Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wise Advice From Solomon:

"One of the wisest things you can do is to get an old King James bible, sit down with your family, and read through the book of Proverbs every month. There are 31 chapters, basically one for each day of the month. King Solomon packed them with wisdom.

"You don't need to be Jewish or Christian to get a lot of good things out of those proverbs; and that will be the best way to deal with the qualities about yourself that you don't like. That wisdom will start to assimilate itself into your heart and mind, and make a world of difference."

- From a friend.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why did the Ancients not Develop Machinery?

From Southwestern University, rare now, and recovered from an internet archive.

Energy is the basis of modern civilization; it dominates the headlines, makes and breaks the economy of nations, determines their foreign policy. Yet it is relatively a newcomer to history. It began to occupy men's minds only during the Middle Ages, not before. Egypt, Assyria, Persia, all fashioned their empires without it, Greece achieved her glory and Rome her splendor without it. Very possibly the glory and the splendor would have been still greater, had Greeks and Romans turned their attention to utilizing sources of power other than the muscles of man or beast. For some reason they did not.

They did not, even though they were fully acquainted with a number of easily exploitable forms of energy. As far back as 3000 B.C. the Egyptians had learned to harness the force of the wind to drive their craft up and down the Nile. But neither they nor anyone else ever went further than boats: as we shall see shortly, the earliest windmills date from the seventh century A.D. or even later. By the first century B.C. the Greeks and Romans had learned to use the flow of water to turn mills, but all over the world grain continued to be ground slowly and laboriously by hand or animal. They were even aware of more sophisticated sources of power, such as compressed air, hot air, steam. A Greek engineer named Ctesibius, who lived during the third century B.C. in the city of Alexandria_the center at the time of scholarly and scientific research_produced a hydraulic organ whose power was furnished by a column of water supported on a cushion of air. He designed a clock driven by water: flowing into a bowl at a fixed rate, it steadily raised a float topped by a figure whose hand pointed to lines representing hours engraved on a cylinder; the cylinder itself was made to rotate by the upward movement of the float.

Another Greek engineer named Hero, who also worked at Alexandria though at a later time than Ctesibios, perhaps the first century A.D., describes certain inventions for use in temples which, by exploiting the expansive property of hot air, were able to arouse wonderment and awe among the congregations. One consisted of a pipe and some figures mounted on a disk; when the altar fire was lit, the hot air from it, passing through the pipe, caused the disk to revolve and the figures to appear to dance. In a second device, hot air made the doors of a shrine open and shut. In a third, an altar flanked by two figures holding wine vessels and surmounted by a bronze serpent, the hot air produced a flow of wine from the vessels and a hiss from the serpent. Yet another is the earliest example on record of a steam engine: a hollow ball was mounted between two brackets made fast to the lid of a pot filled with boiling water; one of the brackets was also hollow, and the steam passing through it into the ball was vented in such a way that the ball was made to rotate. Hero even describes a windmill, a miniature version for providing the current of air required to power a small and simple type of organ. He includes any number of gadgets worked by means of levers and weights, among them the first known coin-operated machine: when a five-drachma piece was dropped through a slot in the cover of a sacrificial vessel filled with holy water, it triggered by means of a Rube Goldberg contraption a spurt from a spout on the side. But these and others like them were all that Alexandria's scientific savants turned out; their imaginative exploiting of water, wind, hot air, and steam went into toys and gadgetry, never into machines for replacing men's labor.

The ancients' failure in this regard stands in stark contrast with the accomplishments of their heirs, the men of the Middle Ages. By A.D. 983 there probably was a mill for fulling cloth on the banks of the Serchio in Tuscany. By 1008 there were water-driven grain as well as fulling mills around Milan. The windmill for grinding grain makes its debut in Persia, perhaps in the seventh A.D., certainly a century or two later. In the twelfth century it appears in Yorkshire_ an independent invention, though possibly inspired by news of such machines in the east_and spread over Europe almost explosively, to quote Lynn White, our ranking historian of technology, who has pioneered in bringing attention to the spectacular advances that took place in medieval times.

By the fourteenth century water- and windpower had replaced muscle not only for fulling cloth and grinding grain but for sawing wood, lifting water, operating the bellows of blast furnaces, driving triphammers, turning grindstones, and crushing anything from ore to olives. So wide and effective was the technological surge that, as White puts it, "by 1492. . . Europe had developed an agricultural base, an industrial capacity, a superiority in arms, and a skill in in voyaging the ocean which enabled it to explore, conquer, loot and colonize the rest of the globe during the next four centuries." Mighty Rome, restrained by its technological sloth, had been able to explore, conquer, loot, and colonize no farther than the Mediterranean and the western end of Europe.

Necessity, we say, is the mother of invention. We neglect to add that the necessity must be one that people are aware of. Greeks and Romans did not think it at all necessary to spare men the drudgery and time it took to grind grain into flour, even after the water mill had become known; the people of twelfth-century Yorkshire, it is clear, did. In the lands of medieval Islam the climate was so arid that streams with the flow to drive mills were few; on the other hand since sparseness of vegetation generates air currents, there was. plenty of wind. Here, if anywhere, a "need" existed for the windmill-and the Arabs did not even have to invent it but merely borrow it from Persia where, as mentioned above, it had been in use for centuries. They could not have been less interested. In 1206 by which time windmills were to be seen from Scotland to Syria, the leading Arab engineer of the day observed to his readers that the notion of driving mills by the wind was nonsense.

It was no one from the ancient world but a western European of the Middle Ages, Hugh of St. Victor, who said, "Propter neressitatem inventa est mechanica, necessity is the mother of technology. By his time technology had become integrated into men's thinking habits. They had learned to turn to it automatically as the way of solving certain problems; they had, in short, invented invention. The phrase would never have come to the lips of a Greek or Roman. They totally lacked a tradition of carrying on sustained effort to produce a technological solution to a felt need. Invention, as they saw it, was the result of happy accident. Among their heroes are no James Watts, no Thomas Edisons, no men who devoted a lifetime to studying, experimenting, perfecting a device Their classic story is of Archimedes' discovery of the principle of specific gravity while in his bath pondering how to test the honesty of a goldsmith.

What was it, then, that made people from the tenth century A.D. unaware of a need for labor-saving machinery and made them turn to technology for the solution What was it that prevented the ancients from doing this? Let us take the second question first.

It is said that the Greeks never exploited steam, that they never converted Hero's toy into a useful engine, because they did not have the materials or technology for steamfitting, for fashioning and joining tubing to take the pressures. True enough_but beside the point: they simply did not think in terms of using steam power for utilitarian purposes. It is said that they never exploited the water mill because the Mediterranean does not have the rivers that would provide the flow required. This is not only beside the point but not even true. The rivers were perfectly adequate for driving the mills that were there during the 'Middle Ages. Moreover, the Romans_and the Etruscans long before them_were expert at providing a flow where there was none. What mills the Romans eventually did construct, as often as not were run by water from aqueducts.

These and other similar specific explanations that have been offered do not get us very far. What about the broad generalizations?

There is a school of thought, whose ranks have been swelled by the unswerving adherence of most Marxist historians, which holds that slavery was the culprit: the economy of the ancients was based on slavery and, the argument runs, with slaves to do the work there was no incentive to develop technology. "Their slaves were their machines," asserts Ben Benjamin Farrington, author of a series of widely used handbooks on ancient science and technology, "and so long as they were cheap there was no need to try to supersede them. The supply of slave labor seems to have outlasted the heyday of ancient science." There is no denying that the Greek and Roman economy was based on slave labor, although the most important segment, agriculture, depended upon it only at certain times and in certain places. But one can emphatically deny that slave labor was always plentiful and cheap; there were long periods when it was nothing of the sort. And, if the ancients' technological backwardness is to be attributed to the availability of slaves, how can one explain the date of introduction of what labor-saving devices the Romans did use? It was in the second century B.C. that they replaced their hand-operated mills for grinding grain with the donkey- powered rotary mill-precisely when, thanks to Rome's conquest of the east and the consequent arrival on the block of hordes of prisoners, there was a glut of slaves. And, in the very next century, when there were still plenty of them around, Rome's bakeries began using horse-drawn machines for kneading dough.

