49 And Jacob called his sons and said: “Gather yourselves together that I may tell you what will happen to you in the final part of the days. 2 Assemble yourselves and listen, you sons of Jacob, yes, listen to Israel your father. 3 “Reuʹben,+ you are my firstborn,+ my vigor and the beginning of my procreative power, the excellence of dignity and the excellence of strength. He found a great cave, called the cave of Adullam, and hid in it. Soon people heard where he was, and from all parts of the land, especially from his own tribe of Judah, men who were not satisfied with the rule of King Saul gathered around David.
The Community Rule
The Community Rule scroll was discovered in Cave 1 at Qumran and was published in 1951 by M. Burrows. (“The Manual of Discipline” (“The Dead Sea Scrolls of St Mark’s Monastery”) II, New Haven, M. Burrows) Ten other manuscript fragments of The Community Rule were discovered in Cave 4. Thought to have originated sometime around 100 BCE, it is possibly one of the oldest scrolls found. The manuscript deals with liturgical ceremonies, truth and falsehood, a penal code, initiation into the sect, and a section on religious duties and sacred seasons.
Community Rule Manuscripts from Cave 4
Found in Cave 4, these manuscript fragments are the best preserved of the ten. Fragments found are the beginning of The Community Rule scroll.
The Damascus Document
The Damascus Document fragments were discovered in three of the caves at Qumran: 4Q, 5Q, and 6Q. There are also two incomplete copies found in 1896-1897. These two copies were found in a storage room in a Cairo synagogue. They were published in 1910 by S Schechter (“Fragments of a Zadokite Work”, Cambridge) and reprinted as “The Zadokite Documents”, Oxford 1954. The Cairo documents date from the 10th and 12th centuries. The Qumran documents suggest that the manuscripts were written around 100 BCE. The Damascus Document contains two sections: an Exhortation and a list of Statutes.
The Messianic Rule
The Messianic Rule scroll was originally included in the Community Rule. Although complete, the bad state of preservation makes the translation of manuscript extremely hard. The scroll was originally published by D. Barthelemy in 1955 as “The Rule of the Congregation”. It is thought to have been written in the mid-first century BCE.
The War Scroll
In 1955, the War Scroll was published as “The Dead Sea Scrolls by the Hebrew University” (Jerusalem). Found in Cave 1 at Qumran, the 19 columns of the scroll were badly mutilated. Other fragments were found in Cave 4. The War Scroll is thought to have been written sometime after the mid-first century BCE to the beginning of the 1st Century CE. The author of the manuscript made use of the Book of Daniel. The War Scroll contains rules for the military, religious preparations, and how the fighting was to be conducted.
The Rule of War
The Rule of War fragments found in Caves 4 and 11 are the missing end sections of the War Scroll.
The Temple Scroll
The Temple Scroll, measuring 28 feet, is the longest of the Qumran manuscripts. It was discovered in Cave 11 in 1954, but did not emerge until the Six Day War in 1967. The scroll deals with the Temple buildings and furnishings, sacrifices on the Sabbath, and the different feast. The laws found in the work depend on Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. It has been dated to mid-first century BCE.
MMT (Some Observances of the Law)
Found in Cave 4, the six fragments of the MMT, when combined, make up 120 lines of fragmented text. The manuscript contains a sectarian calendar, a series of special rules, and ends with an exhortation. Although often referred to as an epistle, the scroll is more of a legal treatise. It is important as a source of ancient legal discussions.
The Wicked and the Holy
The Wicked and the Holy fragmented manuscript was discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. The document details the destinies of the wicked and the holy.
4Q Tohorot (Purities) A
Ten manuscripts, found in Cave 4, define purity matters. 4QA deals with issues of blood, bodily fluxes and their removal.
4Q Tohorot B-C
4Q B-C, found in Cave 4, deal with the “red Heifer” purification laws. Numbers 19 is often quoted in the text.
4Q Torohorot G (Leget)
4QG is a mid-first century manuscript that deals with unclean fruits. It, too, was discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran.
