The Eternal Planting, the Eden of Glory

1QHa 16.5-17.37

By: James H. Charlesworth

Introduction

Charlesworth lecturing in Qumran within the ruins, pointing to how the Qumranites built without skill and with plaster pushed in with a stick (Photo by GAM)

 The Thanksgiving Hymns are the creation of poets who became the Community of priests who left the Temple (or were cast out, as indicated by this collection); they eventually settled at Qumran. The poetry rivals, sometimes, the heights obtained by the stellar poets who bequeathed us the Psalter (the Davidic Psalms). In my judgment, the Thanksgiving Hymns are the mystical ruby in the breastplate of the Qumranic priests.

 The Arduous Task of Editing and Translating the Scroll

Translating the Thanksgiving Hymns is a labor intensive task for the following reasons:

1)      Translating Semitic poetry is the most demanding task in rendering the meaning of ancient documents within the biblical umbrella.

2)      The opening lines of all columns is lost; sometimes over 12 lines are lost. [ ] Often the bottom, left, or right of a column is truncated.

3)      The main manuscript (1QHa) was recovered in pieces; some of them are extremely small and it is impossible to ascertain where many fragments belong.

4)      The placing of some fragments into their alleged original location has been partially successful, but not without controversy.

5)      The first generation of scholars who edited the Qumran scroll used different numbers for columns; moreover, since then the lines have been renumbered due to more scientific diligence. Based on the intensive research of Professors Stegemann (regarding columns) and Emile Puech (lines of a column), we finally have a standard reference system that is also represented by Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD) 40.

6)      While we may agree that some hymns were most likely composed by the Righteous Teacher, we cannot discern all the compositions by him – and no one knows how many authors, and different contexts, may be represented by this collection of hymns or poems.

7)      The translation must be guided both by consistency in rendering terms and words (and yet with acknowledgment of the diverse contexts and authors), and by the paradigmatic influence of other texts, especially Isaiah, the Rule of the Community, and the Books of Enoch (esp. 1 En. 1-36).

8)      The translator must be sensitive to the possibility that some passages reflect a view of history from within the Community (the Yaḥad), and that frequently only this perspective can supply meaning.

9)      The authors are using metaphors that often lack clarity. Some poems may not be the author’s refined work; they sometimes seem like a draft.

10)  The writing appears intermittently without a separation of words (scriptio continua) and there is neither punctuation nor capitalization.

11)  The letters are not always clear; for example a ו should neither be confused with a י, nor a ב with a כ (even a פ or נ). In addition, some consonants have missing ink.

12)  The text is cryptic; for example, the Hebrew “what flesh to these” becomes “What (is) flesh (compared) to these (things)?”

13)  The extensive vocabulary should be admired; and nouns or verbs with multivalent meanings should be translated so that four of them in a context are not translated with the same English word; and when the author distinguishes between מה and איך, the terms should also be translated differently.

14)  One has to allow for scribal corrections and errors that remain in the manuscript.

15)  The leather is marred by many holes (lacunae) and has become darkened so that consonants become visible either only through special computer-enhanced images or not at all. All fragments are read, at least partially, for the first time, thanks to the cooperation of the specialists in the Israel Museum and research assistants who spent many hours working with me.

Recognizing all these facts or observations, and keeping a record of how words or phrases have already been translated (and with a cognizance of different contexts and authors) allow one to avoid both a meaningless string of words and a subjective alteration of an original. The present work bears some fruit from over 40 years of research, and seeks to be as rigorously scientific as time and human frailty will allow.[1]

 Translation

The psalm or poem in 1QHa 16.5-17.37 covers 73 lines; it continues from 16.5 to 17.37. It is the longest psalm in the Thanksgiving Hymns, and is replete with complex, often opaque, metaphors. Despite the lacunae (denoted below by []), it is possible to discern the meaning of the poetry. Two keys help unlock the meaning. The first is the rich biblical background that often clarifies a guess (exegesis through poetry and psalms). The second is the personal trials and sufferings of a unique personality, widely and wisely acknowledged to be the great mind (if not founder) that shaped the thoughts that defined the sectarian Community that eventually resided at Qumran.[2] Before us, in poetic form, are his reflections of the way the wicked priests, the Sons of Hasmon (Hasmoneans), punished and persecuted the leader of the Sons of Aaron, the only legitimate priests, according to biblical tradition. If the Righteous Teacher was the head of “the Sons of Zadok,” he would be a descendant of Zadok (which means “righteous”), the first high priest in Solomon’s Temple,[3] who was of the lineage of Aaron, the brother of Moses and the head of the priests (see the Damascus Document).

