The Social Context of 4QInstruction Reconsidered

Wisdom, Inheritance and Priesthood in 4Q418 frg. 81

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Anna Shirav University of Birmingham UK Birmingham

Search for other papers by Anna Shirav in
Current site
Google Scholar
Open Access


The nature and the social context of Instruction were often discussed in the scholarship. Its relatively high number of copies that have been found in Qumran, and a series of shared literary, linguistic and ideological similarities to compositions often closely associated with the Qumran movement led scholars to debate the attribution of Instruction to this group of texts. This paper argues that the pericope in 4Q418 frg. 81, which uses extensively priestly language and metaphors, reflects similar social context and structure as the Community Rule, and therefore Instruction should be placed among the writings of the community. I will use two-stage analysis of the pericope, which will offer insight on the identity of the addressee, and try to bring some fresh insights on the literary unity of the composition.

1 Introduction

Musar le-Mevin, or Instruction (henceforth MLM), is the most extensively preserved wisdom composition among the DSS.1 The text is attested in eight copies, seven of them found in Cave 4 and an additional copy from Cave 1. The text deals with different aspects in the life of its readers: women and family, livelihood and agriculture, as well as the relationship between the addressee and God, and the reader’s place in the cosmological order of the universe.

Most of the composition is written in the second person singular, a common rhetorical method in wisdom literature. Occasionally the text mentions the addressee: ‮ואתה מבין …‬‎ (“And you, understanding one …,” 4Q418 81 15) or ‮ב̇ן̇ משכיל התבונן …‬‎ (“understanding son, observe …,” 4Q417 1 i 25). However, the participle “Mevin” can be found also in plural forms in the text: ‮ק̇צו אשר גלה אל אוזן מבינים ברז נהיה̇‬‎ (“his time, which he uncovered to the ear of understanding ones about the mystery which is to come,” 4Q418 123 ii 4).2 The range of terminology used to refer to those addressed, together with the lack of any clear identification of the writer, raises questions regarding the social context in which the composition was written and edited, and calls attention to particular segments of the composition in that respect.

In broad terms, MLM contains two kinds of instruction: practical wisdom which counsels on matters such as family and marriage or agriculture, and cosmological wisdom which commands the addressee to seek divine knowledge in order to understand the structure of the universe and reflect on the relationship of the addressee with God.3 The second kind of advice contains terminology and ideas known from elsewhere (such as in 1 Enoch for example),4 but also in community-specific texts such as the Community Rule. In sum, MLM shares a cluster of themes and concerns with a range of traditions and beliefs that were popular in the Second Temple period.

Several considerations make it timely to explore the relationship of MLM to the wider discussion of the nature of the communities associated with a number of the non-biblical texts from Qumran. The relatively high number of copies that have been found in Qumran will be considered, as well as a series of shared literary, linguistic and ideological similarities to compositions often closely associated with the Yaḥad movement, parts of which occupied the site of Qumran.

Most of the scholarship which discusses MLM in light of the Qumran literary corpus refers to the community or Yaḥad in its more traditional definition. That is, the discussion is narrowed down to a Qumran-based community, which identified itself as “Yaḥad” and owned an idiosyncratic collection of texts.5 Therefore, earlier studies presupposed a “linear timeline” which leads to the creation of the Qumran-specific community to be explored in relation to MLM. The answers mostly presume the existence of a single community of this sort. Strugnell and Harrington, Goff, and Wold, for example, are convinced that the Yaḥad espoused the composition due to shared theological and eschatological principles, but argue the text was written prior to the emergence of that community.6 Rey and Elgvin, on the other hand, locate the origin of MLM in an early reclusive group from which the Yaḥad later emerged.7 This theory may explain the absence of explicit references to the community, its leaders and opponents. Dimant and Kister, however, argue that MLM was written within the community of the Yaḥad. Dimant draws on an accumulation of terms and expressions in MLM which refer to the community and its social perception.8 Similarly, Kister suggests that the ideological core of the Yaḥad texts and MLM reflect a shared theological, religious, and conceptual framework.9 Nitzan, who assumes that MLM could have been written within the community, draws attention to passages that suggest that access to the wisdom endorsed in the composition is reserved only for a specific group among humankind, and outlines their place in the cosmological order.10 She concludes that the purpose of the text is to lead its addressees to the right way in this life and prepare them for rewards in the afterlife. Nitzan also suggests that the generic characteristics of sapiential instructions account for the absence of references to a community or polemics with its opponents. Bakker arrives at a similar conclusion, attributing the lack of sectarian language to the literary nature of the material.11

More recent voices have suggested a fresh approach to “the community.” Following Collins, the name “Yaḥad” can be understood as a term that served several communities of variable size.12 The location of these communities, which Collins prefers to call a movement, was not limited to Qumran but rather much more widely spread. Moreover, as highlighted by Hempel, the movement probably originated at a number of locations, with only some members settling at Qumran in the first century BCE.13 When talking about a text belonging to a certain literary corpus, we should therefore allow for communities with a shared worldview to co-exist remotely, who not only shared knowledge but also developed parallel literary traditions which do not necessarily reflect the tone of the whole movement. For our present purposes an option that should be considered, therefore, is that MLM was in fact written under the umbrella of the movement14 but only later transmitted more broadly and arrived at the community which later occupied the Qumran site. In order to draw a wider picture, we can look at Collins’s hypothesis regarding the Serakhim and the Damascus Document. Collins adopts Metso’s proposal regarding multiple versions of Serekh traditions. Metso argues that 4QSe and 4QSb,d represent two different early lines of textual traditions.15 According to Metso, 1QS—which contains more biblical quotation and the terms ‮היחד‬‎ and ‮הברית‬‎ occur in a number of plusses compare to 4QSb,d—represents a later stage of redaction of the Rule tradition. Collins and Schofield have both argued that the different redactions, rather than originating and developing side by side at Qumran, were used in different communities simultaneously and brought later to Qumran where they proceeded to be used and copied.16

Relying on the assumption that different, remote communities used different versions of the Serekh, Collins suggests we should apply a similar explanation to the social context of the Damascus Document. Collins agrees CD can indeed represent an earlier society structure than the Serekh, with a less elaborate process of admission.17 Yet, he suggests that both reclusive communities, as in Qumran, and family-based communities, as reflected in CD, could have co-existed under a common set of values within the wider umbrella movement. Thus, we should no longer seek a linear explanation regarding the attribution of MLM to the location-specific community in Qumran, but rather consider whether the composition could have originated in a broader movement that shared a set of values and ideological and theological worldview but would not necessarily be identical in its perspective to every other text from Qumran which has been attributed to the movement. This paper will try to shed new light on the connection between MLM and the Community Rule through an analysis of an enigmatic pericope preserved in 4Q418 81 + 81a. I will begin with bringing to bear intertextual perspectives on the priestly language and expressions within the pericope. In a second step, I will reflect on the priestly expressions of the pericope within the wider framework of the community structure as it is reflected in 1QS. The independent conclusions of both parts of the analysis are then brought together in a concluding discussion on the identity of the priestly addressee of the pericope and what that might tell us about the social context of the authors of this distinctive pericope.

