Pesher Nahum, Psalms of Solomon and Pompey

Shani Berrin, Yeshiva University

Psalm 2 of the Pseudepigraphic work Psalms of Solomon and cols ii-iv of 4QpNah 3-4 have each been associated with Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem. The aim of this paper is, first, to support the contextualization of Pesher Nahum in this setting and, second, to suggest that these two compositions employed a common interpretive tradition, which each adapted to suit the polemic needs of its own Community.

Whereas the historical context of 4QpNah 3-4 col. i is a matter of nearly universal consensus, there is less agreement about the setting of the subsequent columns of the work. References to Demetrius and Antiochus in col. i, as well as to executions by hanging, serve as the basis for contextualizing column i in the time of Alexander Jannaeus. Line 1 of that column, "rising of the Kittim…trample" is generally understood as a reference to the Roman conquest of Judea. In light of that understanding, it is clear that the composition of the work should post-date the "rise" of the Romans. Cols. ii-iv have been addressed in light of that identification, and have been taken as referring to some time between Jannaeus and the Roman conquest. More specifically, the proposals have been (1) the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (c. 88 BCE), continuing the context of the notorious col. i ; (2) the reign of queen Salome Alexandra, Jannaeus' queen and successor (76-67 BCE) ; and (3) the period of conflict between Salome's sons Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, and of Pompey's conquest (67-63 BCE).

The evaluation of various proposed historical referents is often a subjective enterprise in the study of pesher. It is our aim to put forth a more structured approach to determining criteria of evaluation. The most efficient approach to this endeavor is to employ pre-existing categories, and a number of options present themselves. One path would be to proceed according to the size of interpretive units. In testing a proposed contextualization, we may ask how the historical setting matches the individual words of the pesher interpretation, the distinct lemma/pesher units, the larger pericope, and the composition as a whole. Related approaches would involve testing how the proposal accommodates lemma/pesher correspondence at the levels of syntax, sense, and semantics; or form, content, and exegetical technique. Another approach, the one explored in this paper, is to examine how the proposal accounts for the pesher's relationship to material from different corpora. A standard pedagogical tool in Qumran studies is the division of the Dead Sea scrolls into three basic categories: biblical texts, Qumran sectarian texts, and "other". If we apply these categories to the evaluation of pesher interpretations, then it is clear that a proposed historical context must suitably account for the pesher in terms of (1) its relationship to Qumran writings (2) its use of biblical sources and (3) its relationship to other relevant textual material.

These categories can be further sub-divided. Qumran texts include the pesher composition itself, other pesharim, and additional sectarian texts. Biblical sources include the cited base-text as well as secondary sources. The category of "other" is, of course, rather open-ended and will include non-sectarian material from Qumran, rabbinic texts, and Pseudepigrapha. We now proceed to employ cols. ii through iv of Pesher Nahum as a case study for the demonstration of our categories. Specifically, as indicated above, we will examine how the context suggested by Dupont-Sommer, that of Pompey's conquest of Judea, can account for the pesher's relationship to various sources.

First we will sketch an outline of the historical events as they are described by Josephus. We will then proceed to indicate how the contextualization of cols. ii-iv in this time-frame accommodates the pesher's incorporation of biblical, sectarian, and other material.

In Antiquities XIV (1-80) and, in a shorter version in War (I, 117-159), Josephus describes the events that occurred subsequent to the reign of Salome Alexandra. Alexandra's reign itself was characterized by Pharisaic dominance and control. Salome was queen; Hyrcanus II, the elder of her two sons, was high priest; but the Pharisees held the real power, according to Josephus. When Salome was afflicted by a mortal illness, Aristobulus, her younger son, proclaimed himself king. Upon Salome's death, civil war ensued between Aristobulus, a "man of action" (?????????) according to Josephus, and the elder Hyrcanus II, an ineffectual leader (as?e??? ?? p?a?µata). Attempts at compromise between the brothers were unsuccessful. After each of the brothers appealed to Rome for assistance against the other, Pompey ultimately resolved the issue by deciding to take Jerusalem under direct Roman rule, effectively ending the Hasmonean dynasty. Pompey besieged Jerusalem, taking the city in a fierce and bloody battle. Aristobulus was brought captive to Rome with his wife and children, Judea was placed under heavy tribute to Rome, and Hyrcanus was re-instated as high priest.