The wicked priests appear as “the trees of the water;” they are many and hover over the “trees of life,” the followers of the Righteous Teacher. He is the Irrigator of the eschatological garden, the glorious Eden, and the hidden fountain supplying living water that is salvific and eschatological.

The “trees of life” alone are to be the eternal planting, the “Eden of glory.” They alone have roots that reach the underground and hidden river which supplies “living water.” As most scholars have shown, the Qumranites recall history through exegesis (the Pesharim) and through poetry (esp. the Thanksgiving Hymns). The poetry evolves from the parallelismus membrorum defined by the Psalter, which was never as pure as western minds have thought; from earliest times, this Semitic poetic form seems to have appeared in neat paradigms and also in many conflicting poetic forms. As is evident in the following translation,[4] the emphasis often is given to the synonymous meaning of parallel lines.

The genre seems to be a Psalm of Lamentation. After laments, the author concludes, as often in the Davidic Psalter (e.g. Ps 22), that God is the compassionate one, and “Father to all the sons of truth.”

Most likely this poem or psalm preserves how the Righteous Teacher looked back on his sufferings.[5] Some words give the impression that he was chained in the Temple, that his arm was broken, and his tongue cut so that he could no longer withdraw it and serve as High Priest. He thus could not teach his disciples. These images are not grounded in biblical metaphors, even though many others are influenced somehow from the Hebrew Bible.

My translation allows for the “archaic” flavor of the original Hebrew and grounds all renderings within Hebrew orthography, morphology, grammar, and syntax (prefaced numbers with a * indicate the lines in a column which, in most translations, too often disrupt the flow of thought):

VACAT
5*I th[ank you, O Lo]rd, because you have placed me
as[6] the spring of streams in a dry land,
and (as) the well of water in an arid land,
and (as) the Irrigator[7] of 6*the garden and of a poo[l of water],
and (as) a field of planting of cypress and elm with cedar together[8] for your glory.[9]

The trees 7*of life[10] (are) in[11] a mysterious fountain,
hidden among all the tress of water.[12]
And they will bring forth a shoot[13] for an eternal planting,
8*by taking root before they blossom.

And their roots they send out to a strea[m].
And its stem opened to the living water.

9*And it will become an eternal spring,
for in the shoot of its leaves all the [beas]ts of the forest graze.

But its trunk is trampled on by all who pass over 10*the way.[14]
And its branches (are) for all winged birds.

And all the tr[ees] of the water exalt over it,[15]
for in their planting they flourish.
11*But they do not send a root to the stream.

And the sprout of the ho[l]y shoot (grows) to a planting of truth
(which is) hidden,
12*without esteem,
and the mystery of its seal is unknown.

And you, [O Go]d, guard its fruits
by means of the mystery of the powerful heroes,[16]
13*and the spirits of holiness,
and the turning flame of fire.[17]

Lest [a stra]nger should [enter] the fountain of life;
and with the eternal trees 14*should drink the holy water.
Lest he will yield his fruits with the planting of the clouds,
for he sees without perceiving,
15*and thinks without believing[18]
in the spring of life.

But it[19]  gives produ[ce],
the eternal blo[ssom].[20]

And I, I have become an (object of) s[c]orn (for) gushing rivers,
16*for they roll up their mud over me.

 17*But you, O my God, have put into my mouth (that which is) like the early rain[21]
for all [plantings].[22]
And (it becomes) the well of living water.[23]
And it will not fail to open.

18*The (rains from the) skies[24] will not subside.[25]
And they become a gushing torrent[26]
up[on all the trees of] the water,[27]
and to seas without end. […]

19*Suddenly (the waters) hidden in secret shall spring forth 0[…]0.
And they shall become waters of st[rife ... (being)] 20*wet and dry,
and a (sinking) depth[28] for all beast-like creatures.
And the tree[s of the water will sink] like lead in migh[ty] waters.[29]
21*With the sparks of fire they will be dried out.