2 Wisdom, Inheritance and Priesthood

The distinctive character of 4Q418 81 + 81a lines 1–14 within MLM has been recognised by earlier scholars. Fragment 81 preserves twenty disrupted lines. Regarding the delimitation of the pericope, the first line of the fragment is only partially preserved and continues material from a previous column, which is lost. The pericope ends in line 14, with line 15 starting a new, large sequence with the words “and you, understanding one …,” which deals with practical wisdom. This sapiential section stands apart from the cosmological nature of the pericope under discussion here.18 As to the preceding column, I accept the join proposed by Yuditsky, who suggested joining 4Q418 69 with fragment 81, at its preceding column.19 Fragment 69 ends with the words ‮ואתה בן̇[ ]‬‎ (“And you son”) preceded by a vacat. DJD 34 reconstructs ‮ואתה בן̇[ מבין]‬‎, as attested also in 4Q417 1 i 18 (‮ואתה בן מבין הבט‬‎).20 This proposed join offers a full first sentence for the pericope: ‮ואתה בן̇[ מבין] שפתיכה פתח מקור לברך קדושים‬‎ (“And you [understanding] son, open up your lips (as) a spring to bless the holy ones”). Fragment 69 mostly favours second-person plural addressees on the part of first-person plural speakers,21 as opposed to the second-person singular addressee in fragment 81. This suggests that our pericope is best taken as an independent unit in the text.

2.1 Text and Translation

In this article I divide the pericope into lines that reflect its poetic structure and offer a new translation.22 The lines of the text as presented below were determined by thematic division of the correspondences in each line.23 The new line numbers are written in small letters; the original lines of the fragment are indicated in subscript. The reading of the fragments largely follows Qimron. I also accept some of Qimron’s textual reconstruction.24 An exception is line g, where I offer a slightly different reconstruction. From line j onwards I avoided any textual reconstructions due to the sizeable gaps in material preservation of the fragment. The parallel text in 4Q423 frg. 8 is marked in red.

‭a‬ואתה בן̇ [ מבין25] ‭1‬ שפתיכה פתח מקור לברך קדושים‬‎

‭b‬ואתה כ̇מקור עולם הלל ש֯[מו קוד]ש̇ הבדילכה מכול ‭2‬ רוח בשר.‬‎

‭c‬ואתה הבדל מכל אשר שנא / והנזר מכל תעבות נפש[ו‬‎

‭d‬[כי]א̇ הוא עשה כול / ‭3‬ ויורישם איש נחלתו‬‎

‭e‬והוא̇ חלקכה ונחלתך בתוך בני אדם / [ובנ]ח̇לתו המשילכ̇ה.‬‎

‭f‬ואתה ‭4‬ בזה כבדהו / בהתקדשכה לו‬‎

‭g‬כאשר שמכה לקדוש קודשים̇[לכל26 יושבי27]ת̊ב̇ל / ובכו̇ל̇ [ מ]ל̇[אכים28] ‭5‬ הפיל גורלכה וכבודכה הרבה מואדה‬‎

‭h‬וישימכה לו בכור29 ב̇[ניו / ויאומר ] ל֯[כה‬‎

‭i‬בכורי אתה]/ ‭6‬ וטובתי לכה אתן‬‎

‭j‬ו̇אתה̇ הלוא לכה טו֯ב̇ו / ובאמונתו הלך תמיד [ ] ‭7‬ מעשיכה‬‎

‭k‬ואתה דרוש משפטיו מיד כול / וריבכ̇ה בכול פ̊וע̊[לי רשע30 ‭/‬ ] ‭8‬ אהבהו‬‎

‭l‬ובחסד {עולם}31 וברח̇מ̇ים על כול שומרי דברו / וקנאתו̊[ ]‬‎

‭m‬9‬ ואתה שכל̇ פ̊תח לכה̇ / ובאוצרו המשילכה‬‎

‭n‬ואיפת אמת פוקד[ ] ‭10‬ אתכה המה‬‎

‭o‬ובידכה להשיב אף מאנשי רצון / ולפקוד̇ ע̇ל̇[ ] ‭11‬ עמכה‬‎

‭p‬ב̇ט̇ר̇ם̇ תקח נחלתך מידו כבד קדושיו / ובט[רם ] ‭12‬ פתח [מ]ק֯ור כל קד֯ו֯שים‬‎

‭q‬וכל הנקרא לשםו קודש ו֯[ ]‬‎

‭r‬13‬ עם כול קצ̇י̇ם הדרו̄ / פארתו למטעת עו̇[לם‬‎

‭s‬[ ‭14‬ ] י̊ה̇ תב̇ל̊ / ב̇ו̇ יתה̇לכו כ̇ול נוחלי ארץ כי בשמ[‬‎

aAnd you, [understanding] son, 1 open up your lips32 (as) a spring to bless the holy ones.

bAnd you, as a perpetual spring, praise [his holy name] because he has separated you from every 2 fleshy spirit.

cAnd you, separate yourself from everything he hates and deprive yourself from all that his soul abominates.

d[Fo]r he has made everything 3 and bequeathed to each person his inheritance,

eand he is your portion and your inheritance among humankind, [and ov]er his inheritance he has given you authority.

fAnd you, 4 in this glorify him by consecrating yourself to him,

ginasmuch as he has established you as a holy of holies [for all the inhabitants] of the world, and 5 he has cast your lot among all the [ang]els and has magnified your glory.

hAnd he has established you as his firstborn [son, and he said] to [you],

i[you are my firstborn] 6 and my kindness I shall bestow upon you.

jAnd you, indeed his benevolence belongs to/befits you, thus conduct yourself33 continually according to his faithfulness [ ] 7 your deeds.

kAnd you seek his proper measures34 from all (that he has done), and35 your contention36 with all ev[ildoer ] 8 love him.

lAnd with {everlasting} kindness37 and love upon all those who observe his word, and his wrath38[ ].

m9 And you, he has opened your wisdom,39 and on account of his treasure (of wisdom)40 he has appointed you.

nAnd a true Eiyfa41 (he) numbers/counts42[ ] 10 with you they (are).

oAnd it is in your power to turn away anger from the people of freewill,43 and punish44 [ ] 11 your people.

pBefore you will receive your inheritance from his hands glorify his holy ones, and bef[ore ]12 open up [a sp]ring for all the holy ones.