How can Pesher Nahum be seen to reflect these events? The first criterion we have raised is an internal one, the accommodation of the words of the pesher interpretation. The immediate basis for our proposed identification is the pesher's description of Judean defeat, exile, and plunder, especially in col. ii. These elements are sufficiently prominent in Pompey's conquest to warrant further examination of the scenario as the context alluded to in the pesher. This can best be demonstrated by reviewing the pesher interpretations sequentially.

> Col. ii, line 2 provides the temporal and geographical setting for this section of the pesher, placing the event in the End of Days (????? ?????), and establishing the guilt of ????? ??????, the city of Ephraim, which is to be identified as Jerusalem. Lines 4-7 outline the disastrous calamities befalling ????? ??????, and lines 8-10 identify the victims of the group. The subsequent pesher interpretation is poorly preserved, but its extant portions refer to disgrace before the Gentiles. Col. iii shifts to ????? ???, with lines 3-8 anticipating the mass rejection of ????? ??????, to the point of the party's dissolution. The extant remaining portion of the pesher compares the predicted doom of ????? ?????? to the, apparently completed, downfall of Manasseh.

If we take ????? ?????? as the Pharisees, and probably as supporters of Hyrcanus II to a limited extent, and we take Manasseh as the Sadducees and supporters of Aristobulus, the details of the pesher fall into place. The arguments for these sectarian identifications have been put forth at great length and with much clarity, by a number of scholars, following Flusser. We will not repeat the arguments here, but will simply observe that the identification is consistent with that employed in col. i of Pesher Nahum and is supported by other Qumran texts. It has further been noted that col. ii does not simply refer to ????? ?????? but specifically to ????? ????? ?????? (line 4). This word has been the prime impetus for those who set the pesher within the reign of Salome Alexandra, since the phrase seems to fit Josephus' assertion that Salome was "queen only in name, while the Pharisees had the real power"(d?vaµ?v, despot?v). However, a case can be made for describing the period after Salome's reign as ????? ????? ?????? as well. In the first place, the term ?????, particularly at Qumran, need not refer to political rule, but rather may denote some other form of authority. It may possibly indicate a designated duration of time, or a sociological/theological category, similar to ????. These translations would suit any period of strong Pharisaic influence.

The characterization ????? ????? ?????? might also be appropriate in the specifically political sense, if the "third delegation" of Antiquities 14, 40 is identified as a Pharisaic deputation. When Aristobulus and Hyrcanus sent their supporters before Pompey to defend their respective claims to the throne, a third party was represented as well, as described by Josephus, and by Diodorus Siculus. They relate that a party of Jews, ("the most prominent men", in Diodorus; "the nation" in Josephus) , appealed to Pompey to reject the pleas for royal recognition put forth by each of the Hasmonean brothers. They petitioned him instead to restore the nation to its customary configuration as a hierocracy. Josephus does not explicitly relate Pompey's response to this group. However, when all is said and done, the system in place most closely resembles the initial demand of this group: the monarchy is defunct and Hyrcanus is installed as high priest. In support of the Pharisaic identity of these petitioners, we would note that Diodorus (line 8) records their claim that the Hasmonean monarchy violates "ancestral law" (t??? pat????? ??µ???); Josephus similarly employs the word p?t??ov. Moreover, it was during Hyrcanus's prior tenure as high priest, during his mother's reign, that the Pharisees are said to have enjoyed their height of political power. It is thus plausible that ????? ????? ?????? designates a period of Pharisaic political power, continuing even in the aftermath of the Pharisaic Golden Age under Salome.