But the planting of the fruit of 0[…] (is)
an eternal [s]pring for the Eden of glory
and (for) the [eternal] leafy br[anches].

22*And by my hand you have opened their spring with [their] streams
[…]dm to turn on a correct measuring line.
And the planting 23*of their trees (is) according to the sun’s plum line.
l’0[…]0nw for the leafy branch of glory.

When I lift[30] my hand to dig about[31] 24*its streams,
its roots strike through the flint stone,
and […]0w in the earth (is) their stem,
and in times of heat it retains 25*strength.

But if I withdraw (my) hand it becomes like a junip[er in the wilderness].
And its stem (is) like a stinging-weed[32] in a salty place.
And its streams 26*causes[33] thorns and thistles to grow into briars and brambles.
w0[… the trees of] its bank are changed into rotten trees.

Before 27*the heat its foliage[34] will wither;[35]
and it was not opened with the fountain of [its] ste[m].[36]
[…

And I] (am) a (temporary) abode with sicknesses.
And (my) heart is aff[licte]d 28*with afflictions.
And I am as an abandoned man in agony […]00.

There is no power for me, for my affl[ict]ion produces 29*bitterness,[37]
and an incurable pain which (cannot) be restrained [… .
And turmoil] (is) over me, as those who descend into Sheol.
And my spirit will search among 30*the dead ones,
for [my] l[ife] reached the pit […],
my soul feels weak day and night 31*without rest.

And it shot forth as a burning fire withheld in [my] b[ones] for days.[38]
Its flame consumes 32*by annihilating power for the appointed times,
and by destroying flesh until seasons.[39]

And the breakers fly over me.
33*And my soul is dissolving[40] within me[41] unto destruction,
because my strength ceases from my body.

And my heart is poured out like water.
And 34*my flesh melts like wax.
And the strength of my loins is turned to fear.

And my arm is broken from its humerus;[42]
[so it is impossib]le to lift (my) hand.

 35*And my foot is caught in a chain.
And my knees wobble[43] like water.
So it is impossible to put forth a step;
and there is no tread for the sound of my feet.

36 *And the strength of my arm is caught in chains
which cause stumbling.

And the tongue you had strengthened in my mouth is not received again.[44]
So it is impossible to raise 37*(my) voice
and to allow the disciples to hear,[45]
to give life to the spirit of those who are stumbling,
and to encourage[46] the weary one.

A speechless word (was) before my lips 38*from horrors.
In the measuring line of judgment, the tablet of my heart opens […]000 […]

They enter in the bitterness[47]of heart.
They enter in the height of the dominion of 39*Bel[ial    …]l
[…] peace w’[…                s]oul was swallowed up.[48]
40*00[…                                                                                                      ]

They were speechless as without 41*000[…
]the human with[out …]
[1QHa 17]
1*[…]0 gloominess[49] 00[…]
2*[cause] controversies [to] shine[50] in the night and in the da[y …]
3*[…]000 without mercies.
He rouses jealousy with wrath.

And for destruction [surround me] 4*the breakers of death.
And on my bed (is) Sheol.
My couch resounds with lamentation,
[(and) my mat] with the sound of a sigh.

5*My eyes (feel) like a burning-fire[51] in a furnace.
And my tears (are) like torrents of water.
My eyes fail for rest.

[Your loving kindness][52] remains motionless[53] to me 6*from a distance.[54]
And my life (waits) from (the) side.[55]

And as for me, from ruin to devastation
and from pain to affliction,
and from pangs to 7*breakers,
my soul reflects on[56] your wonders.
For you have not abandoned me with your loving kindnesses.

