Post by Helmut Richter
According to easily available sources like WP, "Zabur" is a book that
has been revealed to Dawud=Dawid, according to the Quran. I read this
information so that its contents is now unknown, and any relationship to
the biblical book of Psalms or parts thereof is conjectural at most?
Nonetheless the usage of the word "Zabur" for a psalm in the biblical
sense seems to be widespread among Christians in languages the speakers
of which are mostly Muslims (Urdu, Turkish, Kurdish, Swahili).
Are the roots Z-B-R (ar: Zabur) and Z-M-R (he: mizmor) cognates by a
regular shift in consonants?
Zabur for a book, especially a book of psalms, might go back to SAI BIR,
life SAI fur BIR, Greek zao 'I live' and byrsa 'hide, fur, leather'.
BIR also named a well as fur place where fur and leather bags were filled
with water, consider Hebrew beer 'well'. A book may be regarded as a well
of information, wisdom, and a book of psalms as a well of spiritual life.
Greek psallein 'to pluck, pluck a harp, sing a psalm' accounts for English
psalm. Young David, by then a shepard, plucked his harp for king Saul
and thus "refreshed" him, gave him back the spiritual life Saul had lost.
Mizmor could perhaps go back to MmOS AMA REO, offspring MmOS mother AMA
MmOS Miz AMA REO MA Ri Mo R
and name a Son of the Mother (goddess) of Rivers, a Son of Mari, or Sons
and Daughters of Mari, short for a collection of psalms by one or several
scribes from Mari that may have inspired David and other authors of the
Bible (dvd David, from DA PAD, away from DA activity of feet PAD, delivered
from the paw of the Egyptian lion, delivered from the paw of the Hittite
bear, delivered from the paw of the Philistine giant Goliath).
Mari, modern Tell Hariri on the western bank of the Euphrates River in
Syria, close to the border with Iraq, was a wealthy city state (until
devastated by Hammurabi). An important trading route led from Mari via
Tadmor (Palmyra), Damascus and Palestine to the Red Sea. Mari was famous,
also for her singers and musicians and scribes, among them women. Singers
and musicians from Mari traveled far, even some 350 kilometers to Ebla.
One might look for traces of the hypothetical anthology of psalms in the
written legacy of Mari - 25,000 inscribed clay tablets, probably many
Cyrus H. Gordon makes a connection between Mari and the Bible. Mural
paintings from the days of Hammurabi (c.1704-1662 BC) show a goddess
(also known from seals) in her flauncing dress that is covered with
scallops of many colors - "This may be the type of formal robe that
Jacob gave his son Joseph: the 'coat of many colours'" (Cyrus H. Gordon,
Adventures in the Nearest East, Phoenix London 1957). I haven't seen
the murals (nor a seal in a sufficiently large reproduction) so I can't
say whether the woman represents a river goddess. But a sculpture does!
A 140 cm high statue of a standing woman holding before her womb a vase
out of which flew water, actual water from a hidden source in the base,
her robe falling in waves from her waist along her legs where the cloth
is decorated with vertical wavy lines - that statue was found in the
royal palace and may be the river goddess AMA REO who named Mari ...
As for Jacob, he is known for his well, and Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's
river dreams and thus helped Egypt survive a famine of seven years.
If a lost anthology of psalms by a Son of Mari, or by Sons and Daughters
of Mari inspired David and other authors of the Bible, then the middle
part of David's first psalm, 1:3, could have been quoted from the lost
source: "And he (the godly one) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers
of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall also
not wither (Hebrew fade); and whatsoever he doeth will prosper."
Did joung David find himself in those lines he may have heard from a
traveler? and hope that his own songs may not fade? Imagine him playing
a lyra, maybe accompanying the glittering wavelets of a small river
somewhere in the hills of Gibea ...