8 - The Hymns

The Hymns Scroll was published by E.L. Sukenik in 1954-5 (The Dead Sea Scrolls of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem). It has suffered a good deal of deterioration and the translator has difficulty, not only in making sense of the poems, but also in determining where one ends and the other begins.

I have counted twenty-five compositions similar to the biblical Psalms. They are all hymns of thanksgiving, individual prayers as opposed to those intended for communal worship, expressing a rich variety of spiritual and doctrinal detail. But the two fundamental themes running through the whole collection are those of salvation and knowledge. The sectary thanks God continually for having been saved from the ' lot' of the wicked, and for his gift of insight into the divine mysteries. He, a 'creature of clay', has been singled out by his Maker to receive favours of which he feels himself unworthy and he alludes again and again to his frailty and total dependence on God.

Whereas some of the Hymns give expression to thoughts and sentiments common to all the members of the sect, others, particularly nos. 1,2, and 7-11, appear to refer to the experiences of a teacher abandoned by his friends and persecuted by his enemies. Several scholars tend to ascribe the authorship of these to the Teacher of Righteousness, and even consider that he may be responsible for all the Hymns. But although this hypothesis is not improbable, no sure conclusion can yet be reached.

Nor are we in a position to date any particular composition. The most we can say is that the collection as such probably attained its final shape during the last century of the sect's history.

Philo's account of the banquet celebrated by the contemplative Essenes, or Therapeutae, on the Feast of Pentecost may indicate the use to which the Hymns were put. He reports that when the President of the meeting had ended his commentary on the Scriptures, he rose and chanted a hymn, either one of his own making or an old one, and after him each of his brethren did likewise (The Contemplative Life, § 80). Similarly, it is probable that the psalms of this Scroll were recited by the Guardian and newly initiated members at the Feast of the Renewal of the Covenant. Hymn 21 expressly refers to the oath of the Covenant, and Hymn 22 appears to be a poetic commentary on the liturgy of the entry into the Community. Indeed, the relative poverty of principal themes may be due to the fact that all this poetry was intended for a special occasion and its inspirational scope thereby limited.


<<I>> ...

Thou art long-suffering in Thy judgements
and righteous in all Thy deeds.

By Thy wisdom [all things exist from] eternity,
and before creating them Thou knew their works
for ever and ever.

[Nothing] is done [without Thee]
and nothing is known unless Thou desire it.

Thou hast created all the spirits
[and. hast established a statute] and law
for all their works.

Thou hast spread the heavens for Thy glory
and hast [appointed] all [their hosts]
according to Thy will;

the mighty winds according to their laws
before they became angels [of holiness]
... and eternal spirits in their dominions;

the heavenly lights to their mysteries,
the stars to their paths,
[the clouds] to their tasks,
the thunderbolts and lightning's to their duty,
and the perfect treasuries (of snow and hail)
to their purposes,
... to their mysteries.

Thou hast created the earth by Thy power
and the seas and deeps [by Thy might].

Thou hast' fashioned [all] their [inhabi]tants
according to Thy wisdom,
and hast appointed all that is in them
according to Thy will.

[And] to the spirit of man
which Thou hast formed in the world,
[Thou hast given dominion over the works of Thy hands]
for everlasting days and unending generations.
... in their ages
Thou hast allotted to them tasks
during all their generations,
and judgement in their appointed seasons
according to the rule [of the two spirits.
For Thou hast established their ways]
for ever and ever,
[and hast ordained from eternity]
their Visitation for reward and chastisements;
Thou hast allotted it to all their seed
for eternal generations and everlasting years ...
In the wisdom of Thy knowledge
Thou didst establish their destiny before ever they were.
All things [exist] according to [Thy will]
and without Thee nothing is done.

These things I know
by the wisdom which comes from Thee,
for Thou hast unstopped my ears
to marvellous mysteries.

And yet I, a shape of clay
kneaded in water,
a ground of shame
and a source of pollution,
a melting-pot of wickedness
and an edifice of sin,
a straying and perverted spirit
of no understanding,
fearful of righteous judgements,
what can I say that is not foreknown,
and what can I utter that is not foretold?

All things are graven before Thee
on a written Reminder
for everlasting ages,
and for the numbered cycles
of the eternal years
in all their seasons;
they are not hidden or absent from Thee.

What shall a man say
concerning his sin?
And how shall he plead
concerning his iniquities?
And how shall he reply
to righteous judgement?
For Thine, O God of knowledge,
are all righteous deeds
and the counsel of truth;
but to the sons of men is the work of iniquity
and deeds of deceit.

It is Thou who hast created breath for the tongue
and Thou knowest its words;
Thou didst establish the fruit of the lips
before ever they were.
Thou laid words on a measuring-line
and the flow of breath from the lips on a rule.
Thou bring forth sounds
according to their mysteries,
and the flow of breath from the lips
according to its reckoning,
that they may tell of Thy glory
and recount Thy wonders
in all Thy works of truth
and [in all Thy] righteous [judgements];
and that Thy Name may be praised
by the mouth of all men,
and that they may know Thee
according to their understanding
and bless Thee for ever.

By Thy mercies and by Thy great goodness,
Thou hast strengthened the spirit of man
in the face of the scourge,
and hast purified [the erring spirit]
of a multitude of sins,
that it may declare Thy marvels
in the presence of all Thy creatures.
[I will declare to the assembly of the simple]
the judgements by which I was scourged,
and to the sons of men, all Thy wonders
by which Thou hast shown Thyself mighty [in me
in the presence of the sons of Adam].

Hear, O you wise men, and meditate on knowledge;
O you fearful, be steadfast!
Increase in prudence, [O all you simple];
O just men, put away iniquity!
Hold fast [to the Covenant],
O all you perfect of way;
[O all you afflicted with] misery,
be patient and despise no righteous judgement!


[but the foo]lish of heart
shall not comprehend these things.



.... Upon my [uncircumcised] lips
Thou hast laid a reply.
Thou hast upheld my soul,
strengthening my loins and restoring my power;
my foot has stood in the realm of ungodliness.

I have been a snare to those who rebel,
but healing to those of them who repent,
prudence to the simple,
and steadfastness to the fearful of heart.

To traitors Thou hast made of me
a mockery and scorn,
but a counsel of truth and understanding
to the upright of way.

I have been iniquity for the wicked,
ill-repute on the lips of the fierce,
the scoffers have gnashed their teeth.

I have been a byword to traitors,
the assembly of the wicked has raged against me;
they have roared like turbulent seas
and their towering waves have spat out mud and slime.

But to the elect of righteousness
Thou hast made me a banner,

and a discerning interpreter of wonderful mysteries, to try [those who practise] truth and to test those who love correction.

To the interpreters of error I have been an opponent,
[but a man of peace] to all those who see truth.

To all those who seek smooth things
I have been a spirit of zeal;
like the sound of the roaring of many waters
so have [all] the deceivers thundered against me;
[all] their thoughts were devilish [schemings].

They have cast towards the Pit the life of the man
whose mouth Thou hast confirmed,
and into whose heart
Thou hast put teaching and understanding,
that he might open a fountain of knowledge
to all men of insight.

They exchanged them for lips of uncircumcision,
and for the foreign tongue
of a people without understanding,
that they might come to ruin in their straying.


I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou hast placed my soul
in the bundle of the living,
and hast hedged me about
against all the snares of the Pit.

