The Nahum Pesher, seekers after smooth things, Ephraim, and Manasseh.

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Ben C. Smith
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The Nahum Pesher, seekers after smooth things, Ephraim, and Manasseh.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:52 pm

Here is the entirety of the Nahum Pesher (slightly modified/formatted from the translation by Florentino García Martínez and Eibert Tigchelaar; most notably, I substitute the tilde ~ for "Blank" and enclose all scriptural quotations in angle quotations «»):

4Q169, fragments 1-2, lines 1-11: 1 [... «His path is in the hurricane and in the storm, and] a cloud is the du[st of his feet» (= Nahum 1.3). Its interpretation: ...] 2 the [storms and the hurricane]s, v[aul]ts of his skies and his earth which he cr[eated ...] 3 «He roa[rs] against the sea and dri[es it up» (= Nahum 1.4).] Its [inter]pretation: the sea are all the Ki[ttim ...] 4 to car[ry out] judgment against them and to eliminate them from the face of [the earth. «And dries up all the rivers» (= Nahum 1.4). /Its interpretation concerns the Kittim/] 5 /with [all their chi]efs, whose rule will end./ [ [«Bashan and] Carmel [wither] and the bloom of Lebanon withers» (= Nahum 1.4). ~ [Its] inter[pretation ...] 6 many [will per]ish because of it at the height of wickedness. For [the Kittim] are Bas[han, and his king is called:] 7 [Car]mel and his chiefs: Lebanon; and the bloom of Lebanon is [...] 8 [and the sons of] their [coun]sel, and they will perish in front of [the assembly of] the chosen [of ...] 9 [... al]l the inhabitants of the world. ~ «The mou[ntains quake in front of him and the hillocks shake,] 10 the earth [rises] in front of him and before [him the world and al]l [that lives in it. Before his wrath who can endure? And who] 11 [can tolerate] the fire of his anger» (= Nahum 1.5-6)? [Its] inter[pretation ....]

4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 1, lines 1-12: 1 [...] «residence for the wicked of the nations» (= Nahum 2.12). «Where a lion went to go into it, a lion cub 2 [without anyone confining him» (= Nahum 2.12). ~ Its interpretation concerns Deme]trius, king of Yavan, who wanted to enter Jerusalem on the advice of those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], 3 [but he did not enter, for God had not given Jerusalem] into the hand of the kings of Yavan from Antiochus up to the appearance of the chiefs of the Kittim. But later, it will be trampled 4 [....] ~ «The lion catches enough for his cubs [and] strangles prey for his lionesses, 5 [and fills his cave with prey, and his den with spoil» (= Nahum 2.13). The interpretation of the word] concerns the Angry Lion who struck with his nobles and the men of his counsel 6 [the simple folk of Ephraim. And concerning what he says: «He fills] his cave [with prey] and his den with spoils» (= Nahum 2.13), ~ its interpretation concerns the Angry Lion 7 [who filled his cave with a mass of corpses, carrying out rev]enge against those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], who hanged living men 8 [from the tree, committing an atrocity which had not been committed] in Israel since ancient times, for it is [hor]rible for the one hanged alive from the tree. «See, I am against [you]! 9 Orac[le of YHWH of Hosts. I shall burn yo]ur [throng in the fire] and the sword will consume your cubs. [I will] eradica[te the sp]oils [from the earth], ~ 10 and no [longer] will [the voice of your messengers be heard» (= Nahum 2.14). ~] Its [interpre]tation: «Your throng» are his gangs of soldiers [...]; «his cubs» are 11 his nobles [and the members of his council, ...] and «his spoils» is the wealth which [the pries]ts of Jerusalem accu[mulated] which 12 they will deliver [... E]phraim, will be given Israel [....] ~

