Chapter 3 - Biblical Interpretation

The Jews at the time of the writing of the Scrolls can truly be described as a ‘people of the Book’. But which writings were recognized as sacred? The situation represented by the literature before us was still to a certain extent fluid. The Bible recognized by Jews and Protestants was put in its final form around AD 100 after the fall of the Temple in AD 7 0 by those in the process of developing Rabbinic Judaism.


Nor would the decisions made by these heirs of the Pharisee Rabbi Yohanan ben Zacchai, the individual who in Talmudic sources is described as having applied ‘the Star Prophecy’ to Vespasian - the destroyer of Jerusalem and future emperor in Rome - have been particularly welcome among the supporters of the tradition represented by the literature of the Scrolls. Yet it is possible to say a few things about which books were already considered holy or authoritative merely on the basis of inspecting the Scrolls themselves.


Certainly the Law as we have come to know it (that ascribed to Moses), as well as the Prophets, had already acquired the aura of sacredness, and they are referred to in this manner by the authors of the Scrolls, though additional books like the Temple Scroll and additions like those to Ezekiel above would appear to have still been in the process of being created. Psalms, too, with some additions, would appear to have been recognized. Most surviving writings from Qumran and later materials about these times, like the Rabbinic Mishnah and Tosefta, are concerned with understanding and applying the requirements of books and writings already considered sacred.


Where the books ascribed to Moses and the Prophets, and to David (the Psalms) were concerned, there appear to have been few skeptics. The problem in the literature before us was not really where to look for God. Writings like the Law, Prophets and Psalms represented His direct communication with His people. The problem was how to understand that communication.

Various techniques developed to solve this. One method was to extrapolate the basic principles of life from the literature already recognized as sacred and then weave an entertaining story illustrating them. Books like Judith and 3 Maccabees, not so far found at Qumran, represent this kind of approach, as do the stories of Tobit and the Persian Court in this Chapter. A related technique was to ‘rewrite’ Biblical stories, expanding or revising them with new details in accordance with one’s own understanding of what God required or how certain aspects of this legacy needed to be interpreted or approached.


The Genesis Apocryphon from Cave 1, published earlier, is an example of such rewriting. So are parts of the document with which we start this Chapter, the Genesis Florilegium. Both of them are concerned with rewriting certain aspects of the Genesis narrative which their writers for some reason considered important. As in the story of the Biblical flood, they insert interpretative words into long passages of Biblical text while at the same time paring away what they regarded as dross. In this way, a new, more focused - if tendentious story emerges; and overlaps, reflecting the amalgam of previous textual traditions, either by design or otherwise disappear.

The various stories involving the mysterious Enoch who, because he was described as ‘walking with God’ in Gen. 5:24, was thought not to have died, are another variation of this genre. A lively pseudepigraphic tradition developed in Enoch’s name, intent on capitalizing on the apocalyptic, visionary and mystical insights implicit in his having visited Heaven and lived. The jubilees cycle is another example of rewriting and developing aspects of the Genesis tradition with an eye towards enhancing certain parts of it which were considered important by the author. Pseudo Jubilees in this Chapter is a variation of this tradition, though aspects of Enochic literature also shine through the fragmentary document that has survived.

Perhaps the most important method for enhancing previously recognized Biblical texts at Qumran was using the direct interpretative one, called pesher because of the constant allusion throughout in the text to the Hebrew word pishro (‘its interpretation is’). At Qumran this approach usually involved a high degree of esotericism, as the exegesis played on a passage or some vocabulary from older texts like Isaiah, Nahum, Hosea, Habakkuk or Psalms, and developed it in the most intense and imaginative manner conceivable, relating it to the present life of the community, its heroes and enemies, and the people of Israel.

Pesharim (plural for pesher) such as these were even embedded in documents like the War Scroll, where ‘the Star Prophecy’ was treated in this manner, and the Damascus Document, where, as we have seen, Ezek. 44:15’s reference to ‘the sons of Zadok’ and similar prophecies were interpreted in the most graphic and vivid manner in relation to contemporary events and the interests of the community. The document we have called (recalling John Allegro’s similar usage) the Genesis Florilegium contains examples of this kind of pesher as well, particularly when it comes to interpreting the Messianic ‘Shiloh Prophecy’ (Gen. 49:10).

Such interpretations often had nothing whatever to do with the underlying Biblical text, often playing on but a few words or an isolated allusion in it to produce the desired commentary. Sometimes words in the underlying were deliberately changed to produce the desired exegesis having to do with contemporary events and almost nothing to do with the original prophecy, except casually. This is the case in passages in the Habakkuk Pesher and Ezek. 44:15 in the Damascus Document above. Parallel processes of this kind can also be said to have taken place in the Gospels.


Finally, an author might wish to launch a direct attack on some overarching problem that particularly exercised him, such as Biblical chronology or genealogy. This approach is again illustrated in the presentation of the flood chronology in the Genesis Florilegium, as well as the Biblical Chronology and Hur and Miriam texts which follow it below. These very easily flow into what it is called later in Rabbinic circles Midrash (i.e. homiletic story).


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14. A Genesis Florilegium (4 Q252) (Plate 5)

This text is one of the most fascinating in the corpus. It consists of some six columns as we have reconstructed it and skims over the main Genesis narrative, alighting only on points and issues it wishes for some reason to clarify or re-present.


These include the flood, Ham’s son Canaan’s punishment, the early days of Abram/Abraham, Sodom and Gommorah, and Reuben’s offence against his father. It ends, perhaps most importantly, with Jacob’s blessing of his children. This last, more of an interpretation (pesher) than a rewrite, incorporates some of the most telling Messianic pronouncements of any Qumran text in this or any other volume.

In the process, the author picks up some of the major modern scholarly problems in Genesis textual analysis and attempts what in his terms is clearly a resolution. For instance, he attempts to set forth a proper chronology of the flood story, coming up with a 364-day calendar of the Jubilees type. Contradictory elements are either harmonized, passed over or deleted in the interests of rationalizing a coherent calendar and explaining its intrinsic applicability to the flood story. In the process it sorts out inconsistent elements in what modern scholars refer to as the Yahwist or Elohist (Priestly) parts of the narrative.

Since the main concern of the first two columns about Noah and the flood is calendrical, the traditional story is subordinated to this interest. The calendar is an extremely important matter, and it has been said that whoever controls the calendar, its feast days and rituals, controls the society. Rabbinic literature, building on the Pharisee tradition that preceded it, was originally dependent on a lunar calendar that was only later harmonized, following Roman developments, with a solar year.


It should, however, be noted that a ‘pre-Rabbinic’ form of the lunisolar calendar already existed in our period, as several of the ‘Priestly Courses’ texts in Chapter 4 below demonstrate. In theory, this calendar depended on human observation for new moons and the like. Qumran abjured this, attempting a solar harmonization of an intellectual kind and obviously wishing to develop very early on a harmonious total mathematical scheme that did not depend on human failings. In the process, feast days were located at the beginning of weeks, and everything regularized to accord with a full 364-day, one-year scheme including intercalated days.

