By William Henry Green
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Additional info for A grammar of the Hebrew language
This Qumran sapiential work is a wisdom instruction expressed in small units and put together without much apparent concern for logical or thematic progression. In form and content it is similar to Sirach, parts of Proverbs (especially 22:17–24:22), late Egyptian wisdom writings, Jesus’ instructions in the Synoptic Gospels, and the letter of James. In the instructional setting the senior sage gives advice to a novice sage. In some places the senior sage’s appeal is to pragmatism or to reward and punishment at the judgment, while in other places there are deductions from and symbolic uses of Scripture.
What exists of the hymn (and it may have been longer) first describes the great and holy Lord in His heavenly court. ” The reason why God is blessed is the wisdom that He showed in creation: “who establishes the world by His wisdom. ” The language here is familiar from Jeremiah 10:12–13; 51:15–16; and Psalm 135:7. The idea of wisdom as God’s agent in creation is developed at great length, of course, in Proverbs 8:22–31 and related texts. The occurrences of the motif in the Hymn to the Creator at least establish a link between divine wisdom and creation.
The second part features two beatitudes (“happy is the man who…”). These external literary (and traditionally sapiential) devices can help to make sense out of the text as we have it. ” The combination of “woes” and “beatitudes” also appears in Luke 6:20–26 and Matthew 5:3– 12/ 23:13–36. ”). The first instruction is a reflection on the fragility of humankind: “like grass he sprouts from his ground, and his goodliness flowers like a blossom…and there is no hope (for him). ” The language and content of these reflections are familiar from Isaiah 40:6–8; Psalms 90:5–6; 103:15–16; and Job 14:1.
A grammar of the Hebrew language by William Henry Green