qAnd everything that is called in his name, holy … [ ]

r13 during all periods his splendour (exists),45 his glory for an eter[nal] plantation

s[ 14 ] world, in it will walk all those who inherit the earth. [ ]

The pericope, which offers cosmological wisdom, is addressed to one person (“and you”) who gained a special status among a specific group of people (“people of freewill,” line o). The main motif of the pericope is the unusual inheritance of the addressee, which defines his role in the structure of the universe and among his people and highlights his special connection to God.46

2.2 The Priestly Elements in the Pericope

Scholarship is divided on whether the pericope is addressed to an actual Aaronic priest or rather uses priestly terminology in order to reflect the ideological and spiritual world of the addressee. In general, priestly references are rare in MLM. The fragments which mention priests or priestly rituals most explicitly appear in the copy 4Q423.47 For example, ‮[הגש ע]ם̇ ראשית פרי בטנכה ובכור כל[ בהמתכה]‬‎ (“[present (to God), along with] the first of your offspring and the firstborn of all [your cattle,” 4Q423 3 4) refers to the ritual of the sanctification of the firstborn.48 Another example appears in the same copy ‮ו֯השמר לכה פן תש̇י̇ם̇ ל̇ל̇ו̇י̇ כ̇וה̇[ן]‬‎ (“and take care lest you put a Levite (in place of) a priest,” 4Q423 5 1), where the text uses a warning formula paraphrased from Deut 12:19, which supports the Levites’ authority.49

In contrast to the scarce use of priestly terminology in MLM, the pericope in fragment 81 abounds with it. Three salient features in the pericope—separation, the symbolic inheritance of Aaron and his seed and the description of the addressee as holy of holies—support this claim.

The priestly status of the addressee is hinted at already in the first lines of the pericope: “And you, separate yourself from everything he hates and deprive yourself from all that his soul abominates.” The line, using parallel construction, commands the addressee to follow certain behavioural codes. The scribe uses roots with a clear priestly connotation: ‮בד״ל‬‎ and ‮נז״ר‬‎, which are both used in the Pentateuch to describe priests.50 While the root ‮נז״ר‬‎ is absent from MLM, ‮בד״ל‬‎ appears in two other fragments where the context is broken.51

Lines d-e refer again to the priestly identity of the addressee through the inheritance motif. The concept of “inheritance” (‮נחלה‬‎), together with the expressions “portion” (‮חלק‬‎) and “lot” ‮(גורל)‬‎ in cosmological wisdom contexts in MLM, refers to deterministic predestination, in which every human being receives certain characteristics and status in life.52 This is the case in 4Q417 1 i 18–24, which describes the deterministic inheritance: “know [the wor]k of each living being, its conduct and its assigned [ta]sk[s] … [his in]her[itance you should se]e, whether it is multiple or meager …” (4Q417 1 i 18–20). Yet determinism does not exempt each person from responsibility for his or her actions: “Do not toil in evil [whoever toils in] it shall not be considered clean; according to (the measure of) his inheritance in it he shall[ inherit / be guilty]” (4Q417 1 i 23–24). The primary purpose of the pericope in 4Q418 81 is, in fact, to reflect on the unusual aspects of the inheritance of the addressee, which differs from other lots.

Line d starts with God’s actions: “[Fo]r he has made everything / and bequeathed to each person his inheritance.” Since the lines are constructed using parallelism, we can assume that the creation which appears in the first hemistich (“he has made everything”) refers to the creation of humankind, since in the second hemistich the scribe indicates how each human received their lot in life. The next line, line e, reaches the most important point—the inheritance of the addressee: “and he is your portion and your inheritance among humankind, [and ov]er his inheritance he has given you authority.” The vav at the beginning of the line is expressing contrast—while God bequeaths each creature their portion, the addressee is different to humankind in general, since he inherits “God himself.”

The line includes a quotation of Num 18:20,53 which describes the inheritance of Aaron and his seed, which will be not a physical inheritance of land but rather spiritual inheritance—the serving of God in the temple: ‮ויאמר יהוה אל אהרן בארצם לא תנחל וחלק לא יהיה לך בתוכם אני חלקך ונחלתך בתוך בני ישראל‬‎ (“And the Lord said to Aaron: You shall, however, have no territorial share among them or own any portion in their midst; I am your portion and your share among the Israelites”). Scholars have previously discussed the scribe’s choice of this verse. Fletcher-Louis argues that this quotation is a crucial piece of evidence for the priestly origin of the addressee.54 He suggests that the change from “among the Israelites” to “among humankind” in the pericope reflects a cosmological approach in priestly circles, where the high priest is portrayed as a reflection of God on earth. He bases this claim on Ben Sira 50, which glorifies the high priest and describes him as a divine creature lodged in the temple.

Goff, however, suggests that the quotation from Num 18:20 reflects on the universal duty of the addressee which has a wider authority than a priest, and applies to all humankind. Yet the addressee is free from any financial status, similar to the Levites, which points to a figure in priestly position.55 Angel, however, suggests a different solution. He thinks that the addressee of the pericope serves as a priest de facto, but within his own community.56 Within the community the role of the priest became a position which was not necessarily inherited, but perhaps a chosen vocation.57 Yet the connection to the priestly figure of Aaron as presented in the current pericope offers a symbolic, authoritative status to the addressee.

Another reference to the priestly nature of the addressee is discussed in line g: ‮כאשר שמכה לקדוש קודשים̇58[ לכל יושבי]ת̊ב̇ל / ובכו̇ל̇ [ מ]ל̇[אכים] הפיל גורלכה וכבודכה הרבה מואדה‬‎ (“inasmuch as he has established you as a holy of holies [upon all the inhabitants] of the world, and among all [ang]els he has cast your lot and has magnified your glory”). This line reveals three aspects of the lot of the addressee: classification of the addressee as holy of holies, inheritance among the angels, and “glory” (‮כבוד‬‎). Critics are divided about the meaning of “holy of holies” in the current pericope. Nitzan and Stuckenbruck both argue that any use of the root ‮קד״ש‬‎ in the pericope should be understood in an angelic context,59 where “holy of holies” matches with the second part of the sentence—inheritance among the angels.60 Goff, Fletcher-Louis, and Angel, however, suggest that the expression is meant to reflect the connection of the addressee to the temple.61

In the Pentateuch, “holy of holies” has a clear priestly connotation. In most cases the expression refers to the inner part of the altar complex, as in Ex 26:33–34. In the book of Leviticus, the term refers to the part of a sacrifice that was given to the priests, as in Lev 2:3, ‮והנותרת מן מנחה לאהרן ולבניו קדש קדשים מאשי יהוה‬‎ (“And the remainder of the meal offering shall be for Aaron and his sons, a most holy portion from the LORD’s offerings by fire”). At Qumran, the expression “holy of holies” appears in different cases, mostly in 1QS and its copies from Cave 4 and in Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (Shirot Olat HaShabbat). In Shirot, the phrase should be understood in both its physical and heavenly temple-related connotations.62 The references in the Serekh, however, will be considered later. In any case, it is hard to doubt that that the phrase was meant to reflect on the addressee through a priestly context.

