By Jesse ben Yosef.
Psalms 151-155 have been translated from Syriac into English by W. Wright, and follow his verse order as detailed in “Some Apocryphal Psalms in Syriac.” (1886-1887) Psalms 156-160 have been translated from Hebrew into English by Geza Vermes in his “Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English.” (1997) This is based on his earlier work of a similar title, “The Dead Sea Scrolls in English.” (1962) This translation of these Psalms is technically under current copyright, but has been regardless distributed in numerous places across on the internet. Still, it is not my intent to cause any sort of damage to the Vermes estate, so I will not be selling these for profit, and I openly admonish anyone with any degree of interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls to purchase his work.
All ten of these Psalms have been updated into modern English by Jesse ben Yosef.
Psalm 151 was part of many manuscripts of the Septuagint, and some of the Peshitta. The Hebrew text of this Psalm from the Dead Sea Scrolls (11Q5) does differ slightly, in which verses 1-5 are considered to be a longer text designated 151A, and verses 6-8 are considered a separate fragmentary text designated 151B. The reading here follows the Septuagint and the Peshitta.
Psalms 152-155 were included in some manuscripts of the Syriac Peshitta. Psalms 154 and 155, in addition to their presence in the Syriac Peshitta, were also found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. (11Q5) The translation presented here from the Syriac has been diligently compared with the Hebrew text found at Qumran.
Psalms 156-160 come exclusively from the Dead Sea Scrolls, (11Q5 and 4Q88) in which these Psalms are listed alongside many canonical Psalms from the Hebrew Bible. The numeric designation presented here is related to, but not based upon, their order in the scrolls from which they were translated.
In the spirit of academic honesty, it must be noted that the base texts of Psalms 156-160 from which these translations have come have serious lacunae, or gaps, in the text. Some of the most well-meaning scholars have given their best attempt at restoring the texts, and we are thankful for that. It was mentioned to me in a comment that the portions of restored text in question should be bracketed; however, doing so would, in my estimation, take away from the natural poetic flow of the text- at least, what we believe the text ought to be. So if the reader is interested in a more academic translation of these texts, I would advise ordering a copy of “The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English” translated by Geza Vermes.
|151||Peshitta, LXX, DSS (11Q5)|
|154||Peshitta, DSS (11Q5 XVIII)|
|155||Peshitta, DSS (11Q5 XXIV)|
|156||DSS (11Q5 XIX)|
|157||DSS (11Q5 XXII, 4Q88 VII)|
|158||DSS (4Q88 IX)|
|159||DSS (4Q88 X)|
|160||DSS (11Q5 XXVI)|
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-One
A thanksgiving psalm of David, after he had slain Goliath.
1 I was the youngest among my brethren, and a youth in my father’s house. I used to feed my father’s flock; I found a lion and a wolf, and slew them and tore them apart. 2 My hands made an organ, and my fingers fashioned a harp. 3 Who will show me my Master? He, my Lord, has become my God. 4 He sent His angel, took me away from my father’s flock, and anointed me with the oil of anointing.
5 The LORD did not take pleasure in my brethren, though they were both fair and tall. 6 I went forth to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols; 7 but I drew his own sword, and used it to cut off his head, taking away the reproach from the children of Israel.
Psalm One Hundred and Fifty-Two
Spoken by David, when he was contending with the lion and the wolf which took a sheep from his flock.
1 O God, O God, come to my aid; help me, save me, and deliver my soul from the slayer. 2 Will I go down to Sheol by the mouth of the lion? Will the wolf be the end of me? 3 Was it not enough for those who lay in wait for my father’s flock, and tore a sheep of my father’s flock– must they also wish the destruction of my own soul?
4 Have pity, O LORD, and save Your holy one from destruction, so that he may rehearse Your glories for all of his days, and may praise Your great name, 5 when You have delivered him from the hands of the destroying lion and of the ravening wolf, and when You have rescued my captivity from the hands of the wild beasts. 6 Quickly, my Lord, send from Yourself a deliverer, and draw me out of the gaping pit which imprisons me in its depths.
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Three
Spoken by David, thanking God for deliverance from the lion and the wolf, after he had slain them both.
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations; glorify Him, and bless His name. 2 He has rescued the soul of His elect from the hands of death, and delivered His holy one from destruction. 3 He has saved me from the nets of sheol, and my soul from the pit that cannot be fathomed.
