Location of Cave 1 at Qumran


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The Community Rule Scroll -- one of the seven original scrolls, attributed to an Essene community


The Thanksgiving Psalms


Psalm 4.

I thank you, O Lord,
for your eye is awake and watches over my soul.
You rescue me from the jealousy of liars,
from the congregation of those who seek the smooth way.
But you save the soul of the poor
whom they planned to destroy
by spilling the blood of your servant.

I walked because of you - but they didn't know this.
They laughed at me. They shamed me
with lies from their mouth.
But you helped the soul of the poor and the weak,
you saved me from their harsh arms,
you redeemed me amid their taunts.
From the wicked I do not fear destruction.

Psalm 5.

They made my life a ship on the deep sea,
like a fortified city circled by aggressors.
I hurt like a woman in labor bearing her first child,
whose belly pangs torture her in the crucible.
Pains of Hell
for a son come on the waves of death.
She labors to bear a man,
and among the waves of death she gives birth to a manchild,
with pains of Hell.
He springs from the crucible,
O wondrous counselor with power :
Yes, a man emerges from the waves..

But she who carries dead seed in her womb
suffers waves from a pit of horror.
The foundations of the wall will rock
like a ship on the face of the waters.
Clouds will bellow.
Those who dwell in the dust, like those on the sea,
are terrified by the roar of the waters.

All those wise men are like mariners on the deep:
their wisdom confounded by the roaring seas.
The abyss boils over the fountains of water.
The seas rage.
Hell opens, and arrows fly toward Heaven.
Their eternal bars are bolted.

Psalm 8.

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.

Psalm 23.

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.


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