Violent men have sought after my life
because I have clung to Thy Covenant.
For they, an assembly of deceit,
and a horde of Satan,
know not that my stand
is maintained by Thee,
and that in Thy mercy Thou wilt save my soul
since my steps proceed from Thee.
From Thee it is
that they assail my life,
that Thou may be glorified
by the judgement of the wicked,
and manifest Thy might through me
in the presence of the sons of men;
for it is by Thy mercy that I stand.

And I said, Mighty men
have pitched their camps against me,
and have encompassed me
with all their weapons of war.
They have let fly arrows
against which there is no cure,
and the flame of (their) javelins
is like a consuming fire among trees.
The clamour of their shouting
is like the bellowing of many waters,
like a storm of destruction
devouring a multitude of men;
as their waves rear up,
Naught and Vanity spout upward to the stars.

But although my heart melted like water,
my soul held fast to Thy Covenant,
and the net which they spread for me
has taken their own foot;
they have themselves fallen
into the snares which they laid for my life.
But my foot remains upon level ground;
apart from their assembly I will bless Thy Name.


I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou hast [fastened] Your eye upon me.
Thou hast saved me from the zeal
of lying interpreters,
and from the congregation of those
who seek smooth things.

Thou hast redeemed the soul of the poor one
whom they planned to destroy
by spilling his blood because he served Thee.

Because [they knew not]
that my steps were directed by Thee,
they made me an object of shame and derision
in the mouth of all the seekers of falsehood.

But Thou, O my God, hast succoured
the soul of the poor and the needy
against one stronger than he;
Thou hast redeemed my soul
from the hand of the mighty.

Thou hast not permitted their insults to dismay me
so that I forsook Thy service
for fear of the wickedness of the [ungodly],
or bartered my steadfast heart for folly



<<III>> ...

They caused [me] to be like a ship on the deeps of the [sea],
and like a fortified city before [the aggressor],
[and] like a woman in travail with her first-born child,
upon whose belly pangs have come and grievous pains,
filling with anguish her child-bearing crucible.

For the children have come to the throes of Death,
and she labours in her pains who bears the Man.

For amid the throes of Death she shall bring forth a man-child,
and amid the pains of Hell
there shall spring from her child-bearing
crucible a Marvellous Mighty Counselor;
and the Man shall be delivered from out of the throes.

When he is conceived all wombs shall quicken,
and the time of their delivery shall be in grievous pains;
they shall be appalled who are with child.

And when he is brought forth
every pang shall come upon the child-bearing crucible.

And they, the conceivers of Vanity,
shall be prey to terrible anguish;
the wombs of the Pit shall be prey to all the works of horror.

The foundations of the wall
shall rock like a ship upon the face of the waters;
the heavens shall roar with a noise of roaring,
and those who dwell in the dust
as well as those who sail the seas
shall be appalled by the roaring of the waters.

All their wise men shall be like sailors on the deeps,
for all their wisdom shall be swallowed up
in the midst of the howling seas.

As the Abysses boil above the fountains of the waters,
the towering waves and billows shall rage
with the voice of their roaring;
and as they rage,
[Hell and Abaddon] shall open
[and all] the flying arrows of the Pit
shall send out their voice to the Abyss.

And the gates [of Hell] shall open
[on all] the works of Vanity;
and the doors of the Pit shall close
on the conceivers of wickedness;
and the everlasting bars shall be bolted
on all the spirits of Naught.


I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou hast redeemed my soul from the Pit,
and from the Hell of Abaddon
Thou hast raised me up to everlasting height.

I walk on limitless level ground,
and I know there is hope for him
whom Thou hast shaped from dust for the everlasting Council.

Thou hast cleansed a perverse spirit of great sin
that it may stand with the host of the Holy Ones,
and that it may enter into community
with the congregation of the Sons of Heaven.

Thou hast allotted to man
an everlasting destiny amidst the spirits of knowledge,
that he may praise Thy Name
in a common rejoicing
and recount Thy marvels before all Thy works.

And yet I, a creature of clay, what am I?
Kneaded with water, what is my worth and my might?

For I have stood in the realm of wickedness
and my lot was with the damned;
the soul of the poor one was carried away
in the midst of great tribulation.

Miseries of torment dogged my steps
while all the snares of the Pit were opened
and the lures of wickedness were set up
and the nets of the damned (were spread) on the waters;
while all the arrows of the Pit flew out without cease,
and striking, left no hope;
while the rope beat down in judgement
and a destiny of wrath (fell) upon the abandoned
and a venting of fury upon the cunning.

It was a time of the wrath of all Satan
and the bonds of death tightened without any escape.

The torrents of Satan shall reach to all sides of the world.

In all their channels a consuming fire
shall destroy every tree, green and barren, on their banks;
unto the end of their courses
it shall scourge with flames of fire,
and shall consume the foundations of the earth
and the expanse of dry land.

The bases of the mountains shall blaze
and the roots of the rocks shall turn to torrents of pitch;
it shall devour as far as the great Abyss.

The torrents of Satan shall break into Abaddon,
and the deeps of the Abyss shall groan amid the roar of heaving mud.

The land shall cry out
because of the calamity fallen upon the world,
and all its deeps shall howl.

And all those upon it shall rave
and shall perish amid the great misfortune.

For God shall sound His mighty voice,
and His holy abode shall thunder with the truth of His glory.

The heavenly hosts shall cry out
and the world's foundations shall stagger and sway.

The war of the heavenly warriors
shall scourge the earth;
and it shall not end
before the appointed destruction
which shall be for ever and without compare.


I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou art as a fortified wall to me,
and as an iron bar against all destroyers


Thou hast set my feet upon rock ...
that I may walk in the way of eternity
and in the paths which Thou hast chosen


<<IV>> ...

I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou hast illumined my face by Thy Covenant.


I seek Thee,
and sure as the dawn
Thou appear as [perfect Light] to me.

Teachers of lies [have smoothed] Thy people [with words],
and [false prophets] have led them astray;
they perish without understanding
for their works are in folly.

For I am despised by them
and they have no esteem for me
that Thou may manifest Thy might through me.

They have banished me from my land
like a bird from its nest;
all my friends and brethren
are driven far from me
and hold me for a broken vessel.

And they, teachers of lies and seers of falsehood,
have schemed against me a devilish scheme,
to exchange the Law engraved on my heart by Thee
for the smooth things (which they speak) to Thy people.

And they withhold from the thirsty the drink of Knowledge,
and assuage their thirst with Vinegar,
that they may gaze on their straying,
on their folly concerning their feast-days,
on their fall into their snares.

But Thou, O God, dost despise all Satan's designs;
it is Thy purpose that shall be done
and the design of Thy heart
that shall be established for ever..

As for them, they dissemble,
they plan devilish schemes.

They seek Thee with a double heart
and are not confirmed in Thy truth.

A root bearing poisoned and bitter fruit is in their designs;
they walk in stubbornness of heart and seek Thee among idols,
and they set before them the stumbling-block of their sin.

They come to inquire of Thee
from the mouth of lying prophets
deceived by error who speak [with strange] lips to Thy people,
and an alien tongue,
that they may cunningly turn all their works to folly.

For [they hearken] not [to] Thy [voice],
nor do they give ear to Thy word;
of the Vision of Knowledge they say, 'It is unsure',
and of the way of Thy heart, 'It is not (the way)'.

