Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-n

This is the fifth post in my series. See previously here, and follow the links back.

4QPsn (4Q95)
  • Date: late-I BCE
  • Preserved contents: Ps 135:6–9, 11–12; 136:23–24
  • Alternative sequences: Ps 135:11–12→136:23–24
There are three fragments of this scroll.

4QPsn frg. 1
This fragment preserves part of Psalm 135:6–8, with a longer (vis-a-vis MT) reading of v. 6 mentioned earlier in relation to 4QPsk. The first line shows לעשות יעש[ה, i.e., "to do he does" at the very beginning of the plus. The second line shows the last word of v. 6, תהו]מות, and the first words of v. 7, מעלה נשיאים, "raising clouds."

4QPsn frg. 2
Fragment two has a little bit of text from Psalm 135:11–12. The first line has מלך הב[שן from Ps 135:11 and the second line has נחל[ה ]ל[נו from v. 12.

4QPsn frg. 3

This third fragment contains part of Psalm 135:12 and part of Psalm 136:23–24. At the very top, we can see ונתן, which is the very first word of Psalm 135:12. The DJD editors also think they can see on the same line the next word of the verse: ארצם, which they can put together with the נחל[ה ]ל[נו of frg. 2. The next line of this fragment preserves לישראל עמו כ[י, which are the last words of Psalm 135:12 in the MT, except for the כי, which is an extra element. DJD proposes that this is the first word of the phrase כי לעולם חסדו ("for his lovingkindness is everlasting"), taken over from the refrain of Psalm 136.

The third visible line on frg. 3 shows the words זכ[ר] לנו כי לעו[לם, corresponding to Psalm 136:23 (I myself can't see any of the זכר.) That lamed at the bottom of the fragment plausibly corresponds to the לעולם in the refrain of Ps 136:24.

According to DJD 16 (p. 136), the combination of Ps 135 and 136 happened in two ways:
(a) by the introduction of the refrain that is characteristic of Psalm 136 (כי לעולם חסדו) after 135:12a and again after 135:12b; and (b) by the colon 135:12b (נחלה ]לישראל עמו) in line 3, which is very similar to the colon found in 136:22a (נחלה לישראל עבדו). 
And on p. 137:
The preserved text represents a new Psalm, which forms a coherent whole and presumably comprised 135:1–12 + 136:23–26. But since the refrain suddenly appears from v 12 onwards, it seems that the compiler fashioned the new Psalm by combining material from Psalms 135 and 136. Strictly speaking, the transition is from 135:12, which ends a pericope, to 136:23, which begins a new one. However, by introducing the refrain twice into 135:12 and in view of the close similarity between 135:12ab and 136:21–22, the compiler has succeeded in blending material from Psalm 135 with that of 136 at points where the separate Psalms contain very similar readings. 

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