In sum, these elements in the pericope have led several scholars to suggest recognising the addressee of the pericope in 4Q418 81 as a priest. Lange argues that the use of priestly language refers to an actual priest, while the special inheritance refers to priestly duties.63 Similarly, Fletcher-Louis thinks the pericope is without doubt addressed to a priest, and that “holy of holies” reflects the addressee’s connection to the Jerusalemite temple. The “holy ones” mentioned in the pericope (line p) are his people, in other words, the people of Israel.64 Tigchelaar also holds that this pericope, together with other parts of the composition, might be addressed to priests.65 According to his analysis, different parts of MLM are addressed to different addressees with different occupations.66

On the other hand, Elgvin, Wold, and Angel are convinced that the priestly language of the pericope is only symbolic, and that the addressee is a member of a reclusive group who gained a special status. Elgvin suggests the pericope reflects a democratization of the priestly role among a group with an apocalyptic worldview that aspired to resurrection in the end of the days, but without the role of Messiah.67 He notes that MLM does not mention any yearning for a king from David’s seed or any other eschatological figure, or resurrection of a specific kingdom or nation. Similarly, Angel argues that the purpose of the priestly language in the pericope is validation of the spiritual status of the group described in MLM, while the pericope in 4Q418 81 is meant to clarify the fate of the group among the angels, and the punishment of the “fleshy spirit.”68 Wold suggests that the purpose of the priestly metaphor is to “expand” the identity of the addressee, whose role is that of a teacher or a wise man, in order to gain a universal status.69 That is to say, descriptions such as “and he is your portion and your inheritance among humankind” should be understood literally, where the addressee aspires to take the role of a sage among all humanity.

In favour of the last approach, we should mention differences between priestly references within MLM. At the beginning of this section several quotations from 4Q423 were mentioned; these were addressed to a non-priestly figure who was commanded to support the priestly authority in the temple’s framework. In the current pericope, however, explicit references to the temple or to the rituals of the priestly role are absent. The text reflects a picture of the cosmological and spiritual perspectives of the addressee’s life and is addressed directly to the priestly character. Even though the pericope indeed refers to a pentateuchal image of priests through its unique terminology, no mention of the priestly lifestyle and obligations to the temple, to his people or ultimately to God appears in the section. Instead, the addressee is encouraged to understand the mysteries of creation and “seek his proper/fitting measures.” Considering the priestly phrases in the non-priestly context within the pericope, the addressee of the pericope is most likely not a real Aaronic priest, and neither the temple nor priestly orders thus play a role in the addressee’s life. Therefore, it must be a “spiritual priesthood” of the addressee which is described here, and the priestly image is used as a metaphor.70

Yet, one cannot ignore the fact that the Aaronic priesthood has significance, even if only metaphorically, in the self-perception of the addressee. In order to clarify this feature, I would like to present a set of evidence which relies both on the priestly phrases and on other elements in the pericope that argue in favour of a different social context than the Jerusalemite temple. The pericope will be connected to parallel phrases and ideas reflected in the Community Rule, where these are reflecting a unified scheme that will allow us to refine an identification of the addressee in MLM. The sections below consider the priestly language in the pericope as an integral part among a joint set of ideas in MLM and the Serekh.

2.3 The Addressee and the “People of Spirit”

In our pericope, the root ‮בד״ל‬‎ appears as commandment in line c, and as description of the addressee in line b: “because he has separated you from every fleshy spirit.” The expression “fleshy spirit” can be found several times in MLM, and the use of similar phrases is common in Qumran literature.71 In 4Q417 1 i 15–18 the differences between “fleshy spirit” and ‮אנוש עם עםרוח‬‎ (“humankind with the ⟨people⟩ of spirit”) are defined and reveal several characteristics of the group which was commanded to separate itself from fleshy spirit. First, we may note that the “people of spirit” (‮עם רוח‬‎),72 associated with ‮שומרי דברו‬‎ (“those who observe his word”), is similar to an expression in line l in the pericope which refers to the people of the addressee. This group, unlike the “fleshy spirit,” receive from God the ‮חזון הגיו‬‎ (“vision of the HGY”).73 The nature of the vision of the HGY has been extensively discussed in scholarship. For the present matter, I accept the theory proposed by Werman in which, by using this expression, the scribe refers to some kind of cognitive consciousness or insight which was given by God and allows certain people to seek, observe and understand divine matters such as the creation of the world and the worldly structure.74 Such a claim is supported by the description of the “fleshy spirit” as not able to differentiate between good and evil “as befits the manner of his spirit.” Therefore, the people of the group consider themselves spiritually similar to the angels (“in the likeness of the holy ones is its (humankind’s) fashioning” 4Q417 1 i 16–17).75 The picture portrayed is of an exclusive group who consider themselves in an elevated status from other human beings.

The principle of separation ‮(הבדלות)‬‎, aside from having a Pentateuchal priestly connotation, is also an integral part in the worldview of the Yaḥad. Shemesh suggests that this feature in the movement’s worldview is caused by the dualistic approach of the group, in which humanity is divided into sons of light and sons of darkness, while the people of the Yaḥad are expected to separate themselves from all the people not counted within the group.76 This is attested in 1QS, “… convert from all evil and to keep themselves steadfast in all he commanded in compliance with his will. They should keep apart from the congregation of the men of injustice,” 1QS 5:1–2. A similar demand is also placed upon the addressee in line c: “And you, separate yourself from everything he hates and deprive yourself from all that his soul abominates.” The use of the term ‮שנא‬‎ (“hate”) is known also from 1QS, where one aspect of the expected behaviour from the addressees as described in 1QS 1:3–5, 10 is “to hate everything that he rejects,” including the “sons of darkness.” In other words, the Serekh broadly defines what are the things that God hates and rejects, and included among them are the “sons of darkness.” While the current pericope does not expand upon the demand to “separate yourself from everything he hates,” the Serekh could clarify the connection between the key elements: separation from what could be defined as “everything he hates” involves the addressees separating from a specific group: sons of darkness. In addition, a similar distinction between two groups probably appears in the current pericope in the disrupted lines l and o. Both attest the existence of a favoured group: “those who observe his words” and the “people of freewill” who gain God’s love and kindness and enjoy forgiveness, while the second clause of the sentences preserves the words “wrath” and “punish” and possibly refers to a different group.77

A notable difference exists between the plural addressees of the Serekh and the single addressee in 4Q418. While it is possible to argue that wisdom literature commonly uses the singular imperative as a rhetorical tool, while actually referring to all its readers, it is nevertheless clear that this particular pericope speaks to a single addressee. The text highlights two positions in its framework—the so called “priestly” addressee himself and a specific group of people, the community of the single addressee, “all those who observe his word” or the “people of freewill.” As suggested by Wold, the pericope highlights a person with a special duty among a distinct group.78

2.4 The Inheritance Motif

The next feature that should be explored is the unusual symbolic inheritance of the addressee. While the motif of inheritance is common in MLM, in the current pericope the inheritance of the addressee is given a priestly touch with a promise that God himself is his inheritance—comparable to the Aaronic eternal inheritance. However, considering that the priestly role in the pericope underwent a process of democratisation, this most likely does not refer to actual work in the temple.

