The Book of Hymns

11: 1, 5-39

5 [You are the source of all might] and the wellspring of all power; [yet are You also rich in wisdom] [and] great in counsel2 Your fury [is vented] in the presence of [ [yet are Your mercies] beyond number. [You are a God that visits wrongdoing;] [yet also a God] longsuffering in judgment5 In whatsoever You do, You have ever done justly.

In Your wisdom did [You call into being] [spirits] immortal, and ere You did create them, did foreknow their works for all time. [Apart from You] can naught be done, and naught apprehended save by Your will.4 You it is formed every spirit, [and set due rule] and role for all their works.

10 When You did stretch out the heavens for Your glory, and [command] all [their host] to do Your will, You did also make potent spirits to keep them in bounds. Or ever spirits immortal took on the form of ho[ly] angels, You did assign them to bear rule over divers domains: over the sun and moon, to govern their hidden powers; over the stars, to hold them to their courses; over [rain and snow,] to make them fulfill their functions; over meteors and lightning’s, to make them discharge their tasks;7 [and You did set them in] promptuaries8 [whence You did cause them to issue] for their several purposes, to govern the mysteries of these things.9 When, too, in Your power You did create earth and seas and deeps, in Your wisdom10 did You set [with]in them [spirits immortal],

15 thereby to dispose to Your will all that therein is. [So have You made [his] flesh a promptuary] in [this] world for that spirit of man which You did create11 to last throughout all time and for ages infinite, that it might gov[ern his deeds]. You have assigned the tasks of men’s spirits duly, moment by moment,12 throughout their generations; and You have determined the mode in which they shall wield their sway, season by season; yea, [You have prescribed] their [works,] age after age alike when they shall be visited with peace and when they shall suffer affliction.13 You have [ man’s spirit] and duly assigned its role for all his offspring throughout the generations of time; and [You have ] it for all years of eternity. And in Your knowing wisdom You have ordained its fate, or ever it came into being.

20 By [Your will all things exi]st, and without You is nothing wrought.14 Shapen of clay and kneaded with water, a bedrock of shame and a source of pollution, a cauldron of iniquity and a fabric of sin, a spirit errant and wayward,1~ distraught by every just judgment-what can I say that hath not been foreknown, or what disclose that hath not been foretold? All things are inscribed before You in a recording script,16 for every moment of time, for the infinite cycles of years, in their several appointed times.

25 No single thing is hidden, naught missing from Your presence.

How can man say aught to account for his sins? How argue in excuse of his misdeeds? How can he enter reply to any just sentence upon him? Thine, 0 God of all knowledge,1~ are all works of righteousness and the secret of truth; while man’s is but thralldom to wrongdoing, and works of deceit. The spirit that lies in man’s speech, You did create.

You have known all the words of man’s tongue and determined the frult of his lips,18 ere those lips themselves had being. It is You that disposeth all words in due sequence19 and giveth to the spirit of the lips ordered mode of expression;20 that bringeth forth their secrets in measured utterances,21 and granteth unto spirits means to express their Youghts, that Your glory may be made known,

30 and Your wonders told forth in all Thine unerring works, and that Your righteousness [may be proclaimed,] and Your name be praised in the mouth of all things, and that all creatures may know You, each to the meed of his insight, and bless You alway. Moreover, in Your mercy and great loving kindness You have given man’s spirit the strength to endure afflictions, and the power to come forth clean, Yough never so great its transgressions; showing thereby unto all Your works what wonders You canst perfor~ [So, for my own pare, what I tell is, to sim]ple minds, but a tale of my sufferings and how just they are; but to the world at large ’tis a tale of miracles which You have evinced through me in the sight of all mankind.

Hear, then, ye that are wise, and sanely reflect; Ye that are simple-minded,22 learn to think with more depth!23 Ye that are righteous put an end to perversity! Ye that are blameless of conduct keep a firm stance! Be patient and spurn not correction! Yough men that are foolish at heare cannot understand these things, God’s ways are ever just; while men who behave unbridled will [be left to] gnash their teeth.24

2: II, 2-19

[I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord,] for You are my strength and [my stronghold,1] and You have delivered my soul from all works of unrighteousness. [For You have] put [truth in my heare] and righteousness [in my spirit,] along with all gifts of Your wisd[om;]

5 and have crushed the loins [of them] [that have risen up against me.2]

You bringest me cheer, 0 Lord,8 amid the sorrow of mourning, words of peace amid havoc, stoutness of heare when I faint, fortitude in the face of affliction.

You have given free flow of speech to my stammering lips; stayed my drooping spirit with vigor and strength; made my feet to stand firm when they stood where wickedness reigns.4

To transgressors I am a snare, but healing to them that repent, prudence to the unwary, temperance to the rash.

10 You have made me a reproach and a derision to them that live by deceit, but a symbol of truth and understanding to all whose way is straight.

I am become an eyesore unto the wicked, a slander on the lips of the unbridled;5 scoffers gnash their teeth. A song am I unto transgressors,6 and the hordes of the wicked rage against me;7 like ocean gales they storm which, when their billows rage, cast up mire and dirt.8

Yet, You have set me as a banner in the vanguard9 of Righteousness, as one who interprets with knowledge deep, mysterious things; as a touchstone for them that seek the truth, a standard for them that love correction.10 To them that preach misguidance I am but a man of strife;11

15 but to them that see straight,12 [a very symbol of pe]ace. To them that pursue del[usion] I am but a gust of zeal;13 men that live by deceit roar against me like the roar of many waters.

Naught is there in their Youghts save mischievous designs. When, opening the fount of knowledge to all that have understanding, You have set a man’s life to rights by the words of my mouth, and have taught unto him Your lesson and put understanding in his heare -they thrust him back into the piL In place of these Your gifts they offer a witless folk~14 stammering lips and barbarous tongue,15 that, wandering astray, they rush headlong to their doom.18

3: II, 20-30

20 I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for You have put my soul in the bundle of life1 and hedged me2 against all the snares of corruption.

Because I clung to Your covenant, fierce men sought after my life.3 But they-a league of Falsehood, a congregation of Belial-they knew not that through You I would stan~ For You in Your mercy dost save my life; for by You are my footsteps guided.

Of Your doing it was that they assailed me, to the end that by Your judgment on the wicked Your glory might stand revealed, and that You mightest show forth through me

25 Your power over mankind; for by Your mercy I have stood.

Mighty men, I said, have pitched their camp against me; their weapons have compassed me, their shafts have been loosed unceasing; the flash of their spears is like fire devouring timber, and the roar of their voices like the roar of many waters. Like a flood burst bringing ruin far and wide,4 all weak things and frail they crush in a pounding cascade.5

Yet, while my heare was dissolving like water, my soul held firm to Your covenant, and they-their own foot was caught in the net they had spread for me; in the traps they had hidden for my soul themselves they fell.8

‘Now that my foot on level ground doth rest, 30 Far from the madding crowd, I call You blest’.7

4: II 31-36

I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for Thine eye is ever awake, watching over my soul. You have delivered me from envy of them that preach falsehood, and have freed this hapless soul1 from the congregation of them that seek smooth things men who sought to destroy me and spill my blood in Your service.

Little did they know that my steps were ordered of You, when they made me a mock and a reproach in the mouths of all men of deceit. But ever, 0 my God, have You holpen the soul of the needy and weak and snatched him from the grasp

35 of him that was stronger than he.2 So have You freed my soul from the grasp of mighty men, nor suffered me so to be crushed by their taunts that for fear of the mischief which the wicked might wreak I should forsake Your service, or change for wild delusion the sound spirit which You have vouchsafed me.

5: II, 3-18


[I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord,] for You have illumined [my face] [with the vision of Your truth;] [wherefore I yet shall wa]lk in glory everlasting along with all [the holy that hear the words of] Your mouth;

5 and You wilt deliver me from [the pit and the slough.]

Howbeit, at this hour my soul is [sore dism]ayed. Men deem me a [worthless shard] and render my life like a ship stormtossed on the deep, or like a bastion city1 beleaguered by the [foe.] Yea, I am in distress as a woman in travail bringing forth her firstborn,2 when, as her time draws near, the pangs come swiftly upon he~ and all the racking pains4 in the crucible of conception.

For now, amid throes of death, new life is coming to birth,5 and the pangs of travail set in, as at last there enters the world the man-child long conceived. Now, amid throes of death, that man-child long foretold is about to be brought forth.6

10 Now, ‘mid the pangs of hell,7 there will burst forth from the womb that marvel of mind and might,8 and that man child will spring from the throes!9

From the moment that he was conceived pangs have been sweeping apace over the whole wide world;10 new things have been coming to birth amid racking pains, and tremors have beset the wombs in which they lie.

