Chapter 2 - Prophets and Pseudo-Prophets
Jews in the Second Temple period and Christians thereafter never ceased believing in prophecy. God had never stopped sending His heralds to call the people back to obedience. For Paul and the early churches following him, the usage perhaps implied something a little different. In Antioch, it seems to have been associated with teachers, the ‘prophets and teachers’ of Acts 13:1. Individuals like the messengers sent down from Jerusalem by James to assess the situation in Antioch are also called ‘prophets’ in Acts 11:21, as are Philip’s daughters in 21:10.
Perhaps the paradigmatic ‘prophet’ of this kind was Agabus who, ‘seized by the Spirit’ in Acts 11:22, predicted the famine and in like manner later in 21:12, got hold of Paul’s girdle to try to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem. Most Jews at this time appear to have equated prophecy with prediction, and associated it with soothsaying or fortune-telling. Josephus gives a number of examples, beginning, interestingly enough, with Judas the Essene, who ‘never missed the truth’ in any of his prophecies (War 1.78ff.).
Among other things, he seems to have predicted the rise of Alexander Jannaeus, the Maccabean priest-king who will figure so prominently in our texts. In fact, for Josephus these early ‘Essenes’ seem to have constituted a species of fortune-tellers, hanging around the Temple and producing ‘prophecies’ to flatter the vanity of some important personage. Later, self-proclaimed ‘Pharisees’ like Rabbi Yohanan ben Zacchai in Talmudic literature, or even Josephus himself, seem to fulfill a similar role. For the Jews of the Second Temple period, prophecy lived. A true prophet proved himself by accurately predicting the future.
What had ceased was the certain knowledge of just which prophets carried on the succession. Josephus, contrasting the relatively small number of Jewish holy books with the situation among the Greeks, also provides the following description: ‘The prophets subsequent to Moses wrote the history of the events of their own times in thirteen books ... From Artaxerxes (464-4 24 BC) to our own time the complete history has been inscribed, but it is not considered equally trustworthy compared to the earlier records, because of the lapse of the exact succession of the prophets’ (Against Apion 1.40f.)
The door was open for false prophets and Josephus notes all the impostors and deceivers, pretending divine inspiration, provoking revolutionary actions and driving the masses to madness. They led them out to the wilderness, so that God would show them signs of impending freedom [from Rome]’ (War 2.259). Actually, for Josephus, these kinds of impostors and deceivers’ were in intent more dangerous even than the bandits he so fulminates against, because they envisaged both revolutionary change and religious innovation. This was a dangerous combination, and may, in fact, characterize some of the works we have collected in this book.
When speaking of prophets in ancient Israel, scholars commonly distinguish two types: those who wrote books, and those who did not. Like Elijah, the latter relied on charismatic qualities to gain an audience. Both types of prophets are in evidence in the period of the Scrolls. Although the Qumran texts by definition contain only the records of the first type, it would be rash to conclude that the readers and writers of the Qumran materials were unaffected by the charismatic, miracle-working prophets of the second. As we have seen, such individuals proliferated as the first century progressed and the tensions with Rome grew.
The last participants in the tradition represented by the literature collected in this work almost certainly were a part of this broad, anti-foreign and ultimately anti-Roman movement. The modern name for this movement is derived from the behaviour of the archetypical son of Aaron, Phineas. Because of his ‘zeal’ in opposing bringing foreign women into the camp, God’s wrath was turned away from the community and His ‘Covenant of Peace [including the priesthood] was won for him and his descendants in perpetuity’ (Num. 25:10-13).
It is important to catalogue all incidents of this ‘zeal’ in Qumran texts, where most often it is expressed in terms of ‘zeal for the Laws’, ‘zeal for the judgements of Righteousness’ or ‘zeal for the Day of Vengeance’. Fortunately, we are now in a position to study the visionary and prophetic writings that appear to have so motivated and inspired these revolutionary currents of thought.
Among the Qumran writings of this kind claiming
visionary and prophetic inspiration are numerous pseudo-Moses texts (some
previously published, although we provide a new example, the Angels of Mastemoth
and the Rule of Belial), Pseudo-Jeremiah, Second Ezekiel, and the cycle of
writings related to the Book of Daniel.
Back to Contents
8. The Angels Of Mastemoth And The Rule Of Belial (4Q390)
This apocalyptic text, which we have named after the splendid allusions in the text itself, could have been placed in the first Chapter because of its visionary nature, or even below in Chapter 7 with Hymns and Mysteries. Since it is written in the first person rather than the third, however, and is evidently meant to be a direct expression of God’s words, we place it in this prophetic section. Relating to both Ezekiel and Daniel, it contains an allusion from Hosea as well. The text, which could be referred to as a pseudo-Moses text, or even possibly a pseudo-Aaron one, also has strong thematic parallels with Jubilees and Enoch.
Its parallels with the exhortative section of the introductory columns of the Damascus Document are intrinsic, including an emphasis on ‘breaking the Covenant’ (CD,i.20), ‘pollution of the Temple’ (iv.18), ‘going astray’ (i.15) and ‘walking in the stubbornness of their hearts’ found there.(ii17, iii. 5, 11-12). The expression ‘They will pollute My Temple’ directly parallels what goes under the heading of one of the ‘three nets of Belial’ in the Damascus Document.