For instance, the full year, 364-day cycle is completed at the bottom of Column 1 and the beginning of Column 2 with the notice that the earth was completely dry on the seventeenth day of the first month, not the twenty-seventh as in Biblical tradition. The tradition that the flood lasted only one year is known in Jubilees (5:31), but its author seems to have tried to have it both ways and adopt an intermediate position between the text before us and the Biblical tradition of more than one year.


For him, though the land was dry on the seventeenth day of the second month, it was not until the twenty seventh day - the end of the flood in the Biblical text we are familiar with that Noah sent the animals out of the ark. Noah himself did not really leave the ark until the first day of the third month, two weeks later (6:1).

Our text disagrees, noting in Lines 2 - 3 of Column 2 that ‘on Sunday, on that very day, Noah went forth from the ark’; and as if to further punctuate this point, it adds, ‘thereby completing a full year of 364 days’. It returns to this point, showing it to be a major concern, in the next line (4- 5), repeating:

‘Noah {went forth} from the ark at the appointed time - one full year.’

Because the polemic is so emphatic, it would appear that the author of the text is familiar with the traditional text, which is probably the Pharisaic one. That this is the point he wants to hammer home, i.e. that the flood came to an end on the same Sunday the 17th one full year after it began, could not be clearer. The rest of the narrative is subordinated to this. Colourful detail, like the size of the ark, the kinds of animals and the raven are discarded.

Because of the author’s abstract, mathematical flair and because his calendar is mathematically speaking so harmonized, days of the week do not fluctuate over the month, whatever the year, and he proceeds to give the exact calendrical day of the week for all significant events in the story. In fact, he adds extra days, some perhaps coinciding with significant festival days as in 1.8 or 1.22. For a precise analysis of the scheme of this calendar in this text, see the notes at the end of this Chapter. For more on the calendar as it related to courses in the Temple, and other matters of Temple service, see further discussions in Chapter 4.

In the next story from the Noah cycle, the author shows again that his intention is to explain an inherent contradiction in the narrative as it has come down to us, namely why God cursed Canaan, son of Ham, when it was Ham who had actually ‘uncovered his father’s nakedness’ (Gen. 9:2 6). Though any reasonable person would notice this problem, normative tradition usually does not.


Showing that the author both knows the traditional text and is intent on rationalizing certain obvious problems in it, Column 2.7 explains, somewhat triumphantly, that since God had already blessed Noah’s sons, He could hardly retract that blessing. Despite its facileness, it is an explanation, and shows that people of this school of thought in the Qumran period (as opposed to some others) were already doing elementary text criticism, a fact which also stands out in the reconstruction of the flood narrative preceding it.

This is again clear in the treatment of the next episode about Abraham; we are dealing with one interesting problem after another in the traditional Genesis text. Column 2.8 shows that the author knows that Abraham will receive a name change in Gen. 17:5. But in 9ff. it switches back to the earlier name Abram as it moves on to the story it is really interested in, Sodom and Gomorrah. In the process, it confronts another problem that seems to have puzzled many commentators, such as Philo in de migratione Abrahami 177 and the author of the Book of Acts 7:4, i.e. the apparent implication in Gen. 12:4 that Abraham left Haran after the death of his father.

Gen. 11:32 had already put Terah’s age at the time of his death at 2 05. In 11:2 6 it specified his age at the time of ‘Abram’s’ birth as 70. Some traditions - most notably the version of the Pentateuch possessed by the Samaritans and one Septuagint manuscript obviously related to it - add the number 7 5 after these two passages to denote Terah’s age at the time of his death - thereby adding to the conundrum.

Our text is trying to clarify this problem. In the process it rejects the position of Philo and Acts above, that since Gen. 12:4 is placed after Gen. 11:32, it likewise has to be thought of as recording an event that happened chronologically after it. Rather, it adds its own more precise, numerical specifications, as it did in the flood narrative preceding it, definitively clarifying this problem in the traditional text.


Column 2.8 adds the key piece of numerical data not found in the Bible, that Terah was 1 40 years of age when he migrated to Haran, i.e. that he had lived 7 0 more years in Ur before migrating to Haran. In another mathematical rationalization not found in the Bible, the text now deduces Abram’s age at the time of Terah’s migration as also being 7 0 (Line 9), to it also fills an important lacuna in Abraham’s biographical chronology. It then moves on to add another five years to Abram’s age (and by implication Terah’s too) to make up the total of 75, his age in Gen. 12:5 when he departed for Canaan.


Finally, by implication granting the traditional number 7 0 for Terah’s age at the time of Abram’s birth, it affixes some last numerological data, i.e. Terah lived 65 years in Haran after Abram’s departure, thereby making up the total of 205 the author started with (2.10). That his concerns are mathematical could not be more apparent.

Another important point it makes, before moving on to even more serious concerns and the second of the two Genesis ‘salvation of the Righteous’ stories, is that Abraham was the ‘friend of God’. The actual terminology used in 2.8 is ‘beloved of God’. This is precisely the language the Damascus Document uses to describe Abraham. Interestingly, CD,ii.18ff. does so following an allusion to the ‘Heavenly Watchers’ and the Noah story just as here.


For it, the former fell ‘because they walked in the stubbornness of their heart’ and ‘did not keep the Commandments of God’ (italics ours). Interestingly too, this is precisely the language James. 3:2 3 and 4:4 uses to discuss how his adversary turned himself into ‘the Enemy of God’ 4:4. We noted this language above when discussing the meaning of Mastema - ‘Enemy’ or ‘Adversary’.


For the Damascus Document, Abraham was designated ‘beloved of God’, language very familiar to Islam, because ‘he kept the Commandments’ (language also familiar to the Letter of James), and it proceeds to designate Isaac and Jacob as ‘friends of God’ as well, just as later Muhammad designates them along with Abraham as ‘those who have surrendered to God’ i.e. Muslims (Koran 2:133ff.).

The first of these ‘escape and salvation’ stories in Genesis is, of course, the Noah story. Gen. 6:9 describes Noah as ‘Righteous and perfect in his generation’, important terminologies in Qumran literature. The second is the story of Lot. This is picked up in Column 3, which follows in the document before us. This interest, in a compendium as short as the Florilegium which simply skims Genesis for interesting issues, in the two first escape and rescue stories involving ‘Zaddikim’ in the bible is probably not accidental. It reflects the preeminent position ‘the Righteous’ play in Qumran ideology generally, as they do in Jewish Christianity to follow, and Kabbalah thereafter.


This interest is also apparent in the Gospel of Thomas 12, as is, of course, the parallel interest in James: In the place where you are to go, go to James the Righteous One for whose sake Heaven and Earth came into existence’. Curiously the best place to look for an explanation of the allusions here is in the medieval Jewish work of mysticism, the Zohar. Discussing this Noah episode in 59b, it describes ‘the Zaddik’ in Prov. 10:25’s words as the ‘Foundation of the world, and ... the Pillar that upholds it’. In the Zohar’s view, and in much of Jewish mysticism thereafter, the very existence of the universe is predicated on the existence of the Righteous/ Righteous One.


