The “Dead Sea Scrolls”

Thanksgiving Hymns
Dead Sea Scrolls 4QH(odayot)a col. 10

Paraphrase by Robert Hermansky

An interesting point in the 1st fragment is the use of the word Belial. This word was substituted for the Angel of Darkness. Is Belial conceived to be a real person in the Hymns or is the author speaking in general terms of mankind? This use of the word Belial or Angel of Darkness also refers us to the works of the Teacher of Righteousness who uses this word in his frequent works, ( 1QH 2:16, 4:10, 4:13, 5:26, 5:39, 6:21, 7:3).

“I g[ive thanks to You, 0 Lord, for] You set me by a fountain which flows in a dry land, a spring of water in a desolate land, a well-watered garden […] You [plan]ted a stand of juniper and pine together with cypress for Your glory; trees of life at the secret spring, hidden among all the trees by the water so that a shoot might grow up into an eternal planting. Taking root before they shoot up, they stretch out their roots to the watercourse, that its trunk might be open to the living water and become an eternal fountain. On its leafy branches every wild animal of the forest shall graze, and its trunk shall become a gathering place to all who pass and its branches roosts for all the birds.” (Thanksgiving Psalm lQH + 4Q428 Frag. 7 16:4-9a)



Hymn #7 (formerly 2)

I give thanks to you, Lord, because you have placed me in the circle of life and guided me against the evils of the world.   Violent men have threatened my life because of my faith in you Lord. For they are an assembly of trickery and a crowd of  evil, the do not know that through you I live and in your compassion you will spare me in my soul. Because of you they raid my life to spite you by the judgment of the wicked. But you give me strength in the faces of the unworthy. And I said, mighty men have pitched their camps and swarmed against me with all the temptations of unjustly things. They have begun things which have no cure, no stopping. Their weapons of evil engulf the land like a tidal wave upon the shore. Like a wave of destruction devouring a multitude of men. Temptation rose inside me but my soul clung to the faith of you Lord. They have fallen to the destruction of each other which they brought on themselves, but I will not fall to the rein of their destruction, for I keep upon level ground and apart from them I will bless you Lord.

Hymn #8 (formerly 3):

I give thanks to you, Lord, for you have [fastened] your eye upon me. You have saved me from the passion of lying deception, and from the congregation of those who seek wealth. You have blessed the soul of the poor one who planned to destroy me by spilling my blood while I was at service to you. But they did not know that my soul belonged to you, so they made a mockery of me in the mouths of all that seek for lies. […] But you, my Lord, have restored the faith of the poor and the needy against one stronger than me; you have saved my soul from the hand of the mighty. You have not permitted their insults to pursue me into craving their service.

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