These are ‘fornication’, ‘riches’ and ‘pollution of the Temple’, which Belial is characterized as setting up ‘as three kinds of Righteousness’ and by which he is said to have ‘taken hold of Israel’. Of course, allusion to ‘the rule of Belial’ is strong in both the Angels of Mastemoth and the Damascus Document texts, as it is in many of the documents noted under our comments concerning ‘swallowing’. allusion above.
These kinds of allusions are strong in the Habakkuk Pesher as well, where many of the same words are used, in particular ‘breaking’ or ‘Breakers of the Covenant’ (ü.6, viii. 16, as opposed to ‘keeping’ or ‘Keepers of the Covenant’ - related to the definition of ‘the Sons of Zadok’ in the Community Rule), and the general emphasis on ‘pollution’, ‘robbing Riches’ (1QpHab,viii.11, xii. l0; another of ‘the three nets of Belial’), ‘profiteering’ (ix. 5, 12), ‘violence’ (viii. l 1, xii. 6-9) and that ‘anger’ linked with ‘destruction’ in 1QpHab,xi-xii discussed above in the introduction to the Tree of Evil text.
Again the basic homogeneity of images and vocabulary, and their movement from document to document, is confirmed, reinforcing the impression that what we have to do with here is a movement - in this instance an apocalyptic, Messianic, eschatological one. The appositives of ‘keeping’ and ‘breaking’ the Law or Covenant, not to mention the emphasis on ‘doing’ (‘doing the Law’) in evidence in this document, are also the backbone of the Letter of James (1:2 2- 27 and 2:9- 1 1). The same can be said for allusions to ‘stubbornness of heart” and ‘Riches’.
In Line 11 of Fragment 1, a new expression is introduced, the Angels of Mastemoth. Based on imagery in Hos. 9:7 -8, which, interestingly enough, is preceded by a reference to that ‘visitation’ mentioned in the Messiah of Heaven and Earth text above and echoed in the Damascus Document, it is based on a variation of the parallel ‘Satan’, meaning ‘to hate’, ‘be hostile’, or ‘oppose’. These are obviously the same fallen Angels or heavenly ‘Watchers’ prominent in Enoch and the Damascus Document.
The mastema usage moves into the Pseudo-clementine literature (Hellenistic novels ascribed to Peter’s assistant Clement, achieving their final form in the third to fourth century AD) as the ‘hostile man’, ‘enemy’, or ‘adversary’ terminology (apparently applying to Paul, i.e. ‘the enemy of God’; cf. James 4:5 discussing Abraham as ‘the friend of God’). Here the allusion can be understood as the ‘Angels of Darkness’ or the ‘Enemy Angels’.
The chronology of this apocalypse to a certain extent follows jubilees and brings us down to the same period presaged in the Damascus Document. There is also direct reference to the ‘seventy years’ of Dan. 9:2. The only question is whether the chronology followed by these literary practitioners is any more exact than that encountered in Josephus or Talmudic traditions, which is often not reliable at all. Do they have a clear idea of seven jubilees in absolute chronological terms?
There is also an anti-priestly thrust to the
apocalypse, in the sense that as in Ezekiel the priests have been ‘warned’, but
their breaking of the Law and the Covenant, robbing of Riches, and violence goes
even as far as ‘polluting the Temple’. Whether this relates to a pre-Maccabean,
the Maccabean, or the Herodian period is difficult to say, but the unbending,
nationalist and anti-corruption stance is constant. Nor is this stance
particularly retiring or uninterested in the affairs of men.
(2) [and] break[ing...] again (?)... the sons of Aaron... seventy years ...(3) and the sons of Aaron shall rule them, but they shall not walk in My Wa[ys,] which I comm[an]d you and which (4) you shall warn them about. They also (i.e., sons of Aaron) shall do what is Evil in my eyes, exactly as Israel did (5) in the early days of its Kingdom-apart from those who will come up first from the land where they have been captive, to build (6) the Temple. And I will speak to them and send them Commandments, and they will understand to what extent (7) they have wandered astray, they and their forefathers. But from the end of that generation, corresponding to the Seventh jubilee (8) since the desolation of the land, they will forget Law and festival, Sabbath and Covenant. They will break (i.e., violate) everything, and do (9) what is evil in My eyes. Thus I shall turn My face away from them, and give them into the hands of their enemies, delivering [them] (10) to the sword. Yet I will spare a remnant, so th[at] in My anger and My turning away from them, they will not be des[royed]. (11) And the Angels of Mas[t]emoth will rule over them and ... they will turn aside and (12) do . .. what I consider Evil, walking in the stub[borness of their hearts ...]
(2) [My] house [and My altar and] the Hol[y] Temple ... (3) thus it will be done ...[flor these things shall come upon them ... and (4) the rule of Belial will [be] upon them, and they will be delivered to the sword for a week of year[s... From the] beginning of that jubilee they will (5) break all My Laws and all my Commandments that I commanded th[em, though I send them] my servants the Prophets. (6) And they wi[I1 be]gin to quarrel with one another. Seventy years from the day when they broke the [Law and the] Covenant, I will give them (7)[into the power of the An]gels of Mastemoth, who will rule them, and they (i.e., the people) will neither know nor understand that I am angry at them because of their rebellion, (8)[because they aban]doned Me and did what was evil in My eyes, and because they chose what displeases Me, overpowering others for the sake of Riches and profiteering (9)... They will rob their neigh[b]ors and oppress one another and defile My Temple (10) ... and] My festivals... through [their] children they will pollu[te] their seed. Their priests will commit violence...