4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 2, lines 1-12: 1 And his messengers are his emissaries, whose voice will no longer be heard among the nations. ~ «Alas the bloody city, all of it [treachery,] stuffed with [loo]t» (= Nahum 3.1)! 2 Its interpretation: it is the city of Ephraim, those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], in the final days, since they walk in treachery and lie[s.] ~ 3 «Spoils will not be lacking, nor the noise of the whip nor the din of colliding wheels. Horses at the gallop, chariots bouncing, horsemen lunging, flashing ‹of swords› 4 and flickering of spears! Masses of wounded and heaps of corpses! Endless corpses, they trip ‹over› their corpses (= Nahum 3.1-3)!» ~ Its interpretation concerns the rule of those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות] 5 from whose assembly the sword of the gentiles will not be lacking, nor captivity or looting, nor fire among them, nor exile for fear of the enemy; a mass 6 of guilty corpses will fall in their days; there will be no end to the tally of their wounded and they will even trip over their bodies of flesh because of their guilty counsel. 7 «On account of the many fornications of the prostitute, full of elegance and mistress of enchantment, who misled nations with her fornications and clans with her [enchant]ment» (= Nahum 3.4). ~ 8 [Its] interpretation [con]cerns those who misdirect Ephraim, who with their fraudulent teaching and lying tongue and perfidious lip misdirect many; 9 kings, princes, priests and people together with the proselyte attached to them. Cities and clans will perish through their advice, n[o]bles and lea[ders] 10 will fall [due to the fero]city of their tongues. ~ «See, I am against you! )racle of YHWH of H[ost]s. You shall hoist 11 [your] skirts up to your face and show the nations [your] nudity and kings {...} your shame» (= Nahum 3.5). ~ Its interpretation [...] ... 12 [...] the cities of (the) East, because «the skirts» [....]

4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 3, lines 1-12: 1 The nations with their uncleanness [and with] their detestable abominations. «I will throw refuse on top of you, [af]front you and make you 2 repulsive. And what will happen is that all those who see you will run away from you» (= Nahum 3.6-7). ~ 3 Its interpretation concerns those looking for easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], whose evil deeds will be exposed to all Israel in the final time; 4 many will fathom their sin, they will hate them and loathes them for their reprehensible arrogance. And when the glory of Judah is re[ve]aled 5 the simple people of Ephraim will flee from among their assembly and desert the ones who misdirected them and will join the [majori]ty [of I]srael. «They shall say, 6 ‹Nineveh is laid waste; who will be sorry for her? Where shall I find comforters for you›» (= Nahum 3.7)? ~ Its interpretation [concerns] those looking for 7 easy interpretations [דורשי החלקות], whose council will die and whose society will be disbanded; they shall not continue misdirecting [the] assembly and simple [folk] 8 shall no longer support their council. ~ «Do you act better than Am[mon, seated between] the streams of the Nile» (= Nahum 3.8)? ~ 9 Its interpretation: Amon is Manasseh and the streams of the Nile are the nob[l]es of Manasseh, the honorable of the [people who surround] Ma[nasseh.] 10 «Water surrounds the one whose rampart was the sea, and the water her walls» (= Nahum 3.8). ~ 11 Its interpretation: they are her men [at a]rms, her [m]ighty warrior[s]. {.} «Ethiopia was her strength [and Egypt, without end» (= Nahum 3.9).] 12 [Its interpretation:] ... [...] ... [...] «Put and [Libya were her guards» (= Nahum 3.9).]

4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 4, lines 1-9: 1 Its interpretation: they are the wick[ed ones of Juda]h, the house of Peleg, which consorted with Manasseh. «She, too, is in exile, we[nt into captivity; also] 2 her children were dashed to pieces at every crossroad, for their honored ones they cast lots, and all [their] nobles [were bound] 3 with chains» (= Nahum 3.10). Its interpretation concerns Manasseh, in the last time, in which his dominion over Is[rael] will weaken [...;] 4 his women, his children, and his babies will go into captivity; his warriors and his honored ones [will perish] by the sword. [«You, too, will get drunk] 5 and hide away» (= Nahum 3.11). ~ Its interpretation concerns the wicked of E[phraim who ...] 6 whose cup will come after Manasseh [.... «You, too, will seek] 7 a refuge in the city from the enemy» (= Nahum 3.11). ~ [Its] interpre[tation con]cerns [...] 8 their enemies in the city [.... «All your fortresses] 9 are fig-trees wi[th young fruits» (= Nahum 3.12). ....]

4Q169, fragment 5, lines 1-3: 1 [«Look, your people are wo]men a[mong you. The gates of your land stand open to your enemy; fire has devoured your bars» (= Nahum 3.13).] 2 [Its interpretation ...] the whole region of Israel to the sea [.... «Draw yourself water for the siege;] 3 [reinforce] your [fortifica]tions; tread mud [and stamp on clay...» (= Nahum 3.14). ....]

