Targum literally means “translation.” The term generally designates a Jewish or Samaritan translation of the Scriptures into Aramaic. Aramaic, a language closely related to Hebrew, was a major international language in the Middle East from the middle of the eighth century B.C. until the seventh century A.D. Translations of the Hebrew Scriptures into Aramaic were composed from Second Temple times into the Middle Ages. In some Jewish communities the Targums are employed liturgically to this day.