And when he comes to birth, all those pangs of travail that rack the world’s great womb11

-that crucible of conception- will take a sudden turn;12 what has been conceived with all the bale of a viper18 will end, at the moment of birth, in mere racking pain, and all the tremors be but labor lost,14 For lo, the wall shall rock unto its prime foundation, even as rocks a ship storm tossed on the waters. The heavens shall thunder loud, and they that now do dwell on the crumbling dust of the earth be as sailors on the seas, aghave at the roaring of the waters; and all the wise men thereof be as mariners on the deep

15 when all their skill is confounded15 by the surging of the seas, the seething of the depths,16 as high o’er the swirling tides17 the billows [surge], the breakers roar, while the gates of Hell18 burst open, and at every step they take, they face Perdition’s shafts,19 and only the raging deep hears their cries.20 Yet anon shall the gates of [salvation]21 be opened; all baleful deeds [will cease],22 while the doors of Perdition shall close on all that Perverseness has conceived, and everlasting bars28 shut in all baleful spirits.

6: II, 19-36

I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for You have freed my soul from the pit1 and drawn me up from the slough of hell2

20 to the crest of the world. So walk I on uplands unbounded and know that there is hope8 for that which You did mold out of dust to have consort with things eternal. For lo, You have taken a spirit distorted by sin,4 and purged it of the taint of much transgression,5 and given it a place in the host of the holy beings, and brought it into communion with the sons of heaven. You have made a mere man to share the lot of the Spirits of Knowledge,6 to praise Your name in their chorus7 and rehearse Your wondrous deeds before all Your works.8

I, that am molded of clay, what am I? I, that am kneaded with water, what is my worth? I, that have taken my stand where wickedness reigns,9

25 that have cast my lot with the froward; whose soul has lodged like a beggar in a place of wild unrest;10 I, whose every step has been amid ruin and rout11-on what strength of mine own may I count when Corruption’s snares are laid, and the nets of Wickedness spread, when far and wide on the waters Frowardness sets her drags,12 when the shafts of Corruption fly18 with none to turn them back, when they are hurled apace with no hope of escape; when the hour of judgment strikes,* when the lot of God’s anger is cast upon the abandoned, when His fury is poured forth14 upon dissemblers,15 when the final doom of His rage falls on all worthless things; when the torrents of Death do swirl,18 and there is none escape; when the rivers of Belial17 burst their high banks rivers that are like fire devouring all. . rivers whose runnels destroy

30 green tree and dry tree alike,18 rivers that are like fire which sweeps with flaming sparks devouring all that drink their waters -a fire which consumes all foundations of clay, every solid bedrock; when the foundations of the mountains become a raging blaze,19

* Heb. ‘When the line falls upon judgment’; cf. Isa. 28.27.

when granite roots are turned to streams of pitch,20 when the flame devours down to the great abyss,21 when the floods of Belial burst forth unto hell itself; when the depths of the abyss are in turmoil, cast up mire in abundance,22 when the earth cries out in anguish for the havoc wrought in the world, when all its depths are aquake, and all that is on it quails and quivers in [mighty] havoc; when with His mighty roar God thunders forth,23 and His holy welkin24 trembles as His glorious truth is revealed,

35 and the hosts of heaven give forth their voice, and the world’s foundations rock and reel; when warfare waged by the soldiers of heaven sweeps through the world25 and turns not back until final doom26 warfare the like of which has never been?

7: III, 37-IV, 4


I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for You have been unto me a strong wall1 against all that would destroy me and all that would [traduce me.] You dost shelter me from the dlsasters of a turbulent time, [ ] that it come not [ ]

IV,3 [You have set] my foot upon a rock2


[I will walk] the age-old way and the paths which You have chosen.


8: IV, 5-V, 5


5 I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for You have illumined my face with the light of Your covenant. [Day by day] I seek You, and ever You shinest upon me bright as the perfect dawn.1

But as for them-they have [dealt treacherously] with You, have made smooth their words.2 Garblers of truth are [they all,] witlessly stumbling along8 They [have turned] all their deeds to folly; they have become abhorrent unto themselves. Yough You show Your power through me, they regard me not, but thrust me forth from my land like a sparrow from its nest; all my friends and familiars are thrust away from me, and deem me a broken pot.4 Preachers of lies are they,

10 prophets of deceit. They have plotted mischief against me, to make Your people exchange for smooth words Your teaching which You have engraven on my heare. They have kept the draught of knowledge from them that are athirst, and given them in their thirst vinegar to drink,5 to feast their eyes upon them as they wander astray,6 make sport of them as they falter and are caught in their snares.

But You, 0 God, wilt spurn all the schemes of Belial. Your plan it is will prevail,7 and the Yought of Your heare endure for ever.

Crafty men are they;8 they think base Youghts, seek You with heare divided, stand not firm in Your truth. In their every Yought is a root which blossoms to wormwood and gall.9

15 In the stubbornness of their heares they wander astray and go seeking You through idols. They make their iniquity a stumbling-block before them,10 and come to inquire of You from the mouths of lying prophets, men by error seduced. Then, with stammering tongue and with alien lipsil they speak unto Your people, seeking guilefully to turn their deeds to delusion. They have [paid no heed to] Your teaching, nor given ear to Your word, but have said of the vision of knowledge, ‘It is not sure’, and of the way You desirest, ‘There is no such thing’.

But You, 0 God, wilt give them their answer, judging them in Your power for all their idolatrous acts and their manifold transgressions, to the end that they shall be caught in their own designs12 who have turned away from Your covenant

20 You wilt sentence all men of deceit to be cut off,18 and all the prophets of error will be found no more. For in all You do there is no delusion, and in all You thinkest no deceit And they that are pleasing to You shall stand in Your presence for ever, and they that walk in the way You desirest rest firm for all time.

So, for mine own pare, because I have clung unto You, I shall yet arise and stand upright14 against them that revile me; and my hand shall yet be upon all that hold me in contempt.  Though You show Your power through me, they regard me not Howbeit, You in Your might have shed upon me the Perfect Light, and bedaubed not their faces with shame15 that have let themselves be found when that I sought them out; who, in a common accord, have pledged themselves to You. They that walked in the way You desirest have hearkened unto me and rallied to Your cause

25 in the legion of the saints.16 And You wilt vindicate them and plainly show forth the truth;17 and suffer them not to stray at the hand of froward men, what time these plot against them.

You wilt yet cause Your people to stand in awe of them. But for them that transgress Your word You shalt ordain dispersal among all the peoples on earth, passing sentence on them that they be cut off.

Through me have You illumined the faces of full many, and countless be the times You have shown Your power through m~ For You have made known unto me Your deep, mysterious things, have shared Your secret with me and so shown forth Your power; and before the eyes of full many this token stands revealed, that Your glory may be shown forth, and all living know of Your power. Yet, never could flesh alone attain unto this, nor that which is molded of clay do wonders so great

30 -steeped in sin from the womb and in guilt of perfidy unto old age.

Verily I know that righteousness lies not with man, nor perfection of conduct with mortals. Only with God On High are all works of righteousness; and ne’er can the way of man be stablished save by the spirit which God has fashioned for him, to bring unto perfection the life of mortal man; that all His works may know how mighty is His power, how plenteous His love to all who do His will. When I called to mind all my guilty deeds and the perfidy of my sires -when wicked men opposed Your covenant,

35 and froward men Your word-trembling seized hold on me and quaking, all my bones were a-quiver; my heare became like wax melting before a fire, my knees were like to water18 pouring over a steep;19 and I said: ‘Because of my transgressions I have been abandoned, that Your covenant holds not with me’.

But then, when I remembered the strength of Your hand and Your multitudinous mercies, I rose again and stood upright, and my spirit was fortified to stand against affliction; for I was stayed by Your grace. You in Your plenteous compassion dost wipe out 5in,20 and with Your righteousness purge away man’s guil~ Man alone cannot do as You have done; for You it is did create both the righteous and the wicked. And I said: through Your covenant I shall go strengthened for ever,


[and on Your gralce [be stayed.]

40 For You Yourself are truth, and all Your works are righteousness’.


9: V, 5-19

5 I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for You have not forsaken me Yough I dwell as a sojourner among an alien people,1 [nor cast me forth from Your sight,] [nor] judged me according to my guilt, nor abandoned me to my lusts; but have rescued my life from the pit

Yough You have set [my soul] amid lions2 prompt to spring on the guilty -fearful lions that break men’s bones, mighty lions that drink their blood-and Yough You have placed me full oft in ready reach of their haul who spread their nets for the froward like fishers upon the waters, or seek, like hunters, to trap them,8 yet, when You have placed me there, You have dealt justly with me.4

For You have set firm in my heare Your deep, deep truth; and to them that seek after that truth You bindest Yourself in pledge. So have You put a lock upon the mouths of those lions,

10 whose teeth are like a sword,5 whose fangs like a sharp spear,8 <whose breath> is the venom of serpents.7 Yough ever they seek to raven, and Yough ever they lie in wait,

they have oped not their jaws against me. You have sheltered me, 0 my God, in the face of all mankind, and hidden Your teaching [within me], until it be shown unto me that the hour of Your triumph is come.8

In all the distress of my soul You have not abandoned me. In the bitterness of my spirit You have heard my cry, and in my sighing discerned the song of my pain.