In the Genesis Florilegium, there is a collateral interest in sexual matters reflecting the condemnation of ‘fornication’ which one finds in other Qumran documents like that in the ‘three nets of Belial’ section of the Damascus Document. This is a main concern of James’ instructions to overseas communities in Acts, as it is in the letter attributed to his name. This concern is not only prominent in both the Ham/ Canaan and Sodom/Gomorrah episodes before us, but also the stories which follow these about blotting out Amalek’s name ‘from under Heaven’ and Reuben’s disqualification from his rightful legacy owing to his sexual relations with his father’s concubine Bilha. This latter was seemingly as jarring to ancient ears as it is to modern.


Referred to in the Blessings of Jacob at the end of Gen. 49:3-4, Reuben’s disqualification sets the stage for the blessings on Judah that follow, which are themselves, as we shall see, of very great interest and the climax of the present text as well.


The problem of Reuben’s supposed transgression also seems to have disturbed the author of Jub. 33:lOff., who wrestled with the question of why Reuben was not treated according to the Law and stoned as per Lev. 18 and 20. He explains - again somewhat facilely - that the laws of incest had not as yet been revealed. The Damascus Document takes the same approach to David’s ‘multiplying wives unto himself’ (a practice it described as ‘fornication’ in a previous column), explaining that this ban did not come into effect until ‘the coming of Zadok’ whenever this was, it was obviously conceived of as being after David’s time (v. l - 5).


This approach is portentous for the history of Western civilization, because Paul uses this point and in Gal. 3 and Rom. 4, makes it the centerpiece of his approach to Abraham and the Law, i.e. Abraham came before the Law and therefore was not ‘justified’ (‘made Righteous’) by it. Muhammad interestingly enough also uses a variation of this to describe his approach to Abraham, namely that he came before both Judaism and Christianity.


Here the Genesis Florilegium somewhat laconically adds the words, ‘and he reproved him’ (Line 5). In other words, it makes it clear that this was all Reuben did. We will find the same words actually used in a text dealing with matters of ‘bodily emissions’ involving Community discipline at the end of this work. However in noting that Reuben was only first theoretically and implying that Judah would be first in actuality, it again inadvertently reveals its main concern Jacob’s blessings on Judah to follow.


The issue of the Amalekites is a different one, but also interesting. Column 4.1 distinctly designates them as the issue of another questionable relationship with a concubine, i.e. ‘fornication’ again. 4.2-3’s almost word-for-word evocation of a speech of Moses from Exod. 17:14 shows the modus operandi of the author, i.e. 1. he knows the entire Bible text (at least those books mentioned above), and 2. he is doing Biblical commentary on or exegesis of it.

The addition of the eschatological phrase ‘the last days’ in the same line, which our text deliberately adds to the speech attributed to Moses in Exod. 17:14, is also instructive. Otherwise both speeches are identical. This, of course, highlights the eschatological themes with which the text ends, as it does what is expected in ‘the last times’ regarding Amalek.

This leads to another point. Moses predicts the absolute eradication of the Amalekites, i.e. their name would be ‘blotted out from under Heaven’. Though the text in 4.1 refers to Saul’s smiting the Amalekites (showing once again that the author knows that Biblical story as well), and it is possible to think that for him, this fulfilled the Biblical prophecy, the point is that Saul did not do so. Samuel had put the Amalekites under ban, but Saul did not carry this out, and even though, according to the Bible, he later repented of this, he was ‘rejected’ (note - again the use of the tell-tale word ma’as repeatedly throughout the Biblical account).

Saul’s failure to do this leads directly to the anointment of David in 1 Sam. 16. This is crucial, and the author of our text is most surely aware of it. But that is what he is interested in - the anointment of David and the elevation of Judah to be set forth in an eschatological manner in the interpretation of the ‘Shiloh Prophecy’ that follows. With the deftest hand and the most delicate of brush strokes, our author is doing extremely sophisticated Biblical criticism.

Also illustrative is the completely unbending and militant attitude in evidence here. This is absolutely characteristic of the attitude of Qumran and is consistent across the corpus. No peaceful Essenes these. The addition of ‘the last days’ or ‘end of days’ to Moses’ speech is also then purposeful and clearly eschatological. Since Saul failed to do it, the memory of Amalek will only ‘be erased from under Heaven’ properly in ‘the last days’. And who will do it? Clearly the Messiah, with whom the text closes.

Column 5 moves on to Judah. The exegesis it contains has to be considered the climax of the work and for our purposes, exegesis generally at Qumran. Nor are we any longer in the realm of Biblical rewrite or condensation, but exegesis pure and simple.


This takes as its starting point Jacob’s blessing on Judah in Gen. 49:10: ‘The Sceptre shall not pass from Judah, nor the Staff from between his feet until the coming of the Shiloh to whom the peoples will gather.’ In an exegesis of the most far-reaching eschatological significance, Column 5.1 interprets ‘the Sceptre’, also mentioned in the Star Prophecy in Num. 24 - the ‘Star’ and the ‘Sceptre’ are equivalent - in terms of the Government.


It will be recalled that the latter prophecy is also interpreted, as we have seen above, in the Damascus Document. Though the first part of the exegesis of the Shiloh Prophecy is missing from the present document, it is clear that this is to involve a Davidic descendant, i.e. someone from ‘the seed’ of David mentioned in Line 5.5, which was so important in Christian Messianic expectations we’ve mentioned. In 5.2 the ‘Staff or ‘Law-Giver’ (the Mehokkek ) in the Shiloh Prophecy is interpreted in terms of ‘the Covenant of the Kingdom’.


In Lines 3 -4, the ‘feet’ in this prophecy are interpreted as the leaders or military commanders of Israel and finally, most significantly of all, ‘Shiloh’ is distinctly identified as ‘the Messiah of Righteousness’. That he is to be a descendant of David is made explicit in Line 5.5 as we have seen.


This Mehokkek or ‘Staff’ is also mentioned in another prophecy from Num. 2 1:18. Like the Star Prophecy from Num. 24 that follows it, this too is interpreted in the Damascus Document (vi.3 - 11). In Column vii. 2 0 of the Damascus Document, the ‘Sceptre’ referred to in the Star Prophecy is definitively interpreted in terms of the Nasi ha—‘Edah/’the Leader of the Community’, the subject of the text by that name in Chapter 1.

In the interpretation of the Mehokkek prophecy that precedes it, ‘Damascus’ is mentioned, from which the Damascus Document takes its name. So are ‘the penitents of Israel’, who are also mentioned in the exegesis of Ezekiel’s ‘sons of Zadok’ prophecy two columns prior to this in Column iv. These ‘penitents’ - called ‘the Priests’ in the Column iv exegesis - ‘go out from the land of Judah’ in both exegeses ‘to dwell in the land of Damascus’.


The ‘Staff’ is delineated as the ‘seeker after the Torah’; and the ‘well’, which he digs in the Num. 21 reference, is again ‘the Torah’. The ‘staves’ in Num. 21, i.e. the Laws, are what they (the Mehokkek’s followers) are commanded to walk in ‘during all the Era of Evil’ until ‘the One who pours out Righteousness (Yoreh ha-Zedek) arises (or stands up) at the end of days.’