Exhortations by the Master Addressed to the Sons of Dawn
This manuscript, found at Qumran in Cave 4, is written in a cryptic alphabet. The eight fragments deal with the opening of the Damascus Document. It is thought to have been written in the second half of the 1st Century BCE.
Register of Rebukes
The only Scroll discovered at Qumran that reveals names of the community members, fragmented columns of the Register of Rebukes were found in Cave 4. It contains a list of members that were rebuked for various infractions of the community law.
A small fragment of a manuscript found in Cave 4 reveals reproofs, in the context of war, to a group of wicked Jews.
Hymns and Poems
The Thanksgiving Hymns
Because of the deterioration of the Hymns Scroll, found in Cave 4, it is hard to determine the beginnings and endings of each of the poems. The physical condition of the Scroll also made it extremely hard for the translator to make sense of them. Similar to the Psalms of the Bible, they are hymns of individual prayers and thanksgiving. They are rich in doctrine and spiritual detail. Salvation and knowledge are the primary themes of the hymns. The Hymns Scroll was published in 1954 by E. L. Sukenik. (“The Dead Sea Scrolls of the Hebrew University”, Jerusalem)
Apocryphal Psalms (I)
The Psalms Scroll from Cave 11 is an incomplete manuscript. It contains seven non-canonical poems, Ps 151, and four others that have been preserved in a Syriac translation, and a portion from the Hebrew text of Sirach. It is believed that the psalms were written in the 2nd Century BCE, or possibly 3rd Century BCE.
Apocryphal Psalms (II)
In Cave 4, a fragmented Psalms Scroll containing three of the Apocryphal Psalms was found.
Apocryphal Psalms (III)
The Apocryphal Psalms III, a badly fragmented and worn scroll, discovered in Cave 11, deals partly with exorcism. It is almost impossible to coherently read the manuscript due to its poor condition.
Two manuscripts, both in very poor condition, were discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. The first consisted of seven fragments, the second 110. These fragments contained text much like the biblical Psalms. Due to the poor condition of the manuscripts, not one full line has remained intact. Very few lines could be translated. Three of the Psalms are named; “Psalms of Obadiah”, “Hymn of the Man of God”, and “Prayer of Manasseh, King of Judah when the King of Assyria Imprisoned Him”. (For further information see “Non-Canonical Psalms from Qumran: A Pseudepigraphic Collection” by Eileen Schuller, Harvard Semitic Studies 28, Scholar Press, Atlanta, 1986).
In Cave 4 were found several fragments of a poem that seems to be inspired by the biblical Book of Lamentations. In poor condition, only fragment 2 is long enough for translation. The fragments are dated to the second half of the 1st Century BCE.
Songs for the Holocaust of the Sabbath
Containing eight manuscripts from Cave 4, small fragments from Cave 11, and a large fragment found at Masada, The Songs for the Holocaust of the Sabbath are manuscripts containing angelic praises of God dealing with the first 13 Sabbaths (the 1st quarter of the solar year). The poems portray the simultaneous heavenly and earthly worship, the celestial sanctuary, the throne chariot, the various groups of angels engaged in the liturgy, and the words of the song of the seven archangels. The content of the scroll finds its inspiration in the Book of Ezekiel (especially chapters 1 and 10). It is probable that that the manuscript was written in the 1st Century BCE.
Poetic Fragments on Jerusalem and ‘King’ Jonathan
The beginning part of the fragment of this scroll (Column A) is an unknown Halleluiah Psalms; the last three lines belong to Psalm 154 found in the Psalms Scroll. At the end of the fragment, it speaks of God’s presence in Zion-Jerusalem. Column B, a complete fragment, has as its theme a blessing of God’s name and kingdom in behalf of the people of Israel. Column C speaks of Israel, God’s name and kingdom, and the ‘day of war’. There is some contention that the Poetic Fragments scroll is not a sectarian work.
Calendars, Liturgies, and Prayers
Calendars of Priestly Courses
The Calendars of Priestly Courses Scroll contains fragments of eleven manuscripts of the ‘solar’ calendars of the community of Qumran. The poorly preserved fragments record names of Jewish and Roman political figures, dated historical facts, and the dates of festivals and Sabbaths.
