Shurely Psalm Mishtake?

The discovery of a medieval Psalter in an Irish bog is being hailed as the “Irish Dead Sea Scrolls”; it’s also got Christian Zionists excited. Agape Press gets a soundbite from prominent Christian Zionist Dave Hunt (link in original):

The book was open to Psalm 83, in which God hears the complaints of nations plotting the destruction of Israel. Dave Hunt, founder of The Berean Call, says the discovery is “remarkable” in light of Israel’s current war with Hezbollah and other enemies; he believes God’s promises still apply to Israel, although many believers seem to dismiss this idea that scripture addresses contemporary events…”‘That’s my land,’ God said in Leviticus 25:23. ‘I gave it to these people.'”

The Psalm is actually an invocation for God to destroy the nations opposed to ancient Israel:

See how your enemies are astir,
how your foes rear their heads.
With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
that the name of Israel be remembered no more.”

…Make them like tumbleweed, O my God,
like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm

Very exciting for those of an apocalyptic disposition, and word of the “omen” has spread across the internet – WorldNetDaily has also run a piece on the supposedly synchronicitous find.

However, the National Museum of Ireland has now published a clarification:

…The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, would like to highlight that the text visible on the manuscript does NOT refer to wiping out Israel but to the ‘vale of tears’.

This is part of verse 7 of Psalm 83 in the old latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate) which, in turn, was translated from an original Greek text would have been the version used in the medieval period. In the much later King James version the number of the Psalms is different, based on the Hebrew text and the ‘vale of tears’ occurs in Psalm 84. The text about wiping out Israel occurs in the Vulgate as Psalm 82 = Psalm 83 (King James version).

It is hoped that this clarification will serve comfort to anyone worried by earlier reports of the content of the text.

The Douey-Rheims translation of the Catholic Psalm 83 can be seen here; the KJV and other English translations give us “Valley of Baca” for “vale of tears”, which was apparently the proper name of a “Valley of Weeping” near Mt Zion in Jerusalem (see here).

(Hat tips: Paleojudaica, Slugger O’Toole)