When I have found myself in a very den of lions,9 whetting their tongues like a sword,10 You have rescued me in my plight Yea, 0 my God, You have locked their teeth lest they rend a hapless man apare; and You have drawn back their tongue

15 like a sword into its sheath,11 lest it [do hurt] to Your servant.

Moreover, to show forth Your power in the sight of all men, You have singled me out, a hapless wretch and worked a wonder in me, passing me [like gold] through a furn[ace,] even through the action of fire, and like silver that is refined in the crucible of the smith, to come forth sevenfold pure.12

The wicked rush wildly upon me to [grasp] me in their vice, and they crush my spirit all day, but You, 0 my God, dost turn the storm to a calm.15 From the jaws of very lions You have snatched a poor lost soul, [when it was nigh] to be rent

10: V, 20-VI, 35

20 Blessed are You, 0 Lord, for You have never abandoned the orphan neither despised the poor. [Unbounded is] Your power, and Your glory hath no measure.

Angels of wondrous strength minister unto You, and [they walk] at the side of the meek and of them that are eager for right-doing,1 and of all the lost and lorn that stand in need of mercy, lifting them out of the slough2 when that their feet are mired.8

So, for mine own pare, to them that were once my [familiars] I am become [a reproach], an object of strife and discord4 unto my friends; an occasion of fury and anger unto my fellows; of murmuring and complaint to all mine acquaintances. [All] that ate of my bread5 have lifted their heels against me;6 all that shared my board have mouthed distortions about me;7 and they with whom I [consorted] have turned their backs upon me and defamed me up and down
25 By reason of the secret which You have hidden within me they have spread slander against me to men that were bent on mischief.

Because they have he[mmed in my w]ay8 and because they are laden with guilt, You have [perforce] kept hidden [from them] the fount of understanding and the secret of truth, while they-they go on contriving the mischief of their heares, opening their shameless [mouths,] unleashing their lying tongues which are like the venom of adders9 fitfully spurting forth;lO like reptiles they shoot forth their his[sing] -vipers that cannot be charmed.11 It becomes like a constant pain, a fretting wound18 in the body of Your servant, causing his spirit to droop, wearing down his strength,14 until he cannot withstand. They have o’ertaken me between the straits,15 and I have no escape.

30 They have thundered abuse of me to the tune of the harp, and in jingles chorused their jeers. Confusion and panic beset me,18 horrendous anguish17 and pain, like to the throes of travail. My heare is distraught within me; I clothe me in mourning garb;18 my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth.19 [In] their heares they rev[ile me,] and openly vented their spleen. The light of my face is turned to darkness, my radiance to gl[oom].

You, 0 my God, have enlarged my heare, but ever they seek to constrict it They have hedged me about with thick darkness I eat my bread amid sighs, and my drink is mingled with tears20 which have none end. Mine eyes are dimmed with anguish,21 and with all that beclouds the daylight22 my soul is over[cast] Sorrow and sighing are all about me,

35 and the pall of shame o’er my face. The very bre[ad] that I eat seems to be quarreling with me, the very driak that I drink to be at odds with me. They purpose to trammel my spirit, to wear down all my strength with blasphemous mystic lore, converting the works of God into that which they guiltily imagine. I am bound with unbreakable cords, with fetters that cannot be sundered. A strong wail [is upreared against me;] bars of iron [restrain me] and doors of brass.23


Over my soul swirl the torrents of hell.24


vi,2 My heare [is sore distraught] because of their obloquy which they have heaped upon me.


[Ruin encompasses me,] disaster which knows no bound, destruction which hath no [end.]


[Howbeit, 0 my God,] You have opened mine ear withal to the lessons which they impare who reprove with justice,25 [and have thereby delivered me]

5 from company with the vain from fellowship with crime and have brought me into communion [with Your holy truth], [purging my soul of] guilt So am I come to know that in [Your] loving[kindness] lies hope for them that repent and for them that abandon sin, [and confidence for him] who walks in the way of Your heare wiYout perversity. Therefore, Yough peoples roar, Yough kingdoms rage,28 when that they gather together, I shall go comforted. I shall [not] be dismayed, knowing that in a space You wilt raise a reviving for Your people and grant to Thine inheritance a remnant,27 and refine them, to purge them of guilt Whenas in all their deeds they have done as Your truth* enjoined, You wilt judge them with lovingkindness, with plenteous compassion and abundance of forgiveness, guiding them according to Your word,

10 stablishing them by Your counsel,** by Thine unswerving truth’

* i.e., the scriptures.
** Or, ‘in Your council’.

You have acted for Yourself and for Your glory, that the Law may come to [fruition,] and have [sent] among mankind men that be schooled in Your counsel to tell forth Your wonders through the ages, world wiYout end, to [rehea]rse Your deeds of power wiYout surcease, that all nations may know Your truth, and all peoples Your glory. All them that follow Your counsel have You brought into [com]munion with You, and have given them common estate with the Angels of Your Presence28 There stands no intermediary among them to appr[oach You in their behalf and] bring them back Your word29 filtered through his mind [?];80 for they themselves are answered from out of Your glorious mouth’ They are Your courtiers,* sharing the high estate of [all the heavenly beings.]

15 [For these have You planted a tree] which blooms with flowers unfading, whose boughs put forth thick leaves, which stands firm-planted for ever, and gives shade to all [ [whose branches tower] to hea[ven], whose roots sink down to the abyss.81 All the rivers of Eden [water] its boughs;32 it thrives beyond [all bounds], [burgeons beyond all] measure. [Its branches stretch] endless across the world, [and its roots go down] to the nethermost depths.

* Heb. ‘princes’. The word is commonly used in post-Biblical Hebrew to denote angels.


Moreover, there shall well forth for them a fountain of light a perpetual spring unfailing. Howbeit, in its [fiery] sparks all [infamous] men shall be burned; it shall be as a flame devouring the guilty, until they are destroyed. These men who were once my comrades, pledged to the selfsame task of bearing witness to You, have let themselves be seduced by garbl[ers of truth], [that they are concerned no more] with working for righteousness.

20 You hadst given them commandments, 0 God, that they might have profit of their lives by wailing Your ho[ly way,] whereon the uncircumcised and unclean and profane may not pass.88 But they veered from the way of Your heare and ensnared themselves in their lusts. Belial has been counseling their heares84 and, through their wicked devisings, they have been wallowing in guilt.

Wherefore on their account I was as a sailor in a ship when the seas do froth and foam. All the breakers thereof kept pounding against me, and the whirlwind35 blew about me, [and there was no] moment of calm wherein to catch my breath, neither could I steer a course upon the waters. The deeps echoed my groaning, and I [came near] to the gates of death.30 But now I am as one.

25 that hath reached a fortified city, found refuge behind a high wall until deliverance come. For I have stayed myself on Your truth, 0 my God, knowing full well that You foundest Your structure on a rock, that Righteousness is the line by which You layest its bricks, that Justice is the gauge You usest to set its footing, that of solid stone87 is its wall, unshakeable; that all who repair unto it shall never be moved, for there shall no stranger invade it. Its doors are a sheet of protection which none may force, and its bars are strong bars which cannot be broken. No armed band can storm it, neither all the war hosts of wickedness together.

But anon, in the Moment of Judgment, the sword of God will be swift and all who acknowledge His truth will rouse themselves to [do battle]

30 [against the forces of] wickedness, and all the sons of guilt will be no more. The Warrior38 will bend his bow, and lift the siege for ever, and open the gates everlasting to bring forth His weapons of war; and His legions shall go marching from end to [end of the earth,] [and there shall be no es]cape for the guilty impulse of men They shall trample it to destruction, that naught re[main thereof.] [There shall be no] hope for it in [weapons] never so many, neither any escape for all that fight in its cause.

For the [victory] shall belong unto God on High,


and Yough they that lie in the dust will have raised their flag,39 and Yough this worm which is man40 will have lifted up his banner to do [battle against the truth,] [yet shall they be] cut off

35 when battle is joined with the presumptuous; and he that sought to bring the scourge of a flood overflowing41 will never reach that stronghold.


lOa: VII, 1-5

Lo, I am stricken dumb, [for naught comes out of men’s mouths but] swearing [and lying]. My arm is wrenched from its socket;1 my foot is sunken in mire; mine eyes are dimmed2 from looking on evil; mine ears are deafened from hearing of bloodshed; my heare is numbed with thinking on evil; for where-so-ever men show the temper of their being, there is the spirit of baseness. The structure of my being is rocked to its very foundation; my bones are out of joint;3 mine inwards heave like a ship

5 when the searing east wind soughs;4 my heare is sore distraught. In the havoc of their transgression a whirlwind swallows me up.