And here are some other instances of "the seekers after smooth things" (or "those looking for easy interpretations," as above) from Qumran (well, the first one is actually from the Damascus Document, but it has a parallel from Qumran):

CD-A, column 1, lines 13b-21a: 13b This is the time about which it has been written: «Like a stray heifer 14 so has Israel strayed» (= Hosea 4.16), when «the scoffer» arose, who poured out over Israel 15 waters of lies and made them stray into a wilderness without path, causing the everlasting heights to sink down, diverging 16 from tracks of justice and removing the boundary with which the forefathers had marked their inheritance, so that 17 the curses of his covenant would adhere to them, to deliver them up to the sword carrying out the vengeance 18 of the covenant. For they sought easy interpretations [דרשו בחלקות], chose illusions, scrutinised 19 loopholes, chose the handsome neck, acquitted the guilty and sentenced the just, 20 violated the covenant, broke the precept, banded together against the life of the just man, their soul abominated all those who walk 21a in perfection, they hunted them down with the sword and provoked the dispute of the people.

4Q266, fragment 2, column 1, lines 16b-25: 16b [This is the time] 17 about which it has been [writ]ten: [~? «Like a stray heifer so has Israel strayed» (= Hosea 4.16), 18 when «the scof[fer» arose, who poured out over Israel waters of lies] and made them stray into a wilderness 19 without path, causing the everlasting [heights] to sink down, [diverging from tracks of justice and] removing the boundary 20 with which the forefa[thers] had marked [their inheritance, so that the cur]ses of his covenant [would adhere to them,] 21 to deliver them up to the swo[rd carrying out the vengeance of the covenant. For they sought] easy interpretations [בחלקות] , 22 chose illu[sions, scrutinised loopholes, chose the handsome] neck, acquitted 23 [the guilty and sentenced the just, violated the covenant broke the precept,] ban[d]ed together against 24 [the life of the just man, ~?] their soul [abominated all those who walk in perfection,] 25 [they hunted them down with the sword and provoked the dispute of the people. ~?]

4Q177, column 2, lines 8-16: 8 [.... «How long, YHW]H? Are you going to forget [me for ever? How long will you hi]de your face [from me?] How long am I to churn over 9 [worries] in my soul, [anxieties in my heart each da]y? How long [is my enemy to lord it over me» (= Psalm 13.2-3)? The inter]pretation of the word [con]cerns the purification of the heart of the men of 10 [the Community] ... [...] in the last days, because [...] to test them and refine them 11 [...] their [...] by the spirit, and the spotless and purified [ones.... What it s]ays: «Lest an enemy say 12 [I have overthrown him» (= Psalm 13.5). ~] These are the congregation of those looking for [דורשי] [easy inter]pretations, who [...] who seek to destroy 13 [the members of the Community ...] by their fervor and [their] animosity [...] ... [... a]s is written in the book of Ezekiel, the pro[phet: 14 «The house of Israel] and of Judah is like all the peoples» (= Ezekiel 25.8). [The interpretation of the word concerns the last] days when against th[em] will rally 15 [...] a just people, but the wicked, the demented and the simple[ton ...] ... the men who serve God [...] 16 [... who have cir]cumcised the foreskin of their he[art in] the l[ast] generation [... and al]l that belongs to them, he will pronounce unclean and n[ot ....]

Stephen Goranson explains the significance of "the seekers after smooth things" as follows:

Stephen Goranson, “The Exclusion of Ephraim in Rev. 7:4-8 and Essene Polemic Against Pharisees,” in Dead Sea Discourses, volume 2, number 1 (April 1995), page 81: In several sectarian texts from Qumran the name Ephraim is used symbolically for “those who seek smooth things,” דורשי החלקות. For example, in 4QpNah 3-4 ii 2 the commentator interprets Nah. 3:1a as follows: “The interpretation of it: this is the city of Ephraim — the Seekers-After-Smooth-Things at the end of days — who in deceit and false[hood c]onduct themselves.” Numerous scholars have correctly recognized the phrase דורשי החלקות as a pun against those who pursue הלכות, i.e., the Pharisees. Though the Qumran Essenes surely pursued their own legal exegesis and determinations, it should be clearly noted that nowhere in the known Qumran manuscripts do Essenes call their own legal decisions הלכה.

