The Testament of Amram, if indeed we can call it this - Amram
per se is mentioned only in Manuscript C - is one of the most
splendid apocalyptic and visionary works in the corpus. In it, many of
the themes we have encountered in the works discussed above come
together in a fairly rationalized eschatological whole.
the usual ‘Light’, ‘Darkness’, ‘Belial’, ‘Righteousness’, ‘Truth’,
‘Lying’ and ‘Watcher’ vocabulary, including the very nice allusions to ‘sons
of Righteousness’ - which we have already identified as a variant of
the ‘sons of Zadok’ terminology - ‘sons of Light’, ‘sons
of Darkness’ and ‘sons of Truth’, again widely disseminated
through the whole corpus.
Added to these we have the
very interesting allusion in Manuscript B to ‘serpents’ and ‘vipers’
encountered in many texts from Qumran (e.g. CD,v.14), not to mention a
well-known parallel imagery in the Gospels (Matt. 3:7, 23:33, etc.).
Though we cannot be sure that the several fragments and manuscripts
represented in this reconstruction in fact belong to the same
composition, nor that they can be sequentially arranged in the manner
shown; there are, in fact, overlaps which seem to indicate multiple
copies of a single work and, in any event, they can be grouped
typologically together. In addition, because of internal and external
similarities, they are probably part of a cycle of literature associated
with Moses’ fatherAmram.
This, in turn, is related to
the Testament of Kohath material and the Levi cycle in general.
Manuscript C most
fully preserves the beginning of the work, but has little in common with
Manuscript B and Manuscript ?, which on the basis of
content alone obviously belong together. Manuscript ? is referred
to in this way in the literature, no more complete designation having
yet been made.
Manuscript C, which
includes the names of the principal dramatis personae like Amram,
Kohath, Levi, Miriam and Aaron, pretends to be more
historical. It and Manuscript E even give some of the ages of these
characters, which are widely out of line with any real chronological
understanding of the Exodus sojourn. The surviving fragments do not,
however, show any knowledge of a relationship between Miriam and Hur, as
suggested in Chapter 3, unless Uzziel and Hur can be equated. One should
also note the anachronistic reference to Philistines in 2:19, reflected
perhaps too in the Era of Light text in Chapter 8.
It is in Manuscript B,
however, and the undesignated one succeeding it, that truly splendid
material, which can hardly be referred to as testamentary, emerges. This
consists again of a visionary recital of the most intense kind, similar
to that in Chapters 1 and 2, the Firm Foundation materials above and in
Chapter 7. Here, too, several identifications are made. First, in Line
13 of Manuscript B, the Enochic ‘Watchers’ are identified with ‘the
serpent’ with ‘the visage of a viper’- evidently the same
serpent that is connected to the downfall of man in the Adam and Eve
story. We have probably already encountered him, as well, in the Tree of
Evil text above.
Three more names are accorded him: ‘Belial’, ‘Prince of
Darkness’ and ‘King of Evil'. This latter name, Melchi
Jeshua, is to be contrasted with the well-known terminology
integrally involved with Jesus’ Messianic and eschatological
priesthood, Melchi Zedek / ‘King of Righteousness’, (Heb.
5-7), a subject that has interested scholars heretofore. The latter has
two other synonyms, the Archangel Michael, the guardian Angel
of Israel, and the Prince of Light (E.3.2).
Tied to these are the other usages, noted above, relating to
‘Righteousness’, ‘Truth’, ‘Light’ and ‘Lightness’, ‘Dark’ and
‘Darkness’, ‘Lying’ and the like. The ‘Way’ terminology, again
widespread at Qumran and known to early Christianity, is also strong
here. All these allusions have their counterparts in their application
to the dramatis personae of interest to the Qumran writers and
The text ends with perhaps
the most marvelous paean to Light and Dark of any literary
work, apart from the Chariots of Glory below and the well known prologue
to the Gospel of John.
(1) A copy [of the book
of the words of the vis]ion of Amram the son of Kohath, the son of
(2) that [he revealed to
his sons and that he commanded t]hem on the day [of his death, in]
(3) one hundred and
thirty-six, whi[ch] was the year of his death, [in the o]ne hundred
(4) and fifty-second
year of the exil[e of Israel to Egypt ... upon [him, and he sent]
(5) to call Uzziel his
youngest brother, and [gave] to him [in marr]iage [Miri]am [his]
daughter. [For he said]
(6) ‘You (Miriam) are
thirty years old.’ Then he gave a wedding feast seven [day]s long,
(7) and ate and drank
and rejoiced at the feast. Then, when
(8) the Mays of the
wedding feast were completed, he called for Aaron his son. Now, [h]e
(Aaron) was a man of ... years of age
(9) [... and he said]
to him, ‘Call ... and Malachijah ... from the house of
(10) ... above. He
called him ... Column 2
(11) in this land, and I
went up to ...
