Dead Sea Scroll Psalms
Note: These psalms from the Dead Sea Scrolls are not from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament but from another collection. The Qumran/Essene group used several collections of hymns.
This first one, Psalm 8, probably was written by the Teacher of Righteousness, the mysterious founder and prophet of the group. Here he reflects on the difficulties he was going through.
I thank you, O Lord.
You illumined my face by your covenant.
I seek you,
As sure as the dawn you appear as perfect Light.
Teachers of lies have comforted your people
and now they stumble, foolishly.
They abhor themselves
and do not esteem me through whom your wonders
and powers are manifest.
They have banished me from my land like a bird
from its nest, and my friends
and neighbors are driven from me.
They think me a broken pot.
They preach lies. They are dissembling prophets.
They devise baseness against me,
exchanging your teaching, written in my heart,
for smooth words.
They deny knowledge to the thirsty
and force them to drink vinegar to cover up error.
They stumble through mad feasts,
but you, God, spurn the schemes of Belial.
Your wisdom prevails.
Your hearts meditation prevails, established forever.
This next hymn, probably also authored by the Teacher of Righteousness, gives us a glimpse of the rich spirituality of this ancient Jewish monastic community that existed just before and during the time of Jesus.
God is Light.
Your Holy Spirit
illuminates the dark places of the heart
of your servant,
with Light like the sun.
I look to the covenants made by men,
Only your truth shines,
and those who love it are wise
and walk in the glow
of your Light.
From darkness you raise hearts.
Let Light shine on your servant.
Your Light is everlasting.