Here the ‘Messiah of Righteousness’, i.e. Mashiah ha-Zedek resonating with Yoreh ha-Zedek above and other equally pregnant usages, is definitely identified with ‘the Branch of David’. But this expression is also mentioned in the Messianic Leader (Nasi) text in Chapter 1 above. This now brings all these usages full circle, including the Nasi ha-‘Edah (‘the Leader of the Community’) called ‘the Star’ in CD, vii above. As we have seen, too, ‘peoples’ in the Shiloh Prophecy above is in some sense an important eschatological usage at Qumran. In the present text in Line 5.4, it gives way to ‘His people’, ‘the Covenant of whose Kingdom was given unto him (i.e. the Messianic ‘Branch’ or ‘Star’) forever’.

Put another way, one has irrefutable proof here that the Messianic ‘Leader’, mentioned in the text by that name, is to be identified with this ‘Messiah of Righteousness’, because the allusion to ‘the Branch of David’ is used in both as an identifying epithet. This makes the matter of whether the Messianic Leader is doing the killing or being killed more important than ever. Later in this work we shall find additional support for the latter interpretation, when we reconstruct the phraseology hemitu Zaddikim at the end of the Demons of Death (‘Beatitudes’) text in Chapter 5 as ‘they put to death the Righteous’ (plural).

The conjunction of ‘the Righteousness’ terminology with ‘the Messiah’, much in the manner that it is co-joined with ‘the Teacher’ and ‘the Pourer’ above (the Moreh and the Yoreh) in the definition of the Shiloh in Gen. 49:10, is of the utmost significance. This is consistent with the total ethos of Qumran and has, in fact, important resonance’s with presentations of the Melchizedek ideology (‘the King of Righteousness’) in relation to the eschatological priesthood set forth in Heb. 5:7 - 10 (including, interestingly enough, reference to ‘the Logos of Righteousness’ in Line 5:14).


The explanation in the final decipherable line of this exegesis ‘because he, i.e. the Messiah of Righteousness, kept ...the Torah’ together with the others ‘of the Community’ is also important, not only for Qumran Messianic notions but for Qumran ideology as a whole and its overtones with early Christianity of the Jamesian mould. We have already mentioned that the Community Rule defines the ‘sons of Zadok’ in terms of ‘keeping’ or being ‘Keepers of the Covenant’.


This is a qualitative exegesis, not a genealogical one. It is reinforced in the Damascus Document’s exegesis of Ezek. 44:15 - also qualitative - and an eschatological element is added, that of ‘the last days’. These also have supernatural connotations, e.g. in CD, iv.3 and 7, ‘they stand in the last days’ (as does the Yoreh ha-Zedek)and ‘justify the Righteous and condemn the Wicked’. If these notations are consistent, then the words ‘keeping ...the Torah’ also imply that the Messiah or Shiloh was also to be reckoned among ‘the sons of Zadok’.


It should also be clear that Zedek and Zadok are to be reckoned as variations of the same terminology - that is, the ‘sons of Zadok’ and ‘sons of Zedek’ are equivalent - and that allusions to Melchizedek amount simply to a further adumbration. Here, too, the allusion in 5.5 to ‘the men of the Community’ with ‘the Messiah of Righteousness’ as ‘Keepers of the Covenant’ implies that the Messiah has either already come, is eschatologically to return, or is, in fact, at that very moment connected to or among ‘the Yahad’ (Community).


That the Community honours a Davidic-style, singular Messiah associated in some manner with the concept of Righteousness - a matter of some dispute in Dead Sea Scrolls studies heretofore - is no longer to be gainsaid. All these are very important conclusions indeed with serious implications for Qumran studies. This is the importance of publishing these texts completely and not in bits and pieces.


The text ends in Column 6, a little anticlimactically, with portions from Gen. 49:20-21 about blessings on Asher and Napthali, of which little is intelligible.



Column 1

(1) in the 480th [year] of Noah’s life their (Wicked humanity) end came for Noah. And God (2) [sa]id, ‘My Spirit shall not dwell among men forever,’ and so their days were fixed (at) one hundred and twenty (3) [yea]rs, until the time of the waters of the flood. Now the waters of the flood were on the earth beginning with the six hundredth year (4) of Noah’s life. In the second month, on Sunday the 17th, on that very day (5) all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the windows of Heaven were opened. So there was rain on (6) the earth for forty days and forty nights, until the 26th of the third (7) month, Thursday. The wa[te]rs rose upon the [ea]rth for one hundred and fifty days, (8) until the 14th of the seventh month, Tuesday. And at the end of one hundred (9) and fifty days the waters abated, for two days, Wednesday and Thursday, and on (10) Friday the ark came to rest on the Ararat Range-the 17th of the seventh month. (11) Now the waters [con]tinued to diminish until the [ten]th month. On the first of that month, Wednesday, (12) the peaks of the mountains bec[ame visible. Forty days from the ti[me] when the mou[ntain] peaks became visible, (13) Noah [ope]ned the window of the ark. On Sunday, that is, the 10th of (14) the [eleve]nth month, [No]ah sent forth the dove to see whether the waters had abated, but (15) it did not find any place to alight and so it returned to him [in t]he ark. He then waited seven [mor]e days (16) and once more sent it forth, and it returned to him with a cut olive branch in its bill. [This was on the (17) 2]4th of the eleventh month, on Sunda[y. Therefore Noah knew that the waters had abated] (18) on the earth. At the end of seven mo[re days Noah sent the dove out, but (19) it did not] return again. This was the fir[st day of the twelfth] month, [a (20) Sunday.] At the end of thirt[y-one days from the time he had sent it forth], when it did not (21) return anymore, the wa[ters] had dried up [on the earth.] Then Noah removed the hatch of the ark (22) and looked around, and indeed [the waters had disappeared from the face of the earth], on the first day of the first month,


Column 2

(1) in the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life. And on the 17th of the second month, (2) the earth was completely dry. On Sunday, on that day Noah went forth from the ark, thus completing a full (3) year of three hundred and sixty four days. On Sunday, in the seventh (4) <one and six. > Noah (went forth) from the ark at the appointed time, one full (5) year. < > ‘Then Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son (6) had done to him, and he said, “Cursed be Canaan; he shall be his brothers’ meanest slave.”’ He did not (7) curse Ham, but on the contrary, his son, because God had already blessed Noah’s sons: ‘And in the tents of Shem they will dwell.’ (8) He gave the land to Abraham His friend. < > Terah was one hundred and f[o]rty years old when he left (9) Ur of the Chaldees and came to Haran. And Ab[ram was seventy, and Abram lived in (10) Haran for five years, and after [Abram] left [for] the land of Canaan, (Terah lived) sixt[y-five years...] (11) the heifer and the ram and the sheg[oat...] Abram to God... (12) the fire when he crossed over... (13) Abr[am] to go out [to the land of] Canaan...

Column 3

(1) as it is written .... twelve (2) me[n... Gomor]rah and also (3) this city... Righteous (4) I will not destroy... only they shall exterminate. (5) And if there are not found there [ten Righteous Men, I will destroy the city and everyone] found in it, along with its booty (6) and its little children. And the remnant... forever. And Abraham (7) stretched out his hand... (8) And he said to him, ‘No[w...’] (12) ‘And El Shaddai will bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you. You shall become a congregation of peoples. And he will give to you (13) the blessing once given to [Abraham] your father’...