4 Before my deliverance could go forth from Him, I was very nearly tore in two pieces by two wild beasts; 5 but He sent His angel, and closed up from me the gaping mouths, and rescued my life from destruction. 6 My soul will glorify Him and exalt Him, because of all His kindnesses which He has done to me, and will continue to do to me.
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Four
A Prayer of Hezekiah, when he was surrounded by his enemies.
1 Glorify God with a loud voice, and proclaim His glory in the assembly of many. 2 Glorify His praise amidst the multitude of the upright, and speak of His glory with the righteous. 3 Join your souls to the good and to the perfect, to glorify the Most High God. 4 Gather yourselves together to make known His strength, and do not be slow in showing forth His deliverance, His strength, and His glory to all who are young.
5 Wisdom has been given that the honor of the LORD may be known, and it has been made known to men to tell of His works: 6 to make known to children His strength, and to cause those who lack understanding to comprehend His glory, 7 who are far from His entrances and distant from His gates; 8 for the God of Jacob is exalted, and His glory is upon all His works.
9 He will take pleasure in a man who glorifies the Most High, as in one who offers fine meal, 10 and as in one who offers he-goats and calves, and as in one who makes the altar fat with a multitude of burnt offerings, and as the smell of incense from the hands of the just. 11 His voice will be heard from Your upright gates, and admonition from the voice of the upright. 12 In their eating and their drinking, when they share together, they will be satisfied in truth. 13 Their mind dwells on the Torah of the Most High God, and their speech is to make known His strength.
14 How far from the wicked is speech of Him, and from all transgressors to know Him! 15 Behold; the eye of the LORD takes pity on the good! He will multiply mercy to those who glorify Him, and from the time of evil will He deliver their soul. 16 Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered the wretched from the hand of the wicked; who raises up a horn out of Jacob, and a judge of the nations out of Israel, 17 that He may prolong His dwelling in Zion, and may adorn our age in Jerusalem.
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Five
A prayer of thanksgiving, when the people obtained permission from Cyrus to return home.
1 O LORD, I have cried to You; hear me. 2 I have lifted up my hands to Your holy dwelling place; incline Your ear to me. 3 Grant me my request; do not withhold my prayer from me.
4 Build up my soul, and do not destroy it, and do not lay it bare before the wicked. 5 Those who reward evil things turn You away from me, O judge of truth. 6 O LORD, do not judge me according to my sins, because no flesh is innocent before You.
7 Make Your Torah plain to me, O LORD, and teach me Your judgments. 8 Many will hear of Your works, and the nations will praise Your honor. 9 Remember me, and do not forget me; and do not lead me into things that are too difficult for me. 10 Cause the sins of my youth to pass from me, and remember my chastisement against me no longer. 11 Cleanse me, O LORD, from the evil leprosy, and do not let it come against me any longer. 12 Dry up its roots from within me, and do not let its leaves sprout within me.
13 You are great, O LORD; therefore, my request will be fulfilled in You. 14 To whom will I complain that He may give to me? What help can be found in the strength of men? 15 From You, O LORD, is my confidence; I cried to the LORD, and He heard me, and healed the breaking of my heart. 16 I slumbered and slept; I dreamed and was helped, and the LORD sustained me. 17 They sorely pained my heart; I will return thanks because the LORD delivered me. 18 Now will I rejoice in their shame; I have hoped in You, and I will not be ashamed.
19 May You be given honor forever, even forever and ever.
20 Deliver Israel, Your elect, and those of the house of Jacob, Your proved one.
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Six
A Plea for Deliverance.
1 A worm does not thank You, nor does a maggot recount Your lovingkindness. 2 Only the living thank You, all they whose feet stumble do thank You, when You make Your lovingkindness known to them, and cause them to understand Your righteousness; 3 for the soul of all the living is in Your hand, and You have given breath to all flesh. 4 O LORD, do to us according to Your goodness, according to the greatness of Your mercies, and according to the greatness of Your righteous deeds.
5 The LORD listens to the voice of all who love His name, and He does not permit His lovingkindness to depart from them. 6 Blessed be the LORD, who does righteous deeds, who crowns His set-apart ones with lovingkindness and mercies.
