Hymn 9 ( (formerly 4) XI (formerly III)

1 Apr

Hymn 9 ( (formerly 4)

XI (formerly 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 thee children have come to the throes of Death,
and she labours in her pains who bears a 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 Counsellor;
and a 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 mountains 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.

The Thanksgiving Hymns

The poems contained in the Scroll are similar to the Biblical Psalms. They are mostly 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 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 responsible for all the Hymns.

Geza Vemes; The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, New York, New York © 1962, 1965. 1968. 1975, 1987, 1995, 1997) p.159-160



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