Something to Enjoy from the #DeadSeaScrolls (1QS)

I will declare His judgement concerning my sins,
and my transgressions shall be before my eyes
as an engraved Precept.
I will say to God, ‘My Righteousness’
and ‘Author of my Goodness’ to the Most High,
‘Fountain of Knowledge’ and ‘Source of Holiness’,
‘Summit of Glory’ and ‘Almighty Eternal Majesty’.
I will choose that which He teaches me
and will delight in His judgement of me.
Before I move my hands and feet
I will bless His Name.
I will praise Him before I go out or enter, or sit or rise,
and whilst I lie on the couch of my bed.
I will bless Him with the offering
of that which proceeds from my lips
from the midst of the ranks of men,
and before I lift my hands to eat
of the pleasant fruits of the earth.
I will bless Him for His exceeding wonderful deeds
at the beginning of fear and dread
and in the abode of distress and desolation.
I will meditate on His power
and will lean on His mercies all day long.
I know that judgement of all the living is in His hand,
and that all His deeds are truth.
I will praise Him when distress is unleashed
and will magnify Him also because of His salvation.

I will pay to no man the reward of evil;
I will pursue him with goodness.
For judgement of all the living is with God
and it is He who will render to man his reward.
I will not envy in a spirit of wickedness,
my soul shall not desire the riches of violence.
I will not grapple with the men of perdition
until the Day of Revenge,
but my wrath shall not turn from the men of falsehood
and I will not rejoice until judgement is made.
I will bear no rancour
against them that turn from transgression,
but will have no pity
on all who depart from the way.
I will offer no comfort to the smitten
until their way becomes perfect.

I will not keep Satan within my heart,
and in my mouth shall be heard’
no folly or sinful deceit,
no cunning or lies shall be found on my lips.
The fruit of holiness shall be on my tongue
and no abominations shall be found upon it.
I will open my mouth
in songs of thanksgiving,
and my tongue shall always proclaim
the goodness of God and the sin of men
until their transgression ends.
I will cause vanities
to cease from my lips,
uncleanness and crookedness
from the knowledge of my heart.

I will impart/conceal knowledge with discretion
and will prudently hedge it within a firm bound
to preserve faith and strong judgement
in accordance with the justice of God.
I will distribute the Precept
by the measuring-cord of the times,
and … righteousness
and loving-kindness towards the oppressed,
encouragement to the troubled heart
and discernment to the erring spirit,
teaching understanding to them that murmur
that they may answer meekly
before the haughty of spirit
and humbly before men of injustice
who point the finger and speak of iniquity
and who are zealous for wealth.

As for me,
my justification is with God.
In His hand are the perfection of my way
and the uprightness of my heart.
He will wipe out my transgression
through His righteousness.

For my light has sprung
from the source of His knowledge;
my eyes have beheld His marvellous deeds,
and the light of my heart, the mystery to come.
He that is everlasting
is the support of my right hand;
the way of my steps is over stout rock
which nothing shall shake;
for the rock of my steps is the truth of God
and His might is the support of my right hand.

From the source of His righteousness
is my justification,
and from His marvellous mysteries
is the light in my heart.
My eyes have gazed
on that which is eternal,
on wisdom concealed from men,
on knowledge and wise design
(hidden) from the sons of men;
on a fountain of righteousness
and on a storehouse of power,
on a spring of glory
(hidden) from the assembly of flesh.
God has given them to His chosen ones
as an everlasting possession,
and has caused them to inherit
the lot of the Holy Ones.
He has joined their assembly
to the Sons of Heaven
to be a Council of the Community,
a foundation of the Building of Holiness,
and eternal Plantation throughout all ages to come.

As for me,
I belong to wicked mankind,
to the company of unjust flesh.
My iniquities, rebellions, and sins,
together with the perversity of my heart,
belong to the company of worms
and to those who walk in darkness.
For mankind has no way,
and man is unable to establish his steps
since justification is with God
and perfection of way is out of His hand.
All things come to pass by His knowledge;
He establishes all things by His design
and without Him nothing is done.

As for me,
if I stumble, the mercies of God
shall be my eternal salvation.
If I stagger because of the sin of flesh,
my justification shall be
by the righteousness of God which endures for ever.
When my distress is unleashed
He will deliver my soul from the Pit
and will direct my steps to the way.
He will draw me near by His grace,
and by His mercy will He bring my justification.
He will judge me in the righteousness of His truth
and in the greatness of His goodness
He will pardon all my sins.
Through His righteousness he will cleanse me
of the uncleanness of man
and of the sins of the children of men,
that I may confess to God His righteousness,
and His majesty to the Most High.

Blessed art Thou, my God,
who openest the heart of Thy servant to knowledge!
Establish all his deeds in righteousness,
and as it pleases Thee to do for the elect of mankind,
grant that the son of Thy handmaid
may stand before Thee for ever.

For without Thee no way is perfect,
and without Thy will nothing is done.
It is Thou who hast taught all knowledge
and all things come to pass by Thy will.
There is none beside Thee to dispute Thy counsel
or to understand all Thy holy design,
or to contemplate the depth of Thy mysteries
and the power of Thy might.

Who can endure Thy glory,
and what is the son of man
in the midst of Thy wonderful deeds?
What shall one born of woman
be accounted before Thee?
Kneaded from the dust,
p 89 his abode is the nourishment of worms.
He is but a shape, but moulded clay,
and inclines towards dust.
What shall hand-moulded clay reply?
What counsel shall it understand?

Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English.


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