Ancient book of psalms found in Irish bog was found opened to Psalm 83 [photo: National Museum of Ireland]
A 'miracle discovery' on several levels
Yesterday, a bog worker spotted an ancient manuscript of the Psalms, dated between 800 - 1,000 A.D. Bound in leather, written in Latin, these fragile pages lay buried in the bog for over a thousand years, only to surface now.
The find itself is considered remarkable on its own terms: this kind of material surviving in a bog is unheard of -- and for over a thousand years! Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, is calling it a "miracle find."
"There's two sets of odds that make this discovery really way out. First of all, it's unlikely that something this fragile could survive buried in a bog at all, and then for it to be unearthed and spotted before it was destroyed is incalculably more amazing."
And yet, that is only the surface story. The rest of the story is more preternatural: Not only did these psalms survive all those years, but they surfaced on this day of all days...opened to Psalm 83. Psalm 83 speaks a word against the enemies of Israel, those who gather together, conspiring to kill the Jews and take their land. It is these words which the miracle book from the bog speaks:
Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. (Psalm 83:1-4)
These words, on this day, a day of darkness against Israel...
Stan Goodenough, a South African journalist living in Israel for the past 12 years, compares the text of the Psalm to the current anti-Semitic terror, and calls the find "incredible."
For right now Israel's enemies are again united in their desire to "cut Israel off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more." They purpose to take for themselves the "pastures of God for a possession." And that they are in league – or in a confederacy – is clear.
From Gaza, supported by most of the Arab states, the violence is being directed by the Palestinian Arab terrorist groups: the PLO, Hamas, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine and the popular resistance Committees.
In the north, the Lebanese group [Hezbollah], supplied and enabled by Syria and the non-Arab but also Islamic Iran, is raining rockets down on Israel.
This, given the current situation, makes Psalm 83 a fascinating and fitting read, the ancient find nothing short of a phenomenon.