Calendric Signs (Otot)
This manuscript depicts a system based on a weekly rotation of the 24 priestly courses. The priestly courses were of a six-year period and were constructed into six Jubilees consecutively.
Horoscope or Astrological Physiognomies
One Hebrew document and two Aramaic documents found in Cave 4 at Qumran contain fragments of ‘horoscopes’ that claim a relationship between the features and destiny of an individual and the position of the stars on the day of his birth. These fragments date probably to the end of the 1st Century BCE.
Phases of the Moon
The phases of the moon are contained in this fragmented text from Cave 4. Twenty-six fragments of the scroll were found.
A Zodiacal Calendar with a Brontologion
This fragmented calendar shows the passage of the moon through the signs of the Zodiac during the year, beginning with the month of Nisan and ending with Adar. The fragments found begin in the month of Tevet, continue through Tishri, and end with Adar.
At the end of the text, a brontologion (a prediction of ill-omens interpretated by the sound of thunder on a certain day of the month) tells of a famine and an invasion by a foreign army.
Order of Divine Office
Five fragments of a liturgical work were discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. The fragments consist of a list of songs and words of praise that were to be sung during the night and day on consecutive days of a month.
The Words of the Heavenly Lights
The Words of the Heavenly Lights text contains three fragments of a manuscript. They are collective prayers for days of the week. The date of mid-2nd Century BCE is contested.
The fragments of the Liturgical Prayer, found in Cave 1, are parts of a collection of Jewish festival prayers. It is possible that the fragments are a part of the Pentecostal Liturgy.
Prayers for Festivals
These fragments from Cave 4 relate partly to the Liturgical Prayer scroll. Two of the prayers are directly associated with the Day of Firstfruits and the Day of Atonement. They are dated to the beginning of the 1st Century CE.
Evening and morning benedictions for each day of the month are contained in the 225 papyrus fragments of the Daily Prayers manuscript found in Qumran Cave 4. The calendar seems to be a lunar calendar and the date of the writing is thought to be the first quarter of the 1st Century BCE.
Prayer or Hymn Celebrating the Morning and the Evening
This collection of prayers, discovered in Cave 4, was written around 100 BCE. The fragments are of a collection of liturgical prayers that can only be translated in part due to their poor condition.
These fragments of a scroll that were originally part of a manuscript that contains the Community Rule and Messianic Rule, were found in Cave 1 at Qumran. They are blessings for the members of the covenant, the priestly head of the community, the sons of Zadok, the Priest, and the Prince of the congregation (The Messiah of Israel). These fragments are dated to about 100 BCE.
In Cave 4 at Qumran there was found five fragments of a manuscript consisting of liturgical blessings and curses. They correspond with Community Rule II and War Rule XIII. Fragment 4Q286I corresponds with the Songs of the Holocaust for the Sabbath.
These fragments of text found in Cave 4 are a communal confession of sins. They are all written in the 1st person and in the language style of Psalm LI, Jeremiah, Deuteronomy, the prayers of Ezra, and Daniel.
These papyrus fragments (badly worn) from Cave 4 consist of prayers for purification from different types of ritual uncleanness. They were most possibly written in the early 1st Century BCE.
A Liturgical Work
Found in Cave 4 at Qumran, A Liturgical Work very much resembles the language of the Thanksgiving Hymns.
Apocalyptic Chronology of Apocryphal Weeks
This fragmented manuscript found in Cave 4 consists of only seven lines that are badly mutilated. It has been dated to the 1st Century BCE. The content seems to belong to an apocalyptic world history account and is divided into weeks of years. It could possibly be focused on the Temple of Jerusalem.
Conquest of Egypt and Jerusalem or Acts of a Greek King
Containing only broken lines, this fragment of ten lines calls to mind the account in Daniel XI concerning the “King of the North”. The fragment was found at Qumran in Cave 4.
The Triumph of Righteousness or Mysteries
The fragments of this manuscript deal with the theme of the struggle between good and evil. They were found in Caves 1 and 4 and the fragments of Cave 4 are in very poor condition.
A Messianic Apocalypse
Often referred to as the “Resurrection Fragment”, this manuscript consists of eleven fragments and six smaller pieces. The fragments, found in Cave 4, are dated to the beginning of the 1st Century BCE and they are like poetry of the late biblical period. In A Messianic Apocalypse, resurrection and healing are connected to the Kingdom of God.
In Cave 4 at Qumran a fairly well preserved, long text was found. The manuscript is a warning of the danger of false doctrines. It uses the allegory of a harlot to expound that point. The scroll is dated to the 1st Century BCE, but could possibly be much older.
Exhortation to Seek Wisdom
A text dated from the first half of the 1st Century BCE was discovered in Cave 4. The large fragment tells of a teacher encouraging the people to search for wisdom.
Parable of the Tree
In Cave 4 a badly preserved fragment of this text was found. The opening lines are the only articulate lines in the manuscript. They appear to be about a giant ‘good’ tree which produces thorns.
A Sapiential Work (i)
The first four lines from a column of a Wisdom text are the only fragments of this work that have been preserved.
A Sapiential Work (ii)
A Sapiential Work (ii) is a Wisdom manuscript that has survived in six fragments, one from Cave 1 and five from Cave 4. They are ll dated 30-1 BCE except for scroll 423 which is dated to the first half of the 1st Century CE. The scrolls’ language is much like the Community Rule, the Damascus Document, and the Thanksgiving Hymns. Some of the subjects contained in the work are God as provider to all his creatures, God as a permanent judge of the wicked, a modest life, and a warning that God will try man.
A Sapiential Work (iii)
This Wisdom scroll, consisting of two badly fragment copies, was discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. It tells of a righteous man in universal terms. It could be classed as sectarian because of its relationship to the Community Rule scroll.
A Sapiential Work (iv)
This scroll, found in Cave 4, is instructions to a just man on the way to gaining wisdom.
Bless My Soul
The five manuscripts found in Cave 4 is a composition in poetic form. A sixth scroll (4Q439) is thought to be related to the Bless My Soul Scroll.
Songs of the Sage
Small portions of a manuscript found in Cave 4 at Qumran deals with Sapiential psalms and exorcism poems. This scroll is thought to have been written at the end of the 1st Century BCE. An interesting feature of the first fragment is a list of the names of demons.
This scroll found in Cave 4 recalls the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 in the New Testament.
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 Days
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 Biblical Law
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.
Book Of The Cave Of Tresuresrejected Scriptures Meaning
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”.
Biblically Based Apocryphal Works
Jubilees were know prior to the discovery of small fragments of the text in Hebrew found at Qumran. These fragments were found in Caves 1, 2, 3, 4, and 11. There were known copies of a complete Ethiopic text and partial Greek, Syriac, and Latin manuscripts. Jubilees is a retelling of the Genesis story and the first part of the Exodus. It takes the form of a revelation to Moses delivered by angels. Some of the Qumran fragments are large and can be translated into English. The 4Q216 scroll is possibly the earliest manuscript of Jubilees and is dated to the last quarter of the 2nd Century BCE. 4Q225 is considered to have been written at the turn of the era, 4Q226 to the 2nd half of the 1st Century BCE, and 4Q227 to the final decades of the 1st Century BCE. A badly preserved scroll (fragment 2 of 4Q227) is focused on Enoch, the angels, and the Watchers. It also speaks of Enoch’s astronomical writings.
The Prayer of Enosh and Enoch
A manuscript consisting of ten fragments (including three large fragments) was found in Cave 4. These fragments appear to be a recording of prayers. The first fragment seems to be linked to Enosh (line 10 in fragment 1, column 1 mentions Enoch).
The Book of Enoch and The Book of Giants
The original Aramaic texts of the Book of Enoch have been found in Caves 1, 2, and 4 at Qumran. There is a complete Ethiopic translation and various chapters exist in Greek. In Cave 4, seven copies much like the Ethiopic Enoch and four copies of the Book of Giants were found. They are all dated between 200 BCE and the end of the pre-Christian era. Most of the fragments are too small for translation. There are some differences between the Ethiopic text and the scrolls of Qumran; the Book of Parables is missing in the Qumran text and the section on astronomy is much more developed in the text from Qumran. The Book of Giants is not present in the Ethiopic text. Themes of the Qumran text fragments are the names of the twenty leaders of the fallen angels and the amazing birth of Noah.
An Admonition Associated with the Flood
This text, discovered in Cave 4, is based on Genesis Chapters 6-9. Only two fragments have survived, and of the two, only one is translatable. It is dated to the first half of the 1st Century BCE, but the composition of the Admonition is thought to be pre-Qumran.
The Ages of Creation
This scroll deals with the fallen angels and the daughters of men. The manuscript from Cave 4 is in a bad state of preservation.
The Book of Noah
The remains of what seems to be a Book of Noah were discovered in Caves 1, 4, and 6. This book of Noah is mentioned in Chapters 10:13 and 21:10 of Jubilees and in the Aramaic text of the Genesis Apocryphon and Enoch. The Cave 1 and 4 fragments tell of the miraculous birth of Noah. The Cave 1 fragments also tell of the state of mankind before the flood. The Cave 6 fragments speak of Noah’s birth.
Words of the Archangel Michael
In the scroll text found in Caves 4 and 6, Michael the Archangel speaks to the angels (Gabriel in particular). He relates a vision which is possibly concerning the building of the tower of Babel. The Aramaic text fragments are in very poor shape.
The Testament of Levi
Found in Cave 4, a damaged section of two columns of text contain parts of Levi’s prayer. The same text in Greek exist at Mt Athos and dates to the 11th Century.
Testaments of the Patriarchs:
The Testament of Levi
The Testament of Levi scroll was found in Cave 4 and consist of numerous fragments. The Testament is most likely that of Jacob, Levi’s father. The scroll is dated to the end of the 2nd Century BCE and contains information about a priestly figure that encounters opposition because of the wickedness prevalent in his generation. Other small fragments found are classes as belonging to a Testament of Judah and a Testament of Joseph.
The Testament of Naphtali
Dating to the turn of the era, two fairly intact fragments of the Hebrew text of The Testament of Naphtali were found in Cave 4. The theme of fragment 2 is a blessed end time and is possible part of a sectarian text.
A Joseph Apocryphon
The two fragments of A Joseph Apocryphon were found in Cave 4. The texts, extremely fragmented, are dated to the second half of the 1st Century BCE.
Book Of The Cave Of Treasures
The Testament of Qahat
Two fragments in Aramaic, one complete and one in a bad stat of preservation, of the Testament of Qahat were discovered in Cave 4 at Qumran. The text is “death-bed” literature; a moralizing manuscript. It is dated by Carbon 14 testing to probably 388-353 BCE or 303-325 BCE. The text is non-sectarian.
The Testament of Amram
The five or six fragmented copies of The Testament of Amram were found in Cave 4 at Qumran. The theme of the text is an admonition by Amram to his children. Some of the text is borrowed from the book of Exodus. Part of the text deals with a vision in which Amram sees Melkiresha’, the Chief Angel of Darkness. He also speaks to the Chief of the Army of Light (Possibly Melchizedek).
The Words of Moses
A farewell speech by Moses is the theme of the Words of Moses scroll. Found in Cave 1, the text of the four columns is badly preserved. The text relies on different scriptures from Deuteronomy.
Sermon on the Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan
Of the 16 fragments of this scroll found in Cave 4, only one is large enough for a coherent translation. The scroll tells of the Exodus and the occupation of Canaan.
A Moses Apocryphon (a)
A Moses Apocryphon (a) scroll is much like the Pentateuch. It gives instructions on how a person claiming to be a prophet should be treated. In column 11 there is a sacrificial ritual. The fragments were located in Cave 4 at Qumran.
A Moses Apocryphon (b)
This text is a re-working of exodus 28:9-12. It deals with the subject of the two stones in the shoulder pieces of the High Priests’ garment. Also, the secular head of the community is discussed. These fragments were found in Cave 4.
Moses Apocryphon (c)
Found in Cave 4 at Qumran, this text tells of Eliab, an elder who curses the Jews who do not observe the Law while Moses was on the mountain with God.
Pseudo-Moses (e) is undoubtedly related to Jubilees and also, possibly, to the Damascus Document. The text is said to be a divine speech addressed to Moses. The date of this work is possibly 2nd Century BCE, no later than 134-104 BCE.
A Moses (or David) Apocryphon
The three small fragments of A Moses (or David) Apocryphon found in Cave 4 deal with a historical rendition of an unknown speaker. Og, King of Bashan is the only actual name mentioned in the text.
Divine Plan for the Conquest of the Holy Land
In Caves 4 and 5 at Qumran, two badly preserved columns and several small fragments of this scroll were found. The narrative seems to tell of the future conquest and the division of the Holy Land. The manuscript appears related to Joshua because of a list of areas, several which appear in Joshua 15-21. The Conquest of Zion by David and the building of the Temple are also included in the text.
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.
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.
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.
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 Jordan Lead Codices, (or the Jordanian Codices), are a collection of codices allegedly found in a cave in Jordan and first publicized in March 2011. A number of scholars and a November 2012 regional BBC News investigation have pronounced them fakes. In December 2016, a radioactivity test performed at the University of Surrey's Ion Beam Centre confirmed the old age of the lead used, but not the inscriptions. As of 2017, both the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Jordanian archaeological department regard them as forgeries.
Initial press reports and comments
On 3 March 2011 The Jewish Chronicle ran an interview with a metallurgist named Robert Feather, who it stated was trying to authenticate a collection of 20 metal books which could be linked to the Kabbalah. These items were in the possession of an Israeli Bedouin farmer named Hassan Saeda, who claimed that they had been found by his great-grandfather in a cave a century ago. It added that a piece of leather from the find had already been carbon dated to 2,000 years ago. The article reported that the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) considered them inauthentic and worthless, saying the books are a 'mixture of incompatible periods and styles without any connection or logic. Such forged motifs can be found in their thousands in the antiquities markets of Jordan and elsewhere in the Middle East'. It added that Professor André Lemaire, an epigrapher and director of studies at the École pratique des hautes études, said the inscriptions he has seen make no sense and that it was 'a question apparently of sophisticated fakes'.
Book Of The Cave Of Tresuresrejected Scriptures In The Bible
On 22 March 2011 David Elkington issued a press release stating that a hoard of ancient books made of lead and copper, together with other artefacts, probably dating from the 1st century AD, had been found in Jordan, and that they might predate the writings of St. Paul and that 'leading academics' believed they might be as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Elkington also stated that the items were discovered 5 years previously in a cave by a Jordanian Bedouin and smuggled into Israel, where they were at risk of sale on the black market or of destruction. Media outlets quickly picked up the story.
Elkington stated that the find consisted of 'up to 70 ring-bound books (codices) made of lead and copper. Many of them are sealed on all sides. Scrolls, tablets and other artefacts, including an incense bowl, were also found at the same site. Some of the lead pages are written in a form of archaic Hebrew script with ancient messianic symbols. Some of the writing appears to be in a form of code.' In the press release he stated that his team included biblical scholars Margaret Barker and Philip R. Davies.
The BBC version of the story stated that the codices had been found in a cave in Jordan sometime between 2005 and 2007.
The Daily Telegraph added that metallurgical analysis on the books, and carbon dating on a piece of leather found with the collection, suggested that the books could be about 2,000 years old, although it also questioned whether the find was authentic. Elkington, described as a 'scholar of ancient religious archaeology who is heading a British team trying to get the lead books safely into a Jordanian museum', claimed that they could be 'the major discovery of Christian history', and the director of the Jordan's Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, said that the books might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.
The BBC article said that the books consist of between 5-15 leaves or plates each, about the size of a credit card, made of lead and copper, and bound together with lead rings on one side. Many of the books are also sealed with rings on the remaining three sides. Elkington reported that 'In the upper square [of one of the book covers] we have the seven-branch menorah', and the text is said to be in archaic Hebrew script (Paleo Hebrew), and some in 'code'.
Davies noted the presence of a cross, tomb, and city of Jerusalem depicted in the books.