(4) from it ...(5) and with a word ...(6) we ... (7) they will know, and I will send ... (8) and with compassion to as[k...] (9) in the midst of the land [and] on ...(10) their possession and they will sacrifice in it ... (11) they will pollute it and the alta[r...]
Back to Contents
9. Pseudo-Jeremiah (4Q385)
This text, attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, contains many interesting characteristics. In the first place, one should note the seemingly interchangeable references to the Lord and God. The emphasis on ‘keeping the Covenant’ encountered above is continued - in this case even in captivity. The style shifts in the second and third fragments if in fact all the fragments are part of the same document - to the first person, where it would appear to become more of a pseudo-Ezekiel than a pseudo-Jeremiah composition, though one could even opine this for the curious historical information presented in Fragment 1.
Of course, in this context, the very term ‘pseudo’ is perhaps inappropriate, as many people have doubted that the Biblical Jeremiah is entirely the work of a single individual by that name. Presumably after Jeremiah died many of his disciples continued to revere his words and gather his pronouncements, and many people believe they actually arranged or composed some of the portions found in the Biblical book.
We do not know how long this process continued, but at a certain point it has to be considered pseudepigraphic. It would be difficult to know where the historical prophet left off and tradition began, and therefore where this fragment fits in. Indeed the present work may have been considered an authentic one, and in fact it does contain many interesting historical details. In the second and third fragments, not only do we have what appears to be the ‘son of Man’ terminology from Ezekiel, but also a probable parallel to Dan. 11:2’s allusion to resurrection.
Again, this is consistent with the ethos of other Qumran documents. In this context, one should note the positive attitude to David, paralleled, for instance, in Column v of the Damascus Document, as well as in Lines 28ff. of the Second Letter on Works Righteousness in Chapter 6 below, where David is referred to as a man of ‘pious works’, whose sins were ‘forgiven’ him. Another interesting reference is to ‘the land of Jerusalem’ in Line 2 of Fragment 1.
This greatly enhances the sense of historicity of
the whole, since Judah or ‘Yehud’ (the name of the area on coins from the
Persian period) by this time consisted of little more than Jerusalem and its
(1) . .. Jeremiah the Prophet before the Lord (2)[... wh]o were taken captive from the land of Jerusalem, and they went (3)... Nabuzaradan the captain of the guard (4)... and he too[k th]e vessels of the House of God and the priests (5) [...and] the children of Israel and brought them to Babylon. And Jeremiah the Prophet went (6)...the river, and he commanded them concerning what they were to do in the land of their captivity (7)...to the voice of Jeremiah, concerning the things that God commanded him (8)... and they will keep the Covenant of the God of their fathers in the la[nd of] (9)[their captivity ...]that they did, they and their kings and their priests (10)... God ...
(1) from following Me, nor did his heart become too proud to serve M[e...] (2) and his days were completed, and Solomon [his son] sat [on his (David’s) throne...] (3) and I gave the soul of his enemies in exchange for the soul ... (4) and hook the witnesses of Evi[1...]
(1)...(2)... the Lord, and all the people arose and sa[id ...] (3) the Lord of Hosts, and I also ... her people ...(4) And the Lord said to me, ‘Son of [man...] God... (5) they shall sleep unti[1...] (6) and from the land ... (7) he was rendered guilty...
Back to Contents
10. Second Ezekiel (4Q385-389)
This text again recapitulates the themes we have been encountering in this Chapter. Beginning in Fragment 1 with a more or less familiar vision of Ezekiel’s Chariot, in succeeding fragments it moves into more apocalyptic and eschatological themes. In Lines Off. of Fragment 3 Column 1, the wellknown ‘bones’ passage from Ezekiel is evoked with an obviously even greater emphasis on the idea of resurrection encountered in several texts above and associated with these passages from Ezekiel in the popular mind.
For instance, the ‘bones’ passage from Ezekiel, also used the tell-tale words ‘stand up’ we have encountered above, and was found buried under the synagogue floor at Masada, probably not without reason.
Here the passage is actually tied in Lines 1-2 to the reward of those who have ‘walked in the ways of Piety and Righteousness’, i.e. we are in the framework of eschatological judgement. The Hesed (Piety) and Zedek (Righteousness) doctrines are absolutely fundamental to Qumran, as they are to Christianity thereafter, and not surprisingly to the tradition of Jewish Kabbalah. They are also the twin underpinnings of the ‘opposition’ movement in this period; as Josephus puts it, John taught ‘Righteousness towards men and Piety towards God’ (Ant. 18.116).
Josephus ties these to ‘Essene’ practice as well (War 2.128ff. and Ant. 15.375), and they are the basis of the two ‘love’ commandments also reported in the Gospels of Jesus’ teaching: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself -loving men - and ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God’- loving God (Matt. 22:37ff., Mark 12:30f., Luke 10:27). Here, too, Piety is defined as ‘loving Your Name’, showing these concepts to be absolutely consistent across the breadth of Second Temple literature. Under them were subsumed all of one’s duties, earthly and heavenly.
