Thanksgiving Hymn #7&8
4QH(odayot)a col. 10

Paraphrase and comments by Robert Hermansky

Introduction:

Lawrence H. Schiffman wrote that it is tempting to regard the Thanksgiving Scroll as a series of hymns for public worship. This is what I perceived them to be at first. After researching it further, I discovered that there has been no evidence discovered that concludes or supports this. The passages were probably written by the leader of a sect or church. Some scholars believe that it was written by the Teacher of the Righteousness. The poems belong to a devotion of some sort by the people for their God. This can be cross referenced with the Songs of the Sabbath; where God in the heavens was praised daily according to fixed rituals. Later it was discovered that it was not a praise of God by people on earth, but the angles' praise of God in heaven.

After further exploration, I found that the Hymns of Thanksgiving could have been used to have the spiritual effect of the individual members of the community. Penetrating them and therefore dominating their spirit as if being controlled by a force. The author of these passages, assumed to be the Teacher of Righteousness, gives a vivid description of mankind being 'in sin,' the constant struggle with the forces of evil around him, mankind having bad temptations from birth to death.

Another 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 to 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).

Paraphrase:

Hymn #7 (formerly 2):

I[1] 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[2] 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[3] my life to spite you by the judgement 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[4] 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,[5] 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][6] your eye upon me. You have save me from the passion of lying deception, and from the congregation[7] 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;[8] you have saved my soul from the hand of the mighty. You have not permitted their insults to pursue me into craving their service. [9]

Footnotes:

[1] Refers to the author of the story
[2] The violent men is referring to the unbelievers or sinners of faith
[3] Raid meaning to make mockery of
[4] 'pitched their camps and swarmed against' refers to the unbelievers tempting his true faith
[5] This phrase states how "he" cannot be tempted and will keep prayers with the Lord
[6] Word added by authors but expected to mean taken notice of
[7] Congregation meaning groups of people
[8] This phrase refers to the Lords will to save the poor and the needy against the retched sinners
[9] Their service meaning sin or greed

Bibliography:

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor and James H. Charlesworth, Paul and the Dead Sea Scrolls, foreword copyright 1990, pg. 87-89, 96-100.

Raymond E. Brown, John and the Dead Sea Scrolls, foreword copyright 1990, pg. 26-46, 30-37, 112.

Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, foreword copyright by Chaim Potok, 1994, pg. 301.

Weiss, Abegg and Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Translated Edition, copyright 1994, pg. 84.

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12/98

prepared for Intro. to the Hebrew Bible
by Robert Hermansky
HermansR@albnet.alb.edu