mizmoráyya de’ebyonáyya chasidayya, we-tehillin acharin

ha-mizmorey ha-ebyonim ha-chasidhim, u-t'hillot acharim

(THE HYMNS OF THE PIOUS POOR, AND OTHER PSALMS)

A Hymn of the Pious Poor

1 1Bless YHVH, O my soul, because of all His marvels forever.

              Blessed be His Holy Name,

              for He saves the souls of the Poor.

2He has not shunned the meek,

              nor has He forgotten the suffering of the downtrodden.

3On the contrary, He has directed His attention to the downtrodden

              and, inclining His hearing, has listened to the cry of orphans.

4In His abundant mercy, He comforts the meek,

              and opens their eyes to behold His ways,

              and their ears to hear His Teaching.

5And He has circumcised their hearts,

              and saved them because of His compassion,

              and has directed their feet to the Way.

 

6God did not abandon them in their great distress,

              nor did He give them up to the hands of violent men,

7Nor judge them with the wicked,

              nor destroy them in His anger –

              even though His righteous anger did not recede at all.

8Yet He did not judge them in burning zeal;

              rather He judged them in the abundance of His mercy;

              the judgments of His mind were to test them.

 

9In the greatness of His mercy,

              God brought them from among the nations;

              from violent hands He saved them.

10He did not judge them amongst the multitude of the nations,

              nor scatter them amongst the peoples of the earth.

11Rather He hid them under the shadow of His wings,

              and made the dark places light before them,

12And made the crooked paths straight,

              and He revealed to them His abundant peace and truth.

 

13He made their spirit by careful measure,

              and meted out their words by weight,

              causing them to sing out like flutes.

14He gave them a heart of rejoicing,

              and they walked in the Way of His heart.

15But also, He led them in the Way of His heart

              because they humbled their spirit,

              and raised up a testimony to Him.

16For did He not set His angels around the Israelites,

              and command plagues to blight their oppressors,

              lest they be destroyed in the land of their affliction?

 

17He staid his wrath from bringing His anger upon the Meek.

              for He hated the wickedness of their oppressors,

              but sent His Glory to save the Poor.

18He is pierced by the evil that weighs on His children,

              and His heart is mightily distressed.

 

19So He leads them to lift up their works for His sake

              against the violent deeds of human beings.

20And He saves them for the sake of His Name,

              to reveal to them the heart of God’s Torah.

 

21For although they had sinned,

              and had erred in the sins of their ancestors,

22They atoned for it,

              and repented of their ways.

 

23And because they kept their hearts from earthly things,

              God directed them to His judgments,

              and to the Way that He had shown them.

24And although they were crushed in their affliction,

              they were lifted from the depths,

              and seated at His right hand.

 

A Hymn of the Pious Poor

2. 1What are the duties of the one who walks in the Way:

              to heighten understanding

              in order to strengthen the downcast heart,

              and so triumph over the spirit within it;

              and comfort the downtrodden in the times of their distress.

2And as for the hands of the lowly:

              to keep them up,

              so they can make vessels of understanding,

              give knowledge to the wise,

              and increase the learning of the righteous,

3So that they might comprehend the wonders that You performed

              in former days,

              in previous generations –

4So that they might understand the eternal Insight that You created

              before creating me.

 

5You have kept Your Torah before us,

              and Your Covenant You have confirmed to us,

              strengthening it upon our hearts.

6You gave us to walk in Your ways –

              You commanded our hearts,

              and instructed our consciences

              not to forget Your precepts.

7On our souls You have written Your Torah,

              and opened our consciences,

              and strengthened us to pursue the Way of Truth.

 

8You made our mouths like a sharp sword,

              and opened our tongues to Your words of holiness.

9You have instructed our thoughts,

              and shown them the Way;

10Therefore, let them not meditate upon the deeds of human beings –  

              on those whose lips are already in Sheol.

 

11You strengthened our legs with firm resolve,

              and by Your power You strengthened us with life.

12You sent us forth with joy,

              and cast from us our hearts of stone.