But Thou, O God, wilt reply to them,
chastising them in Thy might because of their idols
and because of the multitude of their sins,
that they who have turned aside from Thy Covenant
may be caught in their own designs.

Thou wilt destroy in judgement all men of lies,
and there shall be no more seers of error;
for in Thy works is no folly,
no guile in the design of Thy heart.

But those who please Thee shall stand before Thee for ever;
those who walk in the way of Thy heart shall be established for evermore.

Clinging to Thee, I will stand.

I will rise against those who despise me
and my hand shall be turned against those who deride me;
for they have no esteem for me [that Thou may] manifest Thy might through me.

Thou hast revealed Thyself to me in Thy power as perfect Light,
and Thou hast not covered my face with shame.

All those who are gathered in Thy Covenant inquire of me,
and they hearken to me who walk in the way of Thy heart,
who array themselves for Thee in the Council of the holy.

Thou wilt cause their law to endure for ever
and truth to go forward unhindered,
and Thou wilt not allow them to be led astray
by the hand of the damned when they plot against them.

Thou wilt put the fear of them
into Thy people and (wilt make of them)
a hammer to all the peoples of the lands,
that at the judgement
they may cut off all those who transgress Thy word.

Through me Thou hast illumined the face of the Congregation
and hast shown Your infinite power.

For Thou hast given me knowledge
through Thy marvellous mysteries,
and hast shown Thyself mighty within me
in the midst of Thy marvellous Council.

Thou hast done wonders before the Congregation
for the sake of Thy glory,
that they may make known
Thy mighty deeds to all the living.

But what is flesh (to be worthy) of this?

What is a creature of clay
for such great marvels to be done,
whereas he is in iniquity from the womb
and in guilty unfaithfulness until his old age?

Righteousness, I know, is not of man,
nor is perfection of way of the son of man:
to the Most High God belong all righteous deeds.

The way of man is not established
except by the spirit which God
created for him to make perfect a way for the children of men,
that all His creatures might know the might of His power,
and the abundance of His mercies towards all the sons of His grace.

As for me, shaking and trembling seize me
and all my bones are broken;
my heart dissolves like wax before fire
and my knees are like water pouring down a steep place.

For I remember my sins
and the unfaithfulness of my fathers.

When the wicked rose against thy Covenant
and the damned against Thy word,

I said in my sinfulness,
'I am forsaken by Thy Covenant.'

But calling to mind the might of Thy hand
and the greatness of Thy compassion,
I rose and stood,
and my spirit was established in face of the scourge.

I lean on Thy grace and on the multitude of Thy mercies,
for Thou wilt pardon iniquity,
and through Thy righteousness [Thou wilt purify man] of his sin.

Not for his sake wilt Thou do it, [but for the sake of Thy glory].
For Thou hast created the just and the wicked

... <<V>> ...


I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou hast not abandoned me
whilst I sojourned among a people [burdened with sin].

[Thou hast not] judged me according to my guilt,
nor hast Thou abandoned me
because of the designs of my inclination;
but Thou hast saved my life from the Pit.

Thou hast brought [Thy servant deliverance]
in the midst of lions destined to the guilty,
and of lionesses which crush the bones of the mighty
and drink the blood of the brave.

Thou hast caused me to dwell with the many fishers
who spread a net upon the face of the waters,
and with the hunters of the children of iniquity;
Thou hast established me there for justice.

Thou hast confirmed the counsel of truth in my heart
and the waters of the Covenant for those who seek it.

Thou hast closed up the mouth of the young lions
whose teeth are like a sword,
and whose great teeth are like a pointed spear,
like the venom of dragons.

All their design is for robbery
and they have lain in wait;
but they have not opened their mouth against me.

For Thou, O God, hast sheltered me from the children of men,
and hast hidden Thy Law [within me]
against the time when Thou should reveal Thy salvation to me.

For Thou hast not forsaken me in my soul's distress,
and Thou hast heard my cry in the bitterness of my soul;
and when I groaned,
Thou didst consider my sorrowful complaint.

Thou hast preserved the soul
of the poor one in the den of lions
which sharpened their tongue like a sword.

Thou hast closed up their teeth,
O God, lest they rend the soul of the poor and needy.

Thou hast made their tongue go back like a sword
to its scabbard [lest] the soul of Thy servant [be blotted out].

Thou hast dealt wondrously with the poor one
to manifest Thy might within me
in the presence of the sons of men.

Thou hast placed him in the melting-pot,
[like gold] in the fire,
and like silver refined in the melting-pot of the smelters,
to be purified seven times.

The wicked and fierce have stormed against me
with their afflictions; they have pounded my soul all day.

But Thou, O my God,
hast changed the tempest to a breeze;
Thou hast delivered the soul of the poor one
like [a bird from the net and like] prey from the mouth of lions.


I thank Thee (corrected: Blessed art Thou) O Lord,
for Thou hast not abandoned the fatherless
or despised the poor.

For Thy might [is boundless]
and Thy glory beyond measure
and wonderful Heroes minister to Thee;
yet [hast Thou done marvels] among the humble
in the mire underfoot,
and among those eager for righteousness,
causing all the well-loved poor
to rise up together from the trampling.

But I have been [iniquity to] those who contend with me,
dispute and quarrelling to my friends,
wrath to the members of my Covenant
and murmuring and protest to all my companions.

[All who have ea]ten my bread
have lifted their heel against me,
and all those joined to my Council
have mocked me with wicked lips.

The members of my [Covenant] have rebelled
and have murmured round about me;
they have gone as talebearers
before the children of mischief
concerning the mystery which Thou hast hidden in me.

And to show Thy great[ness] through me,
and because of their guilt,
Thou hast hidden the fountain of understanding
and the counsel of truth.

They consider but the mischief of their heart;
[with] devilish [schemings] they unsheath a perfidious tongue
from which ever springs the poison of dragons.

And like (serpents) which creep in the dust,
so do they let fly [their poisonous darts],
Vipers' [venom] impossible to charm;
and this has brought incurable pain,
a malignant scourge within the body of Thy servant,
causing [his spirit] to faint
and draining his strength so that he maintains no firm stand.

They have overtaken me in a narrow pass
without escape and there is no [rest for me in my trial].

They sound my censure upon a harp
and their murmuring and storming upon a zither.

Anguish [and sufferings seize me]
like the pangs of a woman in travail,
and my heart is troubled within me.

I am clothed in blackness
and my tongue cleaves to the roof [of my mouth];
[for I fear the mischief of] their heart
and their inclination (towards evil) appears as bitterness before me.

The light of my face is dimmed to darkness
and my radiance is turned to decay.

For Thou, O God, didst widen my heart,
but they straiten it with affliction
and hedge me about with darkness.

I eat the bread of wailing and drink unceasing tears;
truly, my eyes are dimmed by grief, and my soul by daily bitterness.

[Groaning] and sorrow encompass me
and ignominy covers my face.

My bread is turned into an adversary
and my drink into an accuser;
it has entered into my bones
causing my spirit to stagger and my strength to fail.

According to the mysteries of sin,
they change the works of God by their transgression.

Truly, I am bound with untearable ropes
and with unbreakable chains.

A thick wall [fences me in],
iron bars and gates [of bronze];
my [prison] is counted with the Abyss
as being without [any escape]
[The torrents of Satan] have encompassed my soul
[leaving me without deliverance]


<<VI>> ...