At Qumran, as in early Christianity and James 2:8, ‘loving one’s neighbour as oneself’ had an economic dimension ending up in the condemnation of ‘Riches’ and the ‘Poor’ terminology. If you made economic distinctions between men it was impossible to be perfectly Righteous. In this context, see Column vi.20-21 of the Damascus Document, where the Righteousness Commandment is immediately followed up by reference to ‘the Meek and the Poor’.
The text now moves on to more historical allusions, including a mysterious one to ‘a son of Belial’. The language it uses in Fragment 3, Column 3 is typically that found in other Qumran texts. There is the reference to ‘Downtrodden’ (Dal) and ‘cup’ imagery denoting, as we have seen above, that divine vengeance so important to the Habakkuk Pesher and recapitulated also with reference to Babylon in Rev. 14:8- 11.
This ‘cup’ imagery in the Habakkuk Pesher is extremely important, because it has been mistaken by many commentators as denoting drunkenness - the drunkenness of the Wicked Priest. But this is totally inaccurate. It actually denotes, as here, that divine vengeance being visited on the Wicked Priest for his destruction of the Righteous Teacher and his colleagues.
In Line 5 of Fragments 4-6, we have the language of ‘rejecting’ (ma’as) which one finds generally in relation to the activity of the liar in the Habakkuk Pesher and other Qumran documents. In Line 15, there is also a reference to ‘the priests of Jerusalem’ - cf. Habakkuk Pesher,ix.4-5: ‘the last priests of Jerusalem’ - and once again a reference to ‘the Angels of Mastemoth’, the Satan or Belial we encountered in the Angels of Mastemoth and the Rule of Belial text above. Because of these references and the first person quality of both narratives, it is likely these two texts either belong generically together or are part of the same document.
These references to an Era of Wickedness dominated by ‘the Angels of Mastemoth’ and to both a ‘blasphemous king’ and a ‘son of Belial’ increases these connections and the portentous quality of the text. It has been claimed that allusions from Second Ezekiel reappear in the Epistle of Barnabas, a second-century work brimming with the same kinds of references as this collection. The Epistle of Barnabas is so full of allusions like ‘the Way of Light’, ‘the Way of Darkness’, ‘the Way of Holiness’, ‘the Way of death’, ‘keeping the Law’, ‘Righteousness’, ‘the Last judgement’, ‘uncircumcized heart’ and ‘the Dark Lord’ (paralleling both Belial and mastema above) that is would be difficult not to find parallels.
(1) and my people shall be ... (2) with contented heart and with wil[ling soul...](3) and conceal yourself for a little while ...(4) and cleaving ...(5) the vision that Ezek[iel] saw ... (6) a radiance of a chariot, and four living creatures; a living creature [...and they would not turn] backwards [while walking;] (7) each living creature was walking upon two (legs); [its] two le[gs ...](8) was spiritual and their faces were joined to the oth[er. As for the shape of the] (9) fa[ces: one (was that) of a lion, and on]e of an eagle, and one of a calf, and one of a man. Each [one had the hand of] (10) a man joined from the backs of the living creatures and attached to [their wing.] And the whe[els...] (11) wheel joined to wheel as they went, and from the two sides of the whe[els were streams of fire] (12) and in the midst of the coals were living creatures, like coals of fire, [torches, as it were, in the midst of] G& the whe[e]ls and the living creatures. [Over their heads] was [a firmament that looked like] (14) the terrifying]ice. [And from above the firmament] came a sound ...
(1)... in place of my grief... [And my heart] (2) is in confusion, together with my soul.
But the days will hasten on fast, until [all humankind] will say, (3) ‘Are not the days hurrying on in order that the children of Israel may inherit [their land?’] (4) And the Lord said to me: ‘I will not re[fu]se you, Ezekiel. Behold, I will me[as]ure [the time and shorten] (5) the days and the year[s...] (6) a little. As you said to...’ (7) For the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things. Fragment 3 Column 1 (1)[And 1 said: ‘Lord, I have seen many men from Israel who] loved your Name (2)[and walked in the Ways of Righteousness. And these things, when will they happen, and] how will their Piety be rewarded?’ (3) [the Lord said to me, ‘I shall show t]he children of Israel, so that they will know (4) [that I am the Lord.’ Then he said, ‘Son of Man, pro]phesy over the bones (5)[and say: ‘Draw together, bone to its bone and] joint to its joint.’ And it was (6)[so. Then he said a second time, ‘Prophesy, and let flesh cover the]m, and let them be covered with skin (7) [from above...]and let sinews come upon them.’ (8) [And it was so. Then he said again, ‘Prophesy t]o the four winds (9) [of Heaven, and let the winds blow on them, and th]ey will stand up- a great peo[ple], men...’
(1) and they will know that I am the Lord.’ And he said to me, ‘Consider carefully, (2) Son of Man, the land of Israel.’ And I said, ‘I see, Lord; it is desolate. (3) When will you gather them together?’ And the Lord sai[d], ‘A son of Belial will plan to oppress my people, (4) but I will not allow him to do so. His rule shall not come to pass, but he will cause a multitude to be defiled (and) there will be no seed left. (5) The mulberry bush will not produce wine, nor the bee honey ...(6) I will slay the Wicked in Memphis, and leading My sons out of Memphis, I will turn upon the re[s]t. (7) Just as they will say, ‘Pe[a]ce and quiet is (ours), ‘so they will say ‘The land r[es]ts quietly.’ (8) Just as it was in the days of... ancient..., so... (9) [in the fo]ur corners of heaven... (10) [like a] consuming [fi]re ...