13You removed our former hearts from us,

              and put pure hearts in their place,

              removing all thoughts of evil.

14These things You have done in our sight;

              these things You have accomplished in our hearing.

 

A Hymn of the Pious Poor

3.  1O YHVH, You have promised

              that Your children shall be comforted

              on account of their mourning;

              their affliction You will salve.

2Evil nations You have promised to destroy,

              and cut off wicked peoples,

              to banish dread and fear,

              and that wickedness be cast out.

 

3You fashioned the works of heaven and earth,

              and they came together,

              and Your glory filled the whole earth.

4The words of their truth will make atonement,

              and the deeds of their repentance will make expiation.

 

5Goodness will multiply and the goodness of Your Torah

              will comfort the Poor in Jerusalem’s gates;

              and the downtrodden shall eat of its fruit and its goodness.

6Like a child whose mother comforts him,

              so too will God comfort the Poor in Jerusalem.

 

7Like a bridegroom over the bride,

              over her head He will put a canopy of peace,

              and He will lift up His throne forever and ever.

8And His glory shall shine forth,

              and all the Nations shall know Him,

9And there will be a fervent desire for His Torah forever

              in the radiance of His kingdom.

 

10I shall bless the Name of YHVH forever:

              Blessed be the Name of God Most High,

              the Sovereign and Father of all the Nations!

11Lift up Your piety upon us, O YHVH!

              For the sake of Your Teaching, You established peace;

12The Book of Your Torah,

              You gave to maintain justice.

13And the Poor have loved Your Torah,

              Your guiding precepts they have embraced.

14Blessed be YHVH, the God of the Poor!

              Blessed be the salvation of His Holy Name!

 

An Ecology Hymn

4.  1Let us praise YHVH for the Land

              and for everything that dwells upon the Land.

2Indeed, for all life that inhabits the Earth –  

              all its various components,

              all its provision and support,

              all its hills, valleys and streams,

              and all its lands of beauty and peace.

 

3Let us praise YHVH for the depths of the forests

              and the wildernesses of Horeb,

              for the mountains of Se’ir,

              for Paran and its wild lands,

              and the foundations of the mountains;

4for the islands and the abundance of their forests,

              for the trees and their fruits,

              for the highland woods and all the cedars of Lebanon.

5Let us give praise to YHVH for the new wine and new oil,

              and for all the produce of the soil which we have been given –

              for the olive and the date, and the new grain,

              and for all the offerings of the Land in the twelve months of the year.

6We bless You for the abundance of these things,

              for You have shown the faithfulness of Your Word!

              Amein! Amein! And again, amein!

 

7Let us praise YHVH for the fortress of water,

              for the deep wells of the earth below,

              for every brook and every stream,

8for the deep rivers of fresh water that flow down from the mountains,

              for the lakes and cisterns of fresh water,

              for caverns and for all their secrets yet to be discovered.

 

9Let us praise YHVH for all the Earth,

              and its great bounty which He has so wondrously provided,

10That we may always tend the gardens which our God has planted,

              and the wildernesses of the Earth which He has made forever.

 

A Prayer for Deliverance

5.        1Surely a maggot cannot praise you,

           nor a grave-worm recount your loving-kindness.

2But the living can praise you –

           all those who stumble can praise you,

3when You reveal Your mercy to them,

           and enlighten them with Your righteousness.

 

4For in Your power is the soul of every living being;

           You have given breath to all living flesh.

5Deal with us then, O YHVH, according to Your goodness,

           according to Your great compassion,

           and according to Your many righteous acts.

 

6YHVH hears the voices of those who love His Name,

           and does not deprive them of His mercy.

7Blessed be YHVH, who performs righteous acts,

           and crowns His pious ones with mercy and compassion.

 

8My soul calls out to praise Your Name,

           to give thanks with shouts for Your merciful deeds;

9to proclaim Your faithfulness –

           praise of You there is no end!

 

10I was near death for my transgressions,

           and my rebellious acts had sold me to the pit of death;

11but You saved me, O YHVH,

           according to Your great compassion,

           and according to Your many righteous acts.