Thou hast unstopped my ears
[to the correction] of those who reprove with justice


[Thou hast saved me] from the congregation of iniquity
and from the assembly of Violence;
Thou hast brought me into the Council of ...
[and hast purified me of] sin.

And I know there is hope for those who turn from transgression
and for those who abandon sin
and to walk without wickedness in the way of Thy heart.

I am consoled for the roaring of the peoples,
and for the tumult of k[ing]doms when they assemble;
[for] in a little while, I know,
Thou wilt raise up survivors among Thy people
and a remnant within Your inheritance.

Thou wilt purify and cleanse them of their sin
for all their deeds are in Thy truth.

Thou wilt judge them in Thy great loving kindness
and in the multitude of Thy mercies
and in the abundance of Thy pardon, t
eaching them according to Thy word;
and Thou wilt establish them in Thy Council
according to the uprightness of Thy truth.

Thou wilt do these things for Thy glory
and for Your own sake,
to [magnify] the Law and [the truth and to enlighten]
the members of Thy Council in the midst of the sons of men,
that they may recount Thy marvels for everlasting generations
and [meditate] unceasingly upon Thy mighty deeds.

All the nations shall acknowledge Thy truth,
and all the peoples Thy glory.

For Thou wilt bring Thy glorious [salvation]
to all the men of Thy Council,
to those who share a common lot with the Angels of the Face.

And among them shall be no mediator to [invoke Thee],
and no messenger [to make] reply;

for ...

They shall reply according to Thy glorious word
and shall be Thy princes in the company [of the Angels].

They shall send out a bud [for ever]
like a flower [of the fields],
and shall cause a shoot to grow into the boughs of an everlasting Planting.

It shall cover the whole [earth]
with its shadow [and its crown] (shall reach) to the [clouds];
its roots (shall go down) to the Abyss
[and all the rivers of Eden shall water its branches].

A source of light shall become an eternal ever-flowing fountain,
and in its bright flames all the [sons of iniquity] shall be consumed;
[it shall be] a fire to devour all sinful men in utter destruction.

They who bore the yoke of my testimony
have been led astray [by teachers of lies],
[and have rebelled] against the service of righteousness.

Whereas Thou, O my God, didst command them to mend their ways
[by walking] in the way of [holiness]
where no man goes who is uncircumcised or unclean or Violent,
they have staggered aside from the way of Thy heart
and languish in [great] wretchedness.

A counsel of Satan is in their heart
[and in accordance with] their wicked design they wallow in sin.

[I am] as a sailor in a ship
amid furious seas;
their waves and all their billows roar against me.

[There is no] calm in the whirlwind that I may restore my soul,
no path that I may straighten my way on the face of the waters.

The deeps resound to my groaning
and [my soul has journeyed] to the gates of death.

But I shall be as one who enters a fortified city,
as one who seeks refuge behind a high wall until deliverances (comes);
I will [lean on] Thy truth, O my God.

For Thou wilt set the foundation on rock
and the framework by the measuring-cord of justice;
and the tried stones [Thou wilt lay] by the plumb-line [of truth],
to [build] a mighty [wall] which shall not sway;
and no man entering there shall stagger.

For no enemy shall ever invade
[it since its doors shall be]
doors of protection through which no man shall pass;
and its bars shall be firm and no man shall break them.

No rabble shall enter in with their weapons of war
until all the [arrows] of the war of wickedness have come to an end.

And then at the time of judgement,
the Sword of God shall hasten,
and all the sons of His truth shall awake to [overthrow] wickedness;
all the sons of iniquity shall be no more.

The Hero shall bend his bow;
the fortress shall open on to endless space
and the everlasting gates shall send out weapons of war.

They shall be mighty from end to end [of the earth
and there shall be no escape] for the guilty of heart [in their battle];
they shall be utterly trampled down
without any [remnant There shall be no] hope in the greatness [of their might],
no refuge for the mighty warriors;
for [the battle shall be] to the Most High God
Hoist a banner, O you who lie in the dust!

O bodies gnawed by worms,
raise up an ensign for [the destruction of wickedness]!

[The sinful shall] be destroyed in the battles against the ungodly.

The scourging flood when it advances shall not invade the stronghold


... As for me, I am dumb ...

[my arm] is torn from its shoulder
and my foot has sunk into the mire.

My eyes are closed by the spectacle of evil,
and my ears by the crying of blood.

My heart is dismayed by the mischievous design,
for Satan is manifest in their (evil) inclination.

All the foundations of my edifice totter
and my bones are pulled out of joint;
my bowels heave like a ship in a Violent tempest
and my heart is utterly distressed.

A whirlwind engulfs me because of the mischief of their sin.


I thank Thee, O Lord,
for Thou hast upheld me by Thy strength.

Thou hast shed Thy Holy Spirit upon me
that I may not stumble.

Thou hast strengthened me
before the battles of wickedness,
and during all their disasters
Thou hast not permitted
that fear should cause me to desert Thy Covenant.

Thou hast made me like a strong tower,
a high wall, and hast established my edifice upon rock;
eternal foundations serve for my ground,
and all my ramparts are a tried wall which shall not sway.

Thou hast placed me, O my God,
among the branches of the Council of Holiness;
Thou hast [established my mouth] in Thy Covenant,
whereas the spirit of disaster is without a mouth
and all the sons of iniquity without a reply;
for the lying lips shall be dumb.

For Thou wilt condemn in judgement all those who assail me,
distinguishing through me between the just and the wicked.

For Thou knowest the whole intent of a creature,
Thou discern every reply,
and Thou hast established my heart
[on] Thy teaching and truth,
directing my steps into the paths of righteousness
that I may walk before Thee in the land [of the living],
into paths of glory and [infinite] peace which shall [never] end.

For thou knowest the inclination of Thy servant,
that I have not relied [upon the works of my hands to raise up [my heart],
nor have I sought refuge in my own strength.

I have no fleshly refuge,
[and Thy servant has] no righteous deeds
to deliver him from the [Pit of no] forgiveness.

But I lean on the [abundance of Thy mercies]
and hope [for the greatness] of Thy grace,
that Thou wilt bring [salvation] to flower
and the branch to growth,
providing refuge in (Thy) strength [and raising up my heart].

[For in] Thy righteousness
Thou hast appointed me for Thy Covenant,
and I have clung to Thy truth and [gone forward in Thy ways].

Thou hast made me a father to the sons of grace,
and as a foster-father to men of marvel;
they have opened their mouths like little babes ...
like a child playing in the lap of its nurse.

Thou hast lifted my horn above those who insult me,
and those who attack me [sway like the boughs] (of a tree);
my enemies are like chaff before the wind,
and my dominion is over the sons [of iniquity.

For] Thou have succoured my soul, O my God,
and hast lifted my horn on high.

And I shall shine in a seven-fold light
in [the Council appointed by] Thee for Thy glory;
for Thou art an everlasting heavenly light to me
and wilt establish my feet [upon level ground for ever].


I [thank Thee, O Lord],
for Thou hast enlightened me through Thy truth.

In Thy marvellous mysteries,
and in Thy loving kindness to a man [of vanity,
and] in the greatness of Thy mercy
to a perverse heart Thou hast granted me knowledge.

Who is like Thee among the gods, O Lord,
and who is according to Thy truth?

Who, when he is judged, shall be righteous before Thee?

For no spirit can reply to Thy rebuke
nor can any withstand Thy wrath.