(1).. . nor shall he have mercy on the Downtrodden, and he shall go to Babylon. Now, Babylon is like a cup in the Lord’s hand; like refu[se] (2) he will hurl it... (3) in Babylon, and it will be ... (4) the dwelling of your fields . ..(5) their land will lie desolate ...
(2)... and sovereignty will devolve upon the Genti[les] for [m]any[years,] while the children of Israel [1...](3)a heavy yoke in the lands of their captivity, and they will have no Deliverer, (4) because ...they have rejected My Laws, and their soul has scorned My teaching. Therefore I have hidden (5) My face from [them, until] they fill up the measure of their sins. This will be the sign for them, when they fill up the measure of (6) their sin ...I have abandoned the land because they have hardened their hearts against Me, and they do not kno[w] (7) tha [t...they have] done Evil again and again . .. (8) [and they broke My Covenant that I had made] with Ab[raham, I]saac and (9) [Jacob. [In] those [days] a blasphemous king will arise among the Gentiles, and do evil things ... (10) Israel from (being) a people. In his days I will break the Kingdom (11) of Egypt... both Egypt and Israel will I break, (and) give (them) over to the sword. (12)... [hi]gh places of the 1[and ...] I have removed (its) inhabitants and abandoned the land into (13) the hands of the Angels of Mastemoth (Satan/Belial). I have hidden [My face from Is]rael. This will be their (14) sign: in the day when they leave the land ...(15) the priests of Jerusalem to serve other Gods ... (16) three [kings] who will rul[e ...
Back to Contents
11. Pseudo-Daniel (4Q243-245)
The pseudo-Daniel portions that follow describe one or more occasions on which Daniel stood before King Belshazzar (cf. Dan. 5). Like Pseudo-Jeremiah, Second Ezekiel, and the Damascus Document, they furnish a tantalizingly mysterious and often apocalyptic view of history. This text refers to: 1. the flood and the tower of Babel; 2. the exodus from Egypt; 3. the exile to Babylon; 4. the first four kingdoms (see also the Vision of the Four Kingdoms below); 5. seemingly the Hellenistic era; and 6. probably the Roman era of the ‘last days’ or ‘end of time’.
The Greek Translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, which was used by the Jews of Alexandria and Egypt and later by Christians in the east, includes several additional Daniel stories woven into the Biblical book. Some of these texts might even antedate Daniel, while others simply interpret it.
For his part, Josephus provides a glimpse of how Daniel was seen by a first-century Jewish historian: ‘One of the greatest prophets ... for the books that, he wrote (note the plural here) and left are read by us even now ... He not only predicted the future, like the other prophets, but specified when the events would happen (Ant 10.266-8).
This description would not only have relevance for this text, but also for the view of prophets as soothsayers and fortune-tellers with special knowledge about the future in the first century, which we discussed in the introduction, lo this Chapter. The belief that Daniel had predicted not only what would happen, but when, was no doubt a significant factor in the timing of the war with Rome -in AD 66.
For instance, the 7 0 years of wrath in Dan. 9:3 - a known interest in the War Scroll at Qumran - could have been seen as the period between the first outbreak of revolutionary activity at the time of Herod’s death in 4 BC (not un-coincidentally the time assigned to Jesus’ birth) and the final proclamation of the uprising (AD 66); or ‘the time, two times, and a half’ leading up to ‘the End Time’ in Dan. 12:7, the 312 years between the stoning of James the Just in AD 62 and the outbreak of the uprising.
This brings us to the important apocalyptic references to the ‘Kings of the Peoples’ and ‘the Kingdom of the Peoples’ in the present text, paralleling references to a ‘boastful King’ or a ‘son of Belial’ in the previous text. These references are tantalizing. If they refer to the first century, then there is every possibility, depending on the interpretation and reconstruction of the names, that there is a reference to Herod, and perhaps even his father Antipater, in Lines 3 0- 3 1.
The reference to 3 5 years in Line 3 1 is, of course, very close to the number of years of Herod’s rule between 39 B.C and 4 BC, but this is only a suggestion and must be treated with care. Whether such a reconstruction is possible is probably tied to the interpretation of these allusions to ‘the Kings of the Peoples’/’Kingdom of the Peoples’ in Lines 24, 35 and 36.
The ‘Kings of the Peoples’, as we have said, is an allusion found in a crucial section of the Damascus Document (viii. 10) about ‘pollution of the Temple’, the ‘treasury’, ‘fornication’ (even possibly incest), the ‘poison of vipers’ - the ‘Kings’ being specifically identified with the vipers - etc. There are also parallel references in the Habakkuk Pesher to ‘peoples’ and ‘additional ones of the peoples’ as we have noted.
The term ‘peoples’ used in this manner is known in Roman jurisprudence, where it specifically refers to petty provinces particularly in the eastern part of the Empire, and their kings. Even Paul in Rom. 11:13 uses this terminology in addressing the ‘peoples’, designating himself as ‘Apostle to the Peoples’. Certainly petty kings like the Herodians were referred to in this manner in Roman jurisprudence as a matter of course and have to be considered among these ‘Kings of the Peoples’.