11:VII, 6-25

I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for by Thine own strength have You stayed me, and have wafted o’er me Your holy spirit that I cannot be moved.  You have braced me for all the battles that Wickedness wages against me, and have let not the havoc dlsmay me to break faith with You.   You have made me like a strong tower upon a lofty wall,1 founded upon a rock,2 reared on eternal foundations, whose walls are a proven bulwark that cannot be shaken

10 -a tower which You have provided, 0 my God, for [this] holy community -these men that rise as on wings.8
[You have brought me into] Your covenant Words flow free on my tongue, as it were trained by You,4 while the Spirit of Havoc stays speechless, and the reprobate open not their mouth.

Through me You have kept Your pledge: ‘False lips shall be stricken dumb’.* *  All them that challenge me You makest to stand condemned, distinguisbin~ through me the right from the wrong.  You knowest the impulse of every act, and discernest the purport of every speech,


**ps 31.18.


yet, by Your guidance* and truth You have directed my heare, to set my steps straight forward on paths of righteousness, and walk where Your Presence is,

15 within bounds of [holiness], on roads of infinite glory and peace, ending all [waywardness] for ever.  You knowest also the nature of this Your servant, how that I have not relied [upon the things of the world,] lifting [my heare] in pride, vaunting my strength.  No refuge have I in flesh, nor righteousness [in my soul,] that I may be saved from the snare except by Your pardon.

On [Your mercy alone] I rely, and for Your grace I hope, to bring [what I have plan]ted to flower, to make the shoot to grow, to find cause for vaunting strength, for [lifting heare.]  And You, 0 God of mercy, have in Your bounty given me place

20 among those to whom You are pledged;5 and unto Your truth will I cling. You have [shown me Your grace] and set me as a father to them You holdest dear,6 and as a nurse unto them whom You have made exemplars of men.7 They open their mouths for my words, like sucklings [at the breast,] and like as a babe that plays on the bosom of its nurse.

* Heb. Torah.


You have raised high my horn8 over all that revile me, and all who wage battle against me are rou[ted wiYout remnant,] and all that contend with me are as chaff before the wind;9 and all impiety bows to my sway. For You, O my God, have holpen my soul and raised high my horn.  I am lit with a light sevenfold, with that same [lustre] of glory which You did create for Yourself.10

25 For You are unto me as a light eternal11 guiding my feet upon [the way.]

12: VII, 26-33


I give [thanks unto You, 0 Lord,] for You have given me insight into Your truth and knowledge of Your wondrous secrets.
In loving kindness to [lowly] man, in abundance of mercy to wayward heares, who is like You among the gods, 0 Lord,1 and what truth is like Thine?  Who can prove righteous in Your sight when You bringest him unto judgment? Not even a spirit can answer Your charge, and none can withstand Your wrath. Yet, all that are children of Your truth

30 You bringest before You with forgiveness, [clean]sing them of their transgressions through Thine abundant goodness, and, through Your plenteous mercies, causing them to stand in Your presence for ever. For You are a God everlasting, and all Your ways hold firm for all time;2 and there is none else beside You. But what is man-vain, empty man, that he should understand Your great wondrous works?

13: VII, 34-VHI, 3

[I give thanks] unto You, 0 Lord, for You have cast not my lot in the congregation of the false, nor set my portion in the company of dissemblers.

35 Behold, in Your mercy [I trust], in Your pardon [confide], and on Thine abundant mercies [I lean], when all [just] judgments are passed upon me. [For You dost tend me as a mother tendeth] her babe, and [like a child] on the bosom of [its nurse dost You sustain me].


Your justice holdeth firm for ever, for [You dost] not [abandon them that seek You].1


14: VII, 4-36


I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, because, in a dry place, You have set me beside a fountain; in an arid land, beside a spring;1

5 in a de[sert], beside an oasis; like one of those evergreen trees-fir or pine or cypress-planted together to Your glory,2 which, hidden ‘mid other trees-trees that stand beside water-are fed from a secret spring, and which put forth blossom unfading upon an eternal trunk, striking firm root ere they burgeon, spreading their roots to the stream;3 a tree whose stem is exposed to living waters, and whose stock lies beside a perpetual fount; a tree on whose flowering leaves all the beasts of the woodland can feed; whose roots are so widespread that all wayfarers cannot but tread them;4 upon whose dangling boughs there is room for every bird.5 All those other trees-those trees that stand beside water-keep railing against it,6 because they grow entangled in their plantations,1

10 and can send not their roots to the stream, while this one, which puts forth the shoot of Holiness upon the stock of Truth, keeps its secret hidden, unknown, sealed and unsuspected. Moreover, O God, You has hedged in its fruit by the mystic power of stalware angels,8 by holy spirits, and by a flaming sword turning this way and that;9 that [the wicked] may not [drink] from the Fountain of Life nor, like those evergreens, imbibe the waters of Holiness;10 that he never may bring his fruit to blossom through the [sho]wers of heaven,11 because, Yough indeed he has seen it, he has never sensed what it was,12 nor, Yough he has had notion thereof,18 has he ever believed in the Fountain of Life, but, instead, keeps la[ying violent hands] on what is really a flower unfading. Behold, I was [aforetime] like lands which torrents have ravaged,14

15 casting their silt upon me,15 but You, O my God, have, as it were, put in my mouth early and latter rain [failing] all [the year round], an outpouring of living waters, which never fail, opening the heavens wiYout surcease,16 so that [those waters] are become like a river in flood,17 spilling over its banks,18 and like seas un[fathomable] which, long hidden in secret, suddenly burst forth [ ]19 and quicken [every tree], green and dry alike,20 and serve as a pool for wild beasts.

The tr[ees of the wicked shall fall] like lead in mighty waters,21

20 and a fire [shall break out], and they shall wither, and the planting of that fruit [prove in vain]. [But the trees of the righteous] shall [bloom fa]ir for ever, a glorious richness, a flower of beauty. At my hands have You opened a wellspring for them, yielding runnels of water, that their roots may be firmly set and their trees planted in line of the sun,22 in light [unfailing;] that their [boughs] may yield glorious foliage.

When I apply my hand to dig the furrows thereof,23 its roots strike even on granite, its stocks are firm-grounded in the eareh,24 and in the time of heat it secures protection But if I relax my hand, it becomes like a [heath in the desert,]25 and its stocks like nettles in a salt-marsh,

25 and out of its furrows grow thorns and thistles;26 [it turns] to briars and brambles,27 and its [ ] change to stinking weeds,28 its leaves fade before the heat; it is not exposed to water. It suffers mishap and disease and becomes a [target] for all manner of blight.

Then I become like a man abandoned in [a desert]; no refuge have I, for then whatever I planted blossoms but into wormwood. Constant is my pain,29 and cannot be stayed. [My soul is disqui]eted,30 like them that go down to Sheol; my spirit sinks 1ow81 among the dead. My life has as good as reached the Pit,82 and my soul waxes faint83 day and night wiYout rest.

30 There bursts forth, as it were a blazing fire held in my [bones,]34 the flame whereof devours unto the nethermost seas, exhausting my strength every moment, consuming my flesh every minute. Disasters hover about me, and my soul is utterly bowed down.85 For all my strength has ceased from my body, and my heare is poured out like water, and my flesh melts like wax, and the strength of my loins is turned to confusion, and my arm is wrenched from the shoulder.86 I [cannot] move my hand, and my [foot] is caught in a shackle, and my knees dissolve like water. I can take neither pace nor step; [heaviness] replaces my fleetness of foot;

35 [my steps] are trammeled. Once You did put into my mouth a powerful tongue, but now it is taken away. I cannot lift my voice in any areiculate [speech] to revive the spirit of the stumbling or encourage the faint with a word.87 Lips which were once so fluent38 are now stricken dumb.

15: IX, 2-X, 12

Yough [mine eye] sleep [not] at night, [Yough Belial assail me] wiYout mercy, Yough in anger He stir up His fury1 [and pursue me] unto destruction; Yough the breakers of death swirl around me,2 Yough Sheol* be upon my couch; Yough my bed take up a lament,8 and [my couch] a cry of anguish;

5 Yough mine eye smare as through the smoke of an oven,4 Yough my tears flow like rivers;5 Yough mine eyes fail,6 and I have no rest; Yough [my strength] stand afar off, and my life be put aside; Yough I go from rout to ruin,~ from pain to plague, from pangs to throes.

Yet will I muse on Your wonders; for You, in Your lovingkindness, have at no time cast me off.

* i.e., the netherworld.

My soul will delight every moment in the abundance of Your mercies, and I shall have wherewith to reply to him that would confound me, and to gainsay him that would abase me. I shall refute his case, and vindicate Your judgment.

10 For I have come to know Your truth; I accept Your judgments upon me, and am content with my afflictions.

I have learned to put hope in Your mercy; for You have placed in the mouth of Your servant the power to win Your grace,8 and have not mortally rebuked him, neither renounced his wellbeing, neither frustrated his hope. Rather have You braced his spirit to withstand affliction.

