An Ancient Jewish Prayer celebrating Justification

An Ancient Jewish Prayer celebrating Justification

2016-04-21 (1)

Here is a beautiful Jewish prayer, dating from–ooohh–probably around 100 B.C.  The prayer (well, perhaps, a hymn) is found at the close of a document found in the caves of Qumran.  The document is called the Community Rule, and it seems to have functioned as a kind of binding document, or constitution, or a Jewish community.

Above is a picture of the actual text of the prayer itself, which comes at the end of a scroll, in the final “column.”  Here is the prayer:

“As for me, I belong to evil humanity and the counsel of perverse flesh.  My iniquities, my rebellious acts, my sins and corrupt heart belong to the counsel…of them who walk in darkness.  Surely a person’s way is not their own; neither can any person make his own step firm.

“Surely justification belongs to God!  By His power is one’s way made perfect.  All that shall be, He foreknows.  All that is, His plans establish; apart from Him is nothing done.

“As for me, if I stumble, God’s steadfast love shall forever save me.  If through the iniquity of flesh I stumble and fall, my justification will be by the righteousness of God which will endure for all time.  Though affliction break out against me, He shall draw my soul back from the pit, and make firm my steps on the way.  By his tender mercies He has drawn me near; by His steadfast love shall He bring my justification.  By His trustworthy righteousness He has justified me.  And by His abounding goodness He shall atone for all my sins.

“By His righteousness shall He cleanse me of human defilement and the sin of humanity.  Therefore, I will praise to God for His righteousness, to the Most High for His glory.  Blessed are You, O my God, You who have opened the mind of your servant to this knowledge.”

from The Community Rule (1QS XI 9-16)

 

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