Yet Thou bring all the sons of Thy truth
in forgiveness before Thee,
[to cleanse] them of their faults
through Thy great goodness,
and to establish them before Thee
through the multitude of Thy mercies for ever and ever.

For Thou art an eternal God;
all Thy ways are determined for ever [and ever]
and there is none other beside Thee.

And what is a man of Naught and Vanity
that he should understand
Thy marvellous mighty deeds?


[I thank] Thee, O God,
for Thou hast not cast my lot in the congregation of Vanity,
nor hast Thou placed my portion in the council of the cunning.

[Thou hast] led me to Thy grace and forgiveness

... <<VIII>> ...


I [thank Thee, O Lord, for]
Thou hast placed me beside a fountain of streams in an arid land,
and close to a spring of waters in a dry land,
and beside a watered garden [in a wilderness].

[For Thou didst set] a plantation
of cypress, pine, and cedar for Thy glory,
trees of life beside a mysterious fountain
hidden among the trees by the water,
and they put out a shoot of the everlasting Planting.

But before they did so,
they took root and sent out their roots to the watercourse
that its stem might be open to the living waters
and be one with the everlasting spring.

And all [the beasts] of the forest fed on its leafy boughs;
its stem was trodden by all who passed on the way
and its branches by all the birds.

And all the [trees] by the water rose above it
for they grew in their planting;
but they sent out no root to the watercourse.

And the bud of the shoot of holiness
for the Planting of truth was hidden
and was not esteemed;
and being unperceived,
its mystery was sealed.

Thou didst hedge in its fruit, [O God],
with the mystery of mighty Heroes
and of spirits of holiness
and of the whirling flame of fire.

No [man shall approach] the well-spring of life
or drink the waters of holiness with the everlasting trees,
or bear fruit with [the Planting] of heaven,
who seeing has not discerned,
and considering has not believed in the fountain of life,
who has turned [his hand against] the everlasting [bud].

And I was despised by tumultuous rivers
for they cast up their slime upon me.

But Thou, O my God,
hast put into my mouth as it were rain for all [those who thirst]
and a fount of living waters which shall not fail.

When they are opened they shall not run dry;
they shall be a torrent [overflowing its banks]
and like the [bottom]less seas.

They shall suddenly gush forth which were hidden in secret,
[and shall be like the waters of the Flood to every tree],
both the green and the barren;
to every beast and bird [they shall be an abyss.
The trees shall sink like] lead in the mighty waters,
fire [shall burn among them]
and they shall be dried up;
but the fruitful Planting
[by the] everlasting [spring shall be] an Eden
of glory [bearing] fruits [of life].

By my hand Thou hast opened for them a well-spring and ditches,
[that all their channels] may be laid out according to a certain measuring-cord,
and the planting of their trees according to the plumb-line of the sun,
that [their boughs may become a beautiful] Branch of glory.

When I lift my hand to dig its ditches
its roots shall run deep into hardest rock and its stem ... in the earth;
in the season of heat it shall keep its strength.

But if I take away my hand
it shall be like a thistle [in the wilderness];
its stem shall be like nettles in a salty land,
and thistles and thorns shall grow from its ditches,
and brambles and briars.

Its border [trees] shall be like the wild grapevine
whose foliage withers before the heat,
and its stem shall not be open to [the spring].

[Behold, I am] carried away with the sick;
[I am acquainted] with scourges.

I am forsaken in [my sorrow] ... and without any strength.

For my sore breaks out in bitter pains
and in incurable sickness impossible to stay;
[my heart laments] within me as in those who go down to Hell.

My spirit is imprisoned with the dead
for [my life] has reached the Pit;
my soul languishes [within me] day and night without rest.

My wound breaks out like burning fire shut up in [my bones],
whose flames devour me for days on end,
diminishing my strength for times on end
and destroying my flesh for seasons on end.

The pains fly out [towards me]
and my soul within me languishes even to death.

My strength has gone from my body
and my heart runs out like water;
my flesh is dissolved like wax
and the strength of my loins is turned to fear.

My arm is torn from its socket
[and I can] lift my hand [no more];
My [foot] is held by fetters
and my knees slide like water;
I can no longer walk.

I cannot step forward lightly,
[for my legs and arms] are bound by shackles
which cause me to stumble.

The tongue has gone back
which Thou didst make marvelously mighty within my mouth;
it can no longer give voice.

[I have no word] for my disciples to revive
the spirit of those who stumble
and to speak words of support to the weary.

My circumcised lips are dumb




[For] the throes of death [encompass me]
and Hell is upon my bed;
my couch utters a lamentation
[and my pallet] the sound of a complaint.

My eyes are like fire in the furnace
and my tears like rivers of water;
my eyes grow dim with waiting,
[for my salvation] is far from me
and my life is apart from me.

But behold, from desolation to ruin,
and from the pain to the sore,
and from the travail to the throes,
my soul meditates on Thy marvellous works.

In Thy mercies Thou hast not cast me aside;
season by season, my soul shall delight in the abundance of mercy.

I will reply to him who swallows me up
and I will rebuke my oppressor;
I will declare his sentence unjust
and declare Thy judgement righteous.

For I know by Thy truth,
and I choose Thy judgement upon me;
I delight in my scourges
for I hope for Thy loving kindness.

Thou hast put a supplication in the mouth of Thy servant,
and Thou hast not threatened my life nor rejected my peace.

Thou hast not failed my expectation,
but hast upheld my spirit in face of the scourge.

For it is Thou who hast founded my spirit
and Thou knowest my intent;
in my distress Thou hast comforted me.

I delight in forgiveness,
and am consoled for the former transgression;
for I know there is hope in Thy grace
and expectation in Thy great power.

For no man can be just in Thy judgement
or [righteous in] Thy trial.

Though one man be more just than another,
one person [more] wise [than another],
one mortal more glorious than another creature [of clay],
yet is there no power to compare with Thy might.

There is no [bound] to Thy glory,
and to Thy wisdom, no measure;
[to Thy truth] there is no ... and all who forsake it ...
and my oppressor shall [not] prevail against me.

I will be a stumbling-block to
[those who swallow me up,
and a snare to] all those who battle against me;
[I will be for my enemies a] cause of shame,
and a cause of disgrace to those who murmur against me.

For Thou, O my God ... Thou wilt plead my cause;
for it is according to the mystery of Thy wisdom
that Thou hast rebuked me.

Thou wilt conceal the truth until [its] time,
[and righteousness] until its appointed moment.

Thy rebuke shall become my joy and gladness,
and my scourges shall turn to [eternal] healing
and everlasting [peace].

The scorn of my enemies shall become a crown of glory,
and my stumbling (shall change) to everlasting might.

For in Thy ... and my light shall shine forth in Thy glory.

For as a light from out of the darkness,
so wilt Thou enlighten me.

[Thou wilt bring healing to] my wound,
and marvellous might in place of my stumbling,
and everlasting space to my straitened soul.

For Thou art my refuge,
my high mountain,
my stout rock and my fortress;
in Thee will I shelter from all the [designs of ungodliness,
for Thou wilt succour me] with eternal deliverance.

For Thou hast known me from (the time of) my father,
[and hast chosen me] from the womb.

[From the belly of] my mother
Thou hast dealt kindly with me,
and from the breast of her who conceived me
have Thy mercies been with me.

[Thy grace was with me] in the lap of her who reared me,
and from my youth
Thou hast illumined me with the wisdom of Thy judgement.