The priestly elements in the pericope together with the worldview of the movement lead us to consider a spiritual use of the figure of Aaron and his seed in the Community Rule. As argued by Hempel, in the Community Rule the expressions “Aaron” and “Sons of Aaron” refer to a specific group with an authoritative role inside the Yaḥad. She notices the people referred to as “the sons of Aaron” serve as priests in the community.79 Hempel distinguishes between the different texts that use this terminology and divides them into four groups.80 She suggests these compositions reflect the development of the priestly perception in Second Temple literature. The first group of texts, in which she counts the Temple Scroll, mention only the name “Sons of Aaron” without mentioning “Sons of Zadok,” and deal with the priestly duties of the “Sons of Aaron” in the temple. The second group of texts are associated with a certain group with priestly origins or characteristics. In these compositions, “Sons of Zadok” refers to all the members of the group, while “Aaron” describes certain people inside the group, as for example in the Damascus Document. The third group of texts uses the term “Aaron” to describe a messianic-priestly figure which will exist alongside the messianic king; as an example, Hempel mentions 4QFlorilegium (4Q174).

The fourth group of texts, which applies to our case, includes 1QS. In this group the names “Aaron” and “Sons of Aaron” refer to a group of people among the Yaḥad who have gained a special status and serve as priests in the community.81 Hempel identifies such use in the existence of clear terminology which describes the community. Yet, as this paper proposes, we may find a similarity between the priestly figure in the community and the addressee of the pericope in 4Q418 81.82

The people known as “Aaron” are mentioned in 1QS: ‮למטעת עולם בית קודש לישראל וסוד קודש קודשים לאהרון‬‎ (“to be an everlasting plantation, a holy house for Israel and the foundation of the holy of holies for Aaron,” 1QS VIII 5–6).83 The people of the community are referred to as “Israel,” while “Aaron,” the priestly class, receives the mystery of the holy of holies. Even though the passage does not mention the name “Aaron” explicitly, the scribe clearly creates a connection to the figure of Aaron and his seed and to the priesthood by using terminology from the priestly conceptual world. 1QS refers to the community as “eternal plantation,” while its class of priestly leaders is referred to as “holy of holies.” The authoritative figure in the pericope, who the scribe consistently relates to the image of Aaron the priest, has an elevated status among his community, while the pericope is meant to prepare him for this role. The change from the pentateuchal “among the people of Israel” to “among humankind” in MLM highlights the universal status of the group of the addressee, following Licht’s proposal regarding the use of the phrase “among humankind” in 1QHa 4:11.84 It is likely that in both MLM and the Community Rule the scribe tries to link the priestly figures to the roles of Aaronic priests in order to gain a certain authority for this social class.

2.5 Priests and Angels

I would like to suggest that the priestly identification of the expression “holy of holies” does not deny the angelic connotation. As proposed above, line g presents the lot of the addressee. The description “inasmuch as he has established you as a holy of holies [upon all the inhabitants] of the world,” alongside the clear priestly spirit, is parallel to the second hemistich “and among all [ang]els he has cast your lot and has magnified your glory.” Such an ambiguous expression leads us to striking similarities.

First, the reference to the addressee as “holy of holies” completes the picture from the Serekh discussed above. The priestly class of the group is described in 1QS in the words “the foundation of the holy of holies for Aaron,” while the current pericope refers to the addressee through different analogies with an Aaronic priest and clearly defines him as “holy of holies.”85 Second, considering the linguistic and ideological similarities between 4Q418 81 and the Community Rule, the angelic nature of the addressees in the text begins to become clear. Moreover, several overlaps between MLM and 1QS exist on the idea of the angelic inheritance which also occurs elsewhere in Second Temple literature.86 In 1QS 11:7–8 the community is described as accompanying the angels (“and he has given them an inheritance in the lot of the holy ones”), comparable to line g (“among all [ang]els he has cast your lot”).

The angelic characteristics of its addressees are mentioned in several instances in MLM. Outside the current pericope, one instance occurs in 4Q417 1 i 16–17,87 where characteristics such as the divine understanding of otherworldly matters by the “people of spirit” are shared with the angels.88 Dimant even argues that the expression ‮רז נהיה‬‎ (“raz nihyeh”), which is widespread in MLM, may refer to the specific knowledge shared by the people of the movement and the angels.89

2.6 The Social Context of the Pericope

One of the most important matters in the pericope is the presentation of the addressee as a receiver of special status among a group of people. This group is mentioned three times in the pericope: ‮שומרי דברו‬‎ (“those who observe his word”), ‮אנשי רצון‬‎ (“people of freewill”), and ‮נוחלי ארץ‬‎ (“those who inherit the earth”). We may point out that the name “people of freewill” fits with the criteria set by Dimant for the names of the community, when the community refers to itself. She argues that the noun ‮אנשים‬‎ in its constructive state refers to the people of the Yaḥad, while the compositional morpheme represents the sectarian element in the expression.90 For example ‮אנשי היחד‬‎ (“people of the Yaḥad,” 1QS 5:15–16) or ‮אנשי הקודש‬‎ (“people of holiness,” 1QS 5:13).

Dimant also highlights the significance of the word ‮רצון‬‎ (“freewill”) in 1QS. She suggests that the use of ‮רצון‬‎ is a metaphor for the desirable sacrifice, as in Lev 22:21 “And when a man offers, from the herd or the flock, a sacrifice of well-being to the LORD for an explicit vow or as a freewill offering, it must, to be acceptable, be without blemish; there must be no defect in it.” Dimant argues that much as “the freewill offering of an ‘unblemished’ animal alone is pleasing to God, so too the ‘volunteer’ who joins the community brings the ‘blameless way’ as his freewill offering before God.”91 Similar names for the community can be found in the Community Rule and Hodayot. ‮בי֯חירי רצון‬‎ (“the chosen by freewill” 1QS 8:6),92 ‮בני רצונכה‬‎ (“your sons of freewill” 1QHa 19:10), and ‮ורוב רחמיו על כול בני רצונו‬‎ (“and the abundance of his compassion with all his sons of freewill,” 1QHa 12:32–33). It should be noted that “sons of freewill” in the Hodayot receive special treatment from God in which they achieve greater forgiveness.93 This description matches line l in the pericope, “and with (everlasting) kindness and love upon all who observe his word,” and even in the result of the actions of the addressee, “And it is in your power to turn away anger from the men of good pleasure”: through the addressee, who serves as a channel between God and his people, they receive forgiveness.

