Superscription#sn Although this psalm is not accepted as canonical by Jews, Catholics, or Protestants, it is usually included in Greek Bibles.
1#tc As it stands in the Greek text this apocryphal psalm celebrates David’s rise from humble beginnings to become a famous figure in ancient Israel. After describing David’s boyhood life as a shepherd and his surprising selection by the Lord (vv. 1-5), this psalmist emphasizes David’s role as a hero responsible for the defeat of the giant Goliath who mocked the Israelite army (vv. 6-7). As such the psalm assumes familiarity with and draws ideas and phraseology from certain portions of biblical material (e.g., 1 Sam 16-17; Ps 78:70-72; 89:20; cf. 2 Sam 6:5; 2 Chr 29:26). Although in the early part of the twentieth century H. B. Swete had to acknowledge that “there is no evidence that it [i.e., Psalm 151] ever existed in Hebrew” (H. B. Swete, Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, 253), we now know from the Dead Sea scrolls that this psalm did in fact exist in Hebrew and was actually a part of the psalter used by the Qumran community. Psalm 151 appears along with a number of canonical and non-canonical psalms in 11QPsa, a first century A.D. scroll discovered in 1956. (The editio princeps of this manuscript first appeared in J. A. Sanders, “Ps. 151 in 11QPss,” ZAW 75 : 73-86, and was slightly revised in J. A. Sanders, ed., The Psalms Scroll of Qumrân Cave 11 (11QPsa), DJD 4, 54-64. On details of translation, structure, and meaning of this psalm see especially the following: P. W. Skehan, “The Apocryphal Psalm 151,” CBQ 25 : 407-09; W. H. Brownlee, “The 11Q Counterpart to Ps 151,1-5,” RevQ 4 : 379-87; J. Carmignac, “La forme poétique du Psaume 151 de la grotte 11,” RevQ 4 : 371-78; J. Carmignac, “Précisions sur la forme poétique du Psaume 151,” RevQ 5 : 249-52; J. Strugnell, “Notes on the Text and Transmission of the Apocryphal Psalms 151, 154 (= Syr. II) and 155 (= Syr. III),” HTR 59 : 257-81; I. Rabinowitz, “The Alleged Orphism of 11QPss 28 3-12,” ZAW 76 : 193-200; A. Dupont-Sommer, “Le Psaume CLI dans 11QPsa et le problème de son origine essénienne,” Semitica 14 : 25-62. On the Qumran evidence for the Psalter in general see the following: P. W. Flint, The Dead Sea Psalms Scrolls and the Book of Psalms, STDJ 17 [Leiden: Brill, 1997].) In the Qumran Hebrew scroll Psalm 151 actually consists of two separate poems that have been brought together; they are now known as Psalm 151A and Psalm 151B (which is only partially preserved). The Hebrew form of the psalm is thus quite different from that known previously through Greek, Latin, and Syriac translations. In some ways the Greek version of Psalm 151 does not seem to make good sense, and the Hebrew text provides a basis for a better understanding what transpired in the creation of the Greek version. It appears that two earlier psalms have been brought together in the Greek version in such a way that their original structure and even meaning have been modified to a significant degree. In comparison to the Hebrew text Sanders regards the Greek text of this psalm to be in places “desiccated,” “meaningless,” “truncated,” “ridiculous,” “absurd,” “jumbled,” and “disappointingly different,” all this the result of its having been “made from a truncated amalgamation of the two Hebrew psalms” (see J. A. Sanders, The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll, 94-100). The present translation is based on the Göttingen edition of the Greek text, but with attention given especially to the Qumran evidence and to the Syriac translation. (The Leiden edition presents two Syriac texts for this psalm, the first being that of a number of west Syrian liturgical Psalters, and the other being that of certain east Syrian biblical manuscripts. References to the Syriac translation in the present notes have the second of these two Syriac texts in view.) This psalm was written#tn Or “specially (or separately) written” (so LSJ 818) or “genuine” (so J. Lust et al., Lexicon of the Septuagint, 1:211). This is the only occurrence of this word in the Septuagint. by#tn The Greek preposition eis (“to”) appears to be a literal translation of the Hebrew lamed auctoris, which is frequently used in the Psalter to indicate the authorship of psalms. See GKC 129c. Some Greek witnesses have a simple genitive here (“of David”). David himself
(even though it lies outside the accepted number of psalms)#tn Grk “and outside the number.” Sanders renders the expression as “supernumerary” (see J. A. Sanders, The Dead Sea Psalms Scroll, 97).
after#tn Grk “when.” he fought single-handedly#tn Or “engaged in single combat” (so J. Lust et al., Lexicon of the Septuagint, 2:309; cf. LSJ 1144). This word is used in the Septuagint only here and in 1 Sam 17:10. with Goliath.#tc 11QPsa has a much shorter superscription to this psalm: “Hallelujah, by David the son of Jesse.” Absent from the Hebrew text of the superscription are any reference to the psalm as lying outside the accepted number of canonical psalms and any reference to David’s confrontation with Goliath; included in the Hebrew text (but absent from the Greek) are the designation “Hallelujah” and the identification of David as a son of Jesse.