On the other hand, the ‘Kingdom of the Peoples’ may reflect an earlier stage in this usage. Then it would be more obscure. The term is known in Roman administrative practice during this period; for instance in Cicero in De Domo 90 or Suetonius, on Caligula, 35.3. Where Paul is concerned, he very likely refers to his own Herodian origins and relationship to such ‘peoples’ in Rom. 16:11.
Indeed such an explanation, if substantiated, is helpful in illuminating his Roman citizenship and easy relations with high Roman officials or their protégés throughout his career. In Line 12, it is possible that one encounters a 400-year symbolic historical scheme, beginning with the going out from Egypt of the kind one encounters in the Damascus Document (i.5 -6; 390 years). As noted above, one should be careful of the chronological precision of these visionary reckonings and take them as symbolic or as approximations only.
Where the 390 years in the Damascus Document is
concerned, for instance, there can be little doubt that this relates to Ezek.
4:9 - an important prophet at Qumran - having to do with the absence of prophecy
in Israel. The reference to ‘seventy years’ in Line 22, as with similar
chronological reckonings in the Angels of Mastemoth and the Rule of Belial text
above, ties this text to the Daniel cycle of literature.
(1)... Daniel befo[re...] (2) Belshazzar ...(4) after the flood ... (5) Noah from Lubar [the mountain . ..]
(6) a city ... (7) the tower; [its] heig[ht ...] (9)[up]on the tower and ...(10) to visit the sons of ...(12) [fo]ur hundred [years ...] (13) ... all of them, and they will go out from (14) Egypt by the hand of ...and their crossing [will be](at)[the] River Jordan ... (15)and their sons... (17) the children of Israel preferred their presence (i.e., that of the false Gods) to the [presence of God.] (18) [They were sacrific]ing their sons to the Demons of Falsehood, and God was angry at them and de[tided] to give (19) them into the power of Nebu[chadnezzar the king of Ba]bylon, and to lay waste to their land before them by the hands of ...(2 0) members of the exilic community... (21) and He scattered them... (22) an oppression of seve[nt]y years ...(23) this great [kingdom], and He will save the[m...] (24) powerful, a Kingdom of the Peop[les...] (25) this is the fi[rst] Kingdom ... (26) [he will] rule (some number of) years... (27) Balakros ... (29) [y]ears ... (30) ... rhosthe son of ... (31) [and ... rh]os [will rule] thirty-five years... (32) to say... (33) [Ev]i has led astray... (34) [in] this [time] the called ones will be gathered .. . (35)[the Kings of] the Peoples, and from (that) day on there shall be ... (36)[Holy] Ones and the Kings of the Peoples ... (37) they shall be doi[ng] until [this] day .. .(39) and what (40). .. Daniel (41) ... a book that he gave (42)... Kohath (43) ... Uzzi[ah...] (44) A[b]iathar... (46) Jehoniah (47) ... Simeon (48) ...David, Solomon (49) ... Ahazi[ah, ...] (51) to bring Evil to an end (52)... these will wander astray in blindness (53)... [th]ese (people.) Then there shall arise (54)... [H]oly O[n]es shall return (5 5)... Evil.
Back to Contents
12. The Son Of God (4Q246) (Plate 4)
This is another Messianic pseudo-Daniel fragment in Aramaic, relating to the literature centering about that figure. It is full of the language and heightened imagery of these apocalyptic visionary recitals. In fact, it takes its cue from a reference in the Biblical Daniel to the ‘Kingdom’ that ‘the God of Heaven will set up ... which shall never be destroyed’, nor be conquered or absorbed, but rather ‘last forever’ (Dan. 2:44).
There are also parallels in style with the ‘little Apocalypse’ in the New Testament, where Jesus is pictured as foretelling the future woes leading to the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20). A key phrase in the text is, of course, the reference to calling the coming kingly or Messianic figure, whose ‘rule will be an eternal rule’, ‘the son of God’ or ‘the son of the Most High’, while previous kingdoms, because of their transitoriness, are compared only to ‘shooting stars’.
Other imagery in the Biblical Daniel also helped define our notions about Jesus as a Messianic figure, imagery relating to the ‘Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven’ (Dan. 7:13). This imagery is strong in the War Scroll, where it is used to interpret ‘the Star Prophecy’ (Columns xiff. This is repeated even more forcefully in Column xixf., where the Heavenly Host is depicted as coming on the clouds of Heaven and ‘shedding judgement’ like ‘rain’ on all mankind).
There can be no denying the relation of allusions of this kind to the Lukan prefiguration of Jesus: ‘He will be great, and will be called the son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the Throne of his father David ... For that reason the Holy offspring will be called the Son of God’ (Luke 1:32-35). Images of this kind, however, abound in Old Testament scripture, particularly in honouring great kings. See, for instance, Ps. 2:7: ‘You are My son; on this day have I begotten you’ (in Christian tradition, part of the prefiguration of Jesus’ baptism; for a more Jewish Christian presentation of this, see Heb. 1:5 and 5:5).
