The translation of
The Pesher to Habakkuk
Pesher and Peshru
The word Pesher has the meaning of "explanation" and the word Peshru means "they explain." The words invariably introduce a comment on the text of Habakkuk. Rather than translating the words I will use them in the translation where they appear.
The bold print is text from the book of Habakkuk, the rest is commentary.
Cast of Characters
Please note: The main character of the commentary is the "Teacher of Righteousness" who is contrasted and attacked by the "Wicked Priest." I will translate (koheyn ha-rasha') as the "Wicked Priest" but I will copy the Hebrew for the "Teacher of Righteousness" which is Moreh Tsedek.
Other characters and sites referred to in the Pesher are "men of truth," "House of Absalom," "Priests of Jerusalem," "His Chosen (bechor)," "House of Judgement," "End Time," "Council (of the House of Absalom)," vss "Council of the Moreh Tsedek"
The commentary is often fragmentary because 1: The first two pages are very fragmented 2: and because at least a full line and often more than one line is lost at the bottom of each page which would have contained some of the scripture text and some of the comment important to carrying the main ideas of the commentator 3: and because several pages (3, 4, 5, 6) have lacunas extending upward into the text of the page and text is lost, 4: the commentator's use of vocabulary and idiomatic grammatical construction unique to this document is sometimes obscure or confused. As an example "eth" (sign of accusative) is sometimes used for indirect objects.
Reconstruction of the historical background of the very narrow view of the Pesher commentator would find parallels in any year in the Herodian period which is totally prechristian. Thus negating the likelihood of the Pesher being the product of a parachristian sect. Jesus of Nazareth was born approximately 2 to 4 years before the death of Herod. From 64 B.C.E. to the Birth of the Galilean Carpenter the history is replete with corruption of the office of High Priest and its connection with Roman politics was blatant. The Pesher has been scientifically dated in that period (carbon 14) and the commentary fits the period. Among other references Page VIII particularly contains references to the High Priest's office and its cooperation with the Romans politically for the sake of gaining personal wealth. This pictures exactly the condition toward the end of the Hasmonean period during which corrupt political priests in cooperation with Herod exploited the Priestly office. Those who continue to attempt to show that the Gospel's and Acts of Apostles' historical accounts are not accurate assign the works and person of the Moreh Tsedek (who is the champion of those who composed the Pesher) to the Sage of Capernaum or to his brother James the Just who was put to death by the High Priest just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. This is obviously wishful thinking and sensationalism which none the less sells books.
For this reason the conclusions of some, linking this work to early Christian beginnings, is very speculative indeed. I believe that you as an ordinary reader will be able to see from the translation of the text that assigning Christian origins or even links to prechristian beginnings is more than speculation and is simply wishful thinking spurred by motives that are best left to be explained by the wishful thinkers themselves.
Page 11. ... shall I cry and not (part of verse 1:2)
2. ... this generation
3. ... oth (fem pl.) upon them
4. ... his about me
5. ... m ... iyt ... (a portion of 2 words in verse 1:3)
6. ... to (or God) by exploitation and from
7. ... (fragmented word) and many
8. ... (2 fragmented words) he
9. ... therefore the Torah fades away (portion of verse 1:4
10 ... which is his burden in the Torah of God
11 ... (direct object) the righteous
12 ... He is the Moreh ha-tsedek
13 ... therefore the judgement goes out (part of 1:4)
14 ... and not the
1. it be told him ... the treacherous with a man (1:5)
2. all the liars ... the Moreh Tsedek from the mouth
3. of God and concerning the trai(tors) ... the new (fragmented word)
4. our belief in the covenant of God ... those possessing ... and
5. truth. Pesher of the word ... ..gadiym to the last (aleph)
6. days. They are aro... ... ..oth which they will not believe
7 when they hear all the b... ... of the final generation from the mouth (1:5)
8. of the priest which God gives in ... to explain to all
9. the words of His servants coming ... hands God tells
10. all coming to his people and. ... (be)cause behold I am raising up (1:6)
11. the Chaldeans, the nation the bit(ter) ... ... (the has)ty (1:6)
12. Pesher about how the Romans a... ..h speedy ones and mighty men
13. in war to destroy r.. .... from the government of
14. the Romans to do evil ... ... and we do not say
15. according to their laws ...