You it is emplanted* my spirit, and You knowest its every intent; and so in my straitness You have given me reassurance. I delight in the promise of pardon, and repent my former transgression; for I know that in Your mercy lies hope, and confidence in Thine abundant power.

15 For none can prove himself righteous when You bringest him unto judgment, neither can [any prevail] when You enterest suit against him. Yough man may prove more righteous than man, Yough a human may prove wiser than [a beast,] Yough flesh may rank higher than dumb [clay,]**

* Heb. ‘founded’.
** Literally, ‘than that which is molded out of clay’.


Though one spirit may prove mightier than another, yet naught can match [Your power] in strength. Your glory hath no equal, Your wisdom no measure, Your tr[uth no bound;] and all that have forfeited them [are doomed to perdition]

Behold, for my own pare, through You have I pr[ospered my way,] [through You maintained] my stand; for You have not [abandoned me] [unto them that selek my hurt.

20 Whenever they plot against me, You [savest me from their grasp,] and if they are bent to disgrace me, You in Your mer[cy dost confound] them. If mine enemy vaunt himself against me, it proves to his own undoing;* and they that battle against me [are overwhelmed] with disgrace, and shame overtakes them that revile me.

For at [every] time, 0 my God, You dost fight my fight.9 Yough now, in Thine inscrutable wisdom, You rebuke me, yet are You but hiding the truth until [its time] and [Your glory] until its season. Then will Your rebuking of me be turned into gladness and joy;

25 my plague shall be turned to perpetual health, the scorn of my foes to a diadem of glory,10 my halting steps to enduring strength. Lo, through Your Name and through Your glory light has shone forth upon me. You have brought me light out of darkness, have given me [health] in place of plague,11

* Literally, ‘stumbling’.


wondrous strength in place of stumbling, and abiding enlargement for the straitness of my soul.

[You are] my refuge and my tower, my rock of retreat and my stronghold; in You do I take refuge from all that [pursue me,] [and You are] mine escape evermore. Or ever my father begat me,

30 You did know me; from the womb of my mother You did shower me with Your grace* and from the breasts of her that conceived me Your mercies have been shed upon me. On the bosom of my nurse [You did sustain me,] and from my youth up You have enlightened me with understanding of Your judgments, held me firm by Your truth, and caused me to delight in Your holy spirit: and even unto this day You dost stay my goings.

Though Your just rebuke be with my body, yet will my soul be saved by Your watch over my wellbeing. With every step I take Thine abundant forgiveness enfolds me, and when You arraignest me, Your mercies overwhelm me. Even unto old age You wilt yet sustain me.

35 For my father hath renounced me, and my mother hath abandoned me to You;12 yet You are a father to all that [know] Your truth, and You wilt rejoice over them like a mother who pitieth her babe,

* The Hebrew word can also mean ‘You did wean me. There is thus a double-entendre.

and You wilt feed all Your works as a nurse feeds her charge at the bosom.13


Who can fathom the des]igns of Your heare? Apare from You hath nothing existed, and wiYout Your will will nothing be; yet can none understand Your wis[dom] nor gaze upon Your [sec]rets. What is man, mere earth, kneaded out of [clay,] destined to return unto the dust,14 that You shouldst give him insight into such wonders and make him privy to things divine?

x,5 As for me, I am but dust and ashes. What can I devise except You have desired it? And what can I think apare from Your will? And how be strong except You have stayed me, or use my mind,15 except You have created it? How speak except You have opened my mouth? How reply except You have given me sense? Lo, You are the Prince of the angels, and the King of all that are in glory, and the Lord of every spirit, and the Ruler of every deed. WiYout you nothing is wrought, and wiYout Your will can nothing be known.16 None there is beside You,

10 and none to share Your might, and none to match Your glory, and Your power is beyond price. Which among all Your great wondrous works has power to stand before Your glory? How much less, then, can he who returns to his dust attain to [such power.] Only for Thine own glory have You done all these things.

16: X, 14-XI, 2

 Blessed are You, 0 Lord, You God of compassion and mercy, for giving me knowledge [of Your truth]

15 and [insight] to [tell forth]. Your wonders, unhushed day and night


Because I have come to rely on that truth of Thine, [I will put my trust] in Your mercy, [my hope] in Your great goodness [and in Thine abundant] compassion.


Except You [keep hold,] there is no standing; and except [You let go, no falling]; except You rebuke, no stumbling; no affliction, but You have foreknown it; [no healing but] by Your [will].

20 Now that I know [Your tru]th, that I clearly behold Your glory, now that I understand [the mysteries of Your ways], [I now will put my trust] in the moving* of Your compassion, [my hope] in Thine acts of forgiveness. The high and mighty draw their strength from abundance of [worldly] delights; in profusion of corn and wine and oil [they find their joy],

25 and pride themselves in goods and possessions.1 Cho[osing] mortal delights and thliiking to glut themselves


* Or, abundance.


on earehiy things, [they picture themselves] as trees green beside nirniing streams,2 which cannot but put forth leaves and branches full many.8 But the joy and the bliss which You have given to these lowly servants of Thine4 is a joy and a bliss unending, and only by the measure of his knowledge does one outrank another.5 So, in [this] knowledge of Your truth have You bestowed on me, a lowly servant of Thine, a rich inheritance; and by virtue of that knowledge he now is come to ho[nor].6

30 The soul of [this] Your servant abhors all wealth and gain; in abundance of [worldly] delights his heare has no pleasure.7 Nay, in Your covenant does my heare rejoice, and Your truth it is that regales my soul. Wherefore, with heare exposed to a spring unfailing, drawing my strength from on high,8 I shall blossom like a lily,9 [while all the fruit of the wicked shall be but travail] and woe; they shall wither like a flower before [the heat].

35 Howbeit, when I hear tell how You wilt yet come to judgment along with Your stalware angeis,10 how You wilt yet enter suit in company with Your host of Holy Beings,11 my heare is sorely racked, my loins are all a-quake, my groans reach down to the nethermost depths and penetrate withal into the chambers of Hell;12 and I am full stricken with terror. For [judgment You surely wilt wr]eak [over the whole wide earth], justice on all that You have made; and [Your] right[eousness] wilt You evince over the hordes of Belial.13

[My soul is com]moved with ter[ror]; [tr]ouble [is not hidden] from mine eyes;14 Gri[ef and sorrow o’erwhelm] the musing of my heare.

17: XI, 3-14

 I give thanks unto You, 0 my God, for You have wrought a wonder with dust and have shown forth Your power in that which is molded of clay. For You have made me to know Your deep, deep truth, and to divine Your wondrous works, and have put in my mouth the power to praise, and psalmody on my tongue,

5 and have given me lips unmarred1 and readiness of song, that I may sing of Your loving kindness and rehearse Your might all the day and continually bless Your name. I will show forth Your glory in the midst of the sons of men, and in Thine abundant goodness my soul will delight. For I know that Your mouth is truth, and in Your hand is bounty, and in Your Yought all knowledge, and in Your power all might, and that all glory is with You.

In Thine anger come all judgments of affliction, but in Your goodness pardon abounding; and Your mercies are shed upon all who do Your will For You have made them to know Your deep, deep truth

10 and divine Thine inscrutable wonders; and, for Your glory’s sake, You have granted it unto man to be purged of transgression, that he may hallow himself unto You and be free from all taint of filth and all guilt of perfidy, to be one with them that possess Your truth and to share the lot of Your Holy Beings, to the end that this worm which is man2 may be lifted out of the dust to the height of eternal things, and rise from a spirit perverse to an holy understanding, and stand in one company before You with the host everlasting and the spirits of knowledge and the choir invisible,3 to be for ever renewed with all things that are.4

18: XI, 15-27

15 I give thanks unto You, 0 my God, I extol You, 0 my Rock,1 and because You have wrought wonders with me [I bless Your name.] For You have made me to know Your deep, deep truth; Your wonders have You revealed unto me, and I have beholden [Your truth] [and witnessed Your] deeds of loving kindness. So am I come to know that Yough You are ever just, yet in Your loving kindness lies sal[vatlon for men], and that wiYout Your mercy [theirs is but doo]m and perdition.

20 Lo, for mine own pare, when I mark the nature of man, how he ever reverts [to perversity and’ wrong doing], to sin and anguish of guilt, a fountain of bitter mourning wells up within me; [my tears flow like rivers],2 and sorrow is not hidden from mine eyes.8 These things go to my heare and touch me to the bone, that I raise a bitter lament and make doleful moan and groan, and keep plying my harp in mournful dirge and bitter lamentation, till wrongdoing be brought to an end, and men have no more to suffer punishing plague and stroke. But when that time shall come, then shall I ply my harp with music of salvation, and my lyre to tune of joy; I shall ply the pipe and flute in praise wiYout cease. Yough none there be among all Your works can rehearse the full tale of Your [wonders], yet then, in the mouths of them all shall Your name be praised;

25 then with mouth of [ ] they shall go blessing You for ever, and along with the [Holy Being]s chorus their song of joy.4 For sorrow and sighing shall be no more;5 wrongdoing shall be [at an end], and Your truth shall burst forth as the dayspring in never-ending glory and peace perpetual.