The cumulative evidence in this paper, which examined the ideological, spiritual and linguistic similarities between MLM and the Community Rule, leads me to conclude that the pericope was meant to serve the people of the movement. More specifically, the pericope does not address each person in the community, but rather the figure or figures recognised as “Aaron” in 1QS, the elevated class who gained a special position. We may suggest that the pericope instructed a member of the community as they were taking up a senior position in order to encourage them to walk in this divine path alongside their privileges.

As suggested by Brooke, the movement in general follows a priestly model. He further notes that priestly authority, named as “sons of Aaron” in 1QS, controlled the community.94 However, community members are not necessarily priests by descent but could become “priestly” through their participation in the “sanctuary of men.”95 That is to say, the pericope in MLM, which presents a democratisation of the priestly role and reflects a spiritual model of priesthood, represents a step towards gaining an elevated status among the community. The precise role of these priestly leaders is not entirely clear, yet the pericope offers a set of guidance that fits a priestly sage who shares the benefits of his relationship with God exclusively with his people.

Yet, although the Community Rule reflects broadly on the community structure, halakha, daily prayer and rituals, in MLM such references are minimal or absent. Schiffman for example, discusses three halakhic elements in the composition, two of which could be directly related to priests: the laws of mixed species and the laws of the firstborn.96 He suggests that such laws would not necessarily have been community-specific and point towards a wider interest in the halakha. In fact, this allows us to assume the existence of a widespread movement, with different interests in the halakhic concerns within different kinds of communities where MLM and the Community Rule could have originated, yet sharing a joint worldview.

Recently Bakker, who challenges the classification of sapiential texts from Qumran, argued that we indeed cannot date the composition of MLM prior to other texts of the movement with any certainty, and the absence of some features from S in MLM could be dictated by the literary genre. Bakker draws a complex picture regarding the wisdom traditions.97 He suggests that some compositions could be written in what he defines as a “sectarian” environment, assuming the existence of different communities with shared ideas or practices and allowing the possibility that these were widely spread and not adjusted to a specific movement. Bakker’s theory is not incompatible with the option that 4Q418 81 and 1QS reflect one ideological and spiritual worldview, which can be attributed to one movement, even if to different, remote and fluid communities.

With respect to the pericope as an integral part of MLM, a few points should be raised. MLM has come to be considered by some as a unified ideological and literary composition in recent years.98 Our analysis of the pericope also shows that a number of features in the pericope are fundamental in the whole composition. It cannot be ruled out, however, that some parts of the document were composed or edited at different stages, especially when taking into account the developing of the textual tradition of S as it is attested in its copies. Even if we assume that all the copies found at Qumran preserve a stable text and already included the pericope, we know very little about the early transmission of the composition. Perhaps the need for instructions intended for an elite within the movement only appeared later in a specific community among the movement and thus this pericope was composed with a stronger affinity to 1QS.

3 Reconsidering MLM

The key to placing MLM among the Yaḥad writings could be perhaps the combination of both, a wider movement framework and stages of textual editing and revisions, already among the different communities, which will still allow us to see the MLM as unified composition. First, allowing the existences of remote communities with one ideology can explain the differences between MLM and the S tradition regarding the interest in halakhic matters or some sectarian rituals and rules, for example. On top of that, as has been pointed out by many scholars, the genre itself should be taken in account. While the wisdom genre tries to impose a universal tone, a rule text of a community or movement will be a manifesto of the movement’s principles, as stated by the title of 1QS “[Ru]le of the Community ….”99 Considering these together can explain both the similarities and the differences between MLM and the S tradition.

The next step will be to reconsider the revision process of MLM. While the multiple copies of the S tradition allow us to propose the existence of different, remote communities that held earlier, somewhat different traditions of S that later developed and emerged in 1QS, the fragmentary nature of MLM is more complicated. Yet, we should raise the question whether MLM can or should be understood as a unified text.

Thinking of MLM as a unified composition does not mean that the text was written as one piece and existed in this form with one or more communities among the movement. An option that should be raised is that only the seed, or some core of the composition existed and already developed simultaneously in some pre-Qumran remote communities. Already Tigchelaar noted the text is somewhat heterogeneous and could have experienced one or more redactions.100 He highlights the differences in subject matter, and alternations between third person descriptions and second person singular and plural discourse, as well as some content contradictions. Tigchelaar suggests that some sections attested in 4Q416 and 4Q418 (which includes also the pericope discussed here) were not yet present in 4Q417. On the other hand, he argues it is possible that the introduction of 4Q417 1 i was not included in 416 and both texts were united in 4Q418,101 implying 4Q418 as the latest text.102 He raises the possibility that the different redactions can even express different theological views.

Tigchelaar’s theory could draw a similar picture regarding MLM to that attested for the S tradition. A composition that indeed originated among the movement, based on a similar set of beliefs as the Community Rule, developed and grew simultaneously, keeping the genre restrictions, until reaching a final state close to 1QS. These processes could take place in separate communities which transmitted knowledge even before reaching the site of Qumran, given that it is unclear which version of MLM was known to the scribes of 4QSb,d and vice versa. In that case, 4Q418 and the current pericope reflect the latest and closest version to 1QS. This approach does not necessarily demand that copies of MLM that were found in Qumran are different but rather allows for a broader view on possible textual developments in pre-Qumran communities.

4 Conclusions

This paper analysed the figure of the addressee of the pericope in 4Q418 81 + 81a in two stages. The first step of the analysis focused on the nature of the priestly language in the pericope, which suggested a metaphorical presentation of the priestly status through spiritualisation or democratisation of the priesthood. The second stage of the analysis reflected on the identity of the addressee through parallel ideas in the Community Rule where a specific, elevated group within the social structure of the movement are referred to as “the sons of Aaron,” which brought to light a series of linguistic and ideological similarities between the Community Rule and in the discussed pericope.

Both compositions present a framework in which there is a certain group (“people of freewill”) separated from the rest of humankind who live by a distinct set of rules. Among them, there are people with higher authority who are presented as appointed by God himself (“and he is your portion and your inheritance among humankind, [and ov]er his inheritance he has given you authority”). In other words, there are two levels of separation: that of the people of the movement from the rest of the humankind, and among them the most holy (“holy of holies”), an elevated tier of members within the community.

Finally, reflecting on the connection between the pericope and 1QS, I suggested that the purpose of the pericope is to prepare candidates who are entering a new, elevated status among their community.


