Enoch and The Watchers


January 29, 1997


This fragmentary manuscript is similar to portions of the book of Jubilees, an important writing of Second Temple Judaism that survived only among Christian readers and that has long been known to us from versions in Greek and Ethiopic.

Among Ethiopian Christians Jubilees was so treasured that it actually became a part of the Old Testament. Fifteen fragmentary exemplars of Jubilees have turned up among the scrolls, establishing the work as one of the most common among those caches and clearly testifying to its importance for those who hid the texts.

Like the Ethiopian Christians, they may have considered the book a part of the canon of Holy Writ/

In that light, the present work seems to be a retelling of Jubilees, and it may be that we should consider it an example of "rewritten Bible," the interpretive phenomenon we encounter so often in the scrolls.

Surviving fragments of 4Q227 relate to Jubilees 4:17-24, but give the material in a different order. Jubilees 4:18 reports that the angels taught Enoch the calendar, which seems to be the subject of our fray. 2, 1. 1. Jubilees 4:22 says that Enoch testified against the Watchers, or fallen angels, who had taken human wives and whose progeny were the Giants (Gen. 6:1-2; cf. text 33, The Book of Giants).

Our author also relates this story, in 1. 4, and apparently goes on to connect it, under the influence of Jubilees 4:23., to the judgment of the entire world.

Frag. 2

1[ . . . E]noch, after we taught him 2[ . . . he was with the angels of God] six full jubilees 3[ . . . the la]nd, into the midst of the sons of man and he test)fied against them alI 4[ . . . ] and also against the watchers. And he wrote all [ . . . ] heaven and the ways of their hosts and [ho]ly ones 6[ . . . SO th]at the ri[ghteous ones] shall not commit error [ . . . ]