7 My soul shouts to praise Your name, to praise Your mercies with jubilation, to announce Your faithfulness; for there is no limit to Your praises. 8 I belonged to death because of my sins, and my iniquities had sold me to Sheol; 9 but You saved me, O LORD, according to the greatness of Your mercies, and according to the greatness of Your righteous deeds. 10 I have, indeed, loved Your name, and have taken refuge in Your shadow. 11 My heart is strengthened when I remember Your power, and I rely on Your mercies.
12 Forgive my sins, O LORD, and purify me of my iniquity. 13 Grant me a spirit of faithfulness and knowledge; let me not be dishonored in ruin. 14 Do not allow the wicked one or an unclean spirit to overtake me, and do not allow pain or the evil inclination to possess my bones; 15 for You, O LORD, are my praise, and I hope in You every day. 16 My brethren rejoice with me, and the house of my father is astounded by Your graciousness.
17 I will always rejoice in You.
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Seven
A Hymn to Zion.
1 I will remember you, O Zion, for a blessing. I love you with all My might; for your memory is to be blessed forever. 2 Your hope is great, O Zion; peace and your awaited salvation will come. 3 Generation after generation shall dwell in you, and generations of the righteous shall be your ornament. 4 They who desire the day of your salvation shall rejoice in the greatness of your glory. 5 They shall be suckled on the fullness of your glory, and in your beautiful streets they shall make tinkling sounds. 6 You shall remember the righteous deeds of your prophets, and shall glorify yourself in the deeds of your righteous ones.
7 Cleanse violence from your midst; may lying and iniquity be cut off from you. 8 Your sons shall rejoice within you, and your cherished ones shall be joined to you. How much have they hoped in your salvation? 9 How much have your perfect ones mourned for you? 10 Your hope, O Zion, shall not perish, and your expectation will not be forgotten.
11 Is there a righteous man who has perished? Is there a man who has escaped his iniquity? 12 Man is tried according to his way, each is repaid according to his deeds. 13 Your oppressors shall be cut off from around you, O Zion, and all who hate you shall be dispersed. 14 Your praise is pleasing, O Zion; it rises up in all the world. 15 I will remember you many times for a blessing, and I will bless you with all My heart. 16 You shall attain to eternal righteousness, and shall receive blessings from the noble. 17 Take the vision which speaks of you, and the dreams of the prophets requested for you.
18 Be exalted and increase, O Zion, and praise the Most High, your Redeemer! May my soul rejoice in your glory!
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Eight
A Hymn to the Name of the LORD.
1 In the midst of the congregation they shall praise the name of the LORD, 2 for He has come to judge every action, to remove the wicked from the earth, so that the children of iniquity shall not be found.
3 The heavens shall give their dew, and there shall be no drought within their boundaries. 4 The earth shall give its fruit in its time, and its product shall not fail. 5 The fruit trees shall give of the fruit of its vineyards, and the ground shall not cheat of its produce. 6 The poor shall eat, and those who fear God shall be filled.
Psalm One-Hundred and Fifty-Nine
A Hymn to Judah.
1 Heaven and earth shall give praise together. Let all the stars of the evening twilight give praise!
2 Rejoice, Judah; rejoice! Rejoice, rejoice and be glad with gladness! 3 Celebrate your feasts, and pay your vows; for there is no wickedness in your midst. 4 Raise your hand, and fortify your right hand! 5 Behold, the enemy shall perish, and all the workers of iniquity shall be dispersed; 6 but You, O LORD, are forever, and Your glory shall be forever and ever.
Psalm One-Hundred and Sixty
A Hymn to the Creator.
1 The LORD is great and holy, the holiest for generation after generation. 2 Majesty goes before Him, and abundance of many waters comes after Him. 3 Loving-kindness and truth surround His face; truth, judgment, and righteousness are the pedestal of His throne. 4 He divides light from the unknown, and He establishes the dawn by the knowledge of His heart. 5 All His messengers sang when they saw it; for He showed them that which they had not known. 6 He crowns the mountains with fruit, with good food for all the living.
7 May the Lord of the earth be blessed, along with His power; for He establishes the world by His wisdom. 8 He stretched out the heaven by His understanding, and brought forth wind from His stores. 9 He made lightnings for the rain, and raised mist from the end of the earth.
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