The Pharisees, then, as "seekers of the halakhah" which they teach, are being slurred as "seekers after smooth things." Stephen adds that these "seekers after smooth things" are also related to the city of Ephraim in 4Q169 and elsewhere among the scrolls. I collect here below references both to Ephraim and to Manasseh, not all of them equally relevant:

4Q163, fragments 4-6, column 1, lines 14-19: 14 [... «Because evi]l [is burning like a fire which] consumes thistles [and brambles;] it catches fire 15 [in the dense wood and the height] of the smoke [coils upwards. By the wrath of YHWH of H]osts [the land is devas]tated 16 [and the people have become like fuel for the fire. N]o one [forgives his] brother, 17 [he destroys to the right and remains hungry, he consumes] to the left and is not satia[ted;] 18 [a man eats the flesh of his arm. Manasseh again]st Ephraim and Ephrai[m] against 19 [Mana]sseh; [the two] together [against Judah. And with all this] his wrath is not mollified» (= Isaiah 9.17-20).

4Q163, fragment 23, column 2, lines 1-13: 1 [...] and they [...] all [...] ... [...] 2 [...] ... [....] ~ [...] 3 [«For] th[u]s says YHWH, the Holy One of Israel, ‹By turning back and being pla[cid will you be saved;] 4 your courage will comprise [com]posure and trust. But you did not wish and [said,] 5 «No, let us flee on horseback.» Well, then, you need to flee. And, «We will run at a gallop.» Well, then, 6 those chasing you will run faster. A thousand (shall flee) [be]fore the menace of one; before the menace 7 of five shall you flee, until you end up like a flagpole on the peak of a mountain, 8 like a standard upon a hill. This is why the Lord waits to take pit[y on y]ou; this is why he rises 9 to be lenient with you. For YHWH is a God of justice. Happy are all those waiting for him›» (= Isaiah 30.15-18). 10 The interpretation of the word, for the last days, concerns the congregation of those l[ooking] for easy interpretations [החלקות] 11 who are in Jerusalem [...] 12 in the law and not [...] 13 heart, for in order to crush [....]

4Q167, fragment 2, lines 1-7: Frag. 2 1 [«...but he cannot heal] your sores» (= Hosea 5.13). ~ The interpre[tation ...] 2 [...] raging lion. «For I will be like a lio[n [to E]phrai]m [and like a lion cub to the House of] 3 [Judah» (= Hosea 5.14). Its interpretation con]cerns the last priest who will stretch out his hand to strike Ephraim 4 [...] his ha[nd.] ~ 5 [«I will go and return t]o [my position un]til they acknowledge their crime and seek my face; in [their] distress 6 [they will get up early in search of me» (= Hosea 5.15). Its interpretation:] God [will hid]e his face fr[om the l]an[d ...] 7 [...] ... and they did not listen [....]

4Q167, fragments 5-6, lines 1-3: 1 [...] the men of [...] 2 [...] their teachers [...] upon [....] 3 [«What] shall I do with you, [Ephraim?] What [shall I do with you, Judah» (= Hosea 6.4)? ....]

4Q167, fragments 7-8, lines 1-2: 1 [«But they, like Adam,] broke the covenant» (= Hosea 6.7). ~ [Its] interpretation: [...] 2 [...] they deserted God and followed the laws of [...] ... them in all [....]

4Q167, fragments 10+26, lines 1-5: 1 And concerning: [«They commit] evils. [In the House of Israel I have seen something horrifying: there Ephraim prostitutes himself,] 2 Israel [degrades herself» (= Hosea 6.9-10). Its] interpreta[tion: ...] 3 [the evil]doers of the nations [...] 4 all the ... [...] 5 ... [....]

4Q171, fragment 1, column 2 + fragment 2, lines 16b-20a: 16b «The evildoers unsheathe the sword and string their bows to bring down the poor and humble, 17 to slaughter those on the correct path. Their swords shall pierce their own hearts and their bows shall break» (= Psalm 37.14-15). 18 Its interpretation concerns the wicked of Ephraim and Manasseh who will attempt to lay hands 19 on the Priest and the members of his council in the period of testing which will come upon to them. However, God will save them 20a from their hands and after they will be delivered into the hands of ruthless nations for judgment.