Another school of thought holds that it was the abundance of labor in general, whether slave or free, which did the damage. "Labor was too cheap for much thought to be given to machinery," declares W. W. Tarn, one of the foremost historians of ancient Greece "Labour . . . was plentiful and cheap until the end of the third century [A.D.], precisely the period when the donkey-mills or slave-driven mills of Rome were gradually ousted by the water mill," declares R. Forbes in the standard work in English on ancient technology. This explanation no more fits the facts than slavery. The water mill_to which we will come in a few moments_did precious little ousting of man- and animal-power in the third century; a few more mills were built than before, but it is perfectly clear that most grinding was still being done in the time-honored, time-consuming way.

There is an anecdote that the adherents of this school often cite. Rome's Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from A.D. 69 to 79, was once approached, we are told, by an engineer who offered to haul big stone columns to the top of the Capitoline Hill for a very small charge; Vespasian gave him a handsome reward but refused his services on the grounds that he wanted "to be allowed to feed the mob." They assume that the story indicates an excess on the Roman labor market, a mass of unemployed whom the government supported by work projects. But "unemployment" and "work projects" are twentieth-century concepts; antiquity knew nothing of them. Ancient governments did not go about creating work to provide jobs. Certainly the Roman emperors did not, even though they were faced with the chronic problem of maintaining "the mob," that is, the thousands of poor Roman citizens who centuries earlier had drifted to the city and whose descendants had led an idle existence ever since. The emperors took care of them by means of the proverbial "bread and circuses," feeding them through public handouts of grain and keeping them content by enterraining them with free gladiatorial combats and horse racing. In any case, these people were in no way part of the labor force. Besides, manual labor, such as the handling of columns, was normally done by slaves, so the only ones who would have profited from Vespasian's rejection of the engineer's offer were not any theoretical unemployed but the owners of the teams of slaves who held the contracts for the hauling. Commentators on the story imagine that the engineer had in mind some power-driven lifting machinery, but this is pure fantasy. A more likely explanation is that this suggested to Vespasian something no emperor had ever thought of doing before_to entice some of the handout receivers to put in a few days or a few weeks of work for pay. This would no doubt have amounted to much less than the hire of teams of slaves, whose owners had to charge enough to cover the cost of maintaining them all year round, work or no work, and of writing off the loss whenever any died or were in jured. Vespasian, however, said no; he wanted to "be allowed to feed the mob," that is, carry on the traditional policy of giving them handouts, not try any newfangled ideas of putting them to work.

Another argument against those who blame the technological laggardness on a surplus of labor is that what clues we can gather point just the other way. A number of treatises on farming in Italy, written between the second century B.C. and the first A.D., have survived They make allusion to the difficulties farm farmers had because of the scarcity of hands. There were times when Egypt, one of the breadbaskets of the; ancient world, suffered from country-wide shortage of labor. Indeed, it has been argued that a key factor inhibiting the internal growth of the empires that. were established in the wake of Alexander the Great's conquests was the limited agriculture. manpower available: it was never possible to increase the number of peasants beyond a certain figure, and because of this, food production was never able to rise to levels that could support more or larger urban centers. Obviously the solution would have been the development of mechanical aids to relieve the peas ants' back breaking toil and increase his output. The Ptolemies, who ruled Egypt from 300 B.C. through the next few centuries, did their best to wring as much out of the land as they could. They reclaimed large tracts, improved the irrigation system, in introduced new crops. At the same time, being openhanded patrons of the arts and sciences, they supported research of all kinds, including the experiments of Ctesibius and other scientists in the use of water and hot air as a force. Yet it evidently never crossed their minds to suggest to these scientists that they give up playing around with toys and gadgets and get to work on a power-driven mill. Whether the effort would have succeeded is irrelevant; the point is that it was never made.

What is even more mystifying is that labor-saving devices actually came into existence and yet were not exploited. In the first century A.D. a mechanical harvester was developed. We know what it was like not only from descriptions of ancient writers but from a number of carved reliefs that picture it: it was, in effect, an oversize comb mounted on wheels and pushed by a donkey or mule; as it went along it took off the heads of grain, leaving the stalks standing. Admittedly, it could operate efficiently only on level ground and appeal only to farmers willing to forego the straw. So far as we can tell the device was used in a certain section of Gaul, roughly between Reims and Trier, and nowhere else, though there surely were other areas in the ancient world where the machine's advantages outweighed its limitations. Moreover, no effort was made to adapt it for farms whose owners wanted the straw or where the terrain was not appropriately level, an adaptation chat should not have been difficult. Ancient farmers, in short, were content to go on harvesting with sickles, even though this was a painfully slow way to do it and one of their complaints was a lack of hands.

Even more striking than the failure of the mechanical harvester to catch on is that of the water mill. We noted above that the Romans certainly knew the water mill by the first century B.C. A good argument can be made that the Etruscans knew it several centuries earlier. They were superb hydraulic engineers, particularly skilled in cutting long underground sewerlike channels through rock to control the direction and volume of the flow of water. In most cases these channels ran along the bottom of valleys to carry off rainwater and not let it erode the valley floors. At Veii, an Etruscan site some twelve miles north of Rome, the inhabitants cut one such channel, over one-third of a mile long and over eighty feet deep in one place, whose purpose could not have been to prevent erosion. It carried water from a larger stream to a point on a smaller, thereby increasing the velocity of the flow at that point. The only logical explanation for this elaborate piece of hydraulic engineering is that the Etruscans wanted to strengthen the flow at the point in question because they maintained a mill there-and, indeed, a mill has stood in the area from the Middle Ages to very recent times.

In any event, when we come to the first century B.C. we do not have to depend on argument or inference: we know that water mills existed then because Vitruvius describes them in the famous book on architecture and building techniques that he wrote probably in the closing decades of the pre-Christian era. The very way in which he deals with them is significant. In a discussion of the devices in use for raising water, after treating various forms of treadmills, he describes a water-powered wheel that turns an endless chain of buckets; this, he goes on to inform us, differs from the water-powered mill in that the water-driven wheel in the latter case turns a millstone. When he comes to his summing up of the discussion, he does not even bother to mention the water mill. That is all he has to say about the piece of machinery that was destined to revolutionize agriculture and industry. Vitruvius' indifference was typical. A water mill can grind effortlessly in under three minutes what would take a man or beast an hour of hard work Once discovered, it should have swept over the Mediterranean world as quickly as it was to sweep over Europe a millennium later. It did nothing of the sort. During the first three centuries A.D., the heyday of the Roman Empire, it saw scant use. The number of mills increased somewhat after that, but not importantly. In most places the age-old laborious methods of grinding grain still continued.

Michael Rostovtzeff, author of the definitive studies on the social and economic history of the ancient world, was well aware of the shortcomings of slavery or cheap free labor as an explanation of the Greeks' "slow technical progress and . . . restricted range of output." He argues that "the causes of these limitations are chiefly to be found, on the one hand, in local production of manufactured goods and the arrest of the development of large industrial centers, and, on the other, in the low buying capacity and restricted number of customers." This explanation simply puts us in a circle. Industrial centers could not develop because they could not be fed without increasing the production of food, and, as we have just seen, the fixed or even declining number of peasants prevented this. And without such industrial centers, the number of potential customers would inevitably be restricted and buying power low. Men did not break out of the circle until the Middle Ages. Why did they not do it in ancient times?

We cannot call upon mountains of statistics to help us with the answer, for there are no such from the ancient world. All we can do is go through whatever writings have survived, from agricultural treatises to Iyric poetry, in search of anything that will throw light, no matter how feeble, on the problem. There is an anecdote told by Lucian, a satirist and lecturer of the second century A.D., that is a good deal more to the point than the story about Vespasian and the engineer. In an essay that purports to be autobiographical Lucian recounts how he embarked upon his career. He had a dream, he informs us in which two women struggled for possession of him, one mannish and dirty and unkempt and covered with stone dust, the other lovely and poised and well dressed. The first sought to entice him to become a sculptor, to achieve the greatness of Phidias and Praxiteles, the other to turn to education and follow an intellectual career. If you become a sculptor, the lovely woman warned him, "hunched over your work, your eyes and mind on the ground, low as low can be, you will never lift your head to think the thoughts of a true man or a free spirit." Lucian did not hesitate: he joyously embraced the life of the mind.