We propose that Pharisees were divided among themselves in the years 67-63 BCE, but sought nonetheless to retain the mantle of national authority. They are thus culpable, in the eyes of the author of Pesher Nahum, for the calamities associated with Pompey's conquest. This proposal accommodates a number of details in the pesher. The reference to the "city of Ephraim" in line 2 suits the centrality of Jerusalem in the conflict between Hyrcanus, Aristobulus, and the Roman general. Lines 4-6 refer to the Gentile sword, captivity, plunder, civil strife (????), migration of refugees, and large-scale death. These phenomena are all documented as elements of Pompey's takeover of Jerusalem. [remind to consult handout] Josephus describes protracted hand-to-hand combat (??? ????) ; the taking of captives (???) ; civil strife (?????? ??????) and tremendous slaughter. Regarding internal fighting, even during the final battle in Jerusalem, Josephus notes that "most of the slain [among the Jews] perished by the hands of their countrymen of the opposite faction", (War I, 150. ) As for the death toll, Josephus reports that 12,000 Jews were killed (BJ 1 §150; Ant 14 §69-70.) There has been some discussion in the academic literature about the extent and nature of Pompey's plundering of Jerusalem's treasures (corresponding to the pesher's??? ). However there should be no doubt that Pompey did in fact help himself to a large quantity of victor's spoils. As for the pesher's reference to "fear" and self-imposed exile, Josephus' account does not provide direct evidence, but indirect attestation can be found.

In recounting the story of Onias the Circledrawer (???? ?????) Josephus mentions in passing that the besieging party had to seek out _Honio, since "this man hid himself when he saw that the civil war continued to rage."(Ant 14 §22.) Just prior to that, Josephus states that since Hyrcanus' siege occurred at the time of Passover, "the Jews of best repute left the country and fled to Egypt." The author of 4QpNah apparently saw the decline of Pharisaic power at the beginning of the period in question, and the larger issue of the deterioration of Judean sovereignty, as related manifestations of the eradication of the existing order. We have seen that the beginning of col. ii describes the horrors suffered by the Pharisees, and the suffering imposed upon the nation because of their guilt. In our understanding, lines 8-10 serve as a summary or outline of the negative effects of Pharisaic power. The author of the pesher believes that the leaders of Ephraim have brought ruin upon Judea. He asserts that their distorted policies devastated both their proponents and their antagonists.

The end of col. ii is poorly preserved, but the lemma refers to shame and disgrace. We will come back to these lines in the final section of our paper. At this juncture, two relevant historical events must be marked: Pompey's entry into the Temple sanctuary and his triumph following his conquest of Judea. Plutarch comments upon the great magnitude of Pompey's triumph. Tacitus and Livy describe Pompey's entry into the Holy of Holies, and Josephus writes of this invasion, that, "of all the calamities of that time, none so deeply affected the nation as the exposure to alien eyes of the Holy place, hitherto screened from view." Both of these events accommodate the lemma and the remnants of the pesher.

Col. iii looks forward to the total destruction of the Pharisees. Note the specification of ????? ??? in line 3 of col. iii, in contrast to ????? ????? in col. ii. The opponents of the Community had already suffered and declined before the composition of the pesher, as reflected in col. ii, but col. iii anticipates the imminent end of the Pharisees. At that time, the masses will reject the Pharisees and the Community will be recognized as the true Israel.

At the end of col. iii and in col. iv, in comparing Ephraim to Manasseh, the pesher returns to events that have already occurred. This portion of the pesher is best understood as reflecting the exile of Aristobulus' and his wife and children. The pesher's use of the particular term "kingship" and its reference to "wife and children" support this identification.

In this first section of our paper, we have demonstrated that the details of the pesher interpretations in cols. ii through iv coincide with data related to Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem. This contextualization allows for smooth chronological and theological continuity in the pesher. Column i referred to the Pharisees' unsuccessful bid against Jannaeus, which culminated in his suppression of the Pharisees through death, exile, and terror. Cols. ii and iii describe the suffering and weakening of the Pharisees during the time of the pesher's composition, and anticipate the imminent dissolution of the Pharisaic party. The scenario accommodates the primary message of Pesher Nahum, and of the continuous pesharim in general (in our understanding)- the divine meting out of reward and punishment culminating in the ultimate salvation of the elect, righteous Qumran Community, of which the author is a member.

