Psalms 152–155

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Psalms 152 to 155 are additional Psalms found in two Syriac biblical manuscripts to date and several manuscripts of Elijah of Anbar [fr]'s "Book of Discipline",[1] first identified by the orientalist librarian Giuseppe Simone Assemani in 1759.[2] Together with Psalm 151 they are also called the Five Apocryphal Psalms of David or the "Five Syriac Psalms".[3]

Psalms 152-155[edit]

Psalm 152[edit]

"Spoken by David when he was contending with the lion and the wolf which took a sheep from his flock."[4] This text has survived only in Syriac[5] although the original language may have been Hebrew. The text has six verses, the tone is non-rabbinical, and it was probably composed in Israel during the Hellenistic period[6] (c. 323–31 BC).

Psalm 153[edit]

"Spoken by David when returning thanks to God, who had delivered him from the lion and the wolf and he had slain both of them."[4] This text has survived only in Syriac.[5] Date and provenance are like Psalm 152. It is listed as the fifth of the apocryphal psalms by Wright.[4]

Psalm 154[edit]

This Psalm survived in Syriac biblical manuscripts and also was found in Hebrew,[5] in the Dead Sea scroll 11QPs(a)154 (also known as 11Q5The Great Psalms Scroll), a first-century AD manuscript.[7] It is listed as the second of the apocryphal psalms by Wright who calls it "The Prayer of Hezekiah when enemies surrounded him".[4]

Psalm 155[edit]

This psalm is extant in Syriac and was also found in the Dead Sea Scroll 11QPs(a)155 (also called 11Q5The Great Psalms Scroll), a first-century CE Hebrew manuscript.[5] The theme of this psalm is similar to Psalm 22, and due to the lack of peculiarities it is impossible to suggest date and origin, save that its origin is clearly pre-Christian.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Herbert Edward Ryle; Montague Rhodes James, eds. (2014). Psalms of the Pharisees. Cambridge University Press. p. 161. ISBN 9781107623965.
  2. ^ Delcor, M., Cinq Nouveaux Psaumes Esséniens?, Revue de Qumrân, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1) (July 1958), pp. 85-102 (in French)
  3. ^ Charlesworth, J. H. (1982), The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 202-204, quoted at Early Jewish Writings, More Psalms of David, accessed 15 July 2022
  4. ^ a b c d Wright, W. (1887), 'Some Apocryphal Psalms in Syriac', Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 9, 257–266
  5. ^ a b c d James H. Charlesworth with James A. Sanders, More Psalms of David (Third Century B.C.-First Centiry A.D.). A New Translation and Introduction, in James H. Charlesworth (1985), The Old Testament Pseudoepigrapha, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company Inc., Volume 2, ISBN 0-385-09630-5 (Vol. 1), ISBN 0-385-18813-7 (Vol. 2), p. 609
  6. ^ James H. Charlesworth (2010). The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 615. ISBN 978-1-59856-490-7. The original language of this psalm, which is extant only in Syriac, may be Hebrew... It is impossible to date this psalm. The general tone, Jewish but non-rabbinic character, and association with Psalms 151, 154 and 155 indicate that it was probably composed by a Palestinian Jew during the hellenistic period.
  7. ^ "מגילת שירי מגילות תהלים | מפעל המילון ההיסטורי". Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  8. ^ A. Chadwick Thornhill (2015). The Chosen People: Election, Paul and Second Temple Judaism. InterVarsity Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-8308-9915-9. Prior to their discovery at Qumran, the additional psalms of David survived primarily through Syriac copies, and scholars referred to them as Syria noncanonical psalms. Of these psalms, Psalms 151A, 151B and 155 are present within the Qumran Psalms Scroll (11QPsa), and are thus clearly pre-Christian in their composition.

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