[From] time 8*to time my soul delights in the abundance of your mercies.
And I will reply to those who devour with a speech,
9*and (issue) a chastisement to those who appear to have dissolved me.[57]

And I will renounce it,[58] his verdict;[59]
but your judgment I will consider righteous.
Because I know 10*your truth so I choose it, my judgment.
And I accept[60] my affliction,
for I long for your loving kindnesses.[61]

And you put supplication in my mouth, your servant.
And you have not rebuked my life.
And my well-being you have not abandoned.
And you have not forsaken 12* my hope;
but before affliction you have made my spirit to stand.[62]
For you have founded my spirit and you know my plan.[63]

13*And in my troubles you have consoled me.
And in forgiveness[64] I take delight.
And I find comfort concerning the first transgression.[65]

14*And I know that there is hope in your [lov]ing kindnesses,[66]
and expectation in the abundance of your strength,
because no one is justified 15*in your ju[dg]ment,
and (no one) w[ins] your lawsuit.[67]

A human can be more justified than another,
and a man 16*can be wiser [than] his associate,[68]
and flesh (more) honored than a cr[eature’s] inclination,[69]
and (one) spirit stronger than (another) spirit;
but there is no power like 17*your might,
and for your glory (there is) no [price …
and] for your wisdom there is no measure,
and for [your] truth [there is no] concealment.[70]

18*And to everyone who is left in need of it […];
but I, [I] plac[ed my hand] in you [and in] you[r loving kindness] 19*with me,
and not hm[…  among] the men of strife […].
20*And as they plot against me t0[…]0
and if for the shame of the face al[l (is) …]0wbw 21*to me;
and you in [your] mer[cies].

My adversary [may pre]vail over me for stumbling[71] lm0[…].
22* Men of [my] wa[r (are a) sha]me of the face,
and a reproach to those who grumble against me.

23*For you, O my God, lmw[…], you will strive for my strife,
for through the mystery of your wisdom you chastised[72] me.
24*And you hide the truth until the appointed t[ime …], its season.
And your chastisement became joy and gladness to me.
25*And my afflictions became an e[ternal] healing [… for per]petuity.

And (being) an (object of) scorn for my adversaries[73] (becomes) to me a crown of glory.
And my stumbling (becomes) an eternal strength,
26*because through [your] insight [you have allowed me to know];
and through your glory my light has appeared.[74]

For light from darkness 27*you caused to shine toward agony.
And you healed my wound (from) a blow.
And my stumbling (gave) wonderful strength,
and an eternal expansion 28*for the trouble of [my] soul.

[For you, O my God, (are)] my refuge, my shelter, the rock of my strength, and my citadel.[75]
In you 29*I find protection from all suffer[ing … .
You are] for me an escape for eternity.

For from my father(‘s time) 30*you, you have known me,
and from the womb [of my mother.
And from the breasts[76]] of my mother you weaned me.
And from the breasts of her that was pregnant with me, your mercies 31*(were) over me.
And in the bosom[77] of my nurse […]h.
And from my youth you appeared to me with your insightful judgments.

32 *And in established truth you have supported me.
And in the spirit of your holiness you delighted me.
And unto today you appeared to me.

33*And your righteous chastisement (accompanies) my [w]ounds.
And the guard of your peace (provides) an escape (for) my soul.
And with my steps (is) 34*an abundance of forgiveness,
and a multitude of mercies when you enter into your judgment with me.
And unto old age you, you sustain me.

For 35*my father has not known me.
And my mother committed me to you,[78]
because you are Father to all the sons of truth.
And you rejoice 36*over them like a compassionate one over her infant.
And like a nurse-father[79] (with a child) in (his) bosom you will sustain all your creatures.[80]
37*VACAT

It should be clear that two dimensions of translating this portion of the Thankgsiving Hymns are illustrated. First, metaphors should be translated with a focus on Hebrew philology and upon historical reflections (actualities). Second, only rendering the poem or hymn with parallelismus membrorum brings lucidity to the surface. An obscure line becomes meaningful when it is compared to a preceding line with synonymous words and concepts.

Questions for Reflection

This hymn or poem seems to preserve the autobiographical reflections of the Righteous Teacher. The translation raises many questions, among the most important are the following:

1)      How can we be certain (or convinced) that the author was the Righteous Teacher?

2)      What statements seem to reflect the real experiences of a distinct person and not generic metaphors; that is, how do we discern that the author was referring to both being bound, perhaps in the Temple, and having his arm broken by a wicked priest?

3)      What evidence helps prove that the Righteous Teacher was a “Son of Aaron” who was humiliated by the “Sons of Hasmon”?

4)      What enabled the author to rise above suffering to believe he is the Irrigator of the Garden of Glory (and are capitalizations demanded)?

