4Q422 – Paraphrase of Genesis and Exodus, Fragment I

Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa 5...
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…[the heavens and the earth and all] their host He made by [His] word. [And God rested on the seventh day from all the work whi]ch He had made. And [His] holy spirit…. [all th]e living and creeping [creatu]res… [He put man on the ear]th to rule over it and to eat the frui[ts of the ground]… w[ith]out eating from the tree of kn[owledge of good and evil’… He rose against Him and they forgot…with an evil inclination and for deed[s of]…peace/payment. (The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English)

The ‘he’ in bold I would take be Adam as it follows the story line easy enough. I note then that the interpreter here cites Adam as the source of the rebellion and not Eve. In my opinion, the Canonical text says the same thing, but few see it that way.

Most works call this section the paraphrase of Genesis and Exodus, as noted above, but I tend to agree with Dorothy Peters (p139-140) that the title is misleading. It seems to me, from a short read admittedly, that it is not merely a paraphrase but a work based on the text(s) itself.

Peters notes,

“Evil inclination”  and “work[s of wickedness]”  follow immediately after reference to the tree of knowledge (4Q422 I, 6–12) and act as “a bridge to the Flood narrative.”41 “Inclination” in 4Q422, then, prompts acts of judgment (cf. Gen 6:5) and not God’s compassion, as in Festival Prayers.

Skipping the He rose against Him line. Adam’s sin is rebellion, of course, and requires judgment. I don’t know – just thinking aloud here – but there seems to me to be more there than just a retelling of the Fall. If Adam is seen as Israel, then maybe the rebellion (turning to other gods/forgetting) is now being met with the price of peace/payment which is exile (both for Israel at large and the Qumran community).

Just some thoughts. What say you?

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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