The prejudice against the artisan that Lucian's words reveal can be traced throughout the fabric of Greek thought. In the Greek pantheon, Apollo, god of music, Ares, god of war, Hermes, messenger of Zeus, are all gloriously handsome; Hephaestus, god of the forge, is ugly and lame and, when he hobbles about Olympus, the sight makes the rest of the divine family break out into "unquenchable laughter," to use Homer's phrase. The Greeks admired and respected the artisan's work; they neither admired nor respected the artisan. Socrates, who ho happened to be a stonemason by trade, was often to be found lounging around the workshops of his fellow craftsmen_but not his blue-blooded pupil Plato, scion of one of Athens' best families. In the utopias he conjures up, Plato relegates craftsmen to the lowest rung of the social ladder. Xenophon, a fellow aristocrat, points our that in those Greek cities that pride themselves on their military reputation, citizens arc not allowed to practice a craft. Aristorle, tutor to Alexander the Great, sniffily remarks that "the finest type of city will not make an artisan a citizen."

One reason for the prejudice was that, from the very beginning, many artisans were slaves; one effect of the prejudice was to ensure that more and more of them would be. Throughout Greek history, the free and slave craftsman shared work, often laboring side by side. Records of the building of Greek temples and other structures have been preserved, and from them we can see that the stone blocks, the column drums, the sculptures, the scaffoldings, and all else, were fashioned by free and slave masons and carpenters working together and being paid exactly the same wage; the only difference was that the free man kept his while the slave turned his over to a master Work of the hands, no matter of what quality, whether the rough hacking of stone in a quarry or the delicate carving of a sculpture, was something that could be done by slaves, and in the eyes of the upper class_the class to which without exception all ancient writers and intellectuals belonged_was not for them. Cicero, categorizing the pursuits that men follow, declares without qualification that "all craftsmen are engaged in a lowly art, for no workshop can have anything about it appropriate to a free man" They were all, as it were, sicklied o'er with the pale cast of slavery

A passage in one of Plurarch's lives makes it crystal clear why Ctesibius, Hero, and the other scientists of antiquity stopped at toys and gadgets and never went on to machines_except in that one field which ail through history has had a special claim on men's faculties, the art of war. In his Life of Marcellus, the famed general who led the Roman forces during much of the Second Punic War, he describes the trouble Marcellus had in besieging the strongly fortified town of Syracuse. Before the invention of cannon, laying siege to any walled city was no easy job but Marcellus was having particularly rough going because the king of Syracuse had entrusted the defense to antiquity's most renowned engineer, Archimedes. Archimedes devised fiendish catapults which hurled monstrous stones upon attacking troops, fiendish cranes with huge claws that fastened upon attacking ships and lifted them right out of the water, even a Brobdingnagian burning glass that could set them on fire from a distance. After describing the formidable array, Plutarch remarks that Archimedes, though he had won universal acclaim for his military inventions "never wanted to leave behind a book on the subject but viewed the work of the engineer and every single art connected with everyday need as ignoble and fit only for an artisan. He devoted his ambition only to those studies in which beauty and subtlety are present uncontaminated by necessity." It was solely the intellectual challenge that led Archimedes to his discovery of the principle of specific gravity; its practical application, though it provided the occasion. for his inspiration, was beneath his notice.

Thus the best brains of antiquity did not occupy themselves with technology except as a pastime or for war. Snobbishness played its part, but there were other causes as well. Science seeks to understand nature, and ancient thinkers welcomed this challenge. But technology seeks to tamper with it, and there was a feeling that this was forbidden territory. Herodotus tells a revealing story about the people of Cnidus. Their city was located on the tip of a peninsula, and once, fearing the attack of a powerful enemy, they began to cut through the neck to put a barrier of water between them and the mainland. As the work proceeded, they noted an inordinate number of injuries from rock splinters, especially about the eyes. It was serious enough for them to consult the Delphic Oracle; the response was that they were to quit work, that "Zeus would have made your peninsula an island had he so willed."

The split between science and technology was by no means limited to antiquity. When the ancient world died, its science lived on among the Arabs. For five hundred years the best scientists wrote in Arabic, yet this did nothing whatsoever to hasten the pace of technological development in Islam. The idea that science can advance technology was not clearly formulated until as late as A.D. 1450 and was not consistently acted upon until our own century.

Another key reason for the ancients' indifference to technology was their attitude toward profit, an attitude totally at variance with what we today un-thinkingly accept as the natural order of things. The ancients were just as fond of money as we are. There were some philosophical sects whose members made a great show of scorning wealth-we all know the story of Diogenes, who preferred living in a barrel to a house-but they were no more representative of society at large than hippies are today. Most men upper-class or lower, were well aware that money was a good thing, that it was not possible to enjoy life without it. Where they differ from us is in their ideas about how it was to be made and what to do with i' after making it. Throughout the whole of antiquity men worked under the conviction that wealth should properly come from the land. All their great fortunes were landed fortunes: if they did not start out that way, they ended that way. Take the case of Trimalchio the hero of the best-preserved scene in Petronius'Satyricon, a brilliant and devastating satire about Rome's nouveaux riches in the first century A.D. Trimalchio, an ex-slave. who became a multimillionaire, got his start by taking a flyer in the import of wine. When his ship came in, he made a killing_and promptly switched to real estate, the buying of farm properties. He acquired so much that though there were vast tracts of his holdings he had never even seen, he would not be content until he could buy up all Sicily, so that he could travel from Naples right to a port of departure for North Africa without once having to leave his own property. Trimalchio would have applauded enthusiastically Cicero's statement that "of all things from which income is derived, none is better than agriculture, none more fruitful, none sweeter, none more fitting for a free man." Cicero exaggerates: there were any number of pursuits more fruitful, but that was of secondary importance compared with agriculture's preeminent respectability, its fittingness for a free man.

Next to owning land came commerce, the sort of venture in which Trimalchio had gotten his start. But it was a good cut below. Hear Cicero on the subject: "Commerce, if it is on a small scale, is to be considered lowly; but if it is on a large scale and extensive, importing much from all over and distributing to many without misrepresentation, it is not to be too much disparaged"_in other words, at its very best, barely respectable.

Lower even than commerce was industry-industry, the form of endeavor in which results depend squarely upon productivity, which has most to gain from technology. Ancient industry, it is happens never progressed beyond the large workshop stage. You will read in the writings of archaeologists' descriptions of centers of ceramic production that sound like operations employing a labor force of thousands, but that is only because' the archaeologist's stock in trade is pots herds and he tends to be overawed by the quantities he finds. The biggest pottery manufactories we know of were all owned by single individuals and never employed many more than fifty men. The very biggest privately owned (as against government-owned) industrial operation we know of was a shield-making establishment that employed something in the neighborhood of one hundred. Back in the eighteenth century David Hume wrote: "I do not remember a passage in any ancient author, where the growth of a city is ascribed to the establishment of a manufacture." Despite a century of archaeological discovery, his words need no qualification. There were no Manchesters or Birminghams in the ancient world, no equivalent of our New England mill towns.

Let us grant that Greeks and Romans did not exploit the potential of industry for making money and that we cannot therefore expect technological advance in that area. What about agriculture? We saw earlier that urban growth was restricted by the farmers' inability to feed more city mouths. Sometimes they could not even feed their own mouths; famines were not at all uncommon in ancient times. In the days of the Roman Empire there was plenty of land, with rich landowners holding the lion's share of it; why did they not seek to make better use of their resources? Pliny, Rome's savant whom we have several times quoted in earlier chapters, actually asserts that, for a landowner, "nothing pays less than cultivating your land to the fullest extent." Why?

The answer lies in another of the fundamental differences in attitude between then and now: the ancients simply did not think in terms of maximum profits; the prevailing mentality of the age was acquisitive, not productive. One strove, like Trimalchio, to acquire as much land as possible, but not to wring it to produce as much profit as possible. Take, for example, old Cato, who lived in the second century B.C. and wrote one of the treatises on farming that have survived. He is the classic example of the shrewd, frugal, hardworking Roman landowner. He has endless advice to give on how to run a farm economically: precise prescriptions for the amount of rations of clothing and food to be issued to the help, how many hours to work them, what jobs to give them on rainy days; he cautions that they must be made to work on holidays, and that old and worn-out animals and slaves must be discarded 'just like wornout tools. But if you had asked his advice on what crops sold the best or netted the most profit, about quickness of turnover, capital investment, and other standard bits of today's economic wisdom, he could not have known what you were talking about. Such matters were totally beyond the ken of the ancient farmer, peasant, or owner of vast estates. One of Cato's hard and fast rules was that a farmer "should be a seller, not a buyer." The same rule is expressed in different language by Columella, another expert on agriculture who wrote in the first century A.D. Some landowners, he tells us, "avoid annual expenses and consider it the best and most certain form of income not to make any investments." In other words, money not spent is money earned. If it costs more to install a watermill than a donkey-mill, then a donkeymill it shall be.

