Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rab-shakeh, Speak, I pray you, to your servants in the Aramaic language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
Read Chapter 18
George Leo Haydock
Syriac, or Chaldean language, which was spoken at the Assyrian court, 1 Esdras iv. 7., and Daniel ii. 4. Rabsaces was acquainted with both the languages; as the Jews say he was an apostate, which they infer from this passage, and from the legates tearing their clothes when they heard him blaspheme; as they pretend this was only done when blasphemy came from the mouth of an Israelite. (Grotius)
But these reasons are very weak. (Calmet)
The like was practised when any thing terrifying was heard, ver. 37. (Haydock)
The reasons why the legates desire Rabsaces not to speak in a language which the common soldiers understood, was to prevent them from shewing their indignation by shooting at him, or out of fear, lest they should be induced to cause some sedition. (Menochius)