5)      How does the interior view of priestly discord help us understand the history of Second Temple Judaism from the Babylonian Captivity to September 70?

James H.  Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Director of the PTS Dead Sea Scrolls Project, Princeton Theological Seminary.  He is the author of The Pesharim and Qumran History:  Chaos or Consensus? Eerdmans (2002).


[1] The Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins helps support Dead Sea Scrolls research. For a full version of this paper and other information see, www.FJCO-DSS-Events.org.

[2] For bibliographical information and discussion, see J.H. Charlesworth, “An Allegorical and Autobiographical Poem by the Moreh haṣ-Ṣedeq (1QH 8:4-11),” in Sha’arei Talmon: Studies in the Bible, Qumran, and the Ancient Near East Presented to Shemaryahu Talmonu (eds. M. Fishbane and E. Tov, with W.W. Fields. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1992) pp. 295-307.  J.H. Charlesworth, “The Righteous Teacher and the Historical Jesus,” in Earthing Christologies: From Jesus’ Parables to Jesus the Parable (eds. Charlesworth and W.P. Weaver. Faith and Scholarship Colloquies. Valley Forge: Trinity Press International, 1995) pp. 46-61.

[3] Zadok was the son of Ahitub, of the line of Eleazer (2Sam 8:17; 1 Chr 24:3). He was the high priest in the time of David (2Sam 20:25) and Solomon (1Kings 4:4). He was an Aaronite.

[4] The text and translation (presented according to columns and lines) will appear in the Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project series [and reflects the cooperation with Professors Hermann Lichtenberger and Doron Mendels]. Helpful, but based on a different text and translation, is E. M. Schuller and C.A. Newsom, The Hodayot (Thanksgiving Psalms): A Study Edition of 1QHa (SBL, forthcoming).

[5] The author of Pesher Psalm 37 refers to the Righteous Teacher whom God “established to build for himself the congregation… .” The Pesher also interprets Psalm 37 to indicate that the Wicked Priest will attempt to kill the Righteous Teacher, because of his interpretation of Torah.

[6] The preposition seems to be a beth essentiae. That is, the author is as it were “the spring of streams in a dry land,” “the well of water in an arid land,” and “the irrigator of the garden.” See Of Scribes and Scrolls, pp. 67-78. In 16:17, the author states that God put “the early rain” in him. See Der Mensch vor Gott, pp. 193-210. The present poem is by the Righteous Teacher, as most scholars have concluded.

[7]  ומשקי  can be ומשה  in Qumran Hebrew.

[8] Heb. יחד which is perhaps a paronomasia for “Community,” since the Righteous Teacher, the author, is imagining the planting of the eschatological Community.

[9] See Isa 35:7. Isa 41:18-21 has deeply influenced the mind of the poet who must have memorized Isaiah 41. Note the echo of the imagery from Isaiah 41 in these sentences: “a pool of water (לאגם מים),” “the dry land (ארץ ציה),” “the cypress (ברוש),” “the elm (תדהר),” and “the cedar (תאשור).” As is well known from the Rule of the Community, the book of Isaiah also supplied the raison d’être for going into the wilderness (see not only in Isa 40:3 but also Isa 41:18 “I will make in the wilderness (במדבר).”

[10] Conceivably, the author is imagining the priests who are with the Righteous Teacher.

[11] For the concept of “in” a fountain, see 16.13; it specifies that a stranger shall not [enter] the fountain of life.

[12] Most likely, the poet is representing the wicked priests who rejected the Righteous Teacher.

[13] See Isa 11:21 and 60:21 (נצר מטעו ).

[14] This may be an oblique reference to “the Way,” the Way of Qumran. The Qumranites referred to themselves as “the Men of the Way.”

[15] Or “over him.” The letters are the same for “leaves” as for “over it (him).” Did the author or those who read this text at Qumran image a paronomasia.

[16] Or “powerful warriors.”

[17] Cf. Gen 3:24.

[18] According to the author of Pesher Habakkuk 2.7-9, the wicked priests “will not believe though it be told.”

These are the unfaithful priests who did not heed the words of the Righteous Teacher when he spoke from the mouth of God. God put wisdom into the “mouth of the priest,” the Righteous Teacher, so he could interpret all the words of his servants the prophets. All the faithful who obey the Torah will be saved by God, because of their faithfulness in the Righteous Teacher (1QpHab 8.1-3).