 

12Indeed I have loved Your Name,

           and under Your shelter I have found refuge.

13When I remember Your power my heart is brave,

           and I lean upon Your tender mercies.

 

14Forgive my transgressions, O YHVH,

           and cleanse me of my wrongdoings.

15Bestow on me a spirit of faith and knowledge,

           and let me not be dishonoured in ruin.

 

16Let not evil thoughts rule over me,

           nor an unclean heart;

17neither let pain nor the evil inclination

           take possession of my bones.

 

18For You, O YHVH, are the object of my praise,

           and in You I hope all day long.

19Let my brothers and sisters rejoice with me,

           and my father’s house,

           who are astonished by the graciousness of Your acts.

20Eternally I shall praise Your Name –

           indeed, forever I shall rejoice in You!

 

Hymn to the Creator

6.        1Great and holy is YHVH,

           the holiest holiness from generation to generation.

2Glory precedes Him,

           and following Him is the rush of many waters.

3Mercy and truth surround His presence;

           truth and justice and righteousness

           are the foundation of His throne.

4Separating light from deep darkness,

           He established the dawn by the knowledge of His heart.

5When all His angels had seen this they sang out loud;

           for He showed them what they had not previously known.

 

6He crowns the hills with fruit,

           perfect food for every living creature;

7Blessed be He who has made the earth by His power,

           who has established the world through His wisdom!

8In His understanding He spread out the heavens,

           and brought forth the wind from His storehouses.

9He made lightning bolts for the rain,

           and caused mist to rise from the depths of the earth.

           Praise be to YHVH!

 

 

Proclamation to Zion

7.        1I remember you for blessing, O Zion;

           with all my strength I have loved you.

           Blessed be your memory forever!

2Great is your hope, O Zion,

           that peace and your hoped-for salvation will come.

3Generation after generation shall dwell within you,

           and generations of Pious Ones will be your splendour.

 

4Those who long for the day of your salvation

           will rejoice in the magnitude of your glory.

5At your glorious abundance they will suckle,

           and in your magnificent streets they will run about.

6You will remember your prophets’ acts of piety,

           and you will glory in the deeds of your Pious Ones.

 

7Let violence be purged from your midst;

           let falsehood and deceit be cut off from you.

8Your children will rejoice in your midst,

           and your precious ones will be united with you.

9How they have hoped for your salvation!

           How your perfect ones have mourned for you!

 

10Your hope does not perish, O Zion,

           nor is your longing forgotten.

11Who is the one to have ever perished in righteousness,

           or who is the one to have ever survived in his iniquity?

12A person is tested according to his path;

           everyone is rewarded according to his deeds.

 

13All around your enemies are cut off, O Zion,

           and all your foes have been scattered.

14Your praise is a pleasant fragrance, O Zion,

           rising throughout all the Land.

15Many times I remember you for blessing;

           with all my heart I bless you.

 

16May you reach everlasting righteousness,

           and may you accept the blessings of the glorious ones.

17Accept a vision described for you,

           and the dreams of the prophets sought for you.

18Be exalted and spread out, O Zion!

           Praise the Most High, your Redeemer!

           Let my soul exult in your glory!

 

Proclamation to Judah

8. 1On the day that YHVH has promised,

              2Zion shall rejoice in her King,

3And the stones of the holy mountain shall exult,

              4and the streets of the holy city shall give praise.

5Then shall the heavens and the earth give praise together,

              6And all the stars of twilight give praise!

 

7Rejoice then, O Judah, in your joy;

              8Be happy in your happiness,

           and dance in your dance.

9Celebrate your pilgrim feasts,

           fulfil your sacred vows,

           for no longer is wickedness in your midst.

10May your hand be lifted up;

              11May your right arm prevail.

 

12See, your enemies will perish,

           and all evildoers will be scattered.

13For You, O YHVH, are forever

              14Your glory will be forever and ever!

              15Praise be to YHVH, Protector of Judah!

 

A Psalm for the Coming of YHVH

9. 1In the day of YHVH’s coming,

              2the wicked will be called to account,

              3and the oppressed will be released;

4And on the day when many people return to the Holy One,

           let them praise the name of YHVH!