Thou hast upheld me with certain truth;
Thou hast delighted me with Thy Holy Spirit
and [hast opened my heart] till this day.

Thy just rebuke accompanies my [faults]
and Thy safeguarding peace delivers my soul.

The abundance of (Thy) forgiveness
is with my steps and infinite mercy
accompanies Thy judgement of me.

Until I am old
Thou wilt care for me;
for my father knew me not
and my mother abandoned me to Thee.

For Thou art a father to all [the sons] of Thy truth,
and as a woman who tenderly loves her babe,
so dost Thou rejoice in them;
and as a foster-father bearing a child in his lap,
so care Thou for all Thy creatures.


[I thank Thee, O Lord]



... and nothing exists except by Thy will;
none can consider [Thy deep secrets] or contemplate Thy [mysteries].

What then is man that is earth,
that is shaped [from clay] and returns to the dust,
that Thou should give him to understand such marvels
and make known to him the counsel of [Thy truth]?

Clay and dust that I am,
what can I devise unless Thou wish it,
and what contrive unless Thou desire it?

What strength shall I have unless Thou keep me upright,
and how shall I understand
unless by (the spirit) which Thou hast shaped for me?

What can I say
unless Thou open my mouth
and how can I answer unless Thou enlighten me?

Behold, Thou art Prince of gods and King of majesties,
Lord of all spirits, and Ruler of all creatures;
nothing is done without Thee,
and nothing is known without Thy will.

Beside Thee there is nothing,
and nothing can compare with Thee in strength;
in the presence of Thy glory there is nothing,
and Thy might is without price.

Who among Thy-great and marvellous creatures
can stand in the presence of Thy glory?
How then can he who returns to his dust?

For Thy glory's sake alone hast Thou made all these things.


Blessed art Thou,
O Lord, God of mercy [and abundant] grace,
for Thou hast made known
[Thy wisdom to me that I should recount] Thy marvellous deeds,
keeping silence neither by day nor [by night]!

[For I have trusted] in Thy grace.

In Thy great goodness,
and in [the multitude of Thy mercies]
For I have leaned on Thy truth
[And unless] Thou rebuke, there is no stumbling;
unless Thou foreknow it, [there is no] scourge;
[nothing is done without] Thy [will].

[I will cling to Thy ways]
according to my knowledge [of Thy] truth;
contemplating Thy glory
I will recount Thy wonderful works,
and understanding [Thy goodness
I will lean on the] multitude of Thy mercies
and hope for Thy forgiveness.

For Thou Thyself hast shaped [my spirit]
and established me [according to Thy will];
and Thou hast not placed my support in gain,
[nor does] my [heart delight in riches];
Thou hast given me no fleshly refuge.

The might of warriors (rests) on abundant delights,
[and on plenty of corn] and wine and oil;
they pride themselves in possessions and wealth.

[But the righteous is like a] green [tree] beside streams of water,
bringing forth leaves and multiplying its branches;
for [Thou hast chosen them from among the children of] men
that they may all grow fat from the land.

Thou wilt give to the children of Thy truth
[unending joy and] everlasting [gladness],
and according to the measure of their knowledge,
so shall they be honoured one more than another.

And likewise for the son of man ...
Thou wilt increase his portion in the knowledge of Thy truth,
and according to the measure of his knowledge, so shall he be honoured ...
[For the soul] of Thy servant has loathed [riches]
and gain, and he has not [desired] exquisite delights.

My heart rejoices in Thy Covenant
and Thy truth delights my soul.

I shall flower [like the lily]
and my heart shall be open to the everlasting fountain;
my support shall be in the might from on high.

But ...

and withers like a flower before [the heat].

My heart is stricken with terror,
and my loins with trembling;
my groaning goes down to the Abyss,
and is shut up in the chambers of Hell.

I am greatly afraid
when I hear of Thy judgement of the mighty Heroes,
and of Thy trial of the host of Thy Holy Ones

... <<XI>> ...


I thank Thee, my God,
for Thou hast dealt wondrously to dust,
and mightily towards a creature of clay!

I thank Thee, I thank Thee!

What am I,
that Thou should [teach] me the counsel of Thy truth,
and give me understanding of Thy marvellous works;
that Thou should lay hymns of thanksgiving within my mouth
and [praise] upon my tongue,
and that of my circumcised lips
(Thou should make) a seat of rejoicing?

I will sing Thy mercies,
and on Thy might I will meditate all day long.

I will bless Thy Name evermore.

I will declare Thy glory
in the midst of the sons of men
and my soul shall delight in Thy great goodness.

I know that Thy word is truth,
and that righteousness is in Thy hand;
that all knowledge is in Thy purpose,
and that all power is in Thy might,
and that every glory is Yours.

In Thy wrath are all chastisements,
but in Thy goodness is much forgiveness
and Thy mercy is towards the sons of Thy goodwill.
For Thou hast made known to them
the counsel of Thy truth,
and hast taught them Thy marvellous mysteries.

For the sake of Thy glory
Thou hast purified man of sin
that he may be made holy for Thee,
with no abominable uncleanness and no guilty wickedness;
that he may be one [with] the children of Thy truth
and partake of the lot of Thy Holy Ones;
that bodies gnawed by worms may be raised from the dust
to the counsel [of Thy truth],
and that the perverse spirit (may be lifted)
to the understanding [which comes from Thee];
that he may stand before Thee with the everlasting host
and with [Thy] spirits [of holiness],
to be renewed together with all the living
and to rejoice together with them that know.


I thank Thee, my God!
I praise Thee, my Rock!


For Thou hast made known to me the counsel of Thy truth
[and hast taught me Thy marvellous mysteries;]


and hast revealed Thy [wonders] to me.

I have beheld [Thy deeds towards the children] of grace,
and I know [that] righteousness is Your,
that in Thy mercies there is [hope for me],
but without Thy grace [destruction] without end.

But a fountain of bitter mourning opens for me,
[and my tears fall down].

Distress is not hidden from my eyes
when I think of the (evil) inclinations of man,
of his return [to dust, and of his leaning]
towards sin and the sorrow of guilt.

They enter my heart and reach into my bones to
... and to meditate in sorrowful meditation.

I will groan with the zither of lamentation
in all grief-stricken mourning and bitter complaint
until iniquity and [wickedness] are consumed
and the disease-bringing scourge is no more.

Then will I play on the zither of deliverance
and the harp of joy,
[on the tabors of prayer]
and the pipe of praise without end.

Who among all Thy creatures is able to recount [Thy wonders]?

May Thy Name be praised by the mouth of all men!

May they bless Thee for ever in accordance with [their understanding],
and proclaim Thee with the voice of praise in the company of [the Sons of Heaven]!

There shall be neither groaning nor complaint
and wickedness [shall be destroyed for ever];
Thy truth shall be revealed in eternal glory
and in everlasting peace.

Blessed art [Thou, O my Lord],
who hast given to [Thy servant] the knowledge of wisdom
that he may comprehend Thy wonders,
and recount Thy ... in Thy abundant grace!

Blessed art Thou, O God of mercy and compassion,
for the might of Thy [power] and the greatness of Thy truth,
and for the multitude of Thy favours in all Thy works!

Rejoice the soul of Thy servant
with Thy truth and cleanse me by Thy righteousness.
Even as I have hoped in Thy goodness,
and waited for Thy grace,
so hast Thou freed me from my calamities
in accordance with Thy forgiveness;
and in my distress
Thou hast comforted me for I have leaned on Thy mercy.

Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
for it is Thou who hast done these things!
Thou hast set [hymns of praise]
within the mouth of Thy servant,
and hast established for me a response of the tongue.



... I will praise Thy Name among them that fear Thee.
Bowing down in prayer
I will beg Thy favours [from generation to generation]
and from season to season without end:

when light emerges from [its dwelling-place],
and when the day reaches its appointed end
in accordance with the laws of the Great Light of heaven;
when evening falls and light departs
at the beginning of the dominion of darkness,
at the hour appointed for night,
and at its end when morning returns
and (the shadows) retire to their dwelling-place
before the approach of light;
at the genesis of every period
and at the beginning of every age
and at the end of every season,
according to the statute and signs appointed
to every dominion
by the certain law from the mouth of God,
by the precept which is and shall be
for ever and ever without end.

Without it nothing is nor shall be,
for the God of knowledge established it
and there is no other beside Him.

I, the Master, know Thee O my God,
by the spirit which Thou hast given to me,
and by Thy Holy Spirit I have faithfully hearkened
to Thy marvellous counsel.

In the mystery of Thy wisdom
Thou hast opened knowledge to me,
and in Thy mercies [Thou hast unlocked for me] the fountain of Thy might.

Before Thee no man is just ...
[that he may] understand all Thy mysteries
or give answer [to Thy rebuke.

But the children of Thy grace
shall delight in] Thy correction
and watch for Thy goodness,
for in Thy mercies [Thou wilt show Thyself to them]
and they shall know Thee;
at the time of Thy glory they shall rejoice.

[Thou hast caused them to draw near]
in accordance [with their knowledge],
and hast admitted them
in accordance with their understanding,
and in their divisions they shall serve Thee
throughout their dominion
[without ever turning aside] from Thee or transgressing Thy word.

Behold, [I was taken] from dust
[and] fashioned [out of clay]
as a source of uncleanness,
and a shameful nakedness,
a heap of dust, and a kneading [with water,]


and a house of darkness,
a creature of clay returning to dust,
returning [at the appointed time
to dwell] in the dust whence it was taken.

How then shall dust reply [to its Maker,
and how] understand His [works]?

How shall it stand before Him who reproves it?


[and the Spring of] Eternity,
the Well of Glory
and the Fountain of Knowledge.

Not even [the wonderful] Heroes [can] declare all Thy glory
or stand in face of Thy wrath,
and there is none among them that can answer Thy rebuke;
for Thou art just and none can oppose Thee.

How then can (man) who returns to his dust?

I hold my peace; what more shall I say than this?

I have spoken in accordance with my knowledge,
out of the righteousness given to a creature of clay.

And how shall I speak unless Thou open my mouth;
how understand unless Thou teach me?

How shall I seek Thee unless Thou uncover my heart,
and how follow the way that is straight
unless [Thou guide me?

How shall my foot] stay on [the path unless Thou] give it strength;
and how shall I rise ...




All these things [Thou didst establish in Thy wisdom.
Thou didst appoint] all Thy works before ever creating them:
the host of Thy spirits and the Congregation [of Thy Holy Ones,
the heavens and all] their hosts and the earth and all it brings forth.

In the seas and deeps ...... and an everlasting task;
for Thou hast established them from before eternity.

And the work of ...
and they shall recount Thy glory
throughout all Thy dominion.

For Thou hast shown them that which they had not [seen
by removing all] ancient things and creating new ones,
by breaking asunder things anciently established,
and raising up the things of eternity.

For [Thou art from the beginning]
and shall endure for ages without end.

And Thou hast [appointed] all these things
in the mysteries of Thy wisdom
to make known Thy glory [to all].

[But what is] the spirit of flesh
that it should understand all this,
and that it should comprehend
the great [design of Thy wisdom]?

What is he that is born of woman
in the midst of all Thy terrible [works]?

He is but an edifice of dust,
and a thing kneaded with water,
whose beginning [is sinful iniquity],
and shameful nakedness, [and a fount of uncleanness],
and over whom a spirit of straying rules.

If he is wicked he shall become [a sign for] ever,
and a wonder to (every) generation,
[and an object of horror to all] flesh.

By Thy goodness alone is man righteous,
and with Thy many mercies [Thou strengthen him].

Thou wilt adorn him with Thy splendour
and wilt [cause him to reign amid] many delights
with everlasting peace and length of days.

[For Thou hast spoken],
and Thou wilt not take back Thy word.

And I, Thy servant,
I know by the spirit which Thou hast given to me
[that Thy words are truth],
and that all Thy works are righteousness,
and that Thou wilt not take back Thy word

... <<XIV>> ...


[Blessed art Thou,] O Lord,
who hast given understanding to the heart of [Thy] servant
that he may ... and resist [the works] of wickedness
and bless [Thy Name always,
and that he may choose all] that Thou love
and loathe all that Thou [hate]

[For Thou hast divided men] into good and evil
in accordance with the spirits of their lot;
[in accordance with] their [divisions do they accomplish] their work.

And I know through the understanding which comes from Thee,
that in Thy goodwill towards [ashes Thou hast shed]
Thy Holy Spirit [upon me]
and thus drawn me near to understanding of Thee.

And the closer I approach,
the more am I filled with zeal
against all the workers of iniquity and the men of deceit.

For none of those who approach Thee rebels against Thy command,
nor do any of those who know Thee alter Thy words;
for Thou art just, and all Your elect are truth.

Thou wilt blot out all wickedness [and sin] for ever,
and Thy righteousness shall be revealed
before the eyes of all Thy creatures.

I know through Thy great goodness;
and with an oath I have undertaken never to sin against Thee,
nor to do anything evil in Your eyes.

And thus do I bring into community all the men of my Council.

I will cause each man to draw near in accordance with his understanding,
and according to the greatness of his portion so will I love him.

I will not honour an evil man,
nor consider [the bribes of the wicked];
I will [not] barter Thy truth for riches,
nor one of Thy precepts for bribes.

But according as [Thou draw a man near to Thee, so will I love] him,
and according as Thou remove him far from Thee, so will I hate him;
and none of those who have turned [from] Thy [Covenant]
will I bring into the Council [of Thy truth].


[I thank] Thee, O Lord,
as befits the greatness of Thy power
and the multitude of Thy marvels for ever and ever.

[Thou art a merciful God]
and rich in [favours],
pardoning those who repent of their sin
and Visiting the iniquity of the wicked.

[Thou delight in] the free-will offering [of the righteous]
but iniquity Thou hate always.

Thou hast favoured me,
Thy servant, with a spirit of knowledge,
[that I may choose] truth [and goodness]
and loathe all the ways of iniquity.

And I have loved Thee freely
and with all my heart;
[contemplating the mysteries of] Thy wisdom
[I have sought Thee].

For this is from Thy hand
and [nothing is done] without [Thy will] .

... <<XV>> ...

I have loved Thee freely
and with all my heart and soul.

I have purified ...
[that I might not] turn aside from any of Thy commands.

I have clung to the Congregation ...
that I might not be separated from any of Thy laws.

I know through the understanding which comes from Thee,
that righteousness is not in a hand of flesh,
[that] man [is not master of] his way
and that it is not in mortals to direct their step.

I know that the inclination
of every spirit [is in Thy hand];
Thou didst establish [all]
its [ways] before ever creating it,
and how can any man change Thy words?