A news report described Barker as believing that if the artefacts are genuine, they could be Christian texts from as early as 33 AD. A BBC report stated that a line has been translated from the text as 'I shall walk uprightly'.
The press release and the BBC report on 29 March 2011 indicated that the Jordanian government would make a claim for the ownership of the collection under the treasure-trove statutes of Jordanian law.
A number of experts urged scepticism until further investigation could be conducted.
On 31 March 2011, a letter was published online by Daniel C. Peterson which had been written in 2010 by Elkington. The letter was to Oxford academic Peter Thonemann, sending images of a 'copper tablet' and asking for information regarding the Greek text inscribed on it. Thonemann replied that the item was a modern forgery, created during the last 50 years in Jordan, because the text copied a truncated tombstone inscription (AD 108/9) from the Archaeological Museum of Amman. Thonemann said that he 'would stake [his] career' on his belief that the material had been faked.Professor Jim Davila also published Elkington's letter and Thonemann's reply. In his letter to Thonemann in 2010, Elkington said that he had been told that the codices were from Egypt, not that the material was from Jordan as stated in his press release.
Also on 2 April 2011, historian William J. Hamblin called into question the Jesus image on the tablet, stating it looked a great deal like images of Helios also found on ancient coins.
On 3 April 2011, the Sunday Telegraph published an interview with Elkington. An article in The Daily Telegraph on the same day stated that David Elkington was also known as Paul Elkington, and had a book on the codices which literary agent Curtis Brown would be trying to market to publishers at the London Book Fair on 11 April.
On 4 April 2011, Philip R. Davies posted a statement on Sheffield's Biblical Studies blog suggesting that, while he recognized that the images were modern, the codices were probably not a hoax nor 'forgeries'. On the same day an unconfirmed report appeared, dated to 3 April, on the MEMRI Web site quoting Ziyad Al-Sa'd, director-general of Jordan's antiquities authority, as saying that the items were found in Jordan and sold on the black market to an 'Israeli antiquities dealer'. There was no indication of whether Hassan Saeda was meant here. Questions were also raised by Steve Caruso, an Aramaic translator, about the authenticity of the script used on the plates.
Robert Deutsch weighed in on 5 April, arguing that the tablets lacked patina and corrosion and, along with others, he noted that all the iconography and script appeared to come directly from coins dating to multiple periods (Hellenistic, Hasmonean, and Bar Kokhba) in antiquity.
On 6 April 2011 Peter Thonemann repeated his statements about a letter from Elkington in 2010 in The Times Literary Supplement. On 6 April The Jordan Times published an article describing the codices as a collection of 2,000-year-old manuscripts. On 6 April Dr. James E. Deitrick suggested that the image on one of the lead plates is a replica of a 3rd-century mosaic portrait dubbed 'The Mona Lisa of the Galilee.'
On 9 April Prof. Jim Davila published the following summary on his PaleoJudaica blog:
- The Greek is lifted nonsensically from an inscription published in 1958. The forger couldn't tell the difference between the Greek letters alpha and lambda. The Hebrew script is taken from the same inscription. The Hebrew text is in 'code,' i.e., is gibberish. The 'Jesus' face is taken from a well-known mosaic. The charioteer is taken from a fake coin. The crocodile has a suspicious resemblance to a plastic toy. This forger was not Professor Moriarty. This forger was a careless bumbler. That makes it all the more galling how readily the media fell for the scam.
On 11 April the Daily Express reported Thonemann's comments together with a response by David Elkington that Thonemann was not a biblical scholar but a Greek scholar. Also on 11 April, LiveScience reported that the letter forms were a mixture of old Aramaic and much younger scripts, and that the mixture indicated a modern forgery.
On 27 April a report appeared on Yahoo! News via the Associated Press that the Jordanian police had seized seven metal codices. Further details appeared in The Jordan Times, with further claims.
In the July 2011 issue of Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Philip R. Davies published an editorial surveying some of the information surrounding the tablets, urging caution and the need for further investigation.