5For He comes to judge every action,

              6to remove the wicked from the Land,

              7so that no children of iniquity will be found among the righteous.

 

8Then the heavens will give their dew,

              9and no searing drought will fall within their borders.

10And the Land will yield its fruit in due season,

              11and will not stint in its good produce.

12The fruit of trees will be heavy on their branches,

              13and the grapes will strain on their vines,

14The fields will not be scarce with their grain;

              15and the oppressed will eat their fill,

              16and those who revere YHVH in awe will be sated.

 

17The poor will no longer be in want,

              18and those who mourn

           will no longer have tears in their eyes.

19The lowly will exult,

              20and the oppressed will rejoice.

21In the day when YHVH their Redeemer is come;

              22in the day of YHVH’s coming!

 

Psalm 151 – 1A psalm of David ben Jesse

10. 2I was smaller than all my brothers,

              and the youngest of my father’s sons,

3Yet He made me shepherd of His sheep,

              and pastor for his kid-goats.

 

4Now my hands made a flute,

              and my fingers a harp;

5and thus I offered a hymn of glory to YHVH,

              and said it in my heart.

 

6The mountains do not bear testimony to God,

              nor do the hills declare praise;

7yet the trees have cherished my words of tribute,

              and the flocks my acts of reverence.

 

8For who else could have announced to Yahveh,

              and who else could have told,

              and who else could have recounted

              my acts of reverence?

9For the Sovereign of all Himself saw,

              the God of all – He heard and He listened.

 

10So He sent his prophet Samuel to anoint me,

              and grant me renown among His people.

11For my brothers went out to meet him,

              all of them handsome of figure and appearance.

 

12But although they were tall of stature,

              and handsome their hair,

13Yahveh God did not choose them;

              Our God did not favour the greatest among them;

 

14Rather He sent forth His messenger,

              and fetched me from behind my father’s flock,

              and anointed me with holy oil;

15And he made me leader of His people,

              and ruler over the children of His Covenant.

 

Psalm 152 – 1when David was contending with the lion and the wolf

which took a sheep from his flock:

11. 2O God, O God, come to my aid;

              help me and save me;

              deliver my life from these killers.

3Will I go down to Sheol through the mouth of a lion?

              Or will the wolf overpower me?

4Was it not enough for them that they lay in wait for my father’s flock,

              and tore a sheep of my father’s drove to shreds,

              but they did they also wish to destroy my own life?

 

5Have pity, O YHVH, on Your chosen one,

              and save Your holy one from being destroyed;

6that he may extol Your glories for all his days,

              and may yet live to praise Your great name;

7after You have delivered him from the claws of the deadly lion

              and from the mouth of the ravening wolf,

8and after You have rescued him from captivity –  

              from the clutches of wild beasts.

 

9Hasten, O my Sovereign, to send to me a deliverer

              from Your heavenly Presence,

10and draw me out of the gaping pit,

              which threatens to imprison me in its depths.

 

Psalm 153 – 1when David thanked God for delivering him

from the lion and the wolf

12. 2Praise YHVH, all you nations;

              glorify Him, you peoples, and bless His name –

3Him who rescued the soul of His chosen one from the claws of death,

              and delivered His holy one from annihilation;

 

4For God saved me from the nets of Sheol,

              and my life from the pit that cannot be fathomed.

5Because, before the agent of my deliverance

              could be sent out from His presence,

              I was well nigh torn asunder by two wild beasts.

 

6But He sent His angel, and shut up their gaping jaws for me,

              and rescued my life from destruction.

7Therefore my soul will glorify YHVH and exalt Him,

              because of all His kindnesses

              which He has done and will do for me.

 

Psalm 154

13. 1With a loud voice glorify God;

              in the assembly of the many proclaim His glory.

2In the multitude of the righteous, glorify His Name;

              and extol His majesty with the faithful.

3Join your souls to the good and to the perfect,

              to glorify the Most High.