[19] The antecedent is not clear; but it must refer back to a masculine noun. Most likely it does not refer back to “the spring of life,” but to “the shoot” or “the sprout” mentioned in 16.11. Blossoms do not come from a “spring” but from “the sprout.”

[20] The echoing of earlier words indicates what has been deep in the mind of the poet. He has been interpreting Isaiah. He is imagining the eschatological appearance of the dream mentioned by Isaiah, that a “shoot” from the lineage of David shall blossom (Isa 11:10). The passage in Isaiah was already interpreted messianically by the time of this composition. A son of Aaron would most likely support the “Son of David” ideology against priests who had no messianic lineage. See the hope in the coming “Messiahs of Aaron and Israel” in 1QS 9.11.

[21] A likely paronomasia between “early rain” (המורה) and “teacher” (המורה); that is, the Righteous Teacher imagines himself to be like the early and gentle Autumn rain that finally brings water and life to a parched Holy Land. The passage echoes two biblical texts. One comes from Hos 10:12 (the Lord will come and “cause righteousness to rain”).  The other is from Joel 2:23 (the early rain). See Der Mensch vor Gott, pp. 193-210. I will never forget driving into the Negev in early Autumn and seeing the “desert” bloom with red flowers that covered the landscape. One week earlier the area had not one flower.

[22] See the generic use of “planting” in 16.14.

[23] See the parallel thought in 16.6.

[24] Or “the heavens.”

[25] The rain will not cease pouring from the heavens.

[26] Text: לנחל שוטף

[27] The torrent of heavenly water is from the Righteous Teacher; it will eventually wash away “the trees of the water,” the evil and illegitimate priests under the control of the Wicked Priest. The links between the Rule of the Community and the Thanksgiving Hymns are internationally affirmed.

[28] The Hebrew noun “depth” (מצולה) derives from the verb that means “to sink” (צלל).

[29] The imagery is influenced by Exod 15: Pharaoh’s chariots “sank like lead in the mighty waters” (15:10).

[30] Lit. “in the waving of my hand.” Most likely the Righteous Teacher had lifted “the wave offering” in the Temple.

[31] Or “to hoe.”

[32] From חרול, “weed.” See Prov 24:31 in which the noun is parallel to “thorns.” The plant is one of the 39 “nettles” (of the genus Urtica). The author intends to denote the stinging nature of a plant. His vocabulary is extensive. All the plants mentioned in these lines have thorns or something which stings.

[33] The Hiph. Imp. of עלה means “cause to rise.”

[34] In Hebrew the noun is in the plural and means the collective (“foliage”). In the previous lines the noun means “leaves.”

[35] The Qal. Imp. of נבל means “to weather,” “to decay.”

[36] The meaning is clear but the Hebrew syntax complex. The author seems to state that the foliage withers because it was not open to the source of life-giving water.

[37] In Heb. the noun is in the plural (“bitternesses”).

[38] Or “years.” See Ex 13:10.

[39] Or “festivals.”

[40] The verb is a Hithpal. Imp. of שׁיח; the form means “to appear to have dissolved away.”

[41] Or “upon me.”

[42] Or “from its bone of the upper arm (מקניה);” but only one English noun (humerus) best represents one Hebrew noun ( קנה also supplies the familiar “measuring reed” which supplies the much later “canon”). See 15.5 and its note.

[43] Lit. “to walk.” See 12.34.

[44] Not lit. “be taken away.” The verb is the Niph. Pf. of אסף which means literally “to be gathered,” or “received again.” The terms here seem grounded in some real horrible experience and are not simply metaphors. Was the tongue of the Righteous Teacher cut off so he could no longer speak? Recall that according to 1Mac 14, after the ascension of Simon the Hasmonean, no priest could teach or gather a group of priests for instruction in the Temple.[]

[45] According to CD 20.28 and 32, rewards are given only to the disciples who “listen to the voice of the Righteous Teacher” (CD 20:28, 32).

[46] An Aramaism in the Hebrew text. עות in Aramaic equals עוש in Hebrew and means “to help.”