See, too, 2 Sam. 7:14: ‘I will be a father to him [David] and he shall be a son to Me’, or Ps. 89:27: ‘He shall say to Me, “You are my father, my God - the Rock of my deliverance.”’ Scriptural pre-figurations such as these are also strong in Wisdom and at Qumran, where all ‘the Righteous’ are reckoned as ‘the sons of God’. This is particularly true in the Qumran Hymns where the ‘sonship’ imagery regarding the Righteous and its putative author ‘the Teacher of Righteousness’ is strong throughout.
In the Son of God text, one should also note the emphasis on ‘Truth’ or ‘Righteousness’ two central Qumran concepts (hence, our capitalization of them throughout this work). Nor can there be any mistaking its eschatological nature and its emphasis on ‘judging’ or ‘the Last judgement’, more key Qumran conceptuality’s probably stemming from Daniel’s proclamation of ‘the end time’ in 8:20, 11:25, etc.
That the concepts incorporated in words of this kind have gone directly into Christian presentations of its Messiah and his activities is hardly to be doubted. See, for instance, Line 4 in Column 2 and Matt. 10:3 4: ‘I came not to send peace, but a sword.’ This kind of ‘sword’ allusion is also found in Column xix. 12 above of the War Scroll, ‘the sword of God’, used in the war against ‘the Kittim’. Further to this, one should note the allusion again to ‘Peoples’ in Line 8.
One point, however, should be emphasized: the Messianic figure envisaged in texts like the Son of
God, War Scroll, etc.., whether taken figuratively or otherwise, is extremely war-like. This is in line with the general uncompromising, militant and nationalist ethos of the Qumran corpus; the Messianic figure was to be a triumphant, quasi-nationalist king figure. One should also note that the peace envisaged in this text will only come after the cataclysmic Messianic war. As in the War Scroll, God will assist in this enterprise with His Heavenly Host. For the War Scroll, this is the point of the extreme purity regulations and being in camps in the wilderness, which is put in vii-5-6 as follows:
‘because the Angels of Holiness are with their hosts,’ i.e. ‘the war volunteers, the Perfect in Spirit and body ready for the Day of Vengeance’. We shall learn more about the extreme purity regulations required in the ‘camps’ in the last column of the Damascus Document in Chapter 6 below.
(1) [the king. And when the Spirit] came to rest upo[n] him, he fell before the throne. (2) [Then Daniel arose and said,] ‘0 Wing, why are you angry; why do you [grind] your teeth? (3)[The G]rear [God] has revealed to you [that which is to come.] It shall indeed all come to pass, unto eternity. (4) [There will be violence and gr]eat [Evils.] Oppression will be upon the earth. (5) [Peoples will make war,] and battles shall multiply among the nations, (6)[until the King of the people of God arises. He will become] the King of Syria and [E]gypt. (7) [All the peoples will serve him,] and he shall become [gre]at upon the earth. (8)[... All w]ill make [peace,] and all will serve (9) [him.] He will be called [son of the Gr]eat [God;] by His Name he shall be designated.
(1) He will be called the son of God; they will call him son of the Most High. Like the shooting stars (2) that you saw, thus will be their Kingdom. They will rule for a given period of year[s] upon (3) the earth, and crush everyone. People will crush people, and nation (will crush) nation, (4) until the people of God arises and causes everyone to rest from the sword. (5) His Kingdom will be an Eternal Kingdom, and he will be Righteous in all his Ways. He [will jud]ge (6) the earth in Righteousness, and everyone will make peace. The sword shall cease from the earth, (7) and every nation will bow down to him. As for the Great God, with His help (8) he will make war, and He will give all the peoples into his power; all of them (9) He will throw down before him. His rule will be an Eternal rule, and all the boundaries...
Back to Contents
13. The Vision Of The Four Kingdoms (4Q547)
This is another tantalizing apocalypse in Aramaic relating to the Daniel cycle of literature, as well as to a certain extent Enoch. In it, the king (possibly either Belshazzar or Nebuchadnezzar) sees a vision of four trees, each represented by an Angel. As each tree represents a kingdom, some relationship with the Dan. 7 -8 vision of the four kingdoms is evident.
When the text assigns Angels to trees, and thereby to the kingdoms, it is developing an already ancient idea prominent in Daniel. In Dan. 10:13, the seer encounters an Angel, presumably the Heavenly interpreter of visions, Gabriel. This Angel is also of fundamental importance to the heir to many of these traditions, Islam. He tells Daniel that he would have come earlier, but ‘the prince of the Kingdom of Persia opposed’ him for 2 1 days.
Thus Israel’s Angel seems to have been engaged in heavenly combat with the Angel of the Kingdom of the Persians. Only with the aid of another Angel, Michael - already figuring prominently in many of these texts - was he able to advance. A similar understanding of the interplay between the worlds of the seen and the unseen would appear to animate this vision. It would be interesting to know the identities of all the trees in the Four Kingdoms text, for then one might better appreciate just how the work relates to parallel visions in the Biblical Daniel or Enoch.
Only the identity of the first, Babylon, is preserved in Line 5. Does the work end with Alexander of Macedon, or does it come down to the Roman period? Does it contain material of equal antiquity and authority as the Biblical Daniel or Enoch? Or, is this work rather an explication of Daniel, composed later?