4Form yourselves into a community to make known His salvation;

              and do not hesitate to make known His might

              and His Majesty to all the simple.

 

5So that the glory of YHVH may be known,

              Wisdom has been given to us;

6and it is for recounting His many deeds

              that Insight has been revealed to humanity –  

7to make known to the simple His might,

              and to cause those who lack understanding

              to comprehend His greatness –

8those who are far from Wisdom’s gates,

              and those who stray from the portals of Knowledge.

 

9For the Most High is the Sovereign Ruler of Jacob,

              and His majesty is upon all His works.

10And the person who glorifies the Most High,

              is received as one who brings an offering of fine meal,

              and as one who offers rams and calves;

11and as one who heaps up the altar with a multitude of burnt offerings;

              it is like the smell of sweet incense from the hands of the just.

 

12From the gates of the righteous

              shall the voice of God’s Wisdom be heard,

              and its song from the assembly of the pious.

13And when they eat until they are satisfied,

              shall God’s Wisdom be mentioned,

14and when they drink together in community,

              shall God’s Wisdom be spoken of.

15For their meditations are on the Torah of the Most High,

              and their words are set on making known His might.

16How far from the wicked is Wisdom’s Message,

              and how distant from the minds of the arrogant to know it!

 

17Behold, the careful regard of YHVH

              takes pity on the good;

18And to those who glorify Him

              He will increase His mercy;

19and from times of danger

              He will deliver their souls.

 

20Blessed be YHVH,

              who redeems the humble from the hands of the ungodly,

              and delivers the pure from the hands of the wicked;

21who raises up a horn of freedom out of Jacob,

              and a warrior-defender out of Israel for the nations.

22He will spread out His tent in Zion,

              and will dwell forever in Jerusalem.

              Praise be to YHVH!

 

Psalm 155

14. 1O YHVH, I have cried to You; hear the voice of my pleading.

              2I have lifted up the palms of my hands to Your holy dwelling.

3Incline Your hearing to me, and grant me my request;

              4do not withhold my petition from me.

5Build up my soul, and do not cast it down;

              6do not abandon it in the presence of the wicked.

7O Judge of Truth be merciful,

              and turn away from me the just recompense of my transgressions.

 

8O YHVH, judge me not according to my iniquities,

              because no living being is innocent before You.

9Therefore give me discernment, O YHVH, to understand Your Torah,

              and teach me Your just precepts;

10so that many will come to hear of Your works,

              and the nations shall praise Your glory.

 

11Remember me and do not forget me;

              lead me not into trials that will be too hard for me.

12Cast far from me the sins of my youth,

              and may my transgressions not be remembered against me.

13Purify me, O  YHVH, from the plague of evil,

              and let it not turn back towards me again.

14Dry up its roots in me,

              and let its leaves not flourish within me.

 

15You are glory, O YHVH my Saviour;

              therefore my request is fulfilled in Your Presence!

16For to whom else shall I complain,

              that they would grant my petition?

17And as for mere humans,

              what can their power do for me?

18Therefore in You, O YHVH, I place my confidence.

 

19For I cried out, ‘O YHVH!’ and He heard me;

              He healed my broken heart.

20I slumbered and slept, and I dreamed;

              and when I awoke I was healed.

21For I beheld my sins and their shame;

              they sorely pained my heart;

22But after I awoke,

              I was refreshed and made whole.

 

23YHVH sustained me,

              because I invoked the Name of YHVH, my Deliverer.

24So I will return thanks because YHVH delivered me.

              I hoped in Him – for that I will not be ashamed.

25Give glory and praise to God for ever – 

              yes, for ever and ever!

26Deliver Israel Your chosen one,

              and the house of Jacob Your faithful one.

 

A Hymn of ben Sira, for the Deliverance and Restoration of Israel

15. 1Have mercy upon us, O YHVH, Sovereign of the Universe,

              and have regard for us;

2And send Your awe upon all the nations

              who revile Your ways and turn aside from them.

3Show Your might against ungodly nations,

              and let them see Your power.

4As You were proved holy among us in their seeing,

              so may You be proved great among them in our seeing.