4Q171, fragment 13, lines 1-6: 1 [...] ... [...] 2 [...] ~ [...] 3 [... G]od spoke [in his sanctuary: I will exult, I will divide up Shechem,] 4 parcel out [the Valley of Succ]oth; mine is [Gilead and mine Manasseh, and Ephraim is the helmet of my head (= Psalm 60.8-9 = Psalm 108.8-9).] 5 [Its interpretation concerns Gilea]d and half the tribe [of Manasseh ...] 6 [...] and they will be gathered [....]

CD-A, column 1, lines 1-21a: 1 ~ And now, listen, all those who know justice, and understand the actions of 2 God; for he has a dispute with all flesh and will carry out judgment on all those who spurn him. 3 For when they were unfaithful in forsaking him, he hid his face from Israel and from his sanctuary 4 and delivered them up to the sword. But when he remembered the covenant with the forefathers, he saved a remnant 5 for Israel and did not deliver them up to destruction. And at the period of wrath, three hundred and 6 ninety years after having delivered them up into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 7 he visited them and caused to sprout from Israel and from Aaron a shoot of the planting, in order to possess 8 his land and to become fat with the good things of his soil. And they realised their iniquity and knew that 9 they were guilty {men}; but they were like blind persons and like those who grope for a path 10 over twenty years. And God appraised their deeds, because they sought him with an undivided heart, 11 and raised up for them a Teacher of Righteousness, in order to direct them in the path of his heart. ~ And he made known 12 to the last generations what he had done for the last generation, the congregation of traitors. 13 These are the ones who stray from the path. This is the time about which it has been written: «Like a stray heifer 14 so has Israel strayed,» when «the scoffer» arose (= Hosea 4.16), who poured out over Israel 15 waters of lies and made them stray into a wilderness without path, causing the everlasting heights to sink down, diverging 16 from tracks of justice and removing the boundary with which the forefathers had marked their inheritance, so that 17 the curses of his covenant would adhere to them, to deliver them up to the sword carrying out the vengeance 18 of the covenant. For they sought easy interpretations [דרשו בחלקות], chose illusions, scrutinised 19 loopholes, chose the handsome neck, acquitted the guilty and sentenced the just, 20 violated the covenant, broke the precept, banded together against the life of the just man, their soul abominated all those who walk 21a in perfection, they hunted them down with the sword and provoked the dispute of the people.

CD-A, column 7, lines 9b-14a: 9b But (for) all those who despise: when God visits the earth in order to empty over them the punishment of the wicked, 10 when there comes the word which is written in the words of Isaiah, son of Amoz, the prophet, 11 who said: «There shall come upon you, upon your people and upon your father’s house, days such as 12 have ‹not› come since the day Ephraim departed from Judah» (= Isaiah 7.17). When the two houses of Israel separated, 13 Ephraim detached itself from Judah, and all the renegades were delivered up to the sword; but those who remained steadfast 14a escaped to the land of the north.

CD-A, columns 13-14, lines 22b-23 & 1-2: 13.22b These are the re[gulation]s for the Instructor, [to walk in them] 23 [in the appointed time when God visits the earth, when the word will be fulfilled which said: «There shall come upon your people days] 14.1 such as have not come since the day on which Ephraim became separated from Judah» (= Isaiah 7.17); and (to) all those who walk in them 2 the covenant of God is faithful to save them from all the nets of the pit, but «‹the ignorant walk on› and are punished» (= Proverbs 27.12).

4Q267, fragment 9, lines 1-6a: 1 [... These are the regulations for the Instructor, to wal]k in them 2 [in the appointed time when God visits the] earth, when [the] word will be fulfil[led] which said: «There shall come 3 [upon your people days such a]s have not come [since] the day on which Ephraim became separated from 4 [Judah» (= Isaiah 7.17); and (to) all those who wal]k in them the covenant of God is faithful 5 [to save them from all the ne]ts of [the p]it, but «the ig[no]rant walk on 6a and are punished» (= Proverbs 27.12).