Thus far, then, Pompey's conquest accounts for the terminology and content of Pesher Nahum, in consonance with general "Qumranic" perspectives on theology and history. Our next criterion for evaluation relates to the pesher's use of the biblical text. How does ascribing col. ii to the time of Pompey accommodate "lemma/pesher correspondence" and the pesher's allusions to secondary biblical sources? The base-text of this section of Pesher Nahum is Nah 3:1-7, which describes Nineveh's culpability and punishment. A statement of Nineveh's offenses precedes a vivid picture of the attack upon Nineveh and the city's devastation. Then, a metaphorical description of Nineveh's corrupt nature is followed by a corresponding image of its fall. The pesher applies these biblical verses to ????? ??????, demonstrating the guilt and decline of the Pharisees, and predicting their eradication. A significant advantage of contextualizing the pesher during the time of Pompey's conquest is that it allows for consistency in lines 4-6 of col. ii. In Nahum, verses 2-3 describe the imminent punishment of Nineveh.

In contrast, the association of this unit with Salome Alexandra, for example, by Flusser and Amusin, would require the pesher to depart from the apparent biblical context of these verses, the downfall of the powerful subject. When placed in the historical context of Salome's reign, the pesher has been viewed as reflecting violence perpetrated by the Seekers-after-Smooth-Things. However, correspondence with the biblical base-text of Nahum would support an explanation of these lines as describing calamities befalling the Pharisees and their followers, as is more appropriate in the time of Salome's sons. <<(2) & (3) sometimes conflated: post-Jannaeus, but mix Pharisaic supremacy and later civil war, as though distinction is irrelevant>> This understanding is not only suitable to the general context of the lemma, but is also in consonance with specific exegeses in the pesher. In the biblical text of Nahum, the phrase ?? ???? ??? ends verse 3:1, and is part of the prophet's description of the evil of Nineveh, with i ???ndicating an offense (either plunder or bloodshed). However, the pesher attaches these words to the following verse, so that they introduce and become part of a string of phrases indicating terror in Nineveh. Placing the pesher in the time of Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem allows the pesher to be understood as faithfully reflecting the retributive context in the Bible. Only the first phrase is recontextualized, and this is achieved via a deliberate exegetical act of "cutting and pasting," i.e. the dissociation of "predation will not cease" from the previous lemma.

Another exegetical technique that is compatible with our proposed contextualization is the pesher's implicit citation of Daniel 11:32-35. Elsewhere, we have discussed how apparent lapses in lemma/pesher correspondence, or "un-plugged pluses" may function as "cross-references" to biblical verses outside the cited base-text. I will not repeat the lengthy remarks I have made elsewhere, but I will direct your attention to Dan 11:32-35, at the bottom of page 1 of the handout and ask you to note that the underlined words can all be found in lines 4-6 of Pesher Nahum, col. ii. In Pesher Nahum, these words do not directly correspond to terms in the lemma. Following the approach introduced by Bilhah Nitzan, we have described these "un-pegged pluses" in the pesher as cross-references to a secondary biblical source, here Daniel 11:32-35. The context in Daniel is a time period during which the Seekers-after-Smooth-Things suffer along with their followers, after having been swayed in some measure to support a powerful foreign king who proceeded to desecrate their Temple. The pesher's use of Daniel indicates that the pesher describes a similar situation, with ????? ?????? as victims as well as transgressors. This, again, supports the view that the subject of the pesher is Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem. Contextualizing the pesher during the time of Pompey's conquest is thus compatible with the internal data of the pesher. It also allows for a coherent understanding of lemma/pesher correspondence and other uses of the Bible in the pesher, particularly in having the Pharisees as victims of persecution as well as perpetrators of wickedness. Our final sphere of investigation is the use of non-biblical, non-Qumranic material. Now we get to Psalms of Solomon, specifically Psalm 2. The relevance of Psalms of Solomon to Pesher Nahum was already maintained by Dupont-Sommer, but in a cursory fashion. His observations must be recognized as a starting point for further investigation, not only in terms of scope but also as far as methodology. Dupont-Sommer used Psalms of Solomon in order to corroborate details in Pesher Nahum. Since Psalm 2 of Psalms of Solomon is generally recognized as referring to Pompey's conquest of Judea, Dupont-Sommer consulted the pseudepigraphic work to gather supporting data for his attribution of Pesher Nahum to the same context. Thus, in attempting to associate "captivity" in the pesher with Pompey, Dupont-Sommer pointed to the Psalms of Solomon 2:6-8, "the sons and daughters in harsh captivity," and 8:21, "he led away their sons and daughters, those born in defilement."