5And permit them to know You, as we have known You,

              and know that there is no God

              but You alone, O YHVH.

6Show new signs, and display other strange wonders;

              magnify Your power and the demonstrations of Your might,

              so that they may make manifest Your wondrous works.

 

7Raise up Your righteous indignation,

              and pour out Your just anger:

              take away the cruel adversary,

              and destroy the unmerciful enemy.

8Hasten the day of restoration, remember the Covenant,

              and enable the people to declare Your wonderful works!

9Let the cruel overlord who escapes

              be consumed by the rage of Your fire;

10and as for those who oppress Your people,

              let them fall and perish.

11Strike at the heads of foreign rulers who say,

              There are none greater or better than us!’

 

12Gather all the tribes of Jacob together,

              and restore to them their heritage,

              as it was in the beginning.

13O YHVH, have mercy upon the people

              who are called by Your name,

14and have compassion upon Israel,

              whom You have named as Your firstborn.

15Be merciful to Jerusalem, O YHVH –

              Your holy city, the place of Your rest.

16Fill Zion with Your unutterable oracles,

              and Your people with the fire of Your glory.

 

17Vindicate those whom You possessed from the beginning,

              and fulfil what has been prophesied in Your Name.

18Reward those who piously wait for You,

              and let the words of Your prophets be found true.

19O YHVH, hear the prayer of Your Pious Ones,

              according to the blessing of Aaron over Your people:

20That all those who dwell upon the earth may know

              that You are YHVH, the eternal God,

21Who turns good fortune towards His people,

              and grants us everlasting peace.

              Praise be to YHVH our Saviour!

 

 

 

If you have any comments or questions, please email: shmuliq.parzal@googlemail.com

 

Sources of The Hymns

With regard to those of the above hymns which have been taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls: because there are many missing words in them, in order to make them usable within our community, I have had to compose new lines to fill in the gaps, in order to create works that have literary completeness.

from The Dead Sea Scrolls:

1. Scroll 4Q434 fragment 2, columns 1 & 2 - ‘Hymns of the Poor’

(final verse my own composition to replace missing text, based on fragments from Column 2)

2. Scroll 4Q434 fragment 1 - ‘Hymns of the Poor’

(final 2 lines my own composition to replace missing text)

3. Scroll 4Q434 fragment 3 - ‘Hymns of the Poor’

(final 2 verses my own composition to replace missing text)

 

4. Scroll 4Q286 manuscript A, fragment 2 - ‘Ecology Hymn’

(all lacunae / missing text is filled in with my own compositions)

5. Scroll 11QPs-a: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ - ‘Prayer for Deliverance’ (Ps 156)

6. Scroll 11QPs-a: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ - ‘Hymn to the Creator’

7. Scroll 11QPs-a: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ - ‘Apostrophe to Zion’

8. Scroll 4QPs-f: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ – ‘Apostrophe to Judah’

9. Scroll 4QPs-f: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ – ‘An Eschatological Psalm’

from Syriac sources:

10. Psalm 151 – from Septuagint and Syriac

11. Psalm 152 – Syriac, Elias of al-Anbar's "Book of Discipline"; origin c.331–23 BCE

12. Psalm 153 – Syriac, Elias of al-Anbar's "Book of Discipline"; origin c.331–23 BCE

from The Dead Sea Scrolls:

13. Scroll 11QPs-a: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ - ‘Psalm 154’

14. Scroll 11QPs-a: ‘Apocryphal Psalms’ - ‘Psalm 155’

from The Wisdom of Yeshua` son of Sira:

15. Book of Yeshua` ben Sirach, ch 36:1-17 (Prayer for the deliverance and restoration of Israel) – This stands in place of Sirach 51 in the Great Psalms Scroll (which is too sexual in nature)

 

© Shmu’eil ben Naftali

‘Mizmorey ha-Evyonim’

(Talmidi International Version,

First edition (pss 1-7) published July 1992

Revised (13 & 14 added) Nov 2005

Revised (8-12 & 15 added) Dec 2018

 

   
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