The Dead Sea Scrolls
Part 3

Bible Interpretation

The Targum of Job
This small scroll found in Cave 11 has a large portion, in Aramaic, of the last seven chapters of the Book of Job. Twenty-seven small fragments deal with parts of Job 17:14 to 36:33. It represents, along with the small fragments of Leviticus and another scroll of Job also found in Cave 4, the oldest existing text of the Hebrew Bible.

The Targum of Leviticus
This small portion of the Targum of Leviticus was discovered in Cave 4. Along with the Targum of Job, it is one of the oldest existing text of the Hebrew Bible.  Appendix:
Greek Bible Translations
Greek documents found in Cave 4 and 7 are few. Those associated with the Pentateuch are the fragments of two scrolls of Leviticus, one of Numbers, and one of Deuteronomy, all which were found in Cave 4 and dated to the 2nd or 1st Century BCE. The two fragments from Cave 7 are fragments of exodus 28 and the Letter of Jeremiah. Both fragments are dated to around 100 BCE.
Other Greek Fragments
The other two Greek fragments from Cave 4 are dated around the turn of the era. One cannot be identified and the other is possibly an apocryphal account of Israel during their time in Egypt or a paraphrase of Exodus. There are 19 minute fragments of Greek papyrus found in Cave 7. The fragments are considered to be unidentifiable by the editors.

The Reworked Pentateuch
In Cave 4, 5 badly preserved scrolls were found. They are classed as re-workings of the Pentateuch. The Reworked Pentateuch was possibly the largest of all the scrolls judging from the fragments found at Qumran. The 5 scrolls are dated to the 1st Century BCE.

A Paraphrase of Genesis and Exodus
Nine fragments of a paraphrase of Genesis 1-4 and 6-9 were discovered in Cave 4. The text is written in Hasmonaean characters. Other unidentified fragments were also found in Cave 4.

The Genesis Apocryphon
The Genesis Apocryphon manuscript was found in Cave 1 at Qumran. It is incomplete with 22 columns of Aramaic text. Another column “The Genesis Apocryphon Column XII was also found. It appears that the beginning 16 sheets are missing. Only the end of sheet 16 survived. The theme of the scroll seems to be the creation, Adam and Eve, and creation up until Enoch, Noah’s birth,

Abraham’s journey to Egypt and the divine promise to Abraham of a divine son.
This manuscript is dated to the late 1st Century BCE or the first half of the 1st Century CE. The dating of the composition itself is the 2nd Century BCE.

Genesis Commentaries
The fragments of Genesis Commentaries were found in Cave 4 at Qumran. They speak of the biblical flood in respect to the solar calendar of the Qumran community, the cursing of Canaan by Noah, the blessing of Judah, and the royal power forever belonging to the line of David. It is considered to have been composed in the first half of the 1st Century BCE. Only four small fragments are extant.

Commentaries on Isaiah
Fragments of five commentaries on Isaiah were found in Cave 4. Four of those five were translatable. The fifth is much to mutilated to be translated into English. The first fragments deals with the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 11. Fragments two and three speak of Jewish opponents of the Qumran sect. Fragment four deals with the community as the New Jerusalem (Isaiah 55). The fifth small fragment is a commentary on Isaiah, but is not continuous. All the fragments originated in the 1st Century BCE.

Commentaries on Hosea
In cave 4, two fragments of a commentary on Hosea were found. It contains references to the “unfaithful wife”, “the furious young lion”, and “the last Priest who shall strike Ephraim”.

Commentary on Micah
The very small fragments of a commentary on Micah were found in Caves 1 and 4. Some of the fragments are possibly biblical. The Qumran speaker relates Judah and Jerusalem to the Teacher of Righteousness and the community and connects Samaria to the “Spouter of Lies”.

Commentary on Nahum
Large remnants of the Commentary on Nahum scroll were discovered in Cave 4. The commentary deals with Chapters 1 and 2 and the first 14 verses of Chapter 3 of the biblical book of Nahum. The scroll is dated to the 2nd half of the 1st Century BCE.

Commentary on Habakkuk
This scroll, found in Cave 1 at Qumran, is very well preserved. It deals with the first two chapters of the Book of Habakkuk. The scroll has been carbon dated to 30-1 BCE and by radio carbon testing to the date of 120-5 BCE. The Commentary on Habakkuk is an essential tool for studying the origins of Qumran and community’s theology of prophecy.

Commentary on Zephaniah
One badly preserved fragment of the scroll was found in Cave 1 and two other small pieces were discovered in Cave 4. They deal with the biblical Zephaniah.

Commentary on Psalms
A few fragments of Psalms 57 and 58 were found in Cave 1. They are mostly all too small for translation, but fragments 9-10 speak of Kittim. Two other fragments from Cave 4 relate to Psalms, mainly Psalms 37. Parts of Psalms 65 and 127 also survive.

Commentary on an Unidentifiable Text
The fragments of a biblical commentary were recovered from Cave 4. Only fragment two is preserved well enough to translate.

Florilegium or Midrash of the Last Days
This collection of texts gleaned from 2nd Samuel, the Psalter, and other scriptures make up a manuscript of sectarian doctrine. The subjects of the scroll are the coming of the two Messiahs, the “Branch of David” and “Interpreter of the Law”. It is thought to be of the late 1st Century BCE.

Testimonia or Messianic Anthology
Dating to the early 1st Century BCE, this short scroll consisting of five quotations contains two text from Deuteronomy, an extract from a prophecy of Balaam concerning the Royal Messiah, a blessing of the Levites and the Priest-Messiah, and a verse from Jousha. The scroll was discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran.

Ordinances or Commentaries on Biblical Law
Three scrolls found in Cave 4 are dated possibly to the turn of the era. The text deals with provisions for the poor in the field and on the threshing floor, the half-shekel tax for the upkeep of the site of worship, a prohibition against selling an Israelite into slavery, forbidding an exchange of garments between the sexes, which cases would be judged by 12 magistrates, and the accusations of a man against his wife concerning her virginity at the time of their marriage.

The Heavenly Prince Melchizedek
The 1st Century BCE scroll, The Heavenly Prince Melchizedek, consists of 13 fragments found in Cave 11. The text describes Melchizedek as being identical Michael, the Archangel. He is also spoken of as “Elohim” and “El”. Melchizedek is shown presiding over the condemnation and judgment of Belial (Satan). This scroll gives us insight into the Epistle of the Hebrews Chapter 7 where it speaks of Melchizedek and also into the New Testament concept of the Messiah.

Consolations or Tanhumim
Divine consolation is the theme of these small fragments discovered in Cave 4. They deal with verses in Isaiah, Psalms, and Zechariah.

Catenae or Interpretation of Biblical Texts on the Last Days
Over 30 fragments make up the two documents of the Interpretation. Badly fragmented, the text is not coherent. The quotations that are deciphered are from Psalms, The Book of the Law, The Book of Ezekiel, and The Book of Jeremiah. The overall theme is eschatology, “the end of days”.

Part 4

“The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English”

Links to On-line Study Resources on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls
Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls - Qumran Library

Dead Sea Scrolls Web Page of the University of St Andrews

at Books for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, Robert Eisenman & Michael Wise, Penguin Books, 1992
The Dead Sea Scriptures, Theodor H. Gaster, Peter Smith Publishing, 1976
The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, Florentino Garcia Martinez, William B. Eerdmans, 1996
Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr. & Edward Cook, Harper, 1996