Thou alone didst [create] the just
and establish him from the womb for the time of goodwill,
that he might hearken to Thy Covenant
and walk in all (Thy ways),
and that [Thou might show Thyself great] to him
in the multitude of Thy mercies,
and enlarge his straitened soul to eternal salvation,
to perpetual and unfailing peace.

Thou wilt raise up his glory from among flesh.

But the wicked Thou didst create for [the time] of Thy [wrath],
Thou didst vow them from the womb for the Day of Massacre,
for they walk in the way which is not good.

They have despised [Thy Covenant]
and their souls have loathed Thy [truth];
they have taken no delight in all Thy commandments
and have chosen that which Thou hate.

[For according to the mysteries] of Thy [wisdom],
Thou hast ordained them for great chastisements
before the eyes of all Thy creatures,
that [for all] eternity they may serve as a sign [and a wonder],
and that [all men] may know Thy glory and Thy tremendous power.

But what is flesh that it should understand [these things]?
And how should [a creature of] dust direct his steps?

It is Thou who didst shape the spirit
and establish its work [from the beginning];
the way of all the living proceeds from Thee.

I know that no riches equal Thy truth,
and [have therefore desired to enter the Council of] Thy holiness.

I know that Thou hast chosen them before all others
and that they shall serve Thee for ever.

Thou wilt [take no bribe for the deeds of iniquity],
nor ransom for the works of wickedness;
for Thou art a God of truth
and [wilt destroy] all iniquity [for ever, and]
no [wickedness] shall exist before Thee.

... <<XVI>> ...

Because I know all these things my tongue shall utter a reply.

Bowing down and [confessing all] my transgressions,
I will seek [Thy] spirit [of knowledge];
cleaving to Thy spirit of [holiness],
I will hold fast to the truth of Thy Covenant,
that [I may serve] Thee in truth and wholeness of heart,
and that I may love [Thy Name].

Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
Maker [of all things and mighty in] deeds:
all things are Thy work!

Behold, Thou art pleased to favour [Thy servant],
and hast graced me with Thy spirit of mercy
and [with the radiance] of Thy glory.

Thine, Thine is righteousness,
for it is Thou who hast done all [these things]!

I know that Thou hast marked the spirit of the just;
and therefore I have chosen to keep my hands clean
in accordance with [Thy] will;
the soul of Thy servant [has loathed] every work of iniquity.

And I know that man is not righteous except through Thee,
and therefore I implore Thee by the spirit which Thou hast given [me]
to perfect Thy [favours] to Thy servant [for ever],
purifying me by Thy Holy Spirit,
and drawing me near to Thee by Thy grace
according to the abundance of Thy mercies


[Grant me] the place [of Thy loving kindness]
which [Thou hast] chosen for them that love Thee
and keep [Thy commandments,
that they may stand] in Thy presence [for] ever.

Let no scourge [come] near him
lest he stagger aside from the laws of Thy Covenant.

I [know, O Lord, that Thou art merciful]
and compassionate,
[long]-suffering and [rich] in grace and truth,
pardoning transgression [and sin].

Thou repent of [evil against them that love Thee]
and keep [Thy] commandments,
[that] return to Thee with faith and wholeness of heart
... to serve Thee [and to do that which is] good in Your eyes.

Reject not the face of Thy servant

... <<XVII>> ...


As Thou hast said by the hand of Moses,
Thou forgive transgression, iniquity, and sin,
and pardon rebellion and unfaithfulness.

For the bases of the mountains shall melt
and fire shall consume the deep places of Hell,
but Thou wilt deliver all those
that are corrected by Thy judgements,
that they may serve Thee faithfully
and that their seed may be before Thee for ever.

Thou wilt keep Your oath
and wilt pardon their transgression;
Thou wilt cast away all their sins.

Thou wilt cause them
to inherit all the glory of Adam and abundance of days.


[I give Thee thanks]
because of the spirits which Thou hast given to me!

I [will bring forth]
a reply of the tongue to recount Thy righteous deeds,
and the forbearance ...
and the works of Thy mighty right hand,
and [the pardon] of the sins of the forefathers.

[I will bow down] and implore Thy mercy
[on my sins and wicked] deeds,
and on the perversity of [my heart],
for I have wallowed in uncleanness,
and have [turned aside] from the counsel [of Thy truth],'

and I have not laboured ...

[For] Thine, Thine is righteousness,
and an everlasting blessing be upon Thy Name!

[According to] Thy righteousness,
let [Thy servant] be redeemed
[and] the wicked be brought to an end.

For I have understood that
[it is Thou who dost establish] the path of whomsoever Thou choose;
Thou dost hedge him in with [true] discernment
that he may not sin against Thee,
and that his humility [may bear fruit] through Thy chastisement.

[Thou dost purify] his heart in [Thy trials].

[Preserve] Thy servant, [O God],
lest he sin against Thee,
or stagger aside from any word of Thy will.

Strengthen the [loins of Thy servant
that he may] resist the spirits [of falsehood,
that] he may walk in all that Thou love,
and despise all that Thou loath,
[that he may do] that which is good in Your eyes.

[Destroy] their [dominion] in my bowels,
for [within] Thy servant is a spirit of [flesh].


[I thank Thee, O Lord, for] Thou didst shed [Thy] Holy Spirit upon Thy Servant


they are confirmed in [the ears] of Thy servant for ever
... [to announce] Thy marvellous tidings
Withdraw not Thy hand...
that he may be confirmed in Thy Covenant
and stand before Thee [for ever].

[For Thou, O my God,] didst open a [fountain]
in the mouth of Thy Servant.
Thou didst engrave by the measuring-cord [Thy mysteries] upon his tongue,
[that] out of his understanding [he might] preach to a creature,
and interpret these things to dust like myself.

Thou didst open [his fountain]
that he might rebuke the creature of clay for his way,
and him who is born of woman
for the guilt of his deeds; t
hat he might open [the fount of] Thy truth
to a creature whom Thou uphold by Thy might;

[that he might be], according to Thy truth,
a messenger [in the season] of Thy goodness;
that to the humble
he might bring glad tidings of Thy great mercy, [proclaiming salvation]
from out of the fountain' [of holiness to the contrite] of spirit,
and everlasting joy to those who mourn.

[How] shall I look, unless Thou open my eyes?
Or hear, [unless Thou unstop my ears]?

My heart is astounded,
for to the uncircumcised ear a word has been disclosed,
and a heart [of stone has understood the right precepts].

I know it is for Thyself that Thou hast done these things, O God;
for what is flesh [that Thou should act] marvelously [towards it]?

It is Thy purpose to do mightily and to establish all things for Thy glory.
[Thou hast created] the host of knowledge
to declare (Thy) mighty deeds to flesh,
and the right precepts to him that is born [of woman].

Thou hast [caused the perverse heart to enter]
into a Covenant with Thee,
and hast uncovered the heart of dust
that it may be preserved from evil,
and saved from the snares of judgement
in accordance with Thy mercies.

And I, a creature [of clay kneaded with water,
a heap of dust and a heart of stone,
for what am I reckoned to be worthy of this?

For into an ear of dust [Thou hast put a new word]
and hast engraved on a heart of [stone] things everlasting.

Thou hast caused [the straying spirit] to return
that it may enter into a Covenant with Thee,
and stand [before Thee for ever] in the everlasting abode,

illumined with perfect Light for ever,
with [no more] darkness,
[for un]ending [seasons of joy] and un[numbered] ages of peace.


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