Page 31. and in contending and going to strike and to loot the cities of the land
2. because as he says: to possess inhabited areas that are not theirs. (1:7) Dreadful
3. and terrible they are and their judgement and pride proceeds from themselves. (1:7)
4. Pesher about the Romans by which their fear (...) upon all
5. nations and in fact all their thoughts to do evil and (...) to defraud
6. and to come with all the peoples. Their horses are lighter than leopards and more alert (1:8)
7. than the evening wolves. Their horsemen spread themselves from afar 1:8,9)
8. and they fly as an eagle hastening to eat. (1:8) All of them coming for violence multiplying(1:9)
9. by their faces the east (wind). Pesher about the Romans who
10. possess the earth with horses and with their beasts and extend themselves
11. and they come from the isles of the sea to destroy ... and (..)iyl the peoples as an eagle
12. and they are not sated and in them and their beasts ... and even their raging
13. faces and they speak with ... ... as he
14. says: ma(gemet) ...... .... as sand the captivity (1:9)
Page 41. they shall mock (kings) and laugh at the princes (part of 1:10) Pesher that
2. they mock about many and despise the glorified kings
3. and rulers and they deceive and scorn many peoples. And he
4. (scorns) every fort and laughing at them he heaps up dust and captures them (part of 1:10)
5. Peshru about the rulers of the Romans who despised
6. the forts of the peoples mocking and laughing at them
7. and at many other peoples, imitating and making them foolish to hold them in fear
8. and take them in their hand to destroy them because of the sins of those dwelling
9. there. Then shall he change his spirit and he shall pass over attributing this, his power (most of 1:11)
10. to his god (end of 1:11) Peshru about the rulers of the Romans
11. who by the counsel of the house of Ishm(ael) and the servants of men
12. who rule in the presence of their neighbor ...afterward and they go
13. to slay the ..... ... ... his strength to his god. (part of 1:11)
14. Peshru about .................... .... (...)l the peoples
Page 51. you have set them for judgement O Rock, you have established them for correction. (You have) purer eyes( parts of 1:12 and 13)
2. than to view evil and you are not able to consider wickedness (part of 1:13)
3. Pesher about the saying that God is not able to (to save) his people from the hand of the Gentiles
4. and God gives judgement in the hand of his "Chosen one" (to) all the Gentiles and in their reproaches
5. and their guilt to all those doing evil to my people which keep my commandments.
6. in and enemy to whom because that which says you are of purer eyes to behold
7. evil (part of 1:13) Peshru that their eyes do not hunger after the evil end (time).
8. Why do the traitors look and plough evil swallowing (part of 1:13)
9. righteousness away from us. (part of 1:13) Pesher about the House of Absalom
10. and the men of their council which fall silent in reproaching of the Moreh Tsedek.
11. But they do not help him against the lying man who does violence to
12. The Torah among all the nations and makes men as the fish of the sea (part of 1:14)
13. as creeping things to watch over it. (part of 1:14) All of them take up into their net (part of 1:15)
14. and they gather them ..... in their seine. Therefore they are happy (part of 1:15)
15 .............. their portion.