The current paper is based on my Master’s thesis, which was submitted at the University of Haifa, Israel, under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov from whom I benefited greatly. My sincere thanks to Prof. Menahem Kister who read this article in its early stages and offered important insights to this work. I would like to also thank Prof. Charlotte Hempel for her helpful notes and her contribution to the final version of the current paper. Also, I wish to thank my project colleagues from the University of Haifa for the fertile discussions: Eshbal Ratzon, Asaf Gayer, Shlomi Efrati, Hila Dayfani and Moshe Diengott. The study was funded by a grant from the DIP foundation (Deutsche-Israelische Projektkooperation), Grant Number BE 5916/1–1, as part of the project Scripta Qumranica Electronica.


For a review of the wisdom texts from Qumran, see Harrington, “Wisdom at Qumran,” 137–52.


On the use of the terms “Maskil” and “Mevin” in MLM see Wold, 4QInstruction, 12–94, and esp. 72–81 regarding the current pericope. Wold differentiates between the names “Maskil” and “Mevin” in MLM: Mevin refers to a student and Maskil represents the role of the sage. Bakker, on the other hand, suggests that Mevin is not restricted to students or teachers; “It simply indicates that the person who is addressed as such has been initiated into the secret teachings.” Bakker, The Figure of the Sage, 36.


Nitzan highlights these two types of wisdom in MLM and reflects on their unity. See “The Ideological and Literary Unity,” 257–79.


For comparative studies see for example Knibb, Book of Enoch, 91–110; Stuckenbruck, “4QInstruction and the Possible Influence of Early Enochic Traditions,” 245–62; Tigchelaar, “Wisdom and Counter-Wisdom,” 177–93.


Hempel, “Challenging the Particularist Paradigm,” 93.


Strugnell and Harrington, DJD 34:22–34; Goff, 4QInstruction, 27–29; Wold, 4QInstruction, 196–98.


Rey, 4Qnstruction, 333–36; Elgvin, “Theology of Revelation,” 116–17.


Dimant, “The Vocabulary,” 91–93.


Kister, “Wisdom Literature at Qumran,” 304–7.


Nitzan, “The Ideological and Literary Unity,” 278–79.


“The absence of sectarian features in a text does not necessarily mean that it was written by a different group, since vocabulary and style can also be dictated by literary genre.” Bakker, “Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 146.


Collins, Beyond the Qumran Community, 65–69, 104; see also Schofield, From Qumran to the Yaḥad, esp. 42–62.


Hempel, “Challenging the Particularist Paradigm,” esp. 97–101.


Collins, Beyond the Qumran Community, 67.


Metso, The Textual Development of the Qumran Community Rule, 152–54.


See Schofield, From Qumran to the Yaḥad, 42–68.


Following Hempel’s comprehensive work: Hempel, The Laws of the Damascus Document; Collins, Beyond the Qumran Community, 39.


For a broader discussion regarding the next unit, which starts in line 15 of the current fragment, see Gayer, “Wisdom of Hands.”


Qimron, The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition, 151.


This reconstruction was broadly accepted. Recently, Qimron retreated from this reconstruction and in the latest edition suggests ‮ואתה בן[, אל‬‎. Puech, however, reconstructs ‮במזל] שפתיכה‬‎. Puech, “Les fragments eschatologiques,” 108.


As noted for example by Wold, 4QInstruction, 14–15.


Otherwise, for text and the translation of the copies of MLM in this article (4Q415, 4Q416, 4Q417, 4Q418, 4Q418a, 4Q423 and 1Q26) see Ben-Dov et al., Instruction: A Wisdom Text from Qumran (DSSE, Brill, in preparation). For any other translation of the DSS the article uses García Martínez and Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. Biblical quotations follow the JPS translation.


A similar claim was made already by Strugnell and Harrington in the edition regarding the whole composition. See DJD 34:5, 17; Wold, 4QInstruction, 72–73. Reymond also notices this feature in MLM and mentions the poetic structure in 4Q418 81 + 81a 4–5; Reymond, “The Poetry,” 192.


Qimron, The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition, 166.


Following Qimron (2013). In the later edition (2020) Qimron reads ‮ואתה בן [אל]‬‎.


4Q423 3 reads לקודש קודשים לכל.


The reading כול יושבי תבל is based on Isa 18:3, כל ישבי תבל ושוכני ארץ, see also Isa 26:9, 18. This expression can be found also in 4Q169 (4QpNah) 1–2 9 ‮[ ]ו֯ל יושבי תבל‬‎.


Strugnell and Harrington, and Qimron, read ‮ובכל א]ל[ים הפיל גורלכה‬‎, while Goff and Rey both read ‮מ]ל[אכים‬‎ (both Tigchelaar and Wold read ‮מ]ל[אכיו‬‎). This is all the reading materially possible due to the location of the word at the end of the line in the current fragment (the parallel fragment in 4Q423 is broken). The word אלים appears in MLM in 4Q418 69:15 in its full orthography בסוד אילים. In the current fragment, it is possible to reconstruct only one letter before lamed, therefore the form אילים does not fit in the gap.


4Q423 8 reads ‮וישימכה לו כבכור‬‎.


The reconstructed text following Qimron (2020). This piece of the fragment can be seen on PAM 40.618.


The word עולם was scraped off.


Imperative ‮פת״ח‬‎ following Wold, 4QInstruction, 73. Lines a–c address the Mevin with commandments.


See Hempel, The Community Rules from Qumran: A Commentary, 129–31.


Kister suggests that in some cases in the DSS the meaning of the word ‮משפט‬‎ refers to a proper or fitting measure. In that case, the texts possibly instruct the addressee in the Raz Nihyeh to seek or to learn the proper measures in God’s creation. See Kister, “Physical and Metaphysical,” 155.


Following Qimron’s reading ‮וריבכה‬‎, while DJD 34 reads ‮יריבכה‬‎ (“your opponent”). The words ‮ריב ומשפט‬‎ appear in several cases in Instruction. See 4Q416 2 i 14 and 4Q418 69 7; also see 4QInstruction-like 4Q424 3 4.


See 1QHa 10:14 ‮ואהיה איש ריב למליצי תעות‬‎ (“I have become a man of contention for the mediators of error”).


See Isa 54:8 ‮ובחסד עולם‬‎ (“and with everlasting kindness”).


As opposed to God’s description in the first part of the sentence.


See Prov 12:8 ‮לפי שכלו יהלל איש‬‎; 4Q418 55 18 ‮ולפי שכלו ירבה הדרו‬‎.


See Sir 1:25 ἐν θησαυροῖς σοφίας.


Likely “a true measure,” following Puech, “Les fragments eschatologiques,” 109–10.