However, the points of overlap between Psalm 2 of Psalms of Solomon and cols. ii-iv of Pesher Nahum extend well beyond similar references to components of the same event. A closer look will reveal shared theological concerns, shared terminology, and perhaps, other common elements, particularly regarding the resonance of biblical sources. At this point, I would like to highlight some of the similarities between Pesher Nahum and Psalm 2, using the pesher as our frame of reference.

Let us begin with Col. ii, lines 1-6 of the pesher. We have noted that these lines refer to captivity and plunder at the hand of Gentiles, and that they assert the guilt of the pesher's opponents, who are located in "the city of Ephraim", that is, Jerusalem. These are all elements that appear in Psalms of Solomon (and can be found in bold on the English handout on p.3): line 3 refers to the defilement of the sanctuary by the sons of Jerusalem, through lawless acts; captivity is found in line 6 and plunder in line 24; Gentiles appear in lines 2, 6, 18 and 22. So far, these similarities are to be expected in texts that refer to the same event.

Lines 7-10 of the pesher describe the deceit and corruption of the Pharisees. There is no direct reflection of this characterization in Psalm 2. However, an even more striking commonality can be found. The lemma for these lines is Nah 3:4, which employs the metaphor of the harlot to describe Assyrian transgressions. Psalm 2 seems to reflect the lemma itself, in lines 11-13, "because of her prostitutes etc…." (look for the italics font).

Lines 11-12 of the pesher address Nah 3:5. Both the lemma and pesher describe the retribution of the transgressors by means of humiliation, offering graphic images including the "exposure of their nakedness", and their being heaped with "disgusting abominations" before other nations. Similar images of degradation are found in lines 11-13 of the Psalm, as just noted, but probably also in lines 19-21 and, most interestingly, in line 5. (the double underline). On the English handout, I have transcribed Wright's translation, but not his notes; in his edition, he points out that the word d???? in line 5 appears as an equivalent for ??? in the Septuagint of Isa 6:1. In Isaiah's throne vision, ?? ????? ?????? ????? is rendered as p????? ? ????? t?? d???e a?t??. Psalms of Solomon seems to attest to an exegetical link between the word ????? in Nah 3:5, and a contemporizing application of the verse to the humiliating exposure of the sanctuary, i.e. Pompey's entry into the Holy of Holies, which, as we mentioned above, Josephus described as having been so traumatic for contemporary Jewry.

Continuing in the pesher, lines 1-5 of col. iii comment upon Nah 3:6-7. The biblical text continues to depict the humiliating image of Assyria's public experience of defeat, stating that Assyria will become repulsive and degraded. In the pesher, the image is applied specifically to the Pharisees' loss of their former adherents. The people will not only witness the devastating consequences of Pharisaic power, but they will come to realize the wickedness of the Pharisees. This time, Psalm 2 seems to reflect the ideas found in both the lemma and the pesher. See line 17 (YOU HAVE EXPOSED THEIR SINS, THAT YOUR JUDGMENT MIGHT BE EVIDENT; YOU HAVE OBLITERATED THEIR MEMORY FROM THE EARTH). Exposure of the sins of the guilty party, the sons of Jerusalem, is related to their punishment.