19: XI, 27-Xil, 35

Blessed are You, [0 Lord,] Who have given unto man the insight of knowledge, to understand Your wonders, [discern Your truth,] tell forth Thine abundant mercies. Blessed are You, 0 God of compassion and grace, for the greatness of [Your] power, the abundance of Your truth, the profusion of Your mercies

30 over all Your works. Rejoice the soul of Your servant in Your truth, and in Your righteousness make me clean, even as when [aforetime] I waited on Your bounty and hoped on Your mercies, and You did bring release to my travail,1 and even as when I leaned on Your compassion, and You did comfort me in my sorrow. Blessed are You, 0 Lord, for You it is have wrought these things, and placed in the mouth of Your servant [power to pray] and to win Your grace, and all readiness of tongue; and have prepared for me the guerdon of [righteousness] [and the reward of devotion],

35 that I may attain to [stand in Your presence].


[ ] my soul will exult2 [because it hath come to abide in Your presence] [and to dwell] secure in [Your] ho[ly] abode, in calm and quietude. [In] my tent [I will chant] [songs of joy] and salvation,5 and in the midst of them that fear You tell forth the praise of Your name to all ages to come, pouring forth prayer and supplication4 always, at all times and seasons;5 when daylight comes forth from [its abode];

xii,5 when, in its ordered course, day reaches its turning-point, in accordance with the rules of the sun; and again at the turn of the evening, when daylight depares, as the rule of darkness begins; and again in the season of night, when it reaches its turning-point, and when the morning breaks; and when, in the presence of the daylight, night withdraws to its abode; when night depares and day comes in, aiway, at all the birthdays of time, at the moments when seasons begin;6 when they reach their turning-points; when they come in order due according to their several signs,? as these have dominion in due order assured, [decreed] by the mouth of God and by the law of existence -that law which shall ever be

10 and beside which is none else, for the God of Knowledge it is that hath determined it, and along with Him there never hath been nor ever shall be another. Behold, for mine own pare, I have reached the inner vision, and through the spirit You have placed within me, come to know You, my God. I have heard Your wondrous secret, nor heard it arniss.~ Through Your holy spIrit, through Your mystic insight, You have caused a spring of knowledge to well up within me, a fountain of strength, pouring forth waters unstinted, a floodtide of loving kindness and of all-consuming zeal You have put an end to [my darkness],

15 and the splendor of Your glory has become unto me as a light ev[erlasting]. Wickedness hath been [consumed] altogether, and deceit [existeth] no more. [Perverseness is gone down] to perdition, for[ ] existeth no more [ ] Bluster is at an end, for it [cannot withstand] Thine anger. [The sins which I committed aforetime] [I committed in] overhavee; for [now am I come to know that] no man is righteous with You.

20 For there is none can understand all Your hidden things, nor answer Your charge against him; but all must needs wait upon Your goodness, for You, in [Your] loving kindness [wilt reveal to them Your truth,] that they may come to know You; and when Your glory bursts upon them, they shall rejoice. Only to the measure of each man’s knowledge and to the meed of his understanding have You given men access [to You], to serve You in their several domains, even as You have assigned their roles, [but] never to overstep Your word. And I-I was taken from dust, nipped out of clay; I was but a source of filth

25 and of shameful nakedness, a heap of dust, a thing kneaded with water, a dwelling place of darkness, a shape moulded of clay, which must needs revert to dust in due season [and lie once more] in the dust whence it was taken. And how can [such] dust and [clay] give answer to [Him who shapes] it; or how understand what He doeth, or how stand before its Accuser? Even the holy [angels,] the everlasting [spirits,] the reservoirs of glory, the wellsprings of knowledge and power,

30 -even they [cannot] tell forth all Your glory, nor stand against Thine anger, nor answer Your charge. For You are ever righteous, and none can gainsay You. How much less, then, he who returns to his dust?

Lo, I am stricken dumb. What can I say against this? I have spoken but according to my knowledge and only with such sense of right as a creature of clay may possess. But how can I speak except You open my mouth, and how understand, if You give me not insight; or how contend, save You open my heare; or how walk straight save You gu[ide my feet?]

35 How can [my] fo[ot] stand, how can I be strong in power, how can I endure [save by Your grace?]

[From this point it becomes impossible to distinguish the separate hymns.]
XIII, 1-21


When first the world began [You did shed an] holy [sp]~t [on all You dldst bring into being,] and make them all to attest Your wondrous mysteries.1


[You did show Your] handiwork in all that [You] did mak~ [You dldst reveal Your glory in all their varied shapes,] [Your] truth [in all] their works.


On all that [keep Your charge] [You bestowest grace abounding]

5 and mercies never falling; but upon all things that defy You You bringest perdition eternal. [So, if mortal men keep faith with You, behold, You crownest their he]ads with glory everlasting2 and [compassest their] works with perennial joy; but [the face of] the wicked [You coverest with shame.]

On those whom You have set [in] glory8 [to show forth] the full measure of Your works, yea, on the hosts of Your spirits, the congregation of [Your Holy Beings,] [the heavens] with all their array, the earth with all its produce, all things in lakes and seas on those, ere You did create them, You did impose a task

10 and a perpetual charge. For when first the world began You did so order them and appoint the work of each that they would spell out Your glory throughout Your dominion, making known thereby what none would else have seen, how ancient things pass over, and new things are ever created,4 how You do away with outworn forms, yet [main]tainest eternal nature,5 for You are a God everlasting, and You wilt endure for all time. In Thine inscrutable wisdom You have assigned to all these natures diverse and varied wherein to show forth Your glory. But how can a spirit of flesh understand of these things? How can it conceive Your so great mystery? Yea, how can one born of woman attest Your tremendous plan?

15 Creature of dust that he is, moulded of sodden clay, [a heap of filth], whose foundation is naked shame, and who is ruled by a spirit perverse, through his constant misdeeds* does he not [rather] serve as a thing of unending [revulsion], a portent for all generations,6 an object of abhorrence to all flesh?7 Nay, it is only through Your goodness and through Your mercies abundant that Man can ever do right. For it is with Thine own beauty that You dost beautify him, and only of Your free bounty dost You shower him with delights and grant him peace unending and length of days. And [Lord,] when once You have spoken ne’er is Your word revoked.8 So, for mine own pare, through the spirit You have planted within me, I, Your servant, am come to know that [all Your judgments are truth,] and righteousness all Your works, and ne’er is Your word revoked.

20 None of the terms and times which You have foreordained [hath failed to come to pass] -all of them duly chosen for their appointed ends.9 Therefore I know full surely [that yet the time will come] [when You wilt reward the righteous,] and the wicked be utterly [doomed.]

* Heb. ‘If he do wrong’.

xlv, 1-27

[I give thanks unto You, 0 Lord, for You have granted a remnant] unto Your people and a re[vival] [unto Thine iliheritance.]1 [You have raised up among them] men of truth and sons [of light,]2


men of abundant compassion, men of stalware spirit, men of tempered [soul,] men steeled to [sustain] Your judgment [Through them have You kept Your covenant] S and fulfilled Your pledge, to render us unto You [a kingdom of priests and] an holy [natlon]3 for all generations of time and for all the [ages to come.] [Verily, O Lord, You dost sustain] them that have vision of You. Blessed are You, 0 Lord, Who puttest the sense of discernment into the heare of Your servants,4 [that they may walk blamelessly before You,] and be steeled against all the dev[ices] of wickedness, and that they may bless [Your name,]

10 [loving] all that You lovest and abhorring all that [You hatest,]5 [and stray not in the waywar]dness of men, but, through the spirit of [discern]ment which is theirs, [distinguish] the good from the wicked [and keep] their deeds undefiled. Behold, for mine own pare, through that discernment which You have bestowed, I have indeed attained to such knowledge; for by virtue of Your good pleasure I have been granted a share in Your holy spirit, and You have brought me close to an understanding of You. The nearer I draw to You,6 the more am I filled with zeal against all that do wickedness and against all men of deceit. For none that draws near to You can see Your commandments defied,

15 and none that hath knowledge of You can brook change of Your words, seeing that You are the essence of right, and in all Thine elect Your truth is engrained. You wilt bring eternal doom on all frowardness and transgression, and Your righteousness will stand revealed in the sight of all You have made.

Lo, through Your great goodness I have come to know these things, and committed myself by oath never to sin against You nor do aught that is evil in Your sight; and I have been granted admittance to [this] community. So, for mine own pare, I will admit no comrade into fellowship with me save by the measure of his understanding, and only to the degree of his share in this common lot will I show friendship to him. I will not countenance evil, neither recognize fraud.

20 I Will not bareer Your truth for wealth, nor all Your judgments for a bribe. Only as You drawest a man unto You will I draw him unto myself, and as You keepest him afar, so too will I abhor him; and I will enter not into commumon with them that turn their back upon Your covenant7

Blessed are You, 0 Lord, Who, in the greatness of Your power, in Your manifold, infinite wonders and in the greatness of Your forbearance forgivest them that repent their transgression, but visitest the iniquity of the wicked. Verily, [on the righteous] You bestowest freely [Your love,]

25 but perversity You hatest for ever.8 So have You graced me, Your servant, with the spifit of knowledge and truth,~ that I should cherish the paths of righteousness and abhor all froward ways. So, for mine own pare, I in turn will love You freely10 and with all my heare will I [choose] [to walk in] Your paths. For by Your hand has this thing been wrought, and wiYout [Your will can naught be done].

XV, 9-26

[ ] they love You alway. So, for mine own pare, [Iwill]  [    ]

10 and love You right freely with all my heare and soul.1 Yea, I have cleansed [my heare] [to adhere to Your] ho[ly Law] [and never to] turn aside from aught that You have commanded; and I have made Your commandments to take firm hold upon many that they abandon not any of Your statutes.

Moreover, through the discernment which You have bestowed upon me I am come to know that not by means of the flesh can a mortal order his way neither can any man direct his own steps.2 I know that in Your hand is the shaping of each man’s spirit, and ere You did create him You did ordain his works.8 And how can any man change what You have decreed?

15 You alone it is that have created the righteous, conditioning him from the womb to rank among the favored at the end of days,4 to be safeguarded ever by covenant with You, to walk always [undaunted] through the moving of Your compassion, to open all the straitness of his soul to everlasting salvation5 and perpetual peace unfailing. You have raised his inner glory out of the flesh.

But the wicked have You created for the time of Your [wr]ath,6 reserving them from the womb for the day of slaughter, because they walk in the way of the bad and spurn Your covenant, and their soul abhors Your [statutes], and they take no pleasure in all You have commanded, but choose that which You hatest All [them that hate You] have You destined to the wreaking of great judgments upon them

20 in the sight of all You have made, to serve as a sign [and a token] for ever, that all may have knowledge how great is Your glory and strength.

How can flesh have reason, or the earth-bound direct his steps, except that You have created spirit* and ordained the working thereof? By You is the way of all the living ordained. So am I come to know that no wealth can equal Your truth, and Your holiness hath no match; and I know that You preferest these things to all else, and that They attend on You always. You wilt accept no bribe [for wrongdoing], and You wilt accept no ransom for deeds of wickedness.

25 For You are a God of truth and [hatest]** all perverseness; [and no iniquity] shall endure in Your presence. And I am come also to know

* Heb. You it is that createdest spirit’, etc.
** Or, ‘wilt destroy’.

that [righteousness] is Thine, [and a]ll [Your works are truth.]

XVI, 1-19

[You have shed] Your holy spirit righteous and [wicked alike,] [and You wilt judge all men] [according to their deeds.] Your holy spirit can [pass] not [away.] The fulness of heaven and earth [attests it,] and the sum of all things [stands witness to] Your glory.1 I know that through [Your] good wi[ll] towards man You have bestowed upon him a rich heri[tage in Your Law] [that he may walk] in all [his ways] as Your truth [inst]ructs; and [You have vouchsafed unto him]

5 to maintain a proper stance through Your [truth] which You have entrusted to him, lest he go as[tr]ay [ ], and You [have lain hold on him] that he stumble not in any of [his steps].2 Because that all these things are present in my mind, I would put into words my prayer and confession of sin, my constant search for Your spirit, the inner strength which is mine through the holy spirit, my devotion to the truth of Your covenant, the truth and sincerity in which I walk, my love of Your name:

Blessed are You, 0 Lord, creator of all things, mighty in deed,3 by Whom all things are wrought. Behold, You have granted mercy to Your servant and shed upon him in Your grace Thine ever-compassionate spirit and the splendor of Your glory. rhine, Thine alone, is righteousness, for You it is have done all these things.

10 Moreover, because I know that You dost keep a record of every righteous spirit,4 therefore have I chosen to keep my hands unstained, according to Your will; and the soul of Your servant has abhorred all unrighteous deeds. Nevertheless I know that no man can be righteous wiYout Your help. Wherefore I entreat You, through the spirit which You have put [within me,] to bring unto completion the mercies You have shown unto Your servant, cleansing him with Your holy spirit, drawing him to You in Your good pleasure, [ ] him in Thine abundant lovingkindness, granting to him that place of favor which You have chosen for them that love You and observe Your commandments, that they may stand in Your presence for ever. [Suffer not Beli]al [to ari]se and immerse himself in Your servant’s spirit,

15 neither let [a spirit] perverse [rule over] any of his deeds.5 Let not affliction confront him to make him to falter from the statutes of Your covenant, but [crown him] with glory and truth. [For You are a God gracious] and merciful, longsuffering and abounding in loving kindness and truth, forgiving transgression [ ] and relenting of [evil] [unto them that love Him] and keep His command[ments]6 -even unto them that return unto You in falthfness and wholeness of heare to serve You [and do what is] good in Your sight. So turn not away the face of Your servant neither [reject] the son of [Thine] handmaid; [for to You, 0 Lord, belongeth forgiven]ess, and by Thine own words have I call[ed upon You.]7


[Eleven lines too Fragmentary to translate seem to describe the doom which awaits the wicked.]

[For divine forgiveness]

 In Thine [abundant] mercy You have said by the hand of Moses that You wouldst [forgive all] iniquity and sin and shrive all [guilt] and treason.1 And verily, Yough the roots of the mountains [have blazed] and Yough the fire [has devoured] to nethermost hell,2 yet, whensoever You have wrought Your judgments them have You ever [redeemed] that were fa[ithful to You], that they might serve You in constancy and that their seed might be ever in Your presence;3 and You have ever confirmed unto them Thine o[ath]

15 [to pass over all transg]ression4 and to cast away all their iniquities,5 and to give them for their inheritance every mortal glory and abundance of days.

So, for mine own pare, by virtue of the spirits6 which You have set within me, I will give free rein to my tongue to tell forth Your bounteous acts and Your forbearance towards me and the deeds of Your strong right hand, and to [confess] my former transgressions and to make prayer and supplication7 before You concerning mine [evil] deeds and the waywardness of [my heare.] For I have been wallowing in filth, and [turned] from communion with You, and I have not att[ach]ed myself [unto Your congregation.]

20 You-with You lies bounty, and of Your nature it is ever to dower blessing.8 [Proffer,] then, Your bounty and redeem [my soul,] and let the wicked be brought to an end!

[For spiritual strength]

Moreover, I have come to understand that You have ever directed the course of such as You have chosen, bestowing insight upon him to spare him from sliming against You, repaying unto him all his affliction of heare in Your chaveisements and Your [trials].

You have delivered Your servant from sinning against You and from stumbling in doing Your will. Strengthen, then, the stand of this Your servant against all spirits of perverseness, that he walk in all the ways which You lovest, reject all that You hatest, and do what is good in Your sight. Yea, [ ] within me, for of flesh is the spirit of Your servant.

[For inner enlightenment]

[I am come also to know]

25 You have ever wafted Your holy spirit on him who is Your servant, i[llumi]ning for him the [dark places] of his heare [with light like the sun.] But I-behold, I look to all covenants made by man, [and all are nothing worth;]9 [while they that seek after Your truth] do surely find it, [for on them Your light] shineth; and they that love it [are illumined] [and walk in the glow of] Your light for ever,10 and You raisest [their heares] out of the dark[ness]. Let, then, Your light [shine ever on Your servant] for with You is light everlasting.

[For divine protection]

[I am come also to know] that once You did [ ] and open the ear of one who was but dust [that He might hear Your teaching] [and deliver Your chosen people] [from folly] and delusion

xviii,5 and from the uncleanness which [ And You did [ ] Your [], and [the hands] of Your servant were steadied by Your tr[uth,] and have remained so for ever, that he might announce Your wondrous tidings and reveal them to all who would hear. [You did strengthen him] by Your strong right hand to lead [ ] and You did [ ] [him] by Your mighty strength, [that he might achieve renown] for Your name and triumph in giory.11 Withdraw not now Your hand [from Your people,] that now too there might be among* them men** that hold firm to Your covenant,

10 that stand [blameless] before You!

[For power of speech]

Moreover, in the mouth of Your servant You did open, as it were, a fount and duly set*** on his tongue [the words of Your Law,] that through the understanding which You givest to him he might proclaim them to human mold, and serve as the interpreter of these things to dust like myself. That fount did You open also that he might reprove what is molded of clay concerning its way

*Heb. “1nto’.
** Heb. sg., viz. ‘a man’ that holds firm, etc.
*** Or, ‘engrave’ [despite the mixed metaphor!].

and that which is born of woman concerning its guiltiness, every man according to his deeds.