4Q346, fragment a 1, lines 1-6 (alleged to be from Qumran Cave 4, but possibly from Naḥal Ḥever): 1[....] from [... to do] 2 [with it anything] that he wants [...] 3 [...] Simeon from all [... from my property] 4 and whatever I shall acquire fr[om today on and forever ...] 5 and ... [...] 6 to Manasseh ... [....]

11Q19, column 24, lines 10-16: 10 And after this burnt offering he will offer the burnt offering of the tribe of Judah separately. As 11 he did with the burnt offering of the Levites, so shall he do with the burnt offering of the sons of Judah after the Levites. 12 ~ And on the second day he will offer first the burnt offering of Benjamin, and after it 13 he will offer the burnt offering of the sons of Joseph, together with Ephraim and Manasseh. And on the third day he will offer 14 the burnt offering of Reuben separately, and the burnt offering of Simeon separately. And on the fourth day 15 he will offer the burnt offering of Issachar separately, and the burnt offering of Zebulun separately. And on the fifth day 16 he will offer the burnt offering of Gad separately, and the burnt offering of Asher separately. ~ And on the sixth day....

11Q19, column 44, lines 7b-16a: 7b To the sons of Judah, from the gate of Judah up to 8 the corner, fifty-four storerooms and their rooms and the hut 9 which there is above them. To the sons of Simeon, from the gate of Simeon up to the 10 second corner, their storerooms, and their rooms and their hut/s/. To the sons of Reuben, 11 from the corner which is next to the sons of Judah up to the gate of Reuben, 12 fifty-two storeroom/s/, and their rooms and their hut/s/. And from the gate of 13 Reuben up to the gate of Joseph, to the sons of Joseph, to Ephraim and to Manasseh. 14 And from the gate of Joseph up to the gate of Benjamin, to the sons of Kohath, from {the sons of} the Levites. 15 And from the gat/e/ of Benjamin up to the western corner to the sons of Benjamin. From this corner 16 up to the gate of Issachar, to the sons of Issachar.

The book of Nahum, just for convenience:

Nahum 1 (RSV)

1 An oracle concerning Nin′eveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.

2 The Lord is a jealous God and avenging,
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
3 The Lord is slow to anger and of great might,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.

His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and makes it dry,
he dries up all the rivers;
Bashan and Carmel wither,
the bloom of Lebanon fades.
5 The mountains quake before him,
the hills melt;
the earth is laid waste before him,
the world and all that dwell therein.

6 Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken asunder by him.
7 The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
8 But with an overflowing flood
he will make a full end of his adversaries,
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.
9 What do you plot against the Lord?
He will make a full end;
he will not take vengeance twice on his foes.
10 Like entangled thorns they are consumed,
like dry stubble.
11 Did one not come out from you,
who plotted evil against the Lord,
and counseled villainy?

12 Thus says the Lord,
“Though they be strong and many,
they will be cut off and pass away.
Though I have afflicted you,
I will afflict you no more.
13 And now I will break his yoke from off you
and will burst your bonds asunder.”

14 The Lord has given commandment about you:
“No more shall your name be perpetuated;
from the house of your gods I will cut off
the graven image and the molten image.
I will make your grave, for you are vile.”

15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him
who brings good tidings,
who proclaims peace!
Keep your feasts, O Judah,
fulfil your vows,
for never again shall the wicked come against you,
he is utterly cut off.

Nahum 2 (RSV)

2 The shatterer has come up against you.
Man the ramparts;
watch the road;
gird your loins;
collect all your strength.

2 (For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob
as the majesty of Israel,
for plunderers have stripped them
and ruined their branches.)

3 The shield of his mighty men is red,
his soldiers are clothed in scarlet.
The chariots flash like flame
when mustered in array;
the chargers prance.
4 The chariots rage in the streets,
they rush to and fro through the squares;
they gleam like torches,
they dart like lightning.
5 The officers are summoned,
they stumble as they go,
they hasten to the wall,
the mantelet is set up.
6 The river gates are opened,
the palace is in dismay;
7 its mistress is stripped, she is carried off,
her maidens lamenting,
moaning like doves,
and beating their breasts.
8 Nin′eveh is like a pool
whose waters run away.
“Halt! Halt!” they cry;
but none turns back.
9 Plunder the silver,
plunder the gold!
There is no end of treasure,
or wealth of every precious thing.