Column 4

(1) ‘[...and] Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz the son of Esau, and she bore him Amalek.’ It was he whom Saul exterminat[ed] (2) as He said to Moses, ‘In the future you will erase the memory of Amalek (3) from under Heaven.’ < > The blessings of Jacob: ‘Reuben, you are my first born, (4) the first portion of my strength, preeminent in stature and preeminent in power, unstable as water-(but) you shall not be preeminent. You mounted (5) your father’s marriage couch, thereby defiling it because he lay on it.’ < > Interpreted, this means that he reproved him, because (6) he (Reuben) slept with Bilhah his (father’s) concubine. When it says ‘You are my first born,’ it means... Reuben was (7) the first in theory...

Column 5

(1) ‘(the) Government shall [not] pass from the tribe of Judah.’ During Israel’s dominion, (2) a Davidic descendant on the throne shall [not c]ease. For ‘the Staff’ is the Covenant of the Kingdom. (3) [The leaders of Israel, they are ‘the Feet’ (referred to in Genesis 49:11), until the Messiah of Righteousness, the Branch of (4) David comes, because to him and his seed was given the Covenant of the Kingdom of His people in perpetuity, because (5) he kept... the Torah with the men of the Community, because (6)... refers to the Congregation of the men of (7)... He gave


Column 6

(1) ‘he shall yield royal dignities. Naphtali is a doe let loose, who gives (2) beautiful words.’...

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15. Joshua Apocryphon (4Q522)

This text contains an assortment of geographical locales and place names that may go back to the period of Joshua or reflect some display or schema connected to the Davidic period. Because of the reference to Eleazar, the high priest often associated with Joshua’s activities, we have called it a Joshua Apocryphon, though the text, as it has been preserved in the second column, clearly focuses on the figure of David, his activities, his conquests, his kingship and, in particular, his building of the Temple.


Were it not for the fact that much of this seems to be phrased in terms of a prophecy from the earlier conquest period, one might even call it a Samuel Apocryphon. However, as with the Genesis Florilegium just considered, any idea that there is anything resembling anti=Temple feeling in texts such as these - a notion widespread in the early days of Qumran research based on the incompleteness of the data then available - is simply misguided and fails to come to grips with the ethos of Qumran as it reveals itself in these texts.


Nor is there anything remotely suggesting a lack of interest in a Davidic kingship - quite the opposite; the Messianic implications in this text are only a little less overt than the interpretation of the Shiloh Prophecy previously. Note for example in this vein Lines 7-8 of Column 2: ‘And the Lord will establish David securely... Heaven will dwell with him forever.’

The very reconstruction ‘Heaven’, if accurate, is interesting when one considers similar constructions in phrases like the Gospel of Matthew’s ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. It is also interesting that in Line 3 the word ‘rock’ (sela’) - a word not without its own interesting implications in Christianity - is evoked to describe the Mountain of Zion.

David’s conquest of Jerusalem, his building the Temple and rich decoration of it is lavishly praised. For those who would refer to this literature as sectarian, the nationalist implications of texts such as this are important, as is the provocative allusion to ‘the sons of Satan’ in Line 5. This parallels similar references elsewhere in the corpus to ‘sons of Belial’, and their variation in the ‘Mastemoth’ / ‘sons of Darkness’ allusions we have encountered above and will encounter further below.




Fragment 1

Column 1

(1)... and En Qeber and... (2)... Valley, and Bet Zippor, with (3)... all the Valley of Mozza (4)... and Heikhal -Yezed(?) and Yapur and (5)... and Mini and En Kober (6)... Garim and Hedita and Oshel (7)... which (8)... and Ashkalon... (9)... [G]alil, and the two... and the Sharon (10)... Judah, and Beer Sheba, and Baalot (11)... and Qeilah and Adullam and (12)... Gezer and Thamni and Gamzon and (13)... Hiqqar and Qittar and Ephronim and Shakkoth (14)... Bet Horon, the lower and the upper, and (15)... and the Upper and the Lower Gilat


Column 2

(1)... to establish there the... (2) the times, for a son is about to be born to Jesse, son of Perez, son of Ju[dah...] (3) (He shall capture) the mountain (literally, rock) of Zion, and he will dispossess from there all the Amorites... (4) to build the House for the Lord, the God of Israel. Gold and silver... (5) cedars and cypress will he bring from Lebanon to build it, and the sons of Satan... (6) he will do priestly service there and a man...your... (7) from the... And the Lord will establish David securely... (8) [He]aven will dwell with him forever. But now, the Amorites are there, and the Canaanites... (9) dwell where the Hittites (do), none of whom have I sought... (10) from you. And the Shilonite, and the... I have given him as a servant... (11) And now, let us establish... far from... (12) Eleazar... forever, from the House (13)... army...

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16. A Biblical Chronology (4Q559)

This work attempted to determine the chronology of the people and, in some cases, the events of the Bible. This enterprise was important not only for its intrinsic interest, but also to those who wanted to locate the present in the flow of time toward the Messianic era. They could then predict when the Messiah would come, and when other predictions of the prophets would find fulfilment. Interest in such ‘chronomessianism’ was great in the period of the Scrolls.

The complexity of Biblical chronology was daunting, because at many junctures the Bible simply did not say how many years passed between events. These ‘blanks’ could only be filled in by calculation, a process fraught with possibilities for error as well as legitimately different results.


In the time of the Scrolls at least three separate systems of Biblical chronology existed: that of the Masoretic text (the Hebrew text normally translated in modern Bibles); that of the Septuagint, the Bible used in Egypt; and that of the Samaritans. Note the correspondence of this text with the Terah reference in the Genesis Florilegium above.



Column 1

(Fragments 1 and 3) (1) [...and Terah was (2) seventy years old when he fathered Abraham; and Abraham (3) was] ninety-nine years old [when he fathered Isaac; (4) and Isaac was [sixty years old when he fathered Jacob; and Jacob (5) was] sixty-fi[ve year]s old [when he fathered Levi... (7) and Levi was thirty-] five [year]s old when he fa[thered Kohath; and Kohath was (8) twenty-] nine [year]s old when he fathered Am[r]am; Am[ram was (9) one hundred and ten years old when he fathered] Aaron, and Aar[on] went out from Egy[pt. (10) (The total of) all] these [years:] eleven thousand, five hundred and thirty-six...

Column 2

(2)... from the lan[d of Egypt...] (3) ye[ars (?)...] (4) the [Jo]rdan... (5) [in...] thirtyfive (or more) [years;] in Gilgal... ye[ars... (6) in Timnath-Sera]h twenty years; and from the time that [Joshua] died... (7) Cush-Rishathaim the king of [Aram-Naharain] (8) eight [year]s; Othniel the s[on of Kenaz... (9) eighty years;] Eglon the king of Moab eighteen] ye[ars; (10) Eh]ud the son of Gera, eighty years; Sham[gar the son of Anath,]

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17. Hur And Miriam (4Q544)

This Aramaic text is difficult to characterize because it is so fragmentary, but it appears to be concerned with genealogies of characters in the Book of Exodus, particularly Hur. If Line 8 is taken with Line 9, the text would appear to make a connection between the Judean hero Hur and Miriam, the sister of Moses, although none is anywhere made explicit in the Bible.


