The Dead Sea Scrolls
Part 5

Biblically Based Apocryphal Works
Part 2

A Joshua Apocryphon (i) or Psalms of Joshua
A poorly preserved scroll sometimes erroneously designated as The Psalms of Joshua was discovered in Cave 4. The text is a re-written account of Joshua. The manuscript is fragmented into 27 very small pieces and 41 other small pieces of 4Q379. The text appears to be a farewell speech by Joshua along with admonitions, prayers, and curses. Also contained in the text are songs of praise and a prayer listing the 12 Tribes of Israel.

A Joshua Apocryphon
Two fragments that are at the end of the Book of Joshua were discovered at Masada. The fragments are dated at the turn of the era.

The Samuel Apocryphon
The Samuel Apocryphon scroll fragments found in Cave 4 relate to the book of Samuel. They include a prayer, a discussion between Eli and Samuel, a narrative, and an autobiographical speech.

A Paraphrase on Kings
The 154 papyrus fragments, dated to the first half of the 1st Century BCE, are a type of paraphrase of the Books of Kings. They were found in Cave 4.

An Elisha Apocryphon
The Elisha Apocryphon consists of three tiny fragments of the Hebrew text of 2nd Kings 2:14-16 with paraphrase. They were discovered in Cave 4.

A Zedekiah Apocryphon
The three poorly preserved fragments of A Zedekiah Apocryphon, an early Herodian missive, speak of King Zedekiah talking with Michael the Archangel and the covenant Michael promises to make with the King. This text speaks kindly of King Zedekiah. This scroll was discovered at Qumran in Cave 4.

A Historico-theological Narrative based on Genesis and Exodus
This scroll is a historical account related from a theological viewpoint. The theme of the text is that God is to remember Jerusalem after much humiliation and oppression. 4Q462 contains two joined fragments which are dated to the mid 1st Century BCE. The fragments are badly preserved.

Tobit is an apocryphal book found in a short and long Greek text. In Cave 4 at Qumran, four Aramaic and one Hebrew scrolls were discovered. Two of those manuscripts had many extracts of the Book of Tobit from the Semitic original. The first three scrolls are dated to the 1st Century BCE, the 2 remaining scrolls to 30 BCE-20CE.

A Jeremiah Apocryphon
These two columns of a scroll found in Cave 4 give an apocryphal account of Jeremiah’s life. These fragments are thought to be part of an Ezekiel Apocryphon. It is believed the manuscript dates to the end of the 1st Century BCE.

The New Jerusalem
In Caves 1,2,4,5, and 11, fragments of the New Jerusalem scroll were found. The fragments were in Hebrew and Aramaic and describe the New Jerusalem. Ezekiel 60-68 and Revelation 21 inspired the manuscript. The theme of the scroll is the measuring and detailing of the New Jerusalem. An angel measures and details everything about the city; dimensions of rooms, size of the blocks of the houses, streets, stairs, windows and rooms. The measurements used by the angel are “reeds” of seven “cubits”. This scroll is dated to around the turn of the era.

Second Ezekiel
The fragments of the apocryphal Second Ezekiel were found in Cave 4 at Qumran. The subject of the text is a discussion between God and Ezekiel. It also tells of Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones and the Chariot. The fragments of the scroll are dated to approximately mid-1st Century BCE.

The Prayer of Nabonidus
This fragmented scroll found in Cave 4 is a narrative concerning the illness and miraculous recovery of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. It is similar to the story of King Nebuchadnezzar found in the Book of Daniel. The manuscript was probably written in the late 2nd Century or early 1st Century BCE.

Pre-Danielic Writings
More fragments much like the Book of Daniel were discovered in Cave 4. Daniel’s name appears three times in the text. The fragments are too small for coherent translation.

The Four Kingdoms
The poorly preserved Aramaic fragments found in Cave 4 refer to the tale of the four empires in the Book of Daniel, but use four trees as a metaphor for the empires.

An Aramaic Apocalypse
An Aramaic Apocalypse, also known as The Son of God fragment was discovered at Qumran in Cave 4. There is much controversy about the identity of the “Son of God” spoken of in the text. The manuscript fragment is much like the apocalyptic section in the Book of Daniel.

Dated to the second half of the 1st Century BCE, these badly damaged text fragments recall the biblical story of Esther. The Aramaic text fragments were found in Cave 4.


The Copper Scroll
In 1952, in Cave 3 at Qumran, archaeologists discovered The Copper Scroll. So badly oxidized, the scroll could not be unfolded. In 1956 it was sent to Manchester College of Science and Technology where Professor H. Wright Baker carefully took the scroll and divided it into longitudinal strips. It was then returned to Jordan. The scroll is like a treasure map listing 64 hiding places in Jerusalem and some of the districts of Palestine where the Temple treasures are supposed to be hidden. From the list of treasures spoken of in the scroll, the fortune could possible be up to 65 tons of silver and 26 tons of gold. Some believe the scroll to be a work of fiction penned about 100 CE. Others believe the scroll to be genuine. Their thinking on the matter is this: If the text of the scroll was not a true story, why engrave it on a valuable metal instead of papyrus or leather? This is still a point of discrepancy among scholars.

List of False Prophets
Dated to the Herodian period, these Aramaic fragments of a short list of false prophets was discovered in Cave 4. The first six false prophets named are biblical.

List of Netinim
The very poorly preserved fragments of a list of netinim (temple servants) was found in Cave 4. The temple servants are spoken of in 1st Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The text is dated to the first half of the 1st Century BCE.

Entry Into The Covenant
This very small fragment of a document which describes the entry into the covenant comes from Cave 4. The entry is also known from Community Rule. It speaks of the Feast of Weeks of Pentecost.

Four Classes of the Community
From Cave 4, this tiny fragment of a manuscript shows the division of the community into four separate classes.

The Two Ways
This fragmented text takes its inspiration from Deuteronomy 11:26-28. It was found in Cave 4.

Hymnic Fragments
This two-sided fragment found in Cave 4 has the beginning of Community Rule on one side and a poem akin to the Qumran Hymns on the other.

Two Qumran Ostraca
In 1996 these two Hebrew Ostraca (pot shards) were found at the base of the eastern wall which separates the cemetery from the community center at Qumran. They are dated to the 1st Century CE. Fragment one speaks of a gift of a slave, an estate, and produce.

“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