A few elements of this section of the pesher merit particular attention, notably, ????? and ???[?]??? ???? ?????. The word ????? in the lemma in line 2 is a variant from MT ????. MT ???? is a hapax and difficult to interpret. The Septuagint's pa??de??µa , usually translated into English as "spectacle" has been viewed as an attempt to render MT ???? as related to the root ???. George Brooke has described the pesher's ????? as a deliberate metathesis of ????, aimed at emphasizing the "overtones of indecency" in the context of Nah 3:5-6. Regardless of intent, the pesher's variant means "repulsive," as is demonstrated by its corresponding term in the interpretation, ?????? in line 4. We would suggest that the pesher's ????? is also reflected in the interpretation as a play on the word ????, "like a light," in that the wickedness of ????? ?????? will become clearly visible, hence understood, by many. ????? /???? may thus be associated with (1) spectacle (pa??de??µa) (2) degradation (??????), and possibly (3) being made visible like light ?????)). Let us now look again at verses 11-12 of the Psalm, where we find "derision"; holding up as an example or "spectacle" (Gr. pa?ede??µat?s??); and the phrase "before the sun". These difficult verses in the Psalm become more clear when understood in light of the words ????? /???? found in Nahum and Pesher Nahum.

In the reverse direction, the words ???[?]??? ???? ????? in line 4 of the pesher can gain clarity from Psalm 2. The pesher connects this phrase with the nation's abandonment of the Pharisees, and adds the phrase ?????????? ?? , a positive consequence resulting from the rejection of ????? ??????. The latter phrase does not correspond to any of the words of the lemma. It is a statement of theological significance that arises from contextual considerations. The biblical exegesis evident in this phrase is not dependent directly upon Nahum, but on related contexts of the rejection of evil. Now, please turn your attention back to verse 17 of the Psalm, YOU HAVE EXPOSED THEIR SINS, THAT YOUR JUDGMENT MIGHT BE EVIDENT; YOU HAVE OBLITERATED THEIR MEMORY FROM THE EARTH. Verse 17 seems to reflect a pun upon the root ???, using the root in the negative sense of exposure as well as in the positive sense of revelation. This paranomasia has been detected in the text of Pesher Nahum as well, possibly with the additional sense of exile. Line 10 of col. ii, the citation of Nah 3:5, includes the words ????? ????[?in the negative sense of exposure; col. iii, line 3 predicts ???? ??????.???[?]??? ???? ????? is best understood with Judah representing the Qumran Community, thus indicating that the glory of the Community, and thereby the glory of God, will be revealed. The beginning of col. iii of the pesher can thus illuminate and be illuminated by Psalm 2 of Psalms of Solomon. Both reflect word plays on????? /???? and on the root ?.?.?. in relating humiliating exposure and disgrace to the revelation of God's will through divine judgment, in association with Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem. The remaining portion of the pesher addresses the downfall of "Manasseh", identified as Aristobulus and his Sadduceean supporters. This group is not singled out in Psalm 2, but is probably included in lines 4-5 of the psalm, referring to the "sons of Jerusalem". The reference to captivity in these lines, particularly to the removal of sons and daughters is similar to lines 1-4 of col. iv of the pesher (???? ??????? ????).

Also identifiable in Psalm 2 are a number of terminological overlaps with col. i of Fragments 3-4 of Pesher Nahum. The words appearing with a single underline in verse 2 of Psalm 2 are reminiscent of the opening of col. i, in which the invasions of the Seleucid kings Demetrius and Antiochus are compared to a later event, the "rising of the rulers of the Kittim" and "the trampling" of Jerusalem. (verse 1, "you did not interfere" may reflect "???? ?????"; verse 7, "in the hand" may reflect that idiom in col. i). I have tried to limit this presentation to Psalm 2, but I cannot omit reference to one striking verse in Psalm 17, known for its anti-Hasmonean polemic, and generally associated with Psalm 2. Line 7 of col. iii in Pesher Nahum, repeats the description of the abandonment and breakup of ????? ?????? , employing the phrase ?????? ?????. The term ???? has drawn some attention, both because it is a non-biblical term and also because of its later rabbinic sense of "synagogue." Psalm 17, line 16, reads: "those who love the assemblies (s??a???) fled from them as sparrows fled from their nest. They became refugees in the wilderness to save their lives from evil."