According to Josephus, Hur was Miriam’s husband (Ant. 3.54), and the tradition being signalled here seems to bear this out. Rabbinic literature, identifying Ephrath and Miriam, would have him as her son (Targum to 1 Chr. 2:19 and 4:4). Still, that there is tradition about a relationship between Hur and Miriam is not to be gainsaid.

In Exodus Hur is a passing character. Whether because of his association with the tribe of Judah or the building of the Tabernacle, the text represented here seems to focus on him more than Exodus does. In Exod. 17:10, Hur appears for the first time at the battle with Amalek at Rephidim - mentioned above in connection with Moses’ prophecy on the subject and its treatment in the Genesis Florilegium.


In Exodus Hur is pictured as supporting the hands of Moses with Aaron (symbolic of the priesthood and his brother-in-law?) to determine the course of the battle being fought by Joshua, Moses’ adjutant, in the plain below. When Moses with Joshua ascended the Mountain of Sinai, Hur and Aaron were left in charge of the people (24:14).

Exod. 35:30 makes Hur’s connection with Bezalel, the architect of the Tabernacle, explicit. So does 1 Chr. 2:20, where he is listed as the son of Caleb ben Hezron by a second wife, Ephrath (Ephrathah in 2:24) and the father of Uri (probably mentioned in Line 10). These three are credited with founding three well-known Judean towns: Kiriath-jearim, Bethlehem and Bethgader. His connection with the second makes a text focusing on him and connecting him to Miriam (also related in some way to ‘Ephrathah’) all the more interesting.



Fragment 1

(1) [th]at he ate, he and his son[s... (2) [and] her [hu]sband [slept] the eternal sleep... (3) upon him, and they found hi[m... (4) his sons and the sons of h[is] brother... (5) they dwelt temporarily (?)... (6) he departed to his Eternal home... (8) ten. And with Miriam he became the father of Ab[(?; name incomplete and uncertain)... (9) and Sitri. Then Hur took as wife... (10) And with her he became the father of Ur and Aar[on... (11) with her four (forty?) sons...

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18. Enochic Book Of Giants (4Q532)

Enoch was a figure of great interest in the period of the Scrolls, in part because of the mysterious way the Bible refers to him in Genesis 5:24; ‘Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him’. Apparently, therefore, Enoch did not die, and was taken alive into heaven.


A ‘substantial literature grew up around this figure, of which part was gathered into the book known as First (or, Ethiopic) Enoch. The Book of Giants was another literary work concerned with Enoch, widely read (after Translation into the appropriate languages) in the Roman empire. Among the Qumran texts are at least six, and perhaps as many as eleven, copies of the Book of Giants.


The following portion seems to belong to that work. The ‘giants’ were believed to be the offspring of fallen angels (the Nephilim; also called Watchers) and human women. The story of the giants derives from Genesis 6.



Column 2

Fragments 1-6 (2)... with fles[h]... (3) al[1]... the Nephili[m]... will be... (4) they were rising up... Pious Knowledge... so that when... (5) the earth... Mighty Ones... (6) were firmly decided... And I... (7) [They] will be... by the Ete[rnal] Watchers... (8) [in the e]nd he will perish and die. And... (9)... (10) who... allowed him to co[me]... (11) They will be... [from] the earth as far as He[aven]... Lord of Lords... between... (12) on the earth among all Mesh]... in Heaven. And . .. (13) then there will not... and gre[at] Knowledge... (14) and the strong] will be bound...

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19. Pseudo-Jubilees (4Q227)

The preserved portions of these two fragments appear to contain information about Enoch similar to the Book of Jubilees 4:17-24. A good deal of the interest centering around Enoch, as we have noted, was connected with his assumption alive into Heaven and the mysterious allusion in Genesis to ‘walking with God’.


This allowed him to be seen as a mystery figure conversant with 1. Heavenly Knowledge - in particular ‘Knowledge’ of an esoteric kind, and 2. scientific knowledge of the kind alluded to in this text - knowledge of the heavenly spheres and their courses. Since he had been there, he could actually measure them.

Enoch also becomes one of the precursors of mystical Heavenly journeying or Heavenly Ascents. What is interesting about this text is the reference to ‘the Righteous’ - the Zaddikim - seemingly twice, just in the extant fragments (1. 1 and 2.6). This Heavenly journeying moves into early Christian tradition, as it does into both Kabbalah and Islam. Not only is Enoch the Righteous a well-known cognomen as are Noah the Righteous and James the Righteous- but ‘the Righteous’ would even seem to be a name for the members of the Community represented by the literature at Qumran, a synonym and linguistic variation of the Bnai-Zadok (‘the sons of Zadok’) as we have noted above.


The use of such terminology here in relation to the knowledge of the heavenly bodies and their courses, as well as of the calendar, would appear to carry something of this connotation in Line 2.6, i.e. the Community leadership has not and does not err in these matters.


The use, too, of darcheizevam (‘the paths of their hosts’) in 2. 5 , meaning the fixed trajectories of the heavenly bodies is interesting too, as a heavenly parallel to some of the more common, earthly adumbrations of this terminology for the Community, such as the Darchei-Zedek, Darchei-Emet, Darchei-{c}Or (‘the Ways of Righteousness’, ‘Truth’, ‘Light’), etc.., as opposed to ‘the Ways of Darkness’, ‘Evil’, ‘Lying’, ‘uncleanness’, ‘abomination’, ‘fornication’ and the like. By implication, these too are fixed, at least in their positive sense, by the Law.



Fragment 1

(1)... all the Righteous... (2) before Moses... (3) all the days of... ( 6) the years of... will be lengthened...

Fragment 2

(1) [E]noch after we instructed him (2)... six jubilees of years (3)... [ea]rth among all mankind and he witnessed against them all (4)... and also against the Watchers. And he wrote down all the (5)... [the] heavens and all the paths of their hosts (i.e., the heavenly bodies), all [the months (6)... [in which the Rig[hteous] have not erred...

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20. Aramaic Tobit (4Q 196)

For Jews and Protestant Christians the book of Tobit is outside the canon of the Bible, being counted among the Apocrypha. Catholics, however, along with the Greek and Russian Orthodox branches of Christianity, regard the book as part of the Bible in the sense that it is ‘Deuterocanonical’. Although scholars for the most part believed that Tobit had originally been written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, the Semitic original version was long lost.


The book’s primary witnesses were two rather different Greek versions (one ‘short’ version and one ‘long’). Thus the significance of the Qumran caches: they include portions of four Aramaic manuscripts of the book, together with one Hebrew manuscript. All of these manuscripts support the ‘long’ version of Tobit known from the Greek.


It is now clear that the short Greek version never had a Semitic counterpart and is nothing more than an abbreviation of the long Greek text. Until very recently, however, Bible Translations into modern languages had always relied upon the short text. In the wake of the Qumran discoveries, translators have begun to work instead with the long text - still, unfortunately, having only the Greek witness; no more than a few isolated phrases of the Qumran Semitic forms have previously been published.