Page 61. The Romans, the ones gathering wealth from all the spoil
2. as fish of the sea, wherefore he says: (Begin 1:16) Therefore they sacrifice to their net
3. and offer incense to their seine (end part of 1:16) Peshru about them
4. sacrificing to their symbols and all the wars they
5. are showing because in them they fatten their portion. They eat from my table
6. Pesher about their dividing of the world and
7. their violence in devouring the peoples year after year
8. destroying with the sword many lands. (begin 1:17) Therefore they draw out their sword and continue
9. to murder the nations without compassion (end 1:17)
10. Peshru about the Romans who destroy many by the sword
11. youths, mature men, old men, women, infants, and on the fruit
12. of the womb they have no mercy. (begin 2:1 Let me stand fast on my watch tower
13. and present myself on the fortress and I will keep watch to see what He will say
14. to me and w(hat ... I will answe)r when he corrects me (end part of 2:1) (begin 2:2) And YHWH answered me
15. (and said write the vision and make it clea)r on tablets so that the one runn(ing) (end part of 2:2)
16. ........ .................
1. And God said to Habakkuk to write the things to come
2. upon the last generation but he did not reveal to him the close of the end time.
3. And when he says: so that the one running may read it. (verse 2:2)
4. Peshru about the Moreh Tsedek who makes known to
5. all the secrets in the words of his servants the prophets. Because he will yet have vision(part of 2:3)
6. for a season and shorten the end (time) and he will not lie.(2:3)
7. Pesher about his lengthening the "end time" and that which remains concerning all
8. that which the prophets spoke because God secretly acts to remove the infection.
9. If he delays, wait for it, it will surely come and not be (part of 2:3)
10. late. (part of 2:3) Pesher about the "men of truth"
11. who are practicing the Torah who do not slack their hand from serving
12. the truth but continue to raise up to them the end time because
13. all our hope is that he will bring the establishment according to the Statutes
14. to them as in their secret stock pile. Behold his exalted (soul) is not straight (part of 2:3)
15. (soul in lacuna) ..... Peshru that which also they multiply to them
16. .... ... their land in judgement ....
Page 81. Pesher about all the ones doing the Torah in the house of Judah by which
2. God delivered them from the House of Judgement in serving their evil doings and their Faith
3. in The Moreh Tsedek. (begin 2:5)And so, because he is treacherous through wine, he is a proud warrior and has no
4. place of abode, while enlarging his inner desires as Sheol and is as death and never satisfied
5. while he gathers all the nations and accumulates populations to himself. (end 2:5)
6. (begin 2:6) Shall not these lift up a proverb against him and a mocking riddle for him
7. and they shall say, Woe to him that gains increase from that which is not his, How long will he forcefully
8. make debtors to himself? (end of 2:6) Peshru about the wicked priest who
9. is called by the name of "The Truth" He stands in prayer while watching
10. over Israel. His heart is lifted up yet he abandons God and uses treachery by their laws for the sake of
11. wealth. He rejoices and he gathers the wealth of the men of violence who rebel against God.
12. And he receives the wealth of nations to add evil to himself by the guilt of his own way
13. ... working in all the corrupt wanderings. (begin 2:7) Shall not those who will exact usury on you arise
14. suddenly and those terrorizing you shall awaken and you shall be for plundering to them. (end of 2:7)
15. Because you have looted many nations the remainder of the peoples shall loot you;(part of 2:8)
16. (Pesher about) the priest who rebels.....
17. ....... ..........
Page 91. a plague My judgement on evil and lessons from dreams
2. evil (dreams) which they make against me and they are established among the nations by their looting wherefore
3. he says: (begin 2:8) Because you have looted many nations they shall loot you, all
4. that will remain of the peoples (end part of 2:8) Peshru about the priests of Jerusalem
5. The final (end time) ones who gather up wealth and take a cut from the spoils from the peoples
6. and for the "Last Days" they give their wealth with spoil into the hands of
7. The Roman army. (spatium) Because they (the spoils) are that which remains of the peoples
8. (begin the rest of 2:8) from the blood of mankind and violence of land, city and al(l) those dwelling in it. (end 2:8)
9. Peshru about the "Wicked Priest" who (is given) into the hand of the Moreh
10. Tsedek and the men of his council. God gives into His hand his enemies to answer him.
11. (He visits them) with a plague in the bitterness of his soul because they had done wickedly
12. against his "Chosen." (begin 2:9) Woe to the one who is gaining an evil advantage for his household to set
13. his nest on high so he can be delivered from the hand of evil. (end 2:9) (begin 2:10) You have devised shame
14. on your own house, and by cutting off many nations you are sinning against your own (so)ul. (end of 2:10) (begin 2:11) Because
15. a st(one from th)e wall (of your house) will cry out and a beam from the timber will a(nswer it.) .....
