4Q242 1

4QPrayer of Nabonidus
Dead Sea Scrolls

Words of the pr[ay]er which Nabonidus, king of [the] la[nd of Baby]lon, the [great] king, prayed [when he was afflicted] by a malignant inflammation, by decree of the G[od Most Hi]gh, in Teiman. [I, Nabonidus,] was afflicted [by a malignant inflammation] for seven years, and was banished far [from men, until I prayed to the God Most High] and an exorcist forgave my sin. He was a Je[w] fr[om the exiles, who said to me:] «Make a proclamation in writing, so that glory, exal[tation and hono]ur be given to the name of [the] G[od Most High». And I wrote as follows: «When] I was afflicted by a ma[lignant] inflammation […] in Teiman, [by decree of the God Most High,] [I] prayed for seven years [to all] the gods of silver and gold, [of bronze and iron,] 8 of wood, of stone and of clay, because [I thoug]ht that t[hey were] gods […]

Mark 2:10

New Testament

8 Now immediately, when Jesus realized in his spirit that they were contemplating such thoughts, he said to them, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your stretcher, and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.” 12 And immediately the man stood up, took his stretcher, and went out in front of them all. They were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

 Notes and References

"... That a sin has been forgiven, according to line 4, is beyond doubt. Being juxtaposed with ‘sin’, the verb קבש naturally translates as ‘to forgive’, and alternative translations are not convincing. 77 The difficulty lies in determining the grammatical subject of the verb. Several interpreters take it to be God, and the plausibility of this reading increases if the restoration of ‘God’ in line 3 is correct. Yet this restoration is not certain, and there are considerations that speak in favour of construing the ‘diviner’ as the subject ... If, then, the Prayer of Nabonidus seems to attribute an act of forgiveness to the ‘diviner’, what does this imply for the understanding of notions of forgiveness and human agency in Qumran? Following an investigation by Giuseppe Furlani, Dupont-Sommer suggested that רזג means ‘exorcist’ in 4Q242. According to Dupont-Sommer, both 4Q242 and Mark 2.1–12 testify to the Essene view that healers-exorcists may also forgive sins – as opposed to the Pharisaic doctrine that God alone could do so. There are several flaws in this argumentation. The meaning ‘exorcist’ for רזג , based on a putative etymology, is far from certain ..."

Hägerland, Tobias Jesus and the Forgiveness of Sins: An Aspect of His Prophetic Mission (pp. 156-157) Cambridge University Press, 2012

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