As a matter of fact, profitability of operation was so far from the ancient farmer's mind that he did not even have the bookkeeping that would make it possible. We happen to have some of the records_they were a lucky find in an archaeological excavation_ from a big Egyptian estate of the third century B.C. They reveal that the system of accounting in use was fine for the control of stock and staff but could not possibly yield the information required for efficient exploitation. The owner had not the slightest idea which of his numerous crops was the most profitable, what his cost per crop was, and so on.

We see, therefore, that it was not lack of knowledge which lay behind the poor technological record of the ancients but their lack of interest. The attitude of mind that made the artisan a human being of a lesser order, that glorified landowning as against land use, that left industry at a relatively primitive level, rendered technological advance of scant moment. And so we need not be surprised that the water mill and the windmill, though known, were, in the one case, far from fully exploited, and, in the other, not exploited at all. But what was it that changed matters so dramatically in the tenth century? Why was it that, from then on, men grasped eagerly at all ways to ease their labor, to increase their productivity?

Lewis Mumford thinks that the answer is to be found in that quintessentially medieval institution, the monastery. "The monastery," he writes, "through its very other-worldliness, had a special incentive to develop mechanization. The monks sought . . . to avoid unnecessary labor in order to have more time and energy for meditation and prayer; and possibly their willing immersion in ritual predisposed them to mechanical (repetitious and standardized) solutions. Though they themselves were disciplined to regular work, they readily turned over to machinery those operations that could be performed without benefit of mind. Rewarding work they kept for themselves: manuscript copying, illumination, carving. Unrewarding work they turned over to the machine grinding, pounding, sawing."

It is an intriguing theory, but hard to prove. The earliest mills did arise in monasteries, but that could very well be nothing more than a reflection of the key position enjoyed by monasteries in the life of the times. At any rate, in short order, mills were saving labor everywhere, not merely in the monasteries. The earliest medieval mill we know of dates from 983, as we mentioned earlier; within a century there were at least 5,624 in England alone, serving some 3,000 communities.

Yet Mumford was on the right track in seeking an explanation in that feature which most of all divides the medieval world from the ancient: religion. Unlike the deities of paganism, the Christian god was a creator God, architect of the cosmos, the divine porter who shaped men from clay in his own image. In the Christian conception, all history moves toward a spiritual goal and there is no time to lose; thus work of all sorts is essential, becomes in a way a form of worship. Such ideas created a mental climate highly favorable for the growth of technology.

But this alone cannot explain what happened in medieval Europe. There were, after all, two forms of Christianity: that practiced in the Greek east as well as that of the Latin west, both equally ardent in embracing the fundamentals of Christian teaching; yet technology got no further in the east than it did in ancient Greece and Rome. Progress was limited to the Latin west. Why?

This is a problem that has particularly engaged the attention of Lynn White, whose work on medieval technology we had occasion to mention earlier. He looks for the explanation in a basic difference in spiritual direction between the two churches: the eastern generally held that sin is ignorance and that salvation comes by. illumination, the western that sin is vice and that rebirth comes by disciplining the will to do good works. The Greek saint is normally a contemplative figure, the Latin an activist.

The effect of this theological difference was to restore respectability not only to the artisan but to manual labor, to remove the disrepute under which it had suffered during all of ancient times. And in this, monasticism played a significant role. From the beginning, the monks had been mindful of the Hebrew tradition that work was in accordance with God's commandment: Here, too, there was a division between east and west. The east had not suffered invasion and pillage as had the west; its level of culture had not descended as low, its intellectual and literary life continued much as before, and in this climate the Greek monks tended to concentrate on sacred studies. But in the west, civilization had fallen so devastatingly low that the monks had to assume responsibility for all aspects of culture, profane as well as sacred, the life of the body as well as that of the mind. Out of this grew an interest in practical affairs in general and, in particular, in the physical aspects of worship, a line of interest that led to the embellishment of the church and of the service through technology. Whereas eastern churches forbade music, holding that only the unaccompanied voice can worthily worship God, we find the cathedral at Winchester as early as the tenth century boasting a huge organ of 400 pipes fed by 28 bellows that required 70 men to pump them. By the middle of the twelfth century organs were given a part in the supreme moment of the service, the Mass itself. The east never permitted clocks in or on their churches; in the west, as soon as mechanical clocks were introduced they appear both on towers outside and walls inside.

The writings of western monks express their delight not only at the mechanical devices that embellished their religious life but at those that made their secular activities so much easier, the waterpowered machines that did the milling, fulling, tanning, blacksmithing, and other such tasks. As one of: them puts it: "How many horses' backs would have been broken, how many men's arms wearied, by the labor from which a river, with no labor, graciously frees us?" Technology was hailed as a Christian virtue. In a psalter that was illuminated near Reims about A.D.. 830 an illustration of one of the psalm shows David leading a small body of the righteous against a formidable host of the ungodly. "In each` camp," writes White, "a sword is being sharpened conspicuously. The Evildoers are content to use a old-fashioned whetstone. The Godly, however, are employing the first crank recorded outside China to rotate the first grindstone known anywhere. Obviously the artist is telling us that technological a.' advance is God's will."

The western attitude toward work and toward. technology , as an expression of Christian faith, thus stands in contrast equally to the ancient Greco-Roman attitudes and that of the medieval eastern church. It is dramatically symbolized in a manuscript of the Gospels produced at Winchester shortly after the year 1000. Here, God is portrayed as He would never be in the eastern church, as a master craftsman holding scales, a carpenter's square, and a pair of compasses. He is at the opposite pole from Homer's Zeus, who joined his fellow deities in laughing unquenchably at the gnarled, limping Hephaestus.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010



Translated from Greek and Syriac manuscripts by G. Buchanan Gray
in R. H. Charles, ed., The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913) 2: 631-652

(Note: It seemed wise to rescue these Psalms from the web archive they were located in and make them public again. I hope you enjoy them. The wikipedia article on them is ; the original site with scholarly apparatus may be found preserved here.)


1 1 I cried unto the Lord when I was in distress [ ],
Unto God when sinners assailed.
2 Suddenly the alarm of war was heard before me;
(I said), He will hearken to me, for I am full of righteousness.
3 I thought in my heart that I was full of righteousness,
Because I was well off and had become rich in children.
4 Their wealth spread to the whole earth,
And their glory unto the end of the earth.
5 They were exalted unto the stars;
They said they would never fall.
6 But they became insolent in their prosperity,
And they were without understanding,
7 Their sins were in secret,
And even I had no knowledge (of them).
8 Their transgressions (went) beyond those of the heathen before them;
They utterly polluted the holy things of the Lord.

2. A Psalm Of Solomon. Concerning Jerusalem.

2 1 When the sinner waxed proud, with a battering-ram he cast down fortified walls,
And Thou didst not restrain (him).
2 Alien nations ascended Thine altar,
They trampled (it) proudly with their sandals;
3 Because the sons of Jerusalem had defiled the holy things of the Lord,
Had profaned with iniquities the offerings of God.
4 Therefore He said: Cast them far from Me;

5 It was set at naught before God,
It was utterly dishonoured;
6 The sons and the daughters were in grievous captivity,
Sealed (?) (was) their neck, branded (?) (was it) among the nations.

7 According to their sins hath He done unto them,
For He hath left them in the hands of them that prevailed.
8 He hath turned away His face from pitying them,
Young and old and their children together;
9 For they had done evil one and all, in not hearkening.
10 (9) And the heavens were angry,
And the earth abhorred them;
11 For no man upon it had done what they did,
12 (10) And the earth recognized all Thy righteous judgments, O God.
13 (11) They set the sons of Jerusalem to be mocked at in return for (the) harlots in her;
Every wayfarer entered in in the full light of day.
14 (12) They made mock with their transgressions, as they themselves were wont to do;
In the full light of day they revealed their iniquities.
(13) And the daughters of Jerusalem were defiled in accordance with Thy judgment,
15 Because they had defiled themselves with unnatural intercourse.
(14) I am pained in my bowels and my inward parts for these things.
16 (15) (And yet) I will justify Thee, O God, in uprightness of heart,
For in Thy judgments is Thy righteousness (displayed), O God.
17 (16) For Thou hast rendered to the sinners according to their deeds,
Yea according to their sins, which were very wicked.
18 (17) Thou hast uncovered their sins, that Thy judgment might be manifest;
19 Thou hast wiped out their memorial from the earth.
(18) God is a righteous judge,
And He is no respecter of persons.