Our final observation about Psalm 2: the verses omitted on the English handout (26-29) have already been related to a text from Qumran by Hanan Eshel. The verses in Psalms of Solomon describe Pompey's death, which in fact occurred in 48 BCE, as retribution for his persecution of Judea as described in the earlier sections of the Psalm. Eshel has shown that 4Q386 employs Ezekiel 30: 13 to describe this same event, to convey a similar message of divine justice. He comments, "the author of 4Q386 and the author of the Psalms of Salomon shared the same historical perspective."

This remark can be also applied to Pesher Nahum and Psalm 2 of Psalms of Solomon, and can be broadened as well. Both the pesher and the psalm focus upon similar features of a foreign invasion. The physical components of plunder, captivity, and death as well as humiliation dovetail with what is known of Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem. Neither text names Pompey, however. Both texts employ allusive language in their presentation of this historical event, since they both "theologize" or, more specifically (if less grammatically) "theodicize" the text. That is to say, both Psalms of Solomon and Pesher Nahum are interested in the violence and disgrace of Jerusalem insofar as these historical events reflect divine reward and punishment. Pesher Nahum focuses upon the punishment of the Pharisees, and, more briefly, the punishment of the Sadducees. Psalm 2 in its current state focuses upon the punishment of Pompey, but the guilt of the "sons of Jerusalem" is stressed as well, and global statements about reward and punishment pervade the psalm. Some dualistic elements may be also be detected in both works.

The shared theological focus of the Psalm and the pesher is also discernible in their similar structure. The consecutive pesher interpretations of cols. ii and iii may be outlined as follows: (1) the "conquest of Jerusalem", (2) the "guilt of the Pharisees", (in terminology deriving from Nahum's reference to harlots), and (3) "exposure and degradation", leading to the punishment of the Pharisees and the triumph of the Community. Psalm 2 has a similar structure: it describes the violent conquest of Jerusalem, the guilt of the "sons of Jerusalem" (using the term prostitution), and exposure and degradation, framed as an indication of God's perfect and enduring justice.

The pesher and psalm thus exhibit shared theological/historical perspectives, shared terminology, and, I believe, shared dependence upon ch. 3 of Nahum (though the latter, of course, is not explicitly evident in the psalm.) [This dependence upon Nahum may reflect an association of this work with "revenge" as in CD]) We have also noted that the disparagement of the Pharisees and Sadducees that is essential in Pesher Nahum is only partially paralleled in the psalm, having been collapsed into the phrase "sons of Jerusalem". In fact, we observed that lines 11-13 of the Psalm reflect the lemma of lines 7-10 of the pesher, but not the pesher interpretation itself. This pesher interpretation is a caricature of Pharisaic stereotypes, featuring accusations of hypocrisy, deception, disproportionate political influence, and the term "Talmud". Whereas the pesher views Pompey's conquest as a vehicle for maligning the Pharisees, Psalms of Solomon uses the fall of Jerusalem as a basis for condemning the "sons of Jerusalem", probably the sons of Salome (perhaps a play on ????????), that is, the Hasmonean contenders for the throne. Such an anti-Hasmonean stance would be consonant with Psalm 17, and with the conventional understanding of the Psalms of Solomon as a Pharisaic work, as well as with our earlier suggestion that the 3rd party petitioning Pompey was Pharisaic. In any case, the pesher and psalm each seem to be adapting a common tradition to suit their respective polemic needs.

In closing, I would like to offer the following assessment of Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem as an appropriate contextualization of Pesher Nahum, 3-4 cols. ii-iv. The proposal is made plausible because our historical knowledge about the event accommodates details in the text of the pesher, in a manner consistent with the composition as a whole and with other literature from Qumran. The proposed context is made probable because it suits the pesher's employment of biblical texts. And it becomes conclusive in light of its similarity to Psalms of Solomon, Psalm 2, in content, terminology, historical/theological perspective, and polemical stance. To adapt the word-play we have discerned on ?????/ ????: There may be some who view the similarities between the pesher and the psalm as "spectacular" (or, even not so spectacular) coincidences; however, I hope to have made the significance of these parallels as clear as the light of day.