(12) to bury our
fathers. And I went up ...
(13) to [a]rise, to bind
and pile sheaths and to build ...
(14) gre[a]t from the
sons of my uncle, all togeth[er ... and from]
(15) our excee[ding
great labors, [until in Egy]pt there died ...
(16) the rumor of war
and unrest returned ... to the land of E[gypt ...]
(17) to meet and [they
had] not bui[lt gr]aves for their fa[th]ers. Then [my father Kohath]
released me [to go,]
(18) to build and to get
[all their needs] for the[m from the land of Canaan. [And while]
(19) we [were] building,
wa[r broke out between] the Philistines and Egypt, and ... was winn[ing
(1) ... that Levi his
son sacrificed to ...
(2) I said to you at the
alt[ar] of stop[e ...]
(2) I rescued ...
(3) he built ...
(4) at Mount Sinai ...
(5) a great blessing at
the bronz[e] altar ...
(6) from among all the
people on earth his [son] will be exalted as a priest. The[n ...]
(7) and his sons after
him, for all the generations of eternity in Tru[th ...]
(8) and I awoke from the
sleep of my eyes, and [I] wrote down the vision ...
(9) I went out from the
land of Canaan, and it happened to me just as he said ...
(10) exalting, and
afterwar[d], in the twen[tieth] year, [I returned to the land of
(11) ... you were ...
(9) [... 1 saw
(10) in my vision, the
dream-vision. Two (men) were fighting over me, saying ...
(11) and holding a great
contest over me. I asked them, ‘Who are you, that you are thus
empo[wered over me?’ They answered me, ‘We]
(12) [have been
em]powered and rule over all mankind.’ They said to me, ‘Which of us
do yo[u choose to rule (you)?’ I raised my eyes and looked.]
(13) [One] of them was
terr[i]fying in his appearance, [like a serpent, [his] cl[oa]k
many-colored yet very dark...
(14) [And I looked
again], and ... in his appearance, his visage like a viper, and
15) [exceedingly, and
all his eyes ...]
(1) [... em]powered over
(2) [I replied to him,]
‘This [Watcher,] who is he?’ He answered me, ‘This Wa[tcher ...]
(3) [and his three names
are Belial and Prince of Darkness] and King of Evil.’ I said, ‘My
lord, what dom[inion ...?’]
(4) [’and his every way
is darkened, his every work da[rk]ened. In Darkness he ...
(5) [Yo]u saw, and he is
empowered over all Darkness, while I [am empowered over all light.]
(6) [... from] the
highest regions to the lowest I rule over all Light, and over al[1
that is of God. I rule over (every) man]
(1) [of His grace and
peace. Over all the sons of Lig]ht have] I been empowered.’ I asked
him, [What are your names ... ?’]
(2) He [s]aid to me,
‘[My] three names are [Michael and Prince of Light and King of
(1) ... tribes ...
(2) to them and all
[his] ways [are True ...]
(3) [and he will heal]
them of all their ills ...
(4) them from death and
from de[struction ...]
(5) [o]ver you, blessed
(6) all the generations
of Israel for[ever ...]
(7) angry at me, for the
sons of Ri[ghteousness ...]
(8) between the sons of
Lying and the sons of Tr[uth ...]
(9) I [will make known
to you;] certainly I will inform y[ou that all the sons of Light]
(10) will be made Light,
[whereas all the sons] of Darkness will be made Dark. [The sons of
(11) and in all their
Knowledge [they will] be, and the sons of Darkness will be
(12) For all foolishness
and Evi[1 will be darkened, while all [pea]ce and Truth will be made
Ligh[t. All the sons of Light]
(13) [are destined for
Light and [eternal j]oy (and) [re]joic[ing.] All the sons of
Dark[ness] are destined for [Darkness and death]
(14) and destruction ... Lightness for the people. And I shall reveal [to you
(15) from Darkness, for
(16) the sons of
[Darkness ...] and all the sons of Light ...