20 (19) For the nations reproached Jerusalem, trampling it down;
Her beauty was dragged down from the throne of glory.
21 (20) She girded on sackcloth instead of comely raiment,
A rope (was) about her head instead of a crown.
22 (21) She put off the glorious diadem which God had set upon her,
23 In dishonor was her beauty cast upon the ground.

24 (22) And I saw and entreated the Lord and said,
Long enough, O Lord, has Thine hand been heavy on Israel, in bringing the nations upon (them).
25 (23) For they have made sport unsparingly in wrath and fierce anger;
26 And they will make an utter end, unless Thou, O Lord, rebuke them in Thy wrath.
27 (24) For they have done it not in zeal, but in lust of soul,
28 Pouring out their wrath upon us with a view to rapine.
29 (25) Delay not, O God, to recompense them on (their) heads,
To turn the pride of the dragon into dishonour.
30(26) And I had not long to wait before God showed me the insolent one
Slain on the mountains of Egypt,
Esteemed of less account than the least on land and sea;
31 (27) His body, ( too,) borne hither and thither on the billows with much insolence,
With none to bury (him), because He had rejected him with dishonour.

(28) He reflected not that he was man.
32 And reflected not on the latter end;
33 (29) He said: I will be lord of land and sea;
And he recognized not that it is God who is great,
Mighty in His great strength.
34 (30) He is king over the heavens,
And judgeth kings and kingdoms.
35 (31) (It is He) who setteth me up in glory,
And bringeth down the proud to eternal destruction in dishonour,
Because they knew Him not.

36 (32) And now behold, ye princes of the earth,
the judgment of the Lord,
For a great king and righteous (is He),
judging (all) that is under heaven.
37 (33) Bless God, ye that fear the Lord with wisdom,
For the mercy of the Lord will be upon them that fear Him, in the Judgment;
38 (34) So that He will distinguish between the righteous and the sinner,
(And) recompense the sinners for ever according to their deeds;
39 (35) And have mercy on the righteous, (delivering him) from the affliction of the sinner,
And recompensing the sinner for what he hath done to the righteous.
40 (36) For the Lord is good to them that call upon Him in patience,
Doing according to His mercy to His pious ones,
Establishing (them) at all times before Him in strength.
41 (37) Blessed be the Lord for ever before His servants.

A Psalm. Of Solomon. Concerning the righteous.

3 1 Why sleepest thou, O my soul,
And blessest not the Lord?
2 Sing a new song,
Unto God who is worthy to be praised.
Sing and be wakeful against His awaking,
For good is a psalm (sung) to God from a glad heart.
3 The righteous remember the Lord at all times,
With thanksgiving and declaration of the righteousness of the Lord's judgments.
4 The righteous despiseth not the chastening of the Lord;
His will is always before the Lord.
5 The righteous stumbleth and holdeth the Lord righteous:
He falleth and looketh out for what God will do to him;
6 He seeketh out whence his deliverance will come.
7 (6) The steadfastness of the righteous is from God their deliverer;
There lodgeth not in the house of the righteous sin upon sin.
8 (7) The righteous continually searcheth his house,
To remove utterly (all) iniquity (done) by him in error.
9 (8) He maketh atonement for (sins of) ignorance by fasting and afflicting his soul,
10 And the Lord counteth guiltless every pious man and his house.

11 (9) The sinner stumbleth and curseth his life,
The day when he was begotten, and his mother's travail.
12 (10) He addeth sins to sins, while he liveth (?);
13 He falleth—verily grievous is his fall—and riseth no more.
(11) The destruction of the sinner is for ever,
14 And he shall not be remembered, when the righteous is visited.
(12) 15 This is the portion of sinners for ever.

16 But they that fear the Lord shall rise to life eternal,
And their life (shall be) in the light of the Lord, and shall come to an end no more.

4. A Conversation of Solomon with the Men-pleasers.

4 1 Wherefore sittest thou, O profane (man), in the council of the pious,
Seeing that thy heart is far removed from the Lord,
Provoking with transgressions the God of Israel?
2 Extravagant in speech, extravagant in outward seeming beyond all (men),
Is he that is severe of speech in condemning sinners in judgment.
3 And his hand is first upon him as (though he acted) in zeal,
And (yet) he is himself guilty in respect of manifold sins and of wantonness.
4 His eyes are upon every woman without distinction;
His tongue lieth when he maketh contract with an oath.
5 By night and in secret he sinneth as though unseen,
With his eyes he talketh to every woman of evil compacts.
6 He is swift to enter every house with cheerfulness as though guileless.
7 (6) Let God remove those that live in hypocrisy in the company of the pious,
(Even) the life of such an one with corruption of his flesh and penury.
8 (7) Let God reveal the deeds of the men-pleasers,
The deeds of such an one with laughter and derision;
9 (8) That the pious may count righteous the judgment of their God,
When sinners are removed from before the righteous,
10 (Even the) man-pleaser who uttereth law guilefully.
11 (9) And their eyes (are fixed) upon any man's house that is (still) secure,
That they may, like (the) Serpent, destroy the wisdom of . . . with words of transgressors,
12 (10) His words are deceitful that (he) may accomplish (his) wicked desire.
13 He never ceaseth from scattering (families) as though (they were) orphans,
(11) Yea, he layeth waste a house on account of (his) lawless desire.
14 He deceiveth with words, (saying,) There is none that seeth, or judgeth.
15 (12) He fills one (house) with lawlessness,
And (then) his eyes (are fixed) upon the next house,
To destroy it with words that give wing to (desire).
(13) (Yet) with all these his soul, like Sheol, is not sated.

16 Let his portion, O Lord, be dishonoured before thee;
Let him go forth groaning and come home cursed.
17 (15) Let his life be (spent) in anguish, and penury, and want, O Lord;
Let his sleep be (beset) with pains and his awaking with perplexities.
18 (16) Let sleep be withdrawn from his eyelids at night;
Let him fail dishonorably in every work of his hands.
19 (17) Let him come home empty-handed to his house,
And his house be void of everything wherewith he could sate his appetite.
20 (18) (Let) his old age (be spent) in childless loneliness until his removal (by death).

21 (19) Let the flesh of the men-pleasers be rent by wild beasts,
And (let) the bones of the lawless (lie) dishonored in the sight of the sun.
22 (20) Let ravens peck out the eyes of the hypocrites.
23 For they have laid waste many houses of men, in dishonor,
And scattered (them) in (their) lust;
24 (21) And they have not remembered God,
Nor feared God in all these things;
25 But they have provoked God's anger and vexed Him.
(22) May He remove them from off the earth,
Because with deceit they beguiled the souls of the flawless.
26 (23) Blessed are they that fear the Lord in their flawlessness;
27 The Lord shall deliver them from guileful men and sinners,
And deliver us from every stumbling-block of the lawless (men).
28 (24) Let God destroy them that insolently work all unrighteousness,
For a great and mighty judge is the Lord our God in righteousness.
29 (28) Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon all them that love Thee.

5. A Psalm. Of Solomon

5 1 O Lord God, I will praise Thy name with joy,
In the midst of them that know Thy righteous judgments.
2 For Thou art good and merciful, the refuge of the poor;
3 When I cry to Thee, do not silently disregard me.
4 (3) For no man taketh spoil from a mighty man;
5 Who, then, can take aught of all that Thou hast made, except Thou Thyself givest?
6 (4) For man and his portion (lie) before Thee in the balance;
He cannot add to, so as to enlarge, what has been prescribed by Thee.

O God, 7 (5) when we are in distress we call upon Thee for help,
And Thou dost not turn back our petition, for Thou art our God.
8 (6) Cause not Thy hand to be heavy upon us,
Lest through necessity we sin.
9 (7) Even though Thou restore us not, we will not keep away;
But unto Thee will we come.
10 (8) For if I hunger, unto Thee will I cry, O God;
And Thou wilt give to me.
11 (9) Birds and fish dost Thou nourish,
In that Thou givest rain to the steppes that green grass may spring up,
(10) (So) to prepare fodder in the steppe for every living thing;
12 And if they hunger, unto Thee do they lift up their face.
13 (11) Kings and rulers and peoples Thou dost nourish, O God;
And who is the help of the poor and needy, if not Thou, O Lord?
14 (12) And Thou wilt hearken -for who is good and gentle but Thou?—
Making glad the soul of the humble by opening Thine hand in mercy.

15 (13) Man's goodness is (bestowed) grudgingly and . . .;
And if he repeat (it) without murmuring, even that is marvelous.
16 (14) But Thy gift is great in goodness and wealth,
And he whose hope is (set) on Thee shall have no lack of gifts.
17 (15) Upon the whole earth is Thy mercy, O Lord, in goodness.

18 (16) Happy is he whom God remembereth in (granting to him) a due sufficiency;
19 If a man abound over much, he sinneth.
20 (17) Sufficient are moderate means with righteousness,
And hereby the blessing of the Lord (becomes) abundance with righteousness.
21 (18) They that fear the Lord rejoice in good (gifts),
And Thy goodness is upon Israel in Thy kingdom.

Blessed is the glory of the Lord for He is our king.

6. In Hope. Of Solomon.

6 1 Happy is the man whose heart is fixed to call upon the name of the Lord;
2 When he remembereth the name of the Lord, he will be saved.
3 (2) His ways are made even by the Lord,
And the works of his hands are preserved by the Lord his God.
4 (3) At what he sees in his bad dreams, his soul shall not be troubled;
5 When he passes through rivers and the tossing of the seas, he shall not be dismayed.
6 (4) He ariseth from his sleep, and blesseth the name of the Lord:
7 When his heart is at peace, he singeth to the name of his God,
(5) And he entreateth the Lord for all his house.
8 And the Lord heareth the prayer of every one that feareth God,
(6) And every request of the soul that hopes for Him doth the Lord accomplish.
9 Blessed is the Lord, who showeth mercy to those who love Him in sincerity.

7. Of Solomon. Of turning.

7 1 Make not Thy dwelling afar from us, O God;
Lest they assail us that hate us without cause.
2 For Thou hast rejected them, O God;
Let not their foot trample upon Thy holy inheritance.
3 Chasten us Thyself in Thy good pleasure;
But give (us) not up to the nations;
4 For, if Thou sendest pestilence,
Thou Thyself givest it charge concerning us;
(5) For Thou art merciful,
And wilt not be angry to the point of consuming us.

5 (6) While Thy name dwelleth in our midst, we shall find mercy;
6 And the nations shall not prevail against us.
(7) For Thou art our shield,
7 And when we call upon Thee, Thou hearkenest to us;
8 For Thou wilt pity the seed of Israel for ever
And Thou wilt not reject (them):
(9) But we (shall be) under Thy yoke for ever,
And (under) the rod of Thy chastening.
9 (10) Thou wilt establish us in the time that Thou helpest us,
Showing mercy to the house of Jacob on the day wherein Thou didst promise (to help them).

8. Of Solomon. Of the chief Musician.

8 1 Distress and the sound of war hath my ear heard;
The sound of a trumpet announcing slaughter and calamity,
2 The sound of much people as of an exceeding high wind,
As a tempest with mighty fire sweeping through the Negeb.
3 And I said in my heart; Surely (?) God judgeth us;
4 A sound I hear (moving) towards Jerusalem, the holy city.
5 My loins were broken at what I heard, (5) my knees tottered:
6 My heart was afraid, my bones were dismayed like flax.
7 (6) I said: They establish their ways in righteousness.

(7) I thought upon the judgments of God since the creation of heaven and earth;
I held God righteous in His judgments which have been from of old.
8 God laid bare their sins in the full light of day;
All the earth came to know the righteous judgments of God.
9 In secret places underground their iniquities (were committed) to provoke (Him) to anger;
10 They wrought confusion, son with mother and father with daughter;
11 (10) They committed adultery, every man with his neighbor's wife.
They concluded covenants with one another with an oath touching these things;
12 (11) They plundered the sanctuary of God, as though there was no avenger.
13 (12) They trode the altar of the Lord, (coming straight) from all manner of uncleanness;
And with menstrual blood they defiled the sacrifices, as (though these were) common flesh.
14 (13) They left no sin undone, wherein they surpassed not the heathen.
15 (14) Therefore God mingled for them a spirit of wandering;
And gave them to drink a cup of undiluted wine, that they might become drunken.
16 (15) He brought him that is from the end of the earth, that smiteth mightily;
17 He decreed (?) war against Jerusalem, and against her land.
18 (16) The princes of the land went to meet him with joy: they said unto him:
Blessed be thy way! Come ye, enter ye in with peace.
19 (17) They made the rough ways even, before his entering in;
They opened the gates to Jerusalem, they crowned its walls.
20 (18) As a father (entereth) the house of his sons, (so) he entered (Jerusalem) in peace;
He established his feet (there) in great safety.
21 (19) He captured her fortresses and the wall of Jerusalem;
22 For God Himself led him in safety, while they wandered.
23 (20) He destroyed their princes and every one wise in counsel;
He poured out the blood of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, like the water of uncleanness.
24 (21) He led away their sons and daughters, whom they had begotten in defilement.

25 (22) They did according to their uncleanness, even as their fathers (had done):
26 They defiled Jerusalem and the things that had been hallowed to the name of God.
27 (23) (But) God hath shown Himself righteous in His judgments upon the nations of the earth;
28 And the pious (servants) of God are like innocent lambs in their midst.
29 (24) Worthy to be praised is the Lord that judgeth the whole earth in His righteousness.
30 (25) Behold, now, O God, Thou hast shown us Thy judgment in Thy righteousness;
31 Our eyes have seen Thy judgments, O God.
(26) We have justified Thy name that is honoured for ever;
32 For Thou art the God of righteousness, judging Israel with chastening.
33 (27) Turn, O God, Thy mercy upon us, and have pity upon us;
34 (28) Gather together the dispersed of Israel, with mercy and goodness;
35 For Thy faithfulness is with us.
(29) And (though) we have stiffened our neck, yet Thou art our chastener;
36 (30) Overlook us not, O our God, lest the nations swallow us up, as though there were none to deliver.
37 (31) But Thou art our God from the beginning,
And upon Thee is our hope (set), O Lord;
38 (32) And we will not depart from Thee,
For good are Thy judgments upon us.
39 (33) Ours and our children's be Thy good pleasure for ever;
O Lord our Saviour, we shall never more be moved.
40 (34) The Lord is worthy to be praised for His judgments with the mouth of His pious ones;
And blessed be Israel of the Lord for ever.

9. Of Solomon. For rebuke.

9 1 When Israel was led away captive into a strange land,
When they fell away from the Lord who redeemed them,
2 They were cast away from the inheritance, which Lord had given them.
(2) Among every nation (were) the dispersed of Israel according to the word of God,
3 That Thou mightest be justified, O God, in Thy righteousness by reason of our transgressions:
4 For Thou art a just judge over all the peoples of the earth.
5 (3) For from Thy knowledge none that doeth unjustly is hidden,
6 And the righteous deeds of Thy pious ones (are) before Thee, O Lord,
Where, then, can a man hide himself from Thy knowledge, O God?
7 (4) Our works are subject to our own choice and power
To do right or wrong in the works of our hands
8 And in Thy righteousness Thou visitest the sons of men.
9 (5) He that doeth righteousness layeth up life for himself with the Lord;
And he that doeth wrongly forfeits his life to destruction;
10 For the judgments of the Lord are (given) in righteousness to (every) man and (his) house.
(6) Unto whom art Thou good, O God, except to them that call upon the Lord?
12 He cleanseth from sins a soul when it maketh confession, when it maketh acknowledgement;
13 For shame is upon us and upon our faces on account of all these things.
14 (7) And to whom doth He forgive sins, except to them that have sinned?
15 Thou blessest the righteous, and dost not reprove them for the sins that they have committed;
And Thy goodness is upon them that sin, when they repent.
16 (8) And, now, Thou art our God, and we the people whom Thou hast loved:
Behold and show pity, O God of Israel, for we are Thine;
And remove not Thy mercy from us, lest they assail us.
17 (9) For Thou didst choose the seed of Abraham before all the nations,
And didst set Thy name upon us, O Lord,
18 And Thou wilt not reject (us) for ever.
Thou madest a covenant with our fathers concerning us;
19 (10) And we hope in Thee, when our soul turneth (unto Thee).
The mercy of the Lord be upon the house of Israel for ever and ever.

10. A Hymn Of Solomon.

10 1 Happy is the man whom the Lord remembereth with reproving,
And whom He restraineth from the way of evil with strokes,
That he may be cleansed from sin, that it may not be multiplied.
2 He that maketh ready his back for strokes shall be cleansed,
For the Lord is good to them that endure chastening.
3 For He maketh straight the ways of the righteous,
And doth not pervert (them) by His chastening.
4 And the mercy of the Lord (is) upon them that love Him in truth,
(4) And the Lord remembereth His servants in mercy.
5 For the testimony (is) in the law of the eternal covenant,
The testimony of the Lord (is) on the ways of men in (His) visitation.
6 (5) Just and kind is our Lord in His judgments for ever,
And Israel shall praise the name of the Lord in gladness.
7 (6) And the pious shall give thanks in the assembly of the people;
And on the poor shall God have mercy in the gladness (?) of Israel;
8 (7) For good and merciful is God for ever,
And the assemblies of Israel shall glorify the name of the Lord.
The salvation of the Lord be upon the house of Israel unto everlasting gladness!

11. Of Solomon. Unto expectation.

11 1 Blow ye in Zion on the trumpet to summon (the) saints,
2 Cause ye to be heard in Jerusalem the voice of him that bringeth good tidings;
For God hath had pity on Israel in visiting them.
3 (2) Stand on the height, O Jerusalem, and behold thy children,
From the East and the West, gathered together by the Lord;
4 (3) From the North they come in the gladness of their God,
From the isles afar off God hath gathered them.
5 (4) High mountains hath He abased into a plain for them;
6 The hills fled at their entrance.
(5) The woods gave them shelter as they passed by;
7 Every sweet-smelling tree God caused to spring up for them,
(6) That Israel might pass by in the visitation of the glory of their God.
8 (7) Put on, O Jerusalem, thy glorious garments;
Make ready thy holy robe;
For God hath spoken good concerning Israel, for ever and ever.
9 (8) Let the Lord do what He hath spoken concerning Israel and Jerusalem;
Let the Lord raise up Israel by His glorious name.
(9) The mercy of the Lord be upon Israel for ever and ever.

12. Of Solomon. Against the tongue of transgressors.

12 1 O Lord, deliver my soul from (the) lawless and wicked man,
From the tongue that is lawless and slanderous, and speaketh lies and deceit.
2 Manifoldly twisted (?) are the words of the tongue of the wicked man,
Even as among a people a fire that burneth up their beauty.
3 So he delights to fill houses with a lying tongue,
To cut down the trees of gladness which setteth on fire transgressors,
4 To involve households in warfare by means of slanderous lips.
(4) May God remove far from the innocent the lips of transgressors by (bringing them to) want
And may the bones of slanderers be scattered (far) away from them that fear the Lord!
5 In flaming fire perish the slanderous tongue (far) away from the pious!
6 (5) May the Lord preserve the quiet soul that hateth the unrighteous;
And may the Lord establish the man that followeth peace at home.
7 (6) The salvation of the Lord be upon Israel His servant for ever;
And let the sinners perish together at the presence of the Lord;
But let the Lord's pious ones inherit the promises of the Lord.

13. Of Solomon. A Psalm. Comfort for the righteous.

13 1 The right hand of the Lord hath covered me;
The right hand of the Lord hath spared us.
2 The arm of the Lord hath saved us from the sword that passed through,
From famine and the death of sinners.
3 Noisome beasts ran upon them:
With their teeth they tore their flesh,
And with their molars crushed their bones.
(4) But from all these things the Lord delivered us,
4 (5) The righteous was troubled on account of his errors,
Lest he should be taken away along with the sinners;
5 (6) For terrible is the overthrow of the sinner;
But not one of all these things toucheth the righteous.
(7) For not alike are the chastening of the righteous (for sins done) in ignorance,
And the overthrow of the sinners
7 (8) Secretly (?) is the righteous chastened,
Lest the sinner rejoice over the righteous.
8 (9) For He correcteth the righteous as a beloved son,
And his chastisement is as that of a firstborn.
9 10) For the Lord spareth His pious ones,
And blotteth out their errors by His chastening.
(11) For the life of the righteous shall be for ever;
10 But sinners shall be taken away into destruction,
And their memorial shall be found no more.
11 (12) But upon the pious is the mercy of the Lord,
And upon them that fear Him His mercy.

14. A Hymn. Of Solomon.

14 1 Faithful is the Lord to them that love Him in truth,
To them that endure His chastening,
(2) To them that walk in the righteousness of His commandments,
In the law which He commanded us that we might live.
2 (5) The pious of the Lord shall live by it for ever;
The Paradise of the Lord, the trees of life, are His pious ones.
3 (4) Their planting is rooted for ever;
They shall not be plucked up all the days of heaven:
(5) For the portion and the inheritance of God is Israel.
4 (6) But not so are the sinners and transgressors,
Who love (the brief) day (spent) in companionship with their sin;
(7) Their delight is in fleeting corruption,
5 And they remember not God.
(8) For the ways of men are known before Him at all times,
And He knoweth the secrets of the heart before they come to pass.
6 (9) Therefore their inheritance is Sheol and darkness and destruction,
And they shall not be found in the day when the righteous obtain mercy;
7 (10) But the pious of the Lord shall inherit life in gladness.

15. A Psalm. Of Solomon. With a Song.

15 1 When I was in distress I called upon the name of the Lord,
I hoped for the help of the God of Jacob and was saved;
2 For the hope and refuge of the poor art Thou, O God.
3 (a) For who, O God, is strong except to give thanks unto Thee in truth?
4 And wherein is a man powerful except in giving thanks to Thy name?
5 (3) A new psalm with song in gladness of heart,
The fruit of the lips with the well-tuned instrument of the tongue,
The firstfruits of the lips from a pious and righteous heart—
6 (4) He that offereth these things shall never be shaken by evil;
The flame of fire and the wrath against the unrighteous shall not touch him,
7 (5) When it goeth forth from the face of the Lord against sinners,
To destroy all the substance of sinners,
8 (6) For the mark of God is upon the righteous that they may be saved.
(7) Famine and sword and pestilence (shall be) far from the righteous,
9 For they shall flee away from the pious as men pursued in war;
(8) But they shall pursue sinners and overtake (them),
And they that do lawlessness shall not escape the judgment of God;
(9) As by enemies experienced (in war) shall they be overtaken,
10 For the mark of destruction is upon their forehead.
11 (10) And the inheritance of sinners is destruction and darkness,
And their iniquities shall pursue them unto Sheol beneath.
12 (11) Their inheritance shall not be found of their children,
13 For sins shall lay waste the houses of sinners.
(12) And sinners shall perish for ever in the day of the Lord's judgment,
14 When God visiteth the earth with His judgment.
15 (13) But they that fear the Lord shall find mercy therein,
And shall live by the compassion of their God;
But sinners shall perish for ever.

16. A Hymn. Of Solomon. For Help to the Pious.

16 1 When my soul slumbered (being afar) from the Lord, I had all but slipped down to the pit,
When (I was) far from God, 2 my soul had been well nigh poured out unto death,
(I had been) nigh unto the gates of Sheol with the sinner, 3 when my soul departed from the Lord God of Israel—
Had not the Lord helped me with His ever lasting mercy.
4 He pricked me, as a horse is pricked, that I might serve Him,
My savior and helper at all times saved me.
5 I will give thanks unto Thee, O God, for Thou hast helped me to (my) salvation;
And hast not counted me with sinners to (my) destruction.
6 Remove not Thy mercy from me, O God,
Nor Thy memorial from my heart until I die.
7 Rule me, O God, (keeping me back) from wicked sin,
And from every wicked woman that causeth the simple to stumble.
8 And let not the beauty of a lawless woman beguile me,
Nor any one that is subject to (?) unprofitable sin.
9 Establish the works of my hands before Thee,
And preserve my goings in the remembrance of Thee.
10 Protect my tongue and my lips with words of truth;
Anger and unreasoning wrath put far from me.
11 Murmuring, and impatience in affliction, remove far from me,
When, if I sin, Thou chastenest me that I may return (unto Thee).
12 But with goodwill and cheerfulness support my soul;
When Thou strengthenest my soul, what is given (to me) will be sufficient for me.
13 For if Thou givest not strength,
Who can endure chastisement with poverty?
14 When a man is rebuked by means of his corruption,
Thy testing (of him) is in his flesh and in the affliction of poverty.
15 If the righteous endureth in all these (trials), he shall receive mercy from the Lord.

