New Research Appears to Affirm the Antiquity of the Book of Psalms

The biblical book of Psalms consists of 150 devotional poems, which—according to the Talmud—were composed by ten different authors, most prominent of whom was King David. Based primarily on the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, many modern academic scholars have concluded that, while some of the individual psalms might be quite old, the precise selection and ordering that appear in the Tanakh did not emerge until a relatively late date. Instead, they argue, a variety of collections proliferated during the Second Temple period, with overlapping but not identical contents. But a group of researchers based in the Netherlands, who have been subjecting the Dead Sea Scrolls to new forms of technologically sophisticated analysis, have come to different conclusions. Rossella Tercatin writes:

The Dead Sea Scrolls collection presents some 40 scrolls containing the text [of Psalms]. “Some of them are just one tiny fragment; some are collections of many large fragments,” Drew Longacre, [one of the scholars conducting the new research], said. “Maybe fifteen or so are substantially preserved.” . . . The preliminary results of the analysis carried out using paleographic and radiocarbon dating have revealed that some of the scrolls might actually be more ancient than previously thought.

“One of the manuscripts presenting texts in roughly the same order as medieval manuscripts could have been dated as early as the 3rd century BCE, which could be very challenging for those who say that the current Psalter is a much more recent creation,” Longacre said.

Longacre [also] believes that a clear distinction existed between artifacts created for public use and community reading and those manufactured for personal use, a distinction somewhat comparable to the modern difference between a Torah scroll used for public reading in synagogues and a ḥumash, a [printed] book containing the Pentateuch, usually used for learning purposes, or between hardcover and paperback books.

The difference between formal and informal manuscripts also could offer a fundamental key to interpret discrepancies between contradictory versions of the texts, Longacre said.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew Bible, Psalms

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy