In the Mail: @DeGruyter_TRS “The Rewritten Scrolls from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary (Beihefte Zur Zeitschrift Fur Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft) “

Among the unknown Jewish writings that emerged from the caves of Qumran are five scrolls rewriting the Book of Joshua. The present volume offers a detailed analysis of these texts and explores their relationship with each other and other Second Temple Jewish writings concerned with the figure of Joshua. The first full-blown study of this group of scrolls, this book is of interest to students and scholars working in the fields of the Dead Sea scrolls and ancient Jewish biblical interpretation.

Part of my dissertation is looking at rewriting… so this will come in handy, I believe.

Revelation 10 and the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400-7)

English: Qumran refectory (locus 77) Français ...

English: Qumran refectory (locus 77) Français : Qumran réfectoire (locus 77) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, sorry for the brevity, just wanted to put this out there. By now, you know I am working on my 3rd book, one that is taking a different look at Revelation. As I write the book, it slowly changes. I don’t think it will morph anymore, mind you, but what started off as X has now become Y. Or something like that. Anyway,

Read Revelation 10.1-11. Note especially Revelation 10.4-5 and seven thunders speaking unknown things. We find this in the Qumran collection called the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400-7). There are nine fragments. One reads,

the third of the chief princes. He will exalt the God of the exalted [an]gels seven times, with seven words of wonderful exaltations.1


seven mysteries of knowledge in the wonderful mystery of the seven regions of the hol[y of holies … The tongue of the first will be strengthened seven times with the tongue of the second to him. The tongue of the second to him will be strengthened]

seven times with (that) of the third to [him. The tong]ue of the thi[rd will] be strengthened seve[n times with (that) of the fourth to him. The tongue of the fourth will be strengthened seven times with the tongue of the fifth to him. The tongue of the fifth will be strengthened seven times with the tongue of]2

There is more in the fragments, but this should give you a taste. What are this fragments thought to represent? Why… an ancient liturgy.


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  1. Florentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations)” (Leiden: Brill, 1997–1998), 815.
  2. Florentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations)” (Leiden: Brill, 1997–1998), 821.

Some affinity between Revelation 9 and 4Q300 (also 1QMysteries)

English: Stained Glass depiction of Revelation...

English: Stained Glass depiction of Revelation 3:20 “Jesus at the Door.” Window attributed to the Quaker City Glass Company of Philadelphia, 1912. Installed in St. Matthew’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I don’t want to really get into this at the moment, but if you look at Revelation 9, you will see something very similar to the DSS fragment below. See this brief paper by Torleif Elgvin, especially the part where he mentions Flusser’s arguments on 1Q27 and how it influenced the Rosh Hashanah liturgy.

My goal is not to suggest John used 1Q27, but to show the use of ‘smoke’ in both, as (as it appears to me) something similar… like an ancient liturgy.

Frag. 1 col. I (= 4Q299 1; 4Q300 3)

1 […] all […]
2 […] mysteries of sin
3 [… all] their wisd[om]. And they do not know the mystery of existence, nor understand ancient matters. And they do not
4 know what is going to happen to them; and they will not save their souls from the mystery of existence.
5 And this will be for you the sign /that this is going to happen./ When those born of sin are locked up, evil will disappear before justice as [da]rkness disappears before
6 light. As smoke vanishes, and n[o] longer exists, so will evil vanish for ever. And justice will be revealed like the sun which regulates
7 the world. And all those who curb the wonderful mysteries will no longer exist. And knowledge will pervade the world, and there will ne[ver] be folly there.
8 This word will undoubtedly happen, the prediction is truthful. And by this he will show you that it is irrevocable: Do not all
9 nations loathe sin? And yet, it is about by the hands of all of them. Does not praise of truth come from the mouth of all nations?
10 And yet, is there perhaps one lip or one tongue which persists with it? What people would wish to be oppressed by another more powerful than itself? Who
11 would wish to be sinfully looted of its wealth? And yet, which is the people not to oppress its neighbour? Where is the people which has not
12 looted [another] of its wea[lth? …] … and the exits […]1

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  1. Florentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations)” (Leiden: Brill, 1997–1998), 67–69.

Insert Pun about the Virgin Birth – My take

First, it begins here with comments by Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, an expert in the Hebrew bible. T. Michael Law, the expert in the Greek Old Testament, known in the heavenly tongue as Septuagint, weighs in about the mistranslation part. Mark Goodacre finds his mic. John Barton, a colleague of Jim’s via SOTS, weighs in as well.

Dr. Stravrakopoulou suggests that Matthew reads Isaiah 7.14 as a mistranslation resulting in the understanding a virgin birth. The Law is laid down on whether or not the LXX Isaiah is a mistranslation or not. The LXX is not a mistranslation (in part, as there is no real whole translation theory until after the time of Jesus) but a re-authoring. That’s my pet theory, I guess. Anyway, Goodacre does a great job (warning, British accent that lulls you in) of discussing the use of Scripture in telling the story.

However, Barton is the focal point for me.

that no one would have translated parthenos as virgin unless there had ALREADY been a virgin-birth tradition.

There is a very important virginal/extra-natural birth tradition pre-dating Matthew’s retelling the story of Jesus. Noah, at Qumran and in Enoch (an obviously important book to early /an/Christians, is presented as havingmiraculous birth. I am also going to go into my other pet theory, that the genealogy has something to do with Stoicism, etc… although this is not well-defined and thus, I’ll leave this for later.

A few other areas to look:

  • Virgil in the fourth Eclogue, recognized by the Patristics as problematic so re-interpreted. 
  • Augustus was said to have had his birth announced by portent among other supernatural occurrences

There iss a fertile ground in Matthew’s world not for a mistranslation, but for the use of portents, births out of the natural order to explain surprise births, and to highlight the divine qualities of a person. This is not, in anyway, required to be connected to a Greco-Roman schema of demigods and the such. Matthew, no doubt, intended his audience to understand that Mary was impregnated according to God’s will, the first factor in the greatness of Jesus and used his bible, the LXX (because, as T. Michael Law would have it, God Spoke Greek), to do so. He was not the first Jew to promote the divine-ordained, and free of the sins of this world, birth of a prophet to other Jews, but followed a rather Jewish pattern as seen in the Genesis Apocryphon and Enoch, books and thoughts closer to the authors of the Gospels and much more palatable to their audience than Greco-Roman myths.

This gets into the post-/structural debate of placing emphasis. Either we place it on Matthew or the audience, although I like the middle ground myself. We can reasonably identify certain qualities of Matthew and we can reasonably identify the audience in a certain social situation, but not the initial reception beyond that of acceptance. My supposition is that Matthew very well intended that the audience would understand the story as meaning that Mary was impregnated by an angel/holy Spirit but accepting a presented literary structure is not the only goal of the author — I would contend that Matthew would rather have wanted his audience to receive what he meant by the inclusion of this story. An example I used in discussing this with a friend via phone was Virgil reading his poem about the ascendency of Rome and Augustus to the Emperor Augustus who knew very well many of the events enshrined did not occur as written and more than likely, if reception history is the judge, understood the intended allegory.

Anyway, here is my 2.5 shekels.

Interview with Prof. Lawrence Schiffman (@LHSchiffman) on “Outside the Bible”

Prof. Lawrence Schiffman talks with Rabbi Barry Schwartz, JPS Director, about his role as Editor of Outside the Bible, a groundbreaking JPS anthology of second temple literature to be released in 2013.

You can find Dr. Schiffman’s site (and blog) here. The publishers have a blog as well, which can be found – and watched for news – here.

Outside the Bible is the most comprehensive collection of texts comprising ancient Israel’s excluded scriptures and earliest biblical commentary, accompanied by modern commentary that places them in context and explains their significance for Jews and Christians alike.

Funds are needed to complete this groundbreaking project, destined to become a classic. This remarkable three-volume anthology is projected for late fall 2013 publication. For more information, please download the Outside the Bible Brochure[PDF 2.45MB]

I cannot wait for such an anthology, which promises to fulfill a much needed voided in the area.

11QMelchizedek (11Q13)

Col. 1[ab]out [which] Moses [said:] “Indeed, i[t is a jubilee. It will be] holy [for you."] Lev 25:12Col 2

1 [        ] sk m [    ]

2 [       ] And as for what he said, “In [this] year of the jubilee [each of you will return to his property" Lev 25:13 concerning it is said "Now this is]

3 [the ma]nner [of the release:] Let every creditor remit what he has lent [his neighbor. He shall nor press his neighbor or his brother for repayment, for] Go[d's] release [has been proclaimed" Deut 15:2]

4 [Its interpretation for the e]nd of days concerns the captives about whom [he said "To proclaim freedom to the captives" Isa 61:1] Its interpretation is that he]

5 will assign them to the sons of heaven and the lot of Melchizedek, f[or he will cast] their lot amid the por[tions of Melchize]dek,

6 who will make them return and will proclaim freedom to them, to free them from the [debt] of all their iniquities. And thus will this thing happen

7 in the first week of the jubilee that occurs after the ninth jubilee. Now the d[ay of atone]ment i[s the en]d of the tenth [ju]bilee,

8 when atonement (will be made) for all the sons of [light? and] for the m[e]n of the lot Mel[chi]zedek [] pt…wm about who[m] ht[      ] l [      ] them.

9 Indeed, it is the time of the year of grace of Melchiz[edek]. And he will by his strength raise up the holy ones of God to execute judgment as it has been written

10 concerning him in the songs of David, as it says, “Elohim [st]ands in the assemby [of el,] in the midst of elohim he judges.” Ps 82:1And concerning it he sa[id,] “Above it,

11 to the heights, return. el will judge the nations.” Ps 7:8-9 And as for what he sa[id, "How long will you] judge unjustly and show impartiality to the wicked. selah.” Ps 82:2

12 Its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot wh[ ] their turning away from the commandments of el to [act wickedly?]

13 And Melchizedek will exact the vengeances of the judgments of el [         ] of Belial and the hand of all [      ]w

14 And his helpers will be all the elim [of...      ] H[e] ‘[            ] all the sons of el and hp[      ]h

15…this…This is the day [of peace? about w]hich [God] spoke [through the mouth of Isa[iah the prophet who said “[How] beautiful

16 on (the) mountains are the feet of the messen[ger who pro]claims peace, the messen[ger of good who proclaims salvati[on, saying to Zion, ‘Your God [reigns.'"] (Isa 52:7)

17 Its interpretation: The mount[ai]ns are [the words?] of the prophet[s], those w[ho    ] proph[esied] to all [      ]

18 And the messenger i[s the one an]ointed of the spir[it about] whom Dan[iel] said: ["Until an anointed, a prince, (there will be) seven weeks." Dan 9:5 And the messenger]

19 of good who proclai[ms salvation,] he is the one about whom it is w[ritte]n, when [it says...]

20 “to comfo[rt those who mourn...] Isa 61:2-3 to [in]struct them in all the ages of the wo[rld]

21 in truth l [               ] h [         ]

22 [       ] h will turn away from Belial and t[       ]

23 [             ] by the judgments of el, as it has been written about him, ["Saying to Zi]on, ‘Your God reigns'” (Isa 52:7). Z[i]on i[s]

24 [         ] those who uphold the covenant, those who turn aside from walking in the ways of the people. But “Your el[o]him”

25 [is Melchizedek, who will save? them from] the hand of Belial. And as for that which he has said, “You will blow the [signal-ho]rn in the [seventh] m[onth] Lev 25:9

Also, take a gander here.

Thom Stark buries Richard Carrier – 11QMelchizedek (11Q13)

This second part of my response to Richard Carrier will deal essentially with the interpretation of three texts: Daniel 9:24-27, Isaiah 52:7-53:12, and 11QMelchizedek. I will spend the bulk of my time responding point by point to Carrier’s claims, before concluding with a fresh interpretation of 11QMelch, based on new research. I’ve changed my mind back and forth on various questions regarding 11QMelch, but never have I found Carrier’s claims to accord with the data we have. He constantly misreads the texts; he makes contradictory claims about the nature of pesher, as he thinks it suits his purposes, and ultimately fails on virtually every point. The one point he has made that forced me to look closer at the scroll is that it follows the same timeline as Daniel in terms of a ten jubilee cycle. I was of course, with all scholars, already aware of this, but his insistence on the central significance of this point drove me to closer examination of the scroll. Not surprisingly, as it turns out and as I will show, Carrier’s understanding of the timeline of events between Daniel 9 and 11QMelch is incorrect, but I owe to his insistence on this question the clarity I now have about what 11QMelch is saying about the last days.

As always, Thom is well supported by scholarship – actual scholarship, like even from his own field. Give it a good read.

Google, I love you – Dead Sea Scrolls Digitized

Thanks to Robert, via facebook. See, Robert, I told you God invented Google.

The oldest known biblical manuscripts will be available online in a high-resolution format thanks to a partnership between Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, to be launched today, features searchable, fast-loading images of five complete Israeli scrolls of the Second Temple Period, the time of the birth of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. The pictures come with explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history.


“The Dead Sea Scrolls Project with the Israel Museum enriches and preserves an important part of world heritage by making it accessible to all on the internet,” said Professor Yossi Matias, Managing Director of Google’s R&D Center in Israel. Google has been involved in similar projects in the past, including the Google Art Project, Yad Vashem Holocaust Collection and the Prado Museum in Madrid. The scrolls are accessible online at .

Google digitises Dead Sea Scrolls – Telegraph.

4Q422 – Paraphrase of Genesis and Exodus, Fragment I

Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa 5...
Image via Wikipedia

…[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?

4Q525 (4QBeatitudes) – More with Jesus, Lady Wisdom and Folly

By Rembrandt.
Image via Wikipedia

As I noted before, my year long blog project for 2011 is to read the Dead Sea Scrolls. None of these are complete nor meant to be anything more than a self-discipline which hopefully allows me to learn from others as to the things that I miss. Today, I would like to post on 4Q525, a pre-Christian set of Jewish Beatitudes, which for this section (focusing on Fragment 2), I am using (and would equally refer you to), although slightly modified using Geza Vermes massive work, Dr. Barber’s post of same text. Also see Craig Even’s article here as well as Sidnie White Crawford’s work here which focuses on Lady Wisdom and the Dame Folly.

This fragment, 2, catches my attention because of my recent readings with Lady Wisdom countered with Folly in Proverbs. Further, as Evans notes, this is the first non-canonical collection of sayings which is found later in the words of Christ which we call the beatitudes. In other words, the Gospel of Matthew (compare Matthew 5.3-12 and Luke 6.20-26 with the text given below) is not inventing Jesus and some new method of speaking, but most likely delivering a historical (style of) address made by Jesus. So, we have two things which interest me – a testament to the historical (style) of Jesus, which in my opinion helps to date the Gospel of Matthew earlier that a minority would have us believe, as well as the use of this type of language to convey wisdom. To make the New Testament connection, we find that even the Gospel of Matthew, Christ is associated with the Divine Wisdom (see Matthew 11.2, 19, 28-30; 23.34-39) and is seen as a Teacher of Wisdom. George J. Brooke argues in The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament that this sapiential poem might have served as an initiation rite in the community (xxi). He includes an entire chapter (p217-234) at connecting Matthew’s Beatitudes with the ones found at Qumran, and demonstrates his points soundly in my opinion. Finally, he concludes that the speech given by Jesus is an expanded form (note the expansion of eschatology, a theme found in the ninth beatitude in both sets, by Jesus which is only hinted at in 4Q525) of a traditional motif.

[Blessed is]…with a pure heart, and does not slander with his tongue.
Blessed are those who adhere to her laws, and do not adhere to perverted paths. 
Bles[sed] are those who rejoice in her, and do not burst out in paths of folly.
Blessed are those who search for her with pure hands, and do not pursue her with a treacherous [heart.]
Blessed is the man who attains Wisdom, and walks in the law of the Most High, and directs his heart to her ways, and is constrained by her discipline
and alwa[ys] takes pleasure in her punishments;
and does not forsake her in the hardship of [his] wrong[s,]
and in the time of anguish does not abandon her,
and does not forget her [in the days of] terror,
and in the distress of his soul does not loathe [her.]
For he always thinks of her, and in his distress he meditates [on her, and in all his life [he thinks] of her, [and places her] in front of his eyes in order not to walk on paths [folly]
[…] together, and on her account eats away his heart […]
[…] … and with kings it shall make [him s]it […]
[with] his [sc]eptre over … […] brothers … […]
[…] Blank […]
[And] now, sons, lis[ten to … and do] not reject […]
[…] … the evil of […]

It is the message of the Wisdom portion of Proverbs delivered as beatitudes. Like Ben Sira and (1st) Baruch, Wisdom may be seen as the Torah although still developing as a personification of the Law.

Craig A. Evans, in his book Ancient Text for New Testament Studies, notes that Fragment 15 parallels Luke 10.19 but that in the Gospel passage, Christ explicitly gives power to His disciples over the things that Fragment 15 warns against. For those interesting, Evans’ book includes a chapter of allusions between the New Testament and works such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. It seems as well that fragment mentions at the very least imagery later associated with Hell.

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Some information on the Genesis Apocryphon

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - AUGUST 27:  A  combination...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I was able to attend a session at SBL in which I was introduced to the Genesis Apocryphon, a reworked/expanded story pulled from Genesis. You can find the wiki entry (Sorry, Jim, I’m a googler, not a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar) here.

I found it interesting for several reasons, and would like feedback on it from those of you interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This translation can be found here, but since it is 12 years old, I’m going to post it because you might not click through:

Frag.1 Col. 1

You should let your anger and tear out (?)… and who is the man who.. the fury of your anger….. and those who have been destroyed and killed, bereft and… and now I have stopped the prisoners…. the Great Holy One….all that he…

Frag.1 Col 2:

day of… all…land of… and the evil for…

Frag. 2

…and they were hit from behind…in front of the lord

Col. 1

…. and with the sowing….not even the mystery of evil which….the mystery which

Col. 2.[1]

I thought, in my heart, that the conception was the work of the Watchers the pregnancy of the Holy Ones and that it belonged to the Giants[2]… and my heart was upset by this… I, Lamech, turned to my wife Bitenosh and said… Swear to me by the Most High, Great Lord, King of the Universe[3]…the sons of heavens, that you will truthfully tell me everything, if… You will tell me without lies… Then Bitenosh, my wife spoke harshly and she cried… and said: Oh my brother and lord! Remember my pleasure… the time of love, gasping for breath. I will tell you everything truthfully… and then my heart began to ache… When Bitenosh realized my mood had changed…Then she withheld her anger and said to me: O my lord and brother! Remember my pleasure. I swear to you by the Great Holy One, the King of the heavens… That this seed, pregnancy, and planting of fruit comes from you and not a stranger, Watcher, or son of the heaven… Why is your expression changed and your spirit saddened… I speak honestly to you… Then I, Lamech, went to my father, Methuselah, and told him everything so that he would know the truth because he is well liked… and he is in well with the Holy Ones and they share everything with him. Methuselah went to Enoch to find the truth… he will. And he went to Parvaim, where Enoch lived… He said to Enoch: O my father and lord, to whom I… I tell you! Do not be angry because I came here to you… fear before you…

Col 3

For in the days of Jared, my father…[4]

Col 5

Enoch…not from the sons of heaven, but from Lamech your son… I now tell you… and I reveal to you… Go tell your son Lamech… When Methuselah heard this… And with his son Lamech, he spoke… Now when I, Lamech, heard these things… Which he got out of me

Col 6[5]

I abstained from injustice and in the womb of my mother who conceived me I searched for truth. When I emerged from my mother’s womb, I lived all my days in truth and walked in the path of eternal truth. And the Holy One was with me… on my pathways truth sped to warn me off the… of lie which led to darkness.. I braced my loins with the vision of truth and wisdom… paths of violence. vacat Then, I Noah became a man that clung to truth and seized… I took Amzara, his daughter as my wife. She conceived and bore me three sons and daughters. I Then took wives from my brother’s family for my sons, and I gave my daughters to my nephews according to the law of the eternal precept which Most High ordained to the sons of man. vacat And in my days, when according to my reckoning… ten jubilees had been completed, the time came for my sons to take wives for themselves… heaven, I saw in a vision and was explained and made known the actions of the sons of heaven and… the heavens. Then I hid this mystery in my heart and explained it to no one. vacat… to me and a great and… and in a message of the Holy One… and he spoke to me in a vision and he stood before me… and the message of the Great Holy One called out to me: “To you they say, O’ Noah,…” and I reckoned the whole conduct of the sons of the earth. I knew and explained everything… two weeks. then the blood which the Giants had spilled… I was at ease and waited until… the holy ones with the daughters of man… The I Noah, found grace, greatness and for my entire life I have behaved righteously…I, Noah, a man…

Col. 7

God told Noah that he would rule over the earth and the seas and all they encompass. Noah was overjoyed at the idea.

Col. 10

The arc rested upon the mountain of Ararat (Hurarat). Noah atoned for the land and burned incense on the alter[6]


Col. 11

God makes a covenant with Noah telling him he could no longer eat blood of any kind.

Col. 12

I placed my bow in the cloud and it became a sign for me in the cloud… the earth… it was revealed to me in the mountains[7]… a vineyard in the mountains of Ararat… After the flood Noah and his sons descended from the mountain. They saw the widespread devastation of the earth. After the flood Noah’s children began to have his grandchildren-Sons ands daughters[8]. They then planted the soil and put a vineyard on Mount Lubar that produced wine four years later: On the first day of the fifth year, there was a feast at which the first wine was drank. Noah gathered his family together and they went to the alter and thanked god for saving them from the destruction of the flood.

Col 13[9]

…They were cutting gold, silver, stones, and clay and taking some for themselves. I saw the gold and silver… iron, and they cut down all the trees and took some. I saw the sun, moon, and stars cutting and taking some for themselves… I turned to see the olive tree and behold, it was rising up and for many hours… many leaves… appeared in them. I watched the olive tree and the abundance of its leaves… they tied to it. I was greatly amazed by the tree and its leaves… the four winds of heaven were strongly blowing and they were breaking off and smashing the branches of the olive tree. The westerly wind hit first, knocking off its fruit and leaves and scattering them everywhere. Then…

Col 14

…Listen and hear! You are the great cedar… standing in front of you in a dream on the mountain tops… truth. The willow that springs from it and rises high (these are) three sons… And the one that you did see, the first willow got attached to the stump of the cedar… and the wood from it… will never separate from you. And among it posterity… will be called… will grow a wonderful plant… will stand forever. And what you saw, the willow caught the stump… the last willow… part of their branch entered[10] the branch of the first tree, two sons… And what you saw, that part of their branch entered the branch of the first tree… I explained to him the mystery…

Col 15

…And that you saw all of them… They will go around, the majority of them will be evil. and what you saw, that a man came from the south, with a sickle in his hand, and bringing fire with him… who will come from the south of the land… And they will put wickedness on the fire, a;;… And he should come between… Four angels… between all nations. And they will all worship and be dumbfounded… I will honestly explain to you. And I, Noah woke up from my sleep and the Sun[11]


Col. 16

Noah divided the land among his decedents…. all the land of the north as far as… this boundary, the waters of the Mediterranean…. the Tina River.

Col. 17

Noah further divided the land West, to Asshur, as far as the Tigris. He gave Aram land as far as the source of…. this Mountain of the Bull, and he crossed it westward as far as…. where the three parts met…. For Arpachshad[12]… He gave Gomer[13] a part in the northeast t the Tina River…. To Magog[14]

Col. 19

I, Abraham built and alter (at Bethel) and called to god, praising him. I then went to the Holy mountain and to Hebron[15] where he lived for two years. Because there was famine in the land my family and I traveled to Egypt where grain was plentiful. I went across the branches of the Nile[16] to enter Egypt, the land of the sons of Ham. I had a dream about a cedar tree and a date-palm tree. When people came to cut down the cedar tree, the date-palm tree objected, saying that they were grown from a single root. The cedar tree was spared. I became fearful of the dream and told it to my wife. I explained it as it pertained to us telling Sarah that the men will come for her and try to kill me. I warned Sarah that she must tell everyone that I am her brother so that my life can be spared. She became scared and did not want to go to Zoan for fear of being seen. Five years later[17], councilors of the Egyptians court and advisors of the Pharaoh of Zoan[18] came, having heard the words of my wife. They brought gifts and requested knowledge from me. I read to them from the Book of the words of Enoch.

Col. 20[19]

The men return to the Pharaoh and describe Sarah’s features: beautiful face, supple hair, lovely eyes, pleasant nose, radiant face[20]. He continued on describing her shapely breasts, perfect hands, and everything down to her long and delicate fingers. the men compared her to and rated her far higher than virgins and birds, and all other women alike. Hearing this, and then seeing Sarah, the pharaoh wanted her and took her for his wife. Sarah saved me by telling the pharaoh that I was her brother and that night I and my nephew Lot cried together I prayed to Lord for justice[21]. I wanted the Lord to raise up against the pharaoh and protect Sarah. God listened and sent an evil spirit to the entire household that prevented the pharaoh from having sexual relations with Sarah for the two years that they were together. At the end of the two years, the plagues and afflictions were so great that magicians and healers were sent for. They were, of course, ineffective, and they all soon left. Hyrcanos went to me pleading for help against the plague because I had been seen in a dream. I agreed to help only when my wife Sarah is returned to me. The pharaoh heard this and confronted me, himself asking why I lied saying that Sarah was my sister. He agreed to give Sarah back and I exorcised the evil spirit from the house of the pharaoh. The pharaoh swore to me that he had not touched Sarah while they were together and gave her gifts of gold, silver, linen, and purple-dyed clothing. Sarah and I were then led out of Egypt. I, Sarah, Lot, and his wife took our flocks and the gold and silver I had received[22] and traveled together.

Col. 21

I went to all my old campsites until I reached Bethel, the place where I once built an alter, and then I built another one and offered up burnt offerings and a cereal offerings to the God Of Most High, and invoked the name of the Lord of the Universe there. I praised God’s name and blessed god and gave thanks to Him there for all the flocks and goods and wealth which he has given me, for the good he has done for me, and because He had returned me to this land safely.
After this day, Lot left me on the account of our shepherd’s behavior. He went to live in the Valley of Jordan taking all his flocks with him. And I also added greatly to what he had. he pastured his flock and kept moving until he reached Sodom[23] and bought a house there, while I still lived in the mountain of Bethel. It bothered me that Lot and I had separated.
God came to me in a dream and said to me: Go up to Ramat Hazor[24] which is north of Bethel, the place you are living now, and look to the east, west, south and to the north. Look at the land which I am giving you and your descendants forever. The next morning I went up to Ramat Hazor and looked at the land from that height, from the river of Egypt up to Lebanon and Senir[25], and from the Great Sea up to Hauran[26], and all the land of Gebel[27] to Qadesh[28], and all the Great Desert[29], as far as the Euphrates and he said to me: I shall give all this land to your descendants; and they will inherit it forever. I will multiply your descendants like the dust of the earth that none can count. Your descendants will be numberless. Arise, walk about, go “see how long and how wide it is, for I will give it to you and to your descendants after you, forever.
Then I, Abraham, went out traveling in a circuit to survey the land. I began the circuit at the Gihion River[30], I went along the Mediterranean Sea until I reached the Mountain of the Bull[31]. I circled from the coast of this great river saltwater sea, skirting the Mount of the Bull, and continued eastward through the breadth of the and until I came to the Euphrates river. I traveled along the Euphrates until I reached the red sea in the east, whence I followed the coast of the Red Sea until I came to the branch of the Reed Sea[32], jutting out from the Red Sea. From there I completed the circuit, moving southward to arrive at Gihon River. Then I returned home safely and found all is well with my men. Then I went and settled next to the oaks of Mamre[33], which is northeast of Hebron. There I built an alter and offered up burnt offering and a cereal offering to the God Most High. I ate and drank there, I and all the men of my household, and invited Mamre, Arnem, and Eshkol, three Amorite brothers and my friends. They ate and drank together with me. Prior to those days Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, Amraphel, the king of Babylon, Arioch, the king of Cappadocia[34], and Tidal, the king of Goiim[35], which lies between the two rivers had come. They had waged war on Bera, the king of Sodom, Birsha, the king of Gomorrah, Shinab, the king of Admah, Shemiabad, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela. All these formed an alliance to do battle in the Valley of Siddim. Now the king of Elam, and the kings with him proved to be stronger than the king of Sodom and imposed tribute upon them. Over twelve years they continued paying their tribute to the king of Elam, but in the thirteenth they rebelled against him. Thus the fourteenth year the king of Elam sallied forth with all his allies, and they ascended by the way of the desert[36]. They smote and plundered beginning from the Euphrates. They kept on smiting-smiting the Rephaim who were in the Asteroth- Kernaim[37], the Zumzammin who were Amman, the Emim[38] who were in Shaveh- hakerioth, and the Horites who were in the mountain of Gebal-until they reached El- Paran, in the desert. They returned…in Hazazon-tamar[39]. The king of Sodom went out to meet him, together with the king of Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and the king of Bela. They engaged in battle in the valley of Siddim against Chedorlaomer, and allies that were with him. The king of Sodom was defeated and put to flight while the king of Gomorrah fell into the pits… The king Elam plundered all the property of Sodom and of Gomorrah and they captured Lot.


[1] The columns numbers differ between sources. This is because recent research has shown that the 1Q20 fragments comprise column 1 and 2 but are not after included with this work.
[2] Lamech believes that his wife Bitenosh has been with fallen angels called Watchers or Nephilim. He fears his child may be a Giant because of this union with the Watcher.
[3] Most High, Great Lord, King of the Universe are all referring to God; the names make God appear even more powerful and mighty.
[4] This column contains the beginning of Enoch’s reply to Methuselah. He starts talking about how in the days of Jared, angels descended to take human wives.
[5] There are very few sources where this column’s context is explained. Many sources attempt to hypothesize what the text is trying to get across but an agreement has yet to be established. The main thrust of this text is that Noah, after being born with the gift of knowing the truth, lived his life righteously, married, and married his children off. Finally this passage ends with Noah having a vision.
[6] These are the activities that occur immediately after the flood.
[7] Mountain of Ararat
[8] Noah’s grandsons were Arpachsad, Gomer, Magog, Madai, Yavan, Tubal, Mosok, and Tiras. Others were born, as well as granddaughters, but their names are not mentioned.
[9] This column is not found in many sources and no explanations are given beyond the text. It is unclear who “they” and the significance of the olive tree. Columns 14 and 15 also have no further explanation.
[10] Part of the branch possibly got entangled with
[11] This passage presents the idea that Noah had been dreaming in columns 13,14,15 after he came down from the mountain.
[12] Noah’s firstborn grandson.
[13] Son of Japhet.
[14] Another son of Japhet.
[15] In the bible it only states that Abraham set out, continuing on his way to Negeb with no mention of Hebron. Hebron is a town older than any other in the country- approximately 2300 years old.
[16] Carmon is the branch mentioned but it is controversial whether the translation from Greek gives an actual branch of the Nile or not.
[17] As with all Biblical writings, the mention of time periods is controversial. five years is not an exact time period.
[18] Zoan is the old Testament name for Tanis, a town in Egypt.
[19] The descriptions of Sarah’s beauty provide many details that writers of the scroll believed were locking in the Old Testament.
[20] This can be literally taken as “all the bloom” of her face. It suggests Sarah’s god given beauty that cannot be taken away.
[21] Biblical accounts do not include Abraham’s praying to God.
[22] This is actually interpreted incorrectly. The gifts were given to Sarah by the Pharaoh, and Abraham’s wealth was independent of these gifts.
[23] located in the Jordan Valley but unfortunately, no other information is given.
[24] it is the highest spot in the mountains of Judea, which gives Abraham an unique view of the land.
[25] Mt. Hermon which is the southern tip of the Anti-Lebanon range.
[26] it is a broad, high plateau that is southeast of Mt. Hermon..
[27] it is the land south of the Dead Sea.
[28] associated with the Gebel, it is southeast of the Dead Sea.
[29] the desert between Egypt and Palestine.
[30] it is associated with the Nile River and it is undoubtedly the same as the “River of Egypt”.
[31] it is part of the Taurus mountain range called Mount Amanus, situated north of Alexandretta.
[32] Tongue-shaped gulf of the Suez.
[33] Are oak trees belonging to Mamre, the Amorite that is later mentioned in this text. Abraham settles near the oak of Ogyges.
[34] kingdom located in Asia Minor.
[35] A place in the Mesopotamia.
[36] Syrian Desert.
[37] Ashteroh is found east of Jordan.
[38] Inhabitant of the ancient land of Moab.
[39] Situated somewhere in the southern area of the Dead Sea.


Fitzmyer, J. 1966. The Genesis Apocryphon Of Qumran Cave I. Pontifical Biblical Institute: pgs. 1-164

Martinez, F.G. 1994. The Dead sea scrolls translated: The Qumran text in English. E.J. Brill Leiden New York: pgs. 230-237

Vermes, G. 1962. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Penguin Press: pgs. 448-458

Wise, Abegg, Cook. 1990. Dead Sea Scrolls: A new Translation. Harper Collins Publishers: pgs. 74-85

Yadin, Y. 1957. The Message of the Scrolls. Simon and Schuster: pgs. 145-148



prepared for Intro. to the Hebrew Bible
by Lesley Faulk and Amanda Scott

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