The Semitic texts of Tobit will certainly require adjustments even of those Translations that have worked with the superior long Greek text. For example, in the portion presented here (Tobit 1:19-2:2), the latter half of the Aramaic text of 1:22 is preferable to the Greek. The New Revised Standard Version translates the portion in question thus: ‘Now Ahiqar was chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet and in charge of administrations of the accounts under King Sennacherib of Assyria; so Esarhaddon reappointed him’ (italics ours).


The Aramaic makes it clear that Esarhaddon did not merely reappoint Ahiqar, but raised him up to a position second only to the king himself (note the Translation, Line 8 below). We may expect many such improvements in our understanding of this charming book now that the Semitic texts have brought us much closer to the original.



Fragment 1

(1) [one o]f the Ninevites (went) and informed the kin[g that] I was bury[ing them, so] I hid myself. When I discovered [that] he knew about me, (2) [and that I was being sought to be killed, I was frightened and I fled. [Then a]ll [that] I owned [was confiscated,] nothing was left to me. (There was not) one thi[ng] (3) [that they did not take] to the [king’s storehouse,] ex[cept Hannah my wife and T[ob]iah my son. It was not fo[rty-] (4) [five days before two of] his [sons killed him (i.e., the king). They fled to the mountains of Ararat, and [Esarhaddon his son] ruled (5) [in his place. He em]powered Ahiqar the son of Anael my brother over all the ac[counting] (6) [of his kingdom. He also installed Ahiqar as chief of the (sacred) treasury. He was in charge of [a]11 of the king’s funds. Aqihar interceded (7) on my behalf, so that I returned to Nineveh. Ahi]qar my ‘brother’ was the chief cupbearer and the official in charge of the signet rings and the treasurer (8) [and] the accountant for Sennacherib, king of Assyria, while Esarhaddon appointed him second (only) to himself. For [he] (9) was my nep[hew], from the house of my father and my family. In the days of Esarhaddon the [ki]ng, when I returned (10) to my home and Hannah my wife was returned to me, [along with] Tobiah my son, on the day of the festival of We[eks, I had] (11) a fine banquet. I reclined to [ea]t, and they set the ta[b]le before me. I saw the many delicacies that they brought, (12) and [I sa]id [to To]biah my son, ‘My son, go and bring anyone [whom you] may find among [our] brothers (13)... my son, go and get (such), that he may come and eat [together with me...]

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21. Stories From The Persian Court (4Q550)

Apparently these stories concerned the adventures of Jews at the court of the Persian kings. The use of the word ‘Jew’ (Yehudi) in 6.3 is, therefore, probably one of the oldest usages of this term - it is not commonly found in other genres of Qumran literature, which tend either to speak in terms of classical archetypes or to archaize (cf. the allusion to Beit-Yehudahl ‘House of Judah’ in the Habakkuk Pesher, viii). We will find it in other interesting texts below, and apparently the usage was already becoming common even in Palestine. One also begins to encounter it on the coins of the Maccabeans also discussed below.

The genre of ‘the Jew at the foreign court’ was very popular during the period of the Scrolls. Such stories encouraged the Jews in the years when they were under foreign domination, for they told of great successes accomplished by their people. Further, they encouraged the Jews to remain loyal to their God in the face of very enticing new cultural alternatives; these stories typically climaxed with the foreign potentate forced to acknowledge the greatness of the Jewish God.


Thus these adventures were simultaneously great fun and an argument against idolatry. As far as can be determined, the structure of the stories presented here was something like the following: a young man raised at the court of the Persian king is at the age when he is about to embark on his career at court. He is instructed as to the adventures of his predecessors, including his father Fratervana, an earlier man named Bagasri and an intermediate figure known as Bagose. Bagasri served in the time of Darius - perhaps the Darius of Dan. 6, who is usually identified as Darius 1 (522- 486 BC) or perhaps one of the later figures by that name: Darius 11 (423-405 BC) or Dairus 111 (335- 330 BC).

Bagasri had some problem at court, and was in danger of losing his life (Column 6). He triumphed through the greatness of his God, and Darius was forced to acknowledge both his own sins (Column 4) and the power of the God of Israel (Column 8). The king also wrote a scroll telling the whole story much like Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4. Bagose served at the court after Bagasri and somehow forfeited all his possessions.


Through a series of events now lost, he was vindicated, and like job his wealth was returned to him in a double measure. Fratervana’s tale connects in some way to the servants of the royal wardrobe; perhaps he discovered a conspiracy against the king among those high officials. The most obvious connections of these stories are with the so-called ‘Court Stories of Daniel’ (Dan. 1- 6).


Other didactic tales to which the Qumran texts bears a resemblance are the Books of Tobit and Judith. It should also be remarked that the Book of Esther, which so far has not been found in the Qumran corpus, must also be understood as part of the genre of ‘the Jew at the foreign court’. The text before us is not dissimilar to Esther and could even have been a rival to it for inclusion in the canon.

Like Esther, there is a king who uses his own memoirs to recall the good services of Jewish courtiers and an evil opponent whom the king ultimately punishes, while at the same time restoring the good name of the Jews.

Why Esther has so far not been found at Qumran has been debated. Since this genre of literature has now been found at Qumran, there most probably was an ideological antagonism to it. Previously one might not have thought so. This objection can best be understood in terms of the militant xenophobia and apocalyptic nationalism of the Community, as well as its condemnation of precisely the kind of ‘fornication’ Esther indulges in. That Esther could marry and enter the harem of a foreign potentate, even in order to save her people, as the book posits, would have been anathema to a Community or movement such as this.

On the other hand, if Esther is to be considered highly mythologized, and if the anti-Herodian animus of the group responsible for many of these writings is confirmed, then a book like Esther would, no doubt, have been looked upon as ‘a stalking horse’ for Herodian pretensions. Herodian princesses like the infamous Berenice and Drusilla (not to mention their aunt Herodias in the previous generation) were making precisely the same kind of marital and extra-marital arrangements with people no less despised than Nero’s freedman Felix and the destroyer of Jerusalem and emperor to be Titus.


Presumably they, too, were making the same excuse, ‘to save their people’. Therefore Esther would have been seen as particularly repugnant in a way that these tales - containing no hint of illicit activity or sexual impropriety - were not. For their part, the Maccabee books present ‘the day of Mordechai’ as preceded by a feast day they call ‘the day of Nicanor’.


On this day, which they present like Hannukah as having been ratified by popular vote, the head of a particularly despised foreign enemy of the Jews was hung from the citadel of Jerusalem (2 Macc. 15:35, a particularly zealous proponent of this kind of activity).



Column 2 (or later)

(1) a man, unless the king knows; indeed, there exists... (2) and the witness shall not perish. They have believed what is upright... (3) 0 king, Fratervana the son of... has... (4) there fell upon him fear of the (contents of) the archi[ves...] (5) the foundations of the king that you shall spe[ak] and be given... (6) my house [and] my [po]ssessions for everything that... (7) shall you be able to take up your father’s occupation?...

Column 3 (or later)

(1) the foundations of the king that you shall speak to the prince (?)... (2) Fratervana [your] father from the day that he took up his occupation before the king... (3) for him he did honestly and... before him... (4) and he said the foundations of... (7) pea[ce]...

