands: the Galileans learn not from one master, and their law is not established in their hands.| The Gloss writes, |The Galileans heard one master in one language, and another in another; and the diversity of the language, or pronunciation, confounded them so that they forgat.| And a little after,
|R. Abba said, If any ask the men of Judea, who are exact about their language, Whether they say Maabrin with Ain, or Maabrin with Aleph? Whether they say Acuzo (with Ain), or Acuzo (with Aleph)? They all answer, There are some who pronounce it with Aleph, and there are others who pronounce it with Ain...| And a little after:
|A certain Galilean said...They answered him, O foolish Galilean...| The sense is, When the Galilean asked, |Whose is Immar, 'this lamb?'| he pronounced the first letter in the word Immar, so confusedly and uncertainly, that the hearers knew not whether he meant Chamar, -- that is, an 'ass'; or Chamar, 'wine'; or Amar, 'wool'; or Immar, 'a lamb.'
|A Galilean woman when she should have said to their neighbour Come, and I will feed you with milk| [or some fat thing]: |said, My neighbour, a lion shall eat you.| The Gloss is, |She distinguished not, but confounded the letters: for when she should say, Shelubti with Beth, which signifies a neighbour, she said Shelucti, with Caph (a barbarous word). For, 'come, and I will feed you with milk.' -- she said words that imply a curse; as much as to say, Let a lion devour thee.|
|A certain woman said before the judge|...That which she intended to say was this, |My Lord, I had a picture, which they stole; and it was so great, that if you had been placed in it, your feet would not have touched the ground.| But she so spoiled the business with her pronouncing, that, as the Glosser interprets it, her words had this sense, |Sir, slave, I had a beam; and they stole thee away; and it was so great, that if they had hung thee on it, thy feet would not have touched the ground.|
Among other things, you see, that in this Galilean dialect the pronunciation of the gutturals is very much confounded; which however the Jews correct in the words alleged, yet it was not unusual among them, so that |the mystical doctors distinguished not between Cheth and He.| They are the words of the Jerusalem Talmudists: -- and these also are the words of those of Babylon; |The schools of R. Eleazar Ben Jacob pronounced Aleph Ain, and Ain Aleph.|
We observed before one example of such confusion of letters, when one teaching thus, |The waters of the marshes are not to be reckoned among those waters| (that make unclean), he meant to have it understood of the water of eggs: but he deceived his hearers by an uncertain pronunciation...
If you read the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch, you will find so frequent a changing of the gutturals, that you could not easily get a more ready key of that language than by observing that variation.