On 26 November 2012, BBC News conducted a short investigation about the authenticity of the codices. This was conducted as a short 13-minute segment of Inside Out West (26 November 2012) accompanied by a written BBC News article entitled 'Jordan Codices 'expert' David Elkington's claims queried'. The programme initially focused on the codices' authenticity with Peter Thonemann again affirming that 'I'm as certain as it is possible to be that this entire body of codices are modern fakes. I would stake my academic reputation on it' adding that 'all of the codices that have appeared in the media in the past year or so are products of the same modern workshop – they’ve all sorts of similarities in style, fabric, and content. It seems absolutely clear that every single one of these documents is a modern fake'. A spokesman for the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) noted, 'They were shown to experts on the period; all the experts absolutely doubted their authenticity.' Author and metals expert Robert Feather was also sceptical.
The BBC Inside Out programme shifted focus onto whether David Elkington was the right person to be testing the authenticity of the codices, analysing the true intentions, history and qualifications of the 'self styled' academic. It emerged that David Elkington is not an academic and has 'No recognised qualifications in the field' although previously using the title of Professor.It also emerged that Elkington is 'using the codices to raise money to support him in his work' from supporters including Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia who has donated tens of thousands of pounds to Elkington. It also stated that Elkington plans to release a book and create a film based upon the codices and that 'over the years he’s taken thousands of pounds as investment to make a film based on his theories'.
In March 2015 the start of the Centre for the Study of the Jordanian Lead Books, a limited not-for-profit company, was announced under the aegis of Richard Chartres, Bishop of London. The board is chaired by Margaret Barker and includes two politicians, Sir Tony Baldry and Tom Spencer. Other people involved include Professor Robert Hayward, of Durham University and Professor Ziad Al Saad as co-chairs of the 'evaluation panel' and Professor Philip Davies of the University of Sheffield, Matthew Hood, Professor Bernhard Lang, Professor Yuri Stoyanov, and Samuel Zinner as other members of the evaluation panel. The centre disclaims any connection to David Elkington though his wife, Jennifer Elkington, was a board member for one day.
On 9 March 2017, the Jordanian department of antiquities issued a statement criticizing David Elkington's activity in the country after the Ion Beam Centre's results. The department said that the information Elkington was promoting on local media and at local universities was inaccurate and lacked objectivity, and that there was no evidence to support the codices' authenticity. The Jordan Times reported that
The department described the findings of David Elkington as baseless, stressing that the cave was not found and the pictures he has have nothing to do with the cave that was visited, which indicates that his insistence on the originality of the codices is groundless and not credible. Jamhawi [the antiquities department director] said that modern technology can be used to create confusion since it can use old materials and draw on it to make almost unrecognizable fake antiquities.
The Elkingtons still maintain that the codices are credible and are 2000 years old.
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- David Elkington, 'Secret Hoard of Ancient Sealed Books Found in Jordan', Press Release, 22 March 2011
- Audio interviews, 'Do ancient texts hold Bible secrets?', BBC Radio, 29 March 2011
- 'In Pictures: Biblical Bounty?', BBC News, 29 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'Hebrew-inscribed lead plates/books watch', PaleoJudaica, 31 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'The Latest on the Hebrew-Inscribed Lead Plates', PaleoJudaica, 30 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'Inscribed lead plates update', PaleoJudaica, 29 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'Update on the inscribed metal plates', PaleoJudaica, 22 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'Press Release', PaleoJudaica, 22 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'More on that cache of metal books', PaleoJudaica, 21 March 2011
- Jim Davila, 'Count Me Skeptical', PaleoJudaica, 4 March 2011
- Max Read, 'Possible Da Vinci Code Prequel Unearthed', Gawker, 30 March 2011
- Doug Chaplin, 'Staying with the sceptics about Jordan's lead books and early Christian writing', Clayboy, 29 March 2011
- Photos - 'Possible First Century Christian Lead Plates Discovered in Jordan', oneclimbs, 30 March 2011
- Peter Thonemann, 'The Messiah codex decoded', Times Literary Supplement, 6 April 2011
- Thomas S. Verenna, 'Artifacts and the Media: Lead Codices and the Public Portrayal of History', Bible and Interpretation, 16 May 2011