Column 4 (or later)

(1) [they used] to listen to Fratervana your father... (2) to the servants of the royal wardrobe in [al]l... to do (3) the business of the king in all that he recei[ved...] in that very year (4) the king’s patience... his fat[h]er... before him; among (5) the books was found a cer[tain] scroll [sea]led by seven seals (impressed by) the signet ring of Darius his father. The matter (6)... ‘[Dar]ius the king to the servants of the kingdom of a[ll] the [e]arth: Peace.’ It was opened and read. (The following) was found written in it: ‘Darius the king (7) [wrote to all] kings after myself, to the servants of the kingdom: Pe[ac]e. Let it be known to you that all oppression and falsehood...


Column 6 (or later)

(1)... for you know... for the sins of my fathers (2) that they sinned aforetime and... and I followed after... (3) a Jew from among the k[ing]’s officials stood in front of him and... [the] good [ma]n. (4) The good man did... What shall I do with you? You know [that] it is poss[ible] (5) for a man like [you to hasten (?) everything. A man] of your household (once) stood where you (now) stand... (6) Command me (to do) any[thi]ng that you wa[n]t, and when you have [spo]ken, I will bury you in... (7) he dwells in all. It is possible that he will bring in my service be[fore... and everything that...

Column 8 (or later)

(1) the highest (God) whom you fear and serve, he is ruler over the [ear]th. It is easy for him to [d]o anything that he desires, (2) [and] anyone who speaks an [e]vil word against Bagasri... shall be killed, because there is no... (3) Good forever... that he saw... two. And he said, ‘Let the king write... (4) he saw... to the k[ing...] them in the great ro[y]al court... (5) and after (the story of) Badgers, they read in thi[s] book... (6) Evil, his Evil shall return upon his...


Column 9 (or later)

(1) [the] k[ing]’s decree... they went... (2) [to] writ[e...] he went... in the clothing... (3) a gold[en] crown [weighing one hundred and fi[f]ty. He went... (4) apart from him... he went and sai[d...] (5) (he returned the?) [si]lver and [g]old and [possession]s that [bel]ong to Bagose in a double measure... (6) he entered the king’s court in the name of Bagasri... (7) [ki]lled. Then [B]agasri entered the king’s co[ur]t... (8) the chief butler answered and said, ‘Bagasri, Bagasri, from...’

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(14) A Genesis Florilegium (4Q252)
Previous Discussions: J. M. Allegro, ‘Further Messianic References in Qumran Literature’, Journal of Biblical Literature 75 (1956) 174-6; H. Stegemann, Weitere Stücke von 4QpPsalm 37, von 4Q Patriarchal Blessings and Hinweis auf eine unedierte Handschrift aus Hôhle 4Q mit Exzerpten aus dem Deuteronomium’, Revue de Qumran 6 (1967-69) 211-17; Milik, MS, 138.

Photographs: PAM 43.253 and 43.381, ER 1289 and 1375.

We supply the following technical information to help the reader appreciate the author’s arguments (references are to primeval dates, columns and lines):

1:1-3 The author understood Gen. 6:3 to mean that only 120 years remained to antedeluvian man before the judgement of the flood. Whether the replacement of the Masoretic ‘he will judge’ with ‘he will live’ represents an interpretation or a textual variant is unclear, but the substitution of ‘their days’ for ‘his days’ in Line 2 affects the meaning drastically.
1:10 and following.

The author’s chronology of the flood (according to the years of Noah’s life) is as follows:

(1) 17.2.600 The flood begins (Line 4; Gen. 7:11).
(2) 26.3.600 The rain ceases to fall 40 days after it began (Lines 6-7; Gen. 7:17). The author counted 17.2.600 as the first day in his calculations.
(3) 14.7.600 The waters begin to recede 150 days after the flood began (Line 8; Gen. 7.24, 8:3). Thus the author counted the 40 days of Gen. 7:17 as part of the 150 days. Note that the dates given in the Biblical text work only on the basis of a calendar of 30 days per month; they also allow the intercalation of two days between 17.2 and 14.7 precisely the calendar of Jubilees and many Qumran texts.
(4) 17.7.600 The ark comes to rest on the mountains of Ararat on the third day of the waters’ recession (Line 10; Gen. 8:4). The author calculated the two days mentioned in Line 9 by comparing Gen. 7:24, 8:3 and 8:4.
(5) 1.10.600 The tops of the mountains become visible (Line 11; Gen. 8:5).
(6) 10.11.600 Noah opens a window of the ark and sends the raven (Lines 13-14; Gen. 8:6-7). (7) 17.11.600 Noah sends the dove out for the first time (Lines 14-15). Thus the author understood the words ‘and he sent’ of Gen. 8:8 as concealing an unstated lapse of seven days. This is a logical assumption, since there would be no reason to send the dove and the raven at the same time. Further, a seven-day lapse is suggested by what follows.
(8) 24.11.600 The dove goes out a second time, and it returns with an olive branch (Lines 15-18ª;
Gen. 8:10-11).
(9) 1.12.600 Noah sends the dove out for a third time, and it does not return (Lines 18b-20ª; Gen.
(10) 1.1.60 1 Noah removes the covering of the ark (Lines 206-2:1; Gen. 8:13). The waters have completely receded.
(11) 17.2.601 The land is dry, and Noah leaves the ark at the end of precisely one full year (2:1-3; cf. Gen. 8:14). The date of the Masoretic Text - which the author of the text almost certainly must have had in his scroll of Genesis - was read as a lunisolar date. For Gen. 8:14 to be read this way, it was necessary to presuppose that the flood began in the first year of a three-year cycle, at which point both the solar and the lunisolar calendars agree on the date 17.2. After one year, the two will disagree on the date: solar 17.2 = lunisolar 27.2. After yet another year, the variance will be ten days greater: solar 17.2 = lunisolar 7.3. Between the third and fourth years an intercalated month would return the situation to that of the first year. Thus, only if the flood ended in the second year of the cycle would it be possible to understand Gen. 8:14 as the author did.
(15) Joshua Apocryphon (4Q522) Previous Discussions: E. Puech, ‘Fragments du Psaume 122 clans un manuscript hébreu de la grotte iv’, Revue de Qumran 9 (1977-8) 547-54; J. T. Milik, DJD 3, 179. hotograph: PAM 43.606, ER 1553.
(16) A Biblical Chronology (4Q559) Previous Discussions: None. Photograph: PAM 43.603, ER
(17) Hur and Miriam (4Q544) Previous Discussions: None. Photograph: PAM 43.574 (top), ER 1522.
(18) Enochic Book of Giants (4Q532) Previous Discussion: J. T. Milik, Books, 309. Photograph:
PAM 43.573 (top), ER 1521. It is not certain how the fragments should be aligned.
(19) Pseudo Jubilees (4Q227) Previous Discussion: Milik, Books, 12. Photograph: PAM 43.238, ER
(20) Aramaic Tobit (4Q 196) Previous Discussions: J. T. Milik, ‘La patrie de Tobie’, Revue Biblique
73 (1966) 522; idem, Books, 163 and 186. Photograph: PAM 43.175, ER 1230.
(21) Stories of the Persian Court (4Q550) Previous Discussions: None. Photographs: PAM 43.584 and
43.585, ER 1530 and 1531.

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