[Thanksgiving for divine grace]

But lo, that fount serves also as a wellspring of Your truth for every man whose spirit You have stayed by Thine own strength, that he [may walk] in Your truth, a herald of Your good tidings,12 bringing cheer to the humble through Thine abundant compassion,

15 sat[ing] from that fount them that are [wounded] in spirit, bringing to them that mourn everlasting joy.18


[Were it not for Your grace,] I could not have seen this thing. [For how can] I look on [Your glory] except You open mine eyes? How hear [the words of Your truth] [except You unstop mine ears?]

20 Behold, my heare was amazed that thus the Word was revealed to one with ears unattuned, and that a [wayward] heare [was suffered to grasp these things.] But now have I come to know that for Yourself, 0 my God, have You done these things. For what is mortal flesh [that You shouldst so exalt it] and work such wonders with it?

Howbeit, You wast minded* to consummate all things and ordain them unto Your glory, [and have therefore called into being] a host endowed with knowledge to tell forth Your mighty acts unto mortal flesh, and Your sure ordinances to that which is born [of woman.] And You have brought [Thine elect] into covenant with You and opened their heare of dust that, through Your compassionate Presence, they may be guarded from [ ]

25 [and escape] the traps of judgment.

So, for mine own pare, molded [of clay] that I am, with an heare of stone,14 lo, of what worth am I, that I should attain unto this? Yet, behold, You have set [Your word] in this ear of dust, and graven upon this heare eternal verities;* * and You have brought to an end [all of my frowardness,] to bring me into covenant with You, that I may stand [before You] evermore unshaken*** in the glow of the Perfect Light,15 till the end of time, where [no] darkness is for ever,

30 and where all is peace unbounded until the end of time.

* Heb. ‘it was in Your Yought’.
** Heb. ‘realities’.
***Heb. ‘in an eternal station’.



[The ho]ly [angels]1 which are in heaven—[even they do not know Your gr]eat name, for it is a mystery;2 neither can they ever [recount all] Your [wonders]8 nor Claim knowledge4 of all [Your secrets]. [How much less, then, can one who is destined to re]vert to the dust whence he came?5

5 Rebellious that I was, wallowing [in filth],6 [tainited with the guilt of wickedness,7 I had been [living, as it were], through more than one Day of Wrath,8 [fearful how I could with]stand the blows that were raining upon me,9 how I might be protected [from the punishing stroke]. Yet, [through that inner discernment which You have vouchsafed to us, we of this brotherhood] have been [made awa]re of these things: that there [always] is hope for a man10 [who turns back from sin that You wilt cleanse him] of taint. Wherefore, 0 my God, mere creature of clay Yough I be,11 now have I placed my reliance [on Your mercy and faithfulness],

10 knowing full well that [what comes from Your mouth] is truth,12 [that Your word is never re]voked.13 So, throughout the time that is yet allotted to me14 I shall hold firm [to Your judgments], and I shall maintain my stance in the station wherein You dost set me; for [You, a God of mercy, dealest mercifully with all] men and You dost provide for them a way of return.

* * *
* * *

[None is there in Your heavens neither upon] Thine earth, none among angels or m[en can] render You [fitting] praise or tell forth all of Your glory. How much less, then, can I who was taken from dust?

5 Howbeit, 0 my God, ’tis but to attest Your glory that You have made all of these. Wherefore, in accordance with Thine abundant mercy,1 grant that the sense for right doing which issues from You may serve ever as a safeguard [to Your servant] to deliver him from doom,2 and that, at his every step, there may be men about him to interpret to him what he should know8 and, [in all of his ways,] men to impress upon him the lessons of truth.~ For, [do whatever he may,] how else can man achieve aught, who is but dust, in whose ineffectual hands lies nothing but ashes? Yet lo, [on such a creature of] clay [have You shed Your grace, giving him Your] command[ments in] Your good will. You have shaped that clay on the wheel5 and passed it through Your test, that it may find its way into Your lot;8 and when cracks appear in it, You mendest them.7

10 Yea, over mere dust have You wafted Your [holy] spirit, [and have so molded that] clay that [it can have converse with] angels and be in communion with beings celestial. [Mere flesh have You lit with a light] perpetual, that there be no reversion to darkness, for [ ], and a light have You revealed that it never can be turned back.


You have wafted Your hofly spirit o’er these humble servants of Thine],8 clearing away all guilt9 [and purifying them], that, along with Thine [heavenly] host, they too [may minis]ter to You, and, stayed upon Your truth,

15 walk [upon level ground and str]ay [not] from Your presence. These men have You singled out, [0 my God,] [to bear witness] to Your glory, and through that sense for rightdoing [which You have vouchsafed to them You have delivered them from sin and purged away from them alll the frowardness of their tainted mold.

* * *
* * *

[Unto the children of light] a way has indeed been opened [that they may walk upon] peaceful paths1 and show how miraculously2 [God rescues human] flesh [from thralldom to sin]. My own feet had been [falling] into all manner of hidden traps3 which Sin~ had been laying, and into all manner of nets which it had been spreading.5

5 [How, Yought I,] will I [ever] preserve [this] fabric of dust from crumbling, this waxen mold [from dissolving]? Mere heap of ash that I am, how will I [ever] withstand the stormy blast?6 Howbeit, God has been keeping it for His mysterious ends; because He has been aware [of how frail it is, He has not suffered it [?]] to be wholly destroyed.7 Yough men keep laying [for it] traps never so many, and [tightening all about it] the toils of frowardness,8 yet win all guileful bent be brought to an end,

10 [and all wickedness] come to naught and every deceitful intent9 and all the works of guile cease to exist.

I am but a creature [of clay, a fabric of dust;] and what strength does such possess? Thine, 0 God of [all knowledge]10 is [the power and the might];11 You it is did make all things, and but for You [can naught exist]. [Yet, creature] of dust Yough I be, by virtue of the spirit which You have set within me, I have now come to know that [You wilt yet call to account all guil]ty [men]12 that flock unto18 frowardness and guile, and the wellspring of sin will be dammed.14 [For] that which is wrought in uncleanness can bring naught else but disease,15 condign plague10 and decay. Thine, [0 my God,] is a blazing wrath and a ven[geful] passion.17

* * *
* * *

[The sons of Your covenant are come to know that always, at every moment, continually, ev]ening and morning, [You dost vouchsafe unto them the blessing of salvation] and [healjing [from all the afflic]tions of men and pa[ins of humankind].

5 Wherefore they stand as sentinels, [posted] upon their watch,1 [knowing that] You wilt exorcize every noisome devil2 and [every evil spirit]. Moreover, You have unstopped mine ear [and made me aware] that through such spirits as these* [men who have bound themselves to] [human] [pledge] and pact have [ofttirnes] been seduced and will [someday] come before You to face Your charge. Wherefore, I for my pare have been living in terror of Your judgment

10 [for who can prove innocent be]fore You, and who can gain acquittal when Your sentence is passed?3 To what will man amount when You arraignest him, and to what he that turns back to his dust [ ] ?

Howbeit, 0 my God, You have opened mine heare to the insight which comes from You, and unstopped mine ear [to Your teaching], that, alYough my mind be unquiet4 [on account of hidden wrongdoings], and alYough my heare has been melting like wax5 because of transgression and sin which I have kept [concealed],6 I am come to rely upon Your goodness.

* Heb. ‘through them’.

15 Blessed be You, You God of [all] knowledge,7 Who have [so] ordained, and vouchsafed, for Thine own sake, that this fortune should fall upon Your servant. For now that I am come to [this] knowledge, so long as I have being I will put my hopes in Your [mercy]. Confirm, then, [Your word] unto Your [ser]vant Forsake us not in [these] times [of triai,8 that so we may bear witness always to Your grace] and Your glory and [Your] go[odness].

* * *
* * *

With a wondrous shew of [Your power You wilt visit upon them Your] righteous [judg]ment,1 [sundering and] severing them for ever from standing among [Your] sa[ints]2 [and from all] communion with Your Holy Beings.8 The spirits of wickedness4 wilt You ba<ni>sh from the ear[th],5

5 [and they that incite to] evil shall exist no more. You wilt appoint a place of un[rest6 he which shall be brought to their ruin, f;r all] spirits of frowardness,7 doomed] to [perpetual] mourning nd everlasting grief.8 When wickedness reaches its height in a climax of mighty uphea[val],9 t here shall come upon them anguish absolute.10 Howbeit, that all may take knowledge of Your glory and s[ee] how soothfast is Your judgment,11 [You wilt also shew forth] in the sight of all You have made how wondrous Your mercies can be.12 You have opened human ears13 [and impareed unto them the designs of] Your heare,14 and have given to [mortal] minds the means to understand that a time is yet to come when ‘witness will be borne’.15 [Here] on earth wilt You enter suit16 with them that dwell thereon,17 and [You wilt] also [wreak vengeance on the children of] darkness,18 vindica[ting the ri]ghteous and cond[emning the wicked],19 and suffering not [the children of light]20 to be sundered [from bl]essing [evermore].

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