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Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, June 19, 2009

Marvelolus Finding among the Judean Desert Documents -- Foreshadowing of HaTiqvah

UPDATING 6-27-2009 see below

One of the amazing discoveries recently made public about the texts in the Judean Desert Dcouments, which include the Dead Sea Scrolls and other texts, is an ancient psalm not included in the Biblical book of Psalms. It is a hymn of praise and longing for the city of Jerusalem. This little known supplementary psalm, was discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea above the ancient place now called Qumran. In fact a dozen or more hitherto unknown psalms have been discovered in the hoards of texts from the Judean Desert. The psalm in question was found in a manuscript with other psalms and contains a line hauntingly reminiscent of a line in HaTiqvah [The Hope], Israel's national anthem.

Whereas HaTiqvah was written by the Hebrew poet, Naftali Hertz Imber about 1880, the newly found ancient psalm is about 2000 years old, and unlikely to have been written after the year 70 CE, when the Temple was destroyed. That is because the documents found in caves near the Dead Sea were most likely brought there for safekeeping from libariries in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel, what the Romans then called the Province of Judea [Provincia IVDAEA], at the time of the Roman siege of the Holy City in the year 70.

Here are the first two stanzas of HaTiqvah [as sung in the Israeli national anthem, somewhat revised from Imber's original], first in Hebrew, then the accompanying translation in English. The line resembling the ancient poem's line is . After HaTiqvah will come the some lines from the ancient psalm.

כל עוד בלבב פנימה
נפש יהודי הומיה,
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה
עין לציון צופיה -

עוד לא אבדה תקותנו,
התקוה בת שנות אלפים,
להיות עם חופשי בארצנו
ארץ ציון וירושלים.

As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And towards the East,
An eye looks to Zion.

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

The newly found ancient psalm contains the lines:
אזכורך לברכה ציון
בכל מודי [= מאודי] אהבתיך
ברוך לעולם זכרך
גדולה תקותך ציון
ושלום ותוחלת ישועתך לבוא
דור ודור ידורו בך
. . .
המתאווים ליום ישעך

I will remember you for a blessing, O Zion
With all my might I loved you
Blessed forever is your memory
Great is your hope, O Zion
And peace and hope are your salvation to come
Generation after generation will dwell within you.
. . . [missing text]
Who are eager for the day of your redemption

Now comes the most similar line:

לוא תובד [= תאבד] תקוותך ציון
ולוא תשכח תוחלתך

This last line --appearing as two lines here-- is to be translated:

Your hope will not be lost, O Zion,
And your esperance will not be forgotten.

A remarkable resemblance stretching over 2000 years. The resemblance is to the line in boldface in the quote from HaTiqvah.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
UPDATING 6-27-2009
There was a spelling mistake in the Hebrew source that I used for the new psalm. This led to a mistaken translation on my part, which I regret. I have since seen the correct version of the Hebrew original in another source. The mistake appeared in the sixth line of my arrangement of the lines of the new psalm. The new, corrected translation is in italics on line 6. The Hebrew original has also been corrected. J A Sanders calls this psalm "Apostrophe to Zion."
It seems that this and other new psalms discovered in the Judean Desert have been published and translated in
J A Sanders, The Psalms Scroll of Qumran, Cave 11 (11QPsa), Oxford 1965
J A Sanders, The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll. Ithaca, NY 1967
Y Yadin in Textus 5 (1966), pp 1-10.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

According to the Israeli newspaper, Maqor Rishon [6-19-2009], researchers call the scroll in which the new found old psalm was found 11Q5. Note not only the similarity in wording between the two lines indicated but the resemblance in themes too. Hope, love and longing for Zion, the City of Jerusalem run as themes through both poems, HaTiqvah and the new-old psalm. Readers of Hebrew will also notice the "loose" spelling found in the old psalm. There was a time, it seems, when people did not pay much attention to spelling or grammar generally.

The author of HaTiqvah, Naftali Hertz [or Naphtali Herz] Imber was a Hebrew poet born in the Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, and came to Israel where he lived for about five years. For part of that time he worked as a private secretary, especially for Hebrew language matters, to Laurence Oliphant, a British explorer and writer.

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  • psalms here!!

    seek; yeshua and the psalms, michal and the psalms

    By Anonymous rabbi lars, at 4:15 PM  

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