The Dead Sea
Biblically Based Apocryphal Works
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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