Thursday, March 23, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-k

This is the fourth post in my series on Qumran Psalms manuscripts that feature psalms known from the MT in sequences out-of-step with the MT. Previous posts covered 4QPse, 4QPsb and 4QPsd, and 4QPsa. This post covers 4QPsk.

4QPsk (4Q92)
  • Date: first half of I BCE
  • Preserved contents: 135:6–16; 99:1–5(?)
  • Reconstructed sequence: 135; 99 (with, perhaps, another psalm in between)
  • Alternative sequences: 135; 99
4QPsk (entire preserved contents) 
On that piece of twine connecting the two fragments, DJD 16 (p. 123) says:
...the two fragments are connected by a coarse piece of cord which extends upward through a hole just below the he of העמים in frg. 1 ii 4, enters frg. 2 through a hole from behind, and emerges just below the waw of לדו[ד in line 3. On PAM 43.030, frg. 2 is at a perpendicular angle above fr. 1, while PAM 42.029 documents a partially successful attempt to align the pieces correctly. The artificial join seems to be the remains of a repair undertaken in antiquity. 
The first column (on the right) contains material from Psalm 135:6–16. There's a little bit at the very top right of the fragment, more easily seen in this infrared photo

4QPsk col. i (top)
Those little lines at the point are plausibly reconstructed as the yod and final nun in the word ואין, which comes in the middle of a reconstructed form of Psa 135:6 that matches what we find for this verse in 11QPsa and 4QPsn (and does not match the MT reading of this verse). In Sanders's Cornell edition of 11QPsa, this verse reads in English:
What the LORD pleases he does, in heaven and on earth, to do he does; there is none like the LORD, there is none like the LORD, and there is none who does as the King of gods, in the seas and in all deeps. (p. 61)
(The italics mark divergences from MT. I have underlined the portion that corresponds to the proposed reconstruction of 4QPsk.)

The first words you can really see on the fragment (in what is actually the second line of preserved writing) constitute the very end of Psa 135:7 (מאצרתיו) and beginning of v. 8 (שהכה בכורי). The last visible words in that same column are the final words of v. 15 (וזה]ב מעשי ידי אדם) and the first word of v. 16 (פה), followed by the bottom margin of the scroll.

As for the second column, here's the picture that shows the "partially successful attempt to align the pieces correctly," mentioned in the DJD quotation above.

4QPsk  col. ii

Apparently those first visible letters above the coarse cord in the second column are the remnants of a superscription attached to Psalm 99 (the name David, לדוד), though MT contains no superscription for this psalm. On the second line we have the word העמים (= the last word of MT Psa 99:2). Remember, the fragments are not properly aligned; you can see the he on frg. 1 and the mem on frg. 2, preceded by the ayin (partially visible) and part of the top stroke of the he. After the mem on frg. 2 you can see the yod, but the cord is covering the final mem which is visible (upside down) on this picture:

4QPsk frg 2 (upside down)
On the third line of col. ii we have רממו, followed by the first two letters of the Tetragrammaton; these words are the beginning of Psa 99:5.

The identification of the words in this column with Psa 99 depends on the rarity of the term רממו, which in the MT appears only in Psa 99:5, 9 (spelled both times רוממו). The word also appears in Psa 135:2 in 11QPsa, but this would leave the העמים in the preceding line unexplained.

Based on this evidence, Lange (p. 387) can say: "There is no question that Ps 99 in 4QPsk followed Ps 135. The material reconstruction of 4QPsk makes it probable that between Ps 135 and Ps 99 in this manuscript there stood another psalm: Ps 135→Ps ?→Ps 99."

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