10 Desolate! Desolation and ruin!
Hearts faint and knees tremble,
anguish is on all loins,
all faces grow pale!
11 Where is the lions’ den,
the cave of the young lions,
where the lion brought his prey,
where his cubs were, with none to disturb?
12 The lion tore enough for his whelps
and strangled prey for his lionesses;
he filled his caves with prey
and his dens with torn flesh.

13 Behold, I am against you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no more be heard.

Nahum 3 (RSV)

3 Woe to the bloody city,
all full of lies and booty —
no end to the plunder!
2 The crack of whip, and rumble of wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot!
3 Horsemen charging,
flashing sword and glittering spear,
hosts of slain,
heaps of corpses,
dead bodies without end —
they stumble over the bodies!
4 And all for the countless harlotries of the harlot,
graceful and of deadly charms,
who betrays nations with her harlotries,
and peoples with her charms.

5 Behold, I am against you,
says the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will let nations look on your nakedness
and kingdoms on your shame.
6 I will throw filth at you
and treat you with contempt,
and make you a gazingstock.
7 And all who look on you will shrink from you and say,
Wasted is Nin′eveh; who will bemoan her?
whence shall I seek comforters for her?

8 Are you better than Thebes
that sat by the Nile,
with water around her,
her rampart a sea,
and water her wall?
9 Ethiopia was her strength,
Egypt too, and that without limit;
Put and the Libyans were her helpers.

10 Yet she was carried away,
she went into captivity;
her little ones were dashed in pieces
at the head of every street;
for her honored men lots were cast,
and all her great men were bound in chains.
11 You also will be drunken,
you will be dazed;
you will seek
a refuge from the enemy.
12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
with first-ripe figs —
if shaken they fall
into the mouth of the eater.
13 Behold, your troops
are women in your midst.
The gates of your land
are wide open to your foes;
fire has devoured your bars.

14 Draw water for the siege,
strengthen your forts;
go into the clay,
tread the mortar,
take hold of the brick mold!
15 There will the fire devour you,
the sword will cut you off.
It will devour you like the locust.

Multiply yourselves like the locust,
multiply like the grasshopper!
16 You increased your merchants
more than the stars of the heavens.
The locust spreads its wings and flies away.
17 Your princes are like grasshoppers,
your scribes like clouds of locusts
settling on the fences
in a day of cold —
when the sun rises, they fly away;
no one knows where they are.

18 Your shepherds are asleep,
O king of Assyria;
your nobles slumber.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
with none to gather them.
19 There is no assuaging your hurt,
your wound is grievous.
All who hear the news of you
clap their hands over you.
For upon whom has not come
your unceasing evil?

Something which strikes my eye immediately is the following, extracted from the Nahum Pesher itself:

4Q169, fragments 3-4, column 3, lines 8b-9: 8b «Do you act better than Am[mon, seated between] the streams of the Nile» (= Nahum 3.8)? ~ 9 Its interpretation: Amon is Manasseh and the streams of the Nile are the nob[l]es of Manasseh, the honorable of the [people who surround] Ma[nasseh.]

If Ephraim is often symbolic in the scrolls, is Manasseh, then, as well? If so, then what does it symbolize? Also, if so, then is this passage basically a kind of double pesher technique, whereby Manasseh already represents something in the style of pesher, and now Amon/No-amon, in Nahum 3.8, represents Manasseh in the style of pesher? Thus Amon/No-amon would represent Manasseh, which already represents something else: layers of code. But is that the correct reading in the first place? Or am I way off?

Ben.

PS: I came across this passage, as well, but the reference is to the Judean king Manasseh, not to the tribe (whether symbolic or not):

4Q381, fragments 33+35, lines 8-11: 8 Prayer of Manasseh, king of Judah, when the king of Assyria put him in prison: [“My G]od [...] near, my salvation is in front of your eyes; ... [....] 9 I await the salvation of your presence. I yield to you for my s[in]s, for you have incr[eased your compassion], whereas I have increased my guilt, and so [...] 10 from everlasting joy. And not shall my soul see the good, for my [...] have gone into exile, and [... h]e elevated me up high, above the nation [....] 11 But I, I did not remember you; [in your] h[oly pla]ce [I] did not serve [you ...] ... [....”]

Interesting that this prayer of Manasseh is not the same as the one found among the apocryphal books in some modern Bibles.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

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