Psalm 138 from the Dead Sea Scrolls
By Jeff A. Benner

Dead Sea Scroll
The Dead Sea Scrolls text of Psalm 138


Alphabet
The Alphabet used in the scroll


Verse 1
Masoretic Text

King James {A Psalm of David.} I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

Revised Standard I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;

Literal from Masoretic To David, I will praise you with all my heart, before God I will make your music.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS To david, I will praise Yahweh with all my heart, before Yahweh God I will make your music.



Verse 2
Masoretic Text

King James I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Revised Standard I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.

Literal from Masoretic I will bow down toward your holy temple and I will praise your name over your mercy, and over your truth because you made great over all your name your word.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS I will bow down toward your holy temple and I will praise your name over your mercy, and over your truth because you made great over all your name your word.



Verse 3
Masoretic Text

King James In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

Revised Standard On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.

Literal from Masoretic In the day I called and you answered me you made me bold in my soul strength.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS In the day I called and you answered me you made me bold in my soul strength.



Verse 4
Masoretic Text

King James All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

Revised Standard All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, for they have heard the words of thy mouth;

Literal from Masoretic They give thanks to you Yahweh, all the kings of the land, because they heard words of your mouth.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS They give thanks to you Yahweh, all the kings of the land, because they heard words of your mouth.



Verse 5
Masoretic Text

King James Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.

Revised Standard and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.

Literal from Masoretic And they sing in the paths of Yahweh because great is the glory of Yahweh.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS And they sing in the paths of Yahweh because great is the glory of Yahweh.



Verse 6
Masoretic Text

King James Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

Revised Standard For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he knows from afar.

Literal from Masoretic Because high is Yahweh, and the low he will see and the proud from a distant place he knows.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS Because high is Yahweh, and the low he will see and the proud from a distant place he knows.



Verse 7
Masoretic Text

King James Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

Revised Standard Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.

Literal from Masoretic If I walk in among trouble you will revive me, over the anger of my enemies you will send your hand you will rescue me, your right hand.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS If I walk in the middle of trouble you will revive me, over the anger of my enemies you will send your hand you will rescue me, your right hand.



Verse 8
Masoretic Text

King James The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Revised Standard The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands.

Literal from Masoretic Yahweh will end on behalf of me, Yahweh, your mercy is for eternity, the works of your hands will not sink.

Dead Sea Scroll

Literal from DSS Yahweh will end on behalf of me, Yahweh, your mercy is for eternity, the works of your hands will not sink.





Differences between the two texts

The text is written in the Late Hebrew Script, but the name of God, יהוה Yahweh, is always written in the Middle Hebrew script (see the bottom of the "alphabet" image at the top of the page).

In many instances the letter "vav" as found the Dead Sea Scrolls is removed by the Masorites and replaced with the "cholam" nikkud (vowel pointing). For instance, the Dead Sea Scroll has אלוהים elowhiym the Masoretic text has אלהים elohiym.

In some instances the letter "yud" as found in the Dead Sea Scrolls is removed by the Masorites and replaced with the "chireq" nikkud (vowel pointing). For instance, the Dead Sea Scroll has דויד daviyd the Masoretic text has דוד david.

The suffix ך with the "qamats" nikkud following it (pronounced 'ka') represents the possessive pronoun "your" in the Masoretic text. In the Dead Sea Scrolls this possessive pronoun is written as כה kah.

The suffix ת with the "qamats" nikkud following it (pronounced 'ta') represents the pronoun "you" in the Masoretic text. In the Dead Sea Scrolls this pronoun is written as תה tah.

Besides the grammatical differences there are only three differences in the Psalm. The name Yahweh appears twice in verse one in the Dead Sea Scrolls but is absent in the Masoretic text. In verse seven the Masoretic text has the word קרב qerev meaning "among" while the Dead Sea Scrolls has the word תוך tavek meaning "middle" or "midst."