Translation:

4:1 For the heavens and the earth will listen to his messiah,

4:2 and all that is in them will not depart from the commandments of the holy ones.

4:3 Strengthen yourselves you seeking the Lord in his service

4:4 Will you not find the Lord in this, all those waiting in their hearts?

4:5 Because the Lord will attend to the covenant faithful and the righteous he will call by name.

4:6 And on the humble his spirit will rest and the faithful he will renew in his strength.

4:7 Because he will glorify the covenant faithful upon a throne of kingship forever,

4:8 freeing the imprisoned, opening [the eyes] of the blind, raising the bowed.

4:9 And forever I will cling with those [who] wait and in his covenant faithfulness.

4:10 and the fruit of good deeds to no man will be delayed.

4:11 And the glorious things which do not exist the Lord will do just as he said.

4:12 Because he will heal the slain, and the dead will be alive, and to the humble he will bring glad tidings

4:13 and the oppressed he will cause to be satisfied, and the exiled he will guide, and the hungry he will enrich.

Exegesis:

Line 7 continues what was begun in Lines 1 and 2. In those two lines messiah is obeyed and the “holy ones” seem to share in his reign. In Line 7 the חסידים are enthroned. The language is quite strong, predicting a future day when they will be “glorified”  by the Lord (יכבד, imperfect), which is explained as having a “throne of kingship” (כסא מלכות). That this reign is “forever” (עד) is an interesting statement as well. Does the author mean to indicate something like resurrection life or merely that the kingdom of God’s people will reign forever (i.e., the children of future generations will continue the rule)?

Line 8 has language that is similar to some Lukan language regarding the messiah, though God seems to be the primary mover. The imprisoned will be free (מתיר אסורים), the eyes of the blind opened (פוקח עורים), and bowed or cast down will be raised (זוקף כפופים).

Line 9 moves to the first person with the author saying that he will “cling with those who wait/hope” (אדבק במיחלים). As with the statement at the end of Line 7 that seemed to indicate an eternal hope of some sort, the author says he will do this “forever” (ולעלם). Now, עולם can mean “for a long time,” but it is hard to avoid the implications in the broader context, especially with mention of what may be resurrection in Line 12.

In Lines 5 and 7 the covenant faithful of the Lord are mentioned. In Line 9 the author establishes the Lord as faithful to the covenant saying he will cling to the Lord’s covenant faithfulness (ובחסדו).

Line 10 appears to present the idea of an eschatological award for good deeds. The author says that “the fruit of good deeds” (ופרי מעשה טוב) will not be denied/delayed to any man (לאיש לוא יתאחר). The hithpael here seems to be emphasizing the work of the Lord as a future event. The Lord himself will not delay the fruit.

Line 11 is about covenant fulfillment. Things that do not exist now (ונכבדות שלוא היו יעשה) will exist then “just as he said” (אדני כאשר דבר  ).

Line 12 The “reason” that the things that are not existent will be existent is “because” (כי) the Lord will “heal the slain” (ירפא חללים , imperfect) and “the dead will alive” (ומתים יחיה, imperfect) and he will bring “good tidings/good news” to the humble (ענוים יבשר , imperfect). All of these statements are in the imperfect indicating future events. It is hard to avoid reading them as eschatological. Likewise, it is hard to avoid connecting this language to language used by Christians later. In fact, one can hear the echo of this fragment’s worldview in much Christian writings: a time of messiah, co-reigning with messiah, covenant faithfulness; the Lord releasing captives, raising the oppressed, opening the eyes of the blind, and bringing the dead to life; the spirit resting on God’s people. One could view the use of בשר as a precursor to language about the “gospel” as well. It refers to a message of good news.

Finally, Line 13 appears to continue this line of thought: oppressed are satisfied by the Lord (ודלים ישביע), the exiles given guidance (נתושים ינהל), and the hungry enriched (ורעבים יעשר).

Note: the symbol 〚 〛 means there is “empty space or damaged skin with no writing. When a bracket [ ] is present the content was reconstructed, so there is reason to be cautious in those instances.

A full PDF of Pt. 1 and 2 will be available on the Essays/Papers page. As before, feedback welcome.

Advertisements