17. A Psalm. Of Solomon. With Song. Of the King.

17 1 O Lord, Thou art our King for ever and ever,
For in Thee, O God, doth our soul glory.
2 How long are the days of man's life upon the earth?
As are his days, so is the hope (set) upon him.
3 But we hope in God, our deliverer;
For the might of our God is for ever with mercy,
4 And the kingdom of our God is for ever over the nations in judgment.
5 (4) Thou, O Lord, didst choose David (to be) king over Israel,
And swaredst to him touching his seed that never should his kingdom fail before Thee.
6 (5) But, for our sins, sinners rose up against us;
They assailed us and thrust us out;
What Thou hadst not promised to them, they took away (from us) with violence.
7 They in no wise glorified Thy honorable name;
(6) They set a (worldly) monarchy in place of (that which was) their excellency;
8 They laid waste the throne of David in tumultuous arrogance.
(7) But Thou, O God, didst cast them down and remove their seed from the earth,
9 In that there rose up against them a man that was alien to our race.
10 (8) According to their sins didst Thou recompense them, O God;
So that it befell them according to their deeds.
11 (9) God showed them no pity;
He sought out their seed and let not one of them go free.
12 (10) Faithful is the Lord in all His judgments Which He doeth upon the earth.
13 (11) The lawless one laid waste our land so that none inhabited it,
They destroyed young and old and their children together.
14 (12) In the heat of His anger He sent them away even unto the west,
And (He exposed) the rulers of the land unsparingly to derision.
15 (13) Being an alien the enemy acted proudly,
And his heart was alien from our God.
16 (14) And all things [whatsoever he did in] Jerusalem,
As also the nations [in the cities to their gods.]
17 (15) And the children of the covenant in the midst of the mingled peoples [surpassed them in evil.]
There was not among them one that wrought in the midst of Jerusalem mercy and truth.
18 (16) They that loved the synagogues of the pious fled from them,
As sparrows that fly from their nest.
19 (17) They wandered in deserts that their lives might be saved from harm,
And precious in the eyes of them that lived abroad was any that escaped alive from them.
20 (18) Over the whole earth were they scattered by lawless (men).
21 (19) For the heavens withheld the rain from dropping upon the earth,
Springs were stopped (that sprang) perennial(ly) out of the deeps, (that ran down) from lofty mountains.
For there was none among them that wrought righteousness and justice;
(20) From the chief of them to the least (of them) all were sinful;
22 The king was a transgressor, and the judge disobedient, and the people sinful.
23 (21) Behold, O Lord, and raise up unto them their king, the son of David,
At the time in the which Thou seest, O God, that he may reign over Israel Thy servant
24 (22) And gird him with strength, that he may shatter unrighteous rulers,
25 And that he may purge Jerusalem from nations that trample (her) down to destruction.
(23) Wisely, righteously 26 he shall thrust out sinners from (the) inheritance,
He shall destroy the pride of the sinner as a potter's vessel.
(24) With a rod of iron he shall break in pieces all their substance,
21 He shall destroy the godless nations with the word of his mouth;
(25) At his rebuke nations shall flee before him,
And he shall reprove sinners for the thoughts of their heart.
28 (26) And he shall gather together a holy people, whom he shall lead in righteousness,
And he shall judge the tribes of the people that has been sanctified by the Lord his God.
29 (21) And he shall not suffer unrighteousness to lodge any more in their midst,
Nor shall there dwell with them any man that knoweth wickedness,
30 For he shall know them, that they are all sons of their God.
(28) And he shaIl divide them according to their tribes upon the land,
31 And neither sojourner nor alien shall sojourn with them any more.

(29) He shall judge peoples and nations in the wisdom of his righteousness. Selah.
32 (30) And he shall have the heathen nations to serve him under his yoke;
And he shall glorify the Lord in a place to be seen of (?) all the earth;
33 And he shall purge Jerusalem, making it holy as of old:
34 (31) So that nations shall come from the ends of the earth to see his glory,
Bringing as gifts her sons who had fainted,
35 And to see the glory of the Lord, wherewith God hath glorified her.
(32) And he (shall be) a righteous king, taught of God, over them,
36 And there shall be no unrighteousness in his days in their midst,
For all shall be holy and their king the anointed of the Lord.
37 (33) For he shall not put his trust in horse and rider and bow,
Nor shall he multiply for himself gold and silver for war,
Nor shall he gather confidence from (?) a multitude (?) for the day of battle.
38 (34) The Lord Himself is his king, the hope of him that is mighty through (his) hope in God.

< > All nations (shall be) in fear before him,
39 (35) For he will smite the earth with the word of his mouth for ever.
40 He will bless the people of the Lord with wisdom and gladness,
41 (36) And he himself (will be) pure from sin, so that he may rule a great people.
He will rebuke rulers, and remove sinners by the might of his word;
42 (37) And (relying) upon his God, throughout his days he will not stumble;
For God will make him mighty by means of (His) holy spirit,
And wise by means of the spirit of understanding, with strength and righteousness.
43 (38) And the blessing of the Lord (will be) with him: he will be strong and stumble not;
44 (39) His hope (will be) in the Lord: who then can prevail against him?
(40) (He will be) mighty in his works, and strong in the fear of God,
45 (He will be) shepherding the flock of the Lord faithfully and righteously,
And will suffer none among them to stumble in their pasture.
46 (41) He will lead them all aright,
And there will be no pride among them that any among them should be oppressed.
47 (42) This (will be) the majesty of the king of Israel whom God knoweth;
He will raise him up over the house of Israel to correct him.
48 (43) His words (shall be) more refined than costly gold, the choicest;
In the assemblies he will judge the peoples, the tribes of the sanctified.
49 His words (shall be) like the words of the holy ones in the midst of sanctified peoples.
50 Blessed be they that shall be in those days,
In that they shall see the good fortune of Israel which God shall bring to pass in the gathering together of the tribes.
51 May the Lord hasten His mercy upon Israel!
May He deliver us from the uncleanness of unholy enemies!

The Lord Himself is our king for ever and ever.

18. A Psalm. Of Solomon. Again of the Anointed of the Lord.

18 1 Lord, Thy mercy is over the works of Thy hands for ever;
Thy goodness is over Israel with a rich gift.
2 Thine eyes look upon them, so that none of them suffers want;
3 Thine ears listen to the hopeful prayer of the poor.
(3) Thy judgments (are executed) upon the whole earth in mercy;
4 And Thy love (is) toward the seed of Abraham, the children of Israel.
(4) Thy chastisement is upon us as (upon) a first-born, only-begotten son,
5 To turn back the obedient soul from folly (that is wrought) in ignorance.
6 (5) May God cleanse Israel against the day of mercy and blessing,
Against the day of choice when He bringeth back His anointed.

7 (6) Blessed shall they be that shall be in those days,
In that they shall see the goodness of the Lord which He shall perform for the generation that is to come,
8 (7) Under the rod of chastening of the Lord's anointed in the fear of his God,
In the spirit of wisdom and righteousness and strength;
9 (8) That he may direct (every} man in the works of righteousness by the fear of God,
That he may establish them all before the Lord,
10 (9) A good generation (living) in the fear of God in the days of mercy. Selah.

11 (10) Great is our God and glorious, dwelling in the highest.
12 (It is He) who hath established in (their) courses the lights (of heaven) for determining seasons from year to year,
And they have not turned aside from the way which He appointed them
13 (11) In the fear of God (they pursue) their path every day,
From the day God created them and for evermore.
14 (12) And they have erred not since the day He created them.
Since the generations of old they have not withdrawn from their path,
Unless God commanded them (so to do) by the command of His servants.

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