The Lord’s Selection of David
I was the smallest#tn Grk “small.” 11QPsa uses a comparative construction: “smaller than.” It is possible that here the word means not “physically small” but rather “socially unimportant” (so I. Rabinowitz, “The Alleged Orphism of 11QPss 28 3-12,” ZAW 76 : 196-97). among my brothers,
and the youngest#tn Grk “younger.” in my father’s household.
I used to take care of my father’s sheep.
2 My hands constructed#tn Grk “made.” a musical instrument;#tn Elsewhere this word is used of other types of instruments or tools. See LSJ 1245. Here it stands in parallelism with “harp” in the following line.
my fingers tuned#tn Or perhaps “put together,” which would be parallel to the meaning of the verb in the preceding line. On the use of this Greek word for tuning musical instruments see LSJ 243; J. Lust et al., Lexicon of the Septuagint, 1:62. 11QPsa has no verb in this line, but the ellipsis assumes a word of construction similar to that in the previous line. a harp.#tc 11QPsa has a lengthy plus here that is absent in the Greek text: “And I ascribed glory to the Lord.I said in my soul,‘The mountains do not testify to him,and the hills do not proclaim.The trees have lifted up my words,and the flock my deeds.’”
3 Who will announce this#tn The Greek text has no expressed direct object, but the word “this” is added in the translation for clarity. to my Lord?
The Lord himself—he is listening.#sn In the Greek text the meaning of this verse is very obscure.tn For “he is listening” the Syriac translation has “he is my God.”
4 He himself sent his messenger#tn The Greek word angelos can also mean “angel,” although that meaning does not fit the present context. 11QPsa has a fuller reading here, one that actually specifies the name of the prophetic messenger sent to David: “he sent his prophet to anoint me; Samuel, to elevate me.”
and took me from my father’s sheep,
and anointed me with his anointing oil.#tn Grk “the oil of his anointing.” 11QPsa has “with holy oil.”
5 My brothers were handsome and big,#tn Or perhaps “tall” or “old(er).”
but the Lord was did not approve of#tn Or “was not well pleased with,” or “did not take delight in,” or “was not interested in.” them.
David’s Victory over Goliath
6 I went out to meet the foreigner;#tn Grk “one belonging to another tribe.” In the Septuagint this Greek word is used often to refer to a Philistine. Psalm 151B of 11QPsa has plshty (“Philistine”); cf. the Syriac translation.
he called down curses on me by his idols.
7 But I pulled out his own sword;
I beheaded#tn Or “decapitated.” Cf. A. Dupont-Sommer, “Le Psaume CLI dans 11QPsa et le problème de son origine essénienne,” Semitica 14 (1964): 48. him and thereby removed reproach from the Israelites.#tn Grk “the sons of Israel.”
Introduction#sn The manuscript evidence varies with regard to the title for this work. Many Greek manuscripts have simply “Baruch” as the superscription; other Greek manuscripts have “Baruch the Prophet” or “The Words of Baruch the Son of Neriah.” Latin manuscripts have “[Here] Begins the Book of Baruch” or “The Prophecy of Baruch.” The Bohairic Coptic has “Baruch the Prophet,” the Armenian has “The Epistle of Baruch,” and some Syriac manuscripts have “The Second Epistle of Baruch.” English translations likewise vary: KJV, RSV, and NRSV have simply “Baruch”; Douay and Knox have “The Prophecy of Baruch”; TEV, NAB, and NJB have “The Book of Baruch.” Some scholars prefer to refer to the present work as 1 Baruch, to the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch as 2 Baruch, and to the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch as 3 Baruch. The book of Baruch is somewhat unique among the deuterocanonical writings in that its literary style closely resembles that of the biblical prophets. Baruch draws heavily from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Job. As Metzger points out, “The book of Baruch is noteworthy as being the only book of the Apocrypha which is formed on the model of the Old Testament prophets, and though it is lacking in originality, one can still detect, even at second-hand, something of the ancient prophetic fire.” See B. M. Metzger, The Apocrypha, 89. Internal evidence, some of which will be mentioned in the following notes, suggests that at least some portions of Baruch, and quite possibly all of it, were originally written in Hebrew. However, the putative Hebrew text has not survived. Tov has attempted a reconstruction of the Hebrew text based on the Greek text. See E. Tov, ed. and trans., The Book of Baruch, also Called I Baruch (Greek and Hebrew), SBLTT 8. Burke has done something similar for the poetical material found in Baruch 3:9–5:9. See D. G. Burke, The Poetry of Baruch, SBLSCS 10. The presumption of Hebrew as the original language for Baruch would suggest a probable Palestinian provenance for at least those portions of the work that were originally written in Hebrew. Most scholars favor a date sometime in the second or first century B.C. for the final editing of the book, with the exception of certain later interpolations that are found in the book. The various sections of Baruch may not all come from the same author, however. Attribution of the work to the biblical Baruch makes it a pseudepigraphical work, since it was written centuries after the time of Jeremiah and Baruch. On questions of literary unity see the following important monograph: A. Kabasele Mukenge, L’unité littéraire du livre de Baruch, EBib 38. The present translation is based on the Greek text found in the Göttingen edition.