16. ..............upon the .....which.....................
Page 101. to be exploiting a stripe on the spine (idiom for weakness?) with plunder wherefore
2. he says: (begin part of 2:10) cutting off many nations and sinning against your own soul.
3. Peshru that is the "House of Judgement where God gives
4. his judgement in the midst of many peoples and by name brings us up to judgement
5. And in the midst of them he saves us and by sulphurous fire he judges us. (begin 2:12) Woe
6. to the one who builds a city in blood and founds a town by evil. (end 2:12) (begin 2"13) Is it not
7. Behold of YHWH of Hosts that the peoples should toil in a great deal of fiery trials part of 2:13)
8. and the population tire themselves out with a great deal of trivia. (end 2:13)
9. Pesher of the word about the flying of the liar who leads many astray
10. to the daughters of the city of vanity and by blood and to raise up a city by a lie.
11. For the sake of (self) glory they lead many to serve vanity and for their own profit
12. in b..shey lies to possess ills to empty so that they will be led
13. to the judgement of fire which they blaspheme and shame the "Chosen One" of God
14. (begin 2:14) Because the earth shall be filled with knowing the Glory of YHWH as the waters
15. cover the s(ea.) (end 2:14) ..... Pesher about the word....
16. and their return .............
Page 111. the liar. And afterward they roll to themselves evil as waters
2. of the seas heaped up. (begin 2:15) Woe to the one causing his neighbor to drink joining your bottle
3. to him and even making him drunk in order to look on their nakedness. (end 2:15)
4. Peshru about the "Wicked Priest" who
5. pursues after the "Moreh Tsedek" to swallow him up in rage
6. his hot (rage). Tenderness is to come to pass and in the last season (end time) a comforting
7. day, The young lions shall appear to them to swallow them
8. and for their stumbling. In the day of fasting of the Sabbath of their comfort. (begin 2:16) You are filled up
9. with shame instead of glory; you are drunken, even you, and are uncircumcised
10. and the cup of YHWH's right hand is turned on you and utter disgrace
11. upon your glory. (end 2:16)
12. Peshru about the "Priest" who is more proud of his shame than of his glory
13. Because he is not circumcised with the circumcision of his heart and he goes on his way
14. for the sake of his profit so that the telling of the fastings will cover them.
16. ............ to swallow us l(.....) .....
Page 121. shall cause terror because of human blood and violence of the land, city and those who dwell in it. (part of 2:17)
2. Pesher of the thing about the "Wicked Priest" to take the spoils to himself
3. as recompense which completes his lust because the moon is his
4. singular witness and their beasts are the fools of Judah doing the
5. the Torah with which God will judge us in the end.
6. wherefore he says: (begin part of 2:17) from blood
7. city and violence of the land, Peshru: The city is Jerusalem
8. in which the "Wicked Priest does abominations and defiles
9. the Holy Temple of God. And he does violence to the earth (part of 2:17) that is to the cities of Judah who
10. lusting plunder wealth. (begin 2:18) What does an idol profit the maker of it who fashioned it
11. a molten image that the one fashioning the work trusts in it
12. to make mute gods. (end 2:18) Pesher concerning the word about all
13. of the idols of the Gentiles which they have made for themselves to serve
14. to them, and they will not deliver them in the day of Judgement. (begin 2:19)
15. (to the one saying t)o a tree wake up ...... to a silent (st)one
Page 131. Be silent before him all the earth (2:20)
2. Peshru about all the nations
3. which serve stone and wood ...
4. in the judgement God will banish all the servants of idols
5. and the evil ones from the earth.
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