The Dead Sea
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.
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
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
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”.
“The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In
On-line Study Resources on the
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea
Dead Sea Scrolls - Qumran Library
Dead Sea Scrolls Web Page of the University of
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