[47] In Heb. the noun is in the plural.

[48] According to the Pesher Habbakuk 11.4-8, the Wicked Priest sought to “swallow up” the Righteous Teacher and make him and his followers “stumble” on their feast day, the Day of Atonement.

[49] Heb. אפלה . See Joel 2:2 in which “darkness”(חשך) and “gloominess” (אפלה) are present.

[50] Or “to appear.”

[51] The text has “like a moth.” But the orthography is a Qumran way of writing “like a burning fire.” The author intends to indicate “burning red eyes.”

[52] The suggested reconstruction of ישע, “salvation,” is unlikely since the noun appears only in 10.25 and 11.27; thus it is too far from this context. The author longs for something.  חסד, “loving kindness” appears frequently in 1QHa; see esp. 17.7, 10, 14, and 31 (the noun appears only in the plural but that does not undermine the reconstruction of a singular noun which is demanded by the accompanying verb). In 17.10, the author expresses a longing for God’s loving kindness.  In 17.14, he hopes for loving kindness. The singular “loving kindness” appears in 5.16, 10.27, 15.21, and 28.18.

[53] Heb. עמד, lit. “to stand in position.”

[54] The meaning is most likely “a distance” in time. The text is eschatological.

[55] The Hebrew is not clear, and the noun means “side of.” There is no following noun. Perhaps the author intended to mean “I am (waiting) from the side.”

[56]The verb is a Pi. Imp. of שׂיח; the form means “to concern oneself with,” “to ponder in oneself.”

[57]The verb is from שׁיח. The form appears to be a Hithpal. Part. with a preposition (ל) and a י inserted to indicate a long vowel.

[58]Notice the anticipatory pronoun and the subsequent qualification. Does such a style indicate a distinct author?

[59]Heb. דין indicates a legal decision or judgment.

[60]Lit. “be well disposed with.” The author claims to appreciate his suffering because it has “fruits.”

[61]Note that the author feels he is not now experiencing God’s loving kindness as he had earlier. See the reconstruction in 17.5.

[62]See 17.5.

[63] The Heb. זמם has many meanings: “infamies,” and “plot” (when it is negative) and “plan” (when it is positive).

[64]In Heb. the noun is a plural.

[65]The author most likely refers to the “first transgression” by Adam; thus, he lives in the eschatological hope that the “Eden of glory” (16.21) is now being planted through him, its irrigator.

[66]The author hopes for what he remembers enjoying, the full presence of God’s loving kindnesses.

[67]The Heb. means “strife” or “dispute.”

[68]The Heb. that is translated “associate” means one who in association with another esp. one who is in the same community.

[69]Heb. יצר.

[70]The consonants are difficult to see on the leather; perhaps a Qal. Pt. of חשׁה, “to be silent,” or “to conceal.”

[71]The adversary causes the poet to stumble.

[72]Or “reproof.”

[73] The Heb. plural and singular are identical in unpointed texts; hence, possibly “my adversary.”

[74]Or “shine.”

[75]See Ps 18:3, “The LORD is my rock and my citadel and my deliverer; … my shelter.”

[76]The suggested restoration בטן, “belly,” is a noun that does not appear in 1QHa and is thus not likely. The following verb, “wean,” suggests the restoration “breasts.” The noun appears soon after the restoration; the author is fond of developing concepts by repeating words.

[77]The noun denotes the upper part of the male or female human body. It signifies where loved ones, especially infants or little children, are held.

[78]The passage does not mean the mother of the author (a priest) abandoned him (as in some translations). The statement seems to imply that the author’s mother left him in God’s house, the Temple, to be a priest. See Ps 10:14 in which the same expression is found (עליך יעזב); it means “commits to you,” (the Lord). Our text echoes the famous story in 1Sam 1:23-28 in which Hannah, Samuel’s mother, after “weaning” him, “commits” or places him on permanent loan in “the house of the Lord” (1Sam 1:24). Note also that the Hebrew verb for “weaning” (גמל) appears in our text [see 17.30] and three times in 1Sam 1:23-24.

[79]See Odes of Solomon 19 in which “the Father” is portrayed with female breasts producing milk.  []

[80]Not “works.”

~~~

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One thought on “The Eternal Planting, the Eden of Glory

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