There has been discussion of whether the book of Matthew was written in Hebrew or only Greek. The historian Flavius Josephus testifies to the fact that Hebrew was the language of the first century Judeans.
He makes it clear in, Wars of the Jews 5:9:2, that the first century Judeans could not even speak or understand Greek but spoke “their own language.” There is more evidence that Hebrew was the language during the first century which can be found in ancient Documents from about that time, which were discovered in Ysr’al (Israel). In Acts 22:2 it is written that Paul spoke Hebrew and in Acts 26:14 it is written that HaMashiach spoke Hebrew. There is even more evidence that Hebrew was the language during the first century for many historians have attested that the book of Matthew was written in Hebrew, such as:
Papia (150-170 CE) “Matthew composed the words in the Hebrew dialect, and each translated as he was able.” -Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 3:39
Ireneus (170 CE) “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect.” -Ireneus; Against Heresies 3:1
Origen (210 CE) “The first book is written according to Matthew, the same that was once a tax collector, but afterwards an emissary of HaMashiach, who having published it for the Judean believers, wrote it in Hebrew.” - Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 6:25
Eusebius (315 CE) “Matthew also, having first proclaimed the gospel in Hebrew, when on the point of going also to the other nations, committed it to writing in his native tongue, and thus supplied the want of his presence to them by his writings.” – Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:24
Eusebius - Pantaenus...penetrated as far as India, where it is reported that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had been delivered before his arrival to some who had the knowledge of HaMashiach, to whom Bartholomew on of the emissaries, as it is said, had preached, and left them the writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters. - Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 5:10
Epiphaninus (370 CE) “The [the Nazarenes] have the Gospel according to Matthew quite complete in Hebrew, for the Gospel is certainly still preserved among them as it was first written, in Hebrew letters.” - Epiphanius; Panarion 29:9:4
There was a “gazophylacium” that was sealed, “gaza” means “treasure” in Hebrew. Many had different notions about this treasury because of its seal, Josephus plucked up the courage to open it unobserved and found no money, but books money could not buy. Browsing through them he found the Gospel of John translated from Greek to Hebrew, and the Acts of the Apostles, and Matthew’s Gospel moreover, which is actually Hebrew. – Epiphanius; The Panarion, 2:30:6,7
Jerome (382 CE) “Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came to be emissary, first of all evangelist, composed a Gospel of HaMashiach in Judea in the Hebrew language and letters, for the benefits of those of the circumcision who had believed, who translated it into Greek, is not sufficiently ascertained. Furthermore, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Borea to copy it. In which is to be remarked that, wherever the evangelist…makes use of the testimonies of the Old Scripture, he does not follow the authority of the seventy translators [the Greek Septuagint], but that of the Hebrew.” Jerome; Of Illustrious Men 3
Isho’dad (850 CE) “His [Matthew’s] book was in existence in Caesarea of Palestine, and everyone acknowledges that he wrote it with his hands in Hebrew.” – Isho’dad Commentary on the Gospels
On September 9, 1553, the Roman Inquisition burned copies of Judean texts in the city's Campo de Fiori, Rome, Italy. Jean DuTillet was appointed Bishop of Brieu, France in 1553. He was visiting Rome at the time all the books, that were written in Hebrew, were being confiscated. He was astounded to take notice of a Hebrew manuscript of Matthew among other Hebrew manuscripts. DuTillet acquired the manuscript of Matthew in 1553 from Italian Jews and returned to France, depositing it in the BIBLIOTEQUE NATIONAL, PARIS. It is said that it remains there until this day as Hebrew Mss. No. 132. There are other Books of Matthew written in Hebrew, by different authors, however, it is said that the one housed at BIBLIOTEQUE NATIONAL, PARIS is the original ancient manuscript.
When the apostles went east, they brought the Semitic New Testament Scriptures eastward, which both historians quote below.
Jerome - "Pantaenus found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, had there [India] preached the advent of HaMashiach according to the Gospel of Matthew, which which was written in Hebrew letters." - Jerome; De Vir. 3:36
Eusebius - "Pantaenus...penetrated as far as India, where it is reported that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had been delivered before his arrival to some who had the knowledge of HaMashiach, to whom Bartholomew on of the emissaries, as it is said, had preached, and left them the writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters." - Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 5:10
Click here to see what happened, after the Babylonian captivity.
When the Jews returned from captivity, they spoke...