The use of trees to represent kingdoms has ample precedent in the ancient motif of the cosmic tree (cf. Ezek. 17 and 31 and Zech. 1 1:2), and parallels the use of other symbols like animals and horns in Daniel and Enoch. In Dan. 4, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream in which he sees ‘.. . a tree in the middle of the earth of great size. The tree became large and strong, and its height reached up to the heavens...’ Daniel later tells the king that this tree represents the king himself and his kingdom, but the book of Daniel does not develop this equation any further.
(5) ... the [Li]ght of the Angels who were (6) ... he said to them, ‘It will all happen ...’(7) high. It is he who ... (8) and he said to me, ‘O King, because...’ (9) as everything was done, they would arise (10)... he said, ‘They shall be.’ And he explicated to them clearly (11) ... their lords. One of them (12) [ ... Then the Angel upon w]hom Fragment 1
(1) (rested) the brilliant Light arose, and the four tree[s after him.] (2) A tree arose, and (the others) moved away from it. He (the Angel) sai[d to me ...’What](3) kind of tree is it?’ I replied, ‘If only I could see and underst[an]d it.’ [Then I saw] (4) a balsam tree... (5) I asked it, ‘What is your name? ‘It replied, ‘Babylon.’ [Then I said to it,] (6) ‘[Yo]u are he who shall rule over Persia.’ Then [I saw another tr]ee (7) [that was be]low where we were standing, and it swore... and claimed (8) to be different. (superior to the previous tree?)... So I asked him, ‘What is [your] name?’ [He replied ...] (9) I said to him, ‘You are he wh[o shall rule over...’] [By] (10) my power and by the region... he swore [... And I saw] (1 1) [the] third tree, [and] I said to [him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied,] (12)’Your vision ...’
(1) ... and I said to him, ‘This is it. Who is the ruler of...’
(9 )... the lord of ... (10) the Most High God ... (11) which is upon them ... (12) [the Lor]d of all, he who appoints judges ...
(9) ... they shall seize (10) ... the vision (11 )... you have spoken (12) [...the kin]g who shall escape ...
Back to Contents
(8) The Angels of Mastemoth and the Rule of Belial (4Q3 90)
Previous Discussions: J. T. Milik, Books,254-5; D. Dimant, ‘New Light from Qumran on the Jewish Pseudepigrapha - 4Q390’, in J. Trebolle Barrera and L. Vegas Montaner (eds), Proceedings of the International Congress on the Dead Sea Scrolls - Madrid, 1 8-2 1 March 1 991 (Universidad Complutense/ Brill: Madrid/Leiden, 1992).
Photograph: PAM 43.5 06. This text may be called a pseudo-Moses, but it
is uncertain that Moses is the ‘author’ or person addressed. The language of the
text is reminiscent of the book of Jeremiah, so this might be a pseudo-Jeremiah
text; it may also have been addressed to some other visionary.
(9) Pseudo-Jeremiah (4Q 385)
Previous Discussions: None.
Photographs: PAM 42.505 and 43.496. Because of the geography of this text and its vocabulary, it can also be viewed as a pseudo-Ezekiel text.
(10) Second Ezekiel (4Q385 -89)
Previous Discussions: J. Strugnell and D. Dimant,’4Q Second Ezekiel’, Revue de Qumran 13(1988)54- 8; D. Dimant and J.Strugnell, ‘The Merkabah Vision in Second Ezekiel (4Q385 4)’, Revue de Qumran 14(1990)331-48.
Photographs: PAM 43.493,
43.495, 43.501, 43.503 and 43.504. The order of the fragments is uncertain; we
present them roughly as their relation to the book of Ezekiel would suggest. The
reference to ‘the Angels of Mastemoth’ in Fragments 4-6 ties it to the first
text we have given this name to.
(11) Pseudo-Daniel (4Q243-245)
Previous Discussion: J. T. Milik, “’Prière de Nabonide” et autres écrits d’un cycle de Daniel. Fragments araméens de Qumran 4’, Revue Biblique 63 (1956)411-15.
Photographs: PAM 43.247,43.249, 43.252 and 43.259. The text
presented here is a tentative composite of the three manuscripts. Because these
texts are so fragmentary, the order of the portions is uncertain, nor is it
certain that Manuscript C is the same literary work as Manuscripts A and B.
Manuscript C certainly preserves the end of its text (here, Lines 5 1 - 5).
(12) The Son of God (4Q246)
Previous Discussions: J. Fitzmyer,’The Contribution of Qumran Aramaic to the Study of the New Testament’, New Testament Studies 20 (1974) 391-4; Milik, Books, 60, 2 13, 2 61; F. Garcia-Martinez, ‘4Q24 6: Tipo de Anticristo o Libertador escatolôgico?’ in El Misterio de la Palabra. Homenaje a L. Alonso Schôkel (Cristiandad; Madrid, 1983) 229-44.
Photographs: PAM 42.601 and 43.236.
(13) The Vision of the Four Kingdoms (4Q547)
Previous Discussion: J. T. Milik, “’Prière de Nabonide” et autres écrits d’un cycle de Daniel. Fragments araméens de Qumran 4’, Revue Biblique 66 (19 5 6) 411 note 2.
Photographs: 4 3.57 6 (Manuscript A), 43.579 (Manuscript B). We present
Manuscript A, with reconstructions following Manuscript B. Not all
reconstructions, however, are found in Manuscript B. Some reflect our own
insight into the text.
Back to Contents