In DJD 34, Strugnell and Harrington suggest the translation “to number” as one of the options for ‮פק״ד‬‎, DJD 34:308. Considering use of “a true Eiyfa” as a measurement unit, it is appropriate to consider ‮פק״ד‬‎ as an act of numbering, counting, or measuring.


See below, section 2.6. Based on Lev 22:21, ‮מנחת רצון‬‎ “freewill sacrifice offering.”


As suggested by Puech, in this line ‮פק״ד‬‎ refers to an act of punishment. While in the first part of the sentence the addressee is able to turn away God’s anger, the second part probably describes him as punisher. Puech, “Les fragments eschatologiques,” 114.


As suggested by Strugnell and Harrington, the line contains a correspondence where ‮הדרו‬‎ in the first hemistich is parallel to ‮פארתו‬‎. Strugnell and Harrington, DJD 34:308–9.


The motif of inheritance appears frequently in MLM. See for example 4Q416 2 iii 8, 10; 4Q416 3 2; 4Q417 1 i 24; 4Q418 9 9–10, 12; 4Q418 69 ii 13; 4Q418 172 4.


And in 1Q26, which is partly parallel to 4Q423.


As argued by Elgvin, “Priestly Sages,” 79. Compare Num 18:15, 17. See also Schiffman, “Halakhic Elements in the Sapiential Texts,” 99–100.


The line is written superscript.


The root ‮נז״ר‬‎ in the Pentateuch often describes Aaron and his seed, for example Lev 22:2 ‮דבר אל אהרן ואל בניו וינזרו מקדשי בני ישראל ולא יחללו את שם קדשי אשר הם מקדשים לי‬‎ (“Instruct Aaron and his sons to be scrupulous about the sacred donations that the Israelite people consecrate to Me, lest they profane My holy name”). Similarly, the root ‮בד״ל‬‎ refers to the Levites: ‮בעת ההיא הבדיל יהוה את שבט הלוי לשאת את ארון ברית יהוה לעמוד לפני יהוה לשרתו ולברך בשמו עד היום הזה‬‎ (“At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant, to stand in attendance upon the LORD, and to bless in His name, as is still the case,” Deut 10:8), see also Num 16:9.


See 4Q418 126 ii 8 and 221 4. On the idea of separation in MLM, see Kister, “2 Corinthians,” 111–12.


Nitzan suggests distinguishing between the use of the term “inheritance” and its parallels in the theological sections of MLM, and their use in the practical wisdom. In the case of the current pericope, compare 1QS 4:24–26; 11: 8–9. Nitzan, “The Ideological and Literary Unit,” 273–74.


The article embraces the definition of biblical quotation offered by Hughes, Hodayot, 42–44.


Fletcher-Louis, Glory of Adam, 179–80.


Goff, 4QInstruction, 247.


Angel, Eschatological Priesthood, 67–68.


Himmelfarb, A Kingdom of Priests, 121. Himmelfarb also notes that the ordering withing the groupings was made by “spiritual status.”


The form קדוש קודשים is unique. The parallel in 4Q423 8 reads קודש קודשים. The change is probably caused by differences in pronunciation of the Qutl pattern. Qimron, Grammar, 331–34.


Stuckenbruck, “Angels and God,” 63–66; Goff, 4QInstruction, 243–45; Nitzan, “The Ideological and Literary Unity,” 275. See for example the chiastic parallelism in 1QS 11:8 ‮וינחילם בגורל קדושים\ ועם בני שמים חבר סודם‬‎.


Similarly to Dimant, who argues that the expression “holy of holies” in the compositions associated with the Yaḥad refers to the angels in the highest position in the hierarchy. Dimant, “Bnei Shamaim,” 152–53.


Goff, 4QInstruction, 243–45; Fletcher-Louis, Glory of Adam, 186–87; Angel, Eschatological Priesthood, 74–75.

Lange shares this opinion. However, Lange suggests that the use of “holy of holies” proves that the addressee is a real Aaronic priest who serves in the temple. Lange, “Determination of Fate,” 39–48.


Mizrahi, “The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice” 35–41.


Lange, “Determination of Fate,” 39–41. Later, Lange retreated from this unambiguous argument and suggested that the pericope may have been addressed to the high priest or to somebody who gained an important role in the temple. Lange, “Wisdom Literature,” 2438–40.


Fletcher-Louis, Glory of Adam, 175–87.


Tigchelaar, To Increase Learning, 235–36.


Tigchelaar, “The Addressees of Instruction,” 62–75.


Elgvin, “Priestly Sages,” 82–83, 85.


Angel, Eschatological Priesthood, 70–73.


Wold, 4QInstruction, 72–82, esp. 81–83. Also Rey, who is not dealing with the identification of the addressee as priest directly, suggests a similar hypothesis. He thinks that the duty of the addressee is universal, yet he does not object to the identification as an actual priest since the composition mentions priestly rituals in 4Q423. Rey, 4QInstruction, 318, 320–21.


A similar conclusion was reached by Angel regarding the Self-Glorification Hymn from Qumran. Angel, who notes several similarities between the discussed pericope in 4Q418 81 and the hymn, suggests that the authors or the performers of the hymn were some sort of priests, but not necessarily hereditary. He argues that that the speaker is most likely a member of the Qumran community. Angel, “The Liturgical-Eschatological Priest,” esp. 591–605. Considering the conclusions of the current paper the connection between the current pericope in 4QInstruction and the Self-Glorification Hymn should be re-examined, suggesting that both texts addressed the same type of spiritual priest.


For discussion about “spirit” and “flesh” in Qumran and esp. in MLM, see Frisch and Schiffman, “Flesh and Spirit,” 155–82; Wold, 4QInstruction, 95–145; Collins, “Eschatology in 4Qinstruction,” 173–78.


We may note that the original text was corrected. The word ‮עם‬‎ (people) was added later above the line. Therefore, first the text described ‮אנוש עם רוח‬‎ (“humankind with spirit”) in oppose to “fleshy spirit.” It seems that the correction differentiates between “fleshy spirit,” meaning humankind in general, and the group “people of spirit.”


For a review and a discussion of the phrase, see Ben-Dov, “Sepher HGY,” 423–37.


Werman, “What is the book of Hagu?” esp. 137–40.


Following Tigchelaar and Frisch and Schiffman. Frisch and Schiffman suggest that the scribe of MLM holds a dualistic worldview, in which exist two types of people: the impure, and in opposition to these a special category of human beings which are similar to the angels. Frisch and Schiffman, “Flesh and Spirit,” 162.


Shemesh highlights the “separation rules” which are detailed in 1QS and deal with pureness and trading outside the community. Shemesh, “Hamavdil,” 209–20.


On this matter see also 2.6 below.


Wold, 4QInstruction, 108–10.


Hempel, “Sons of Aaron,” 213–15, 223–24.


Hempel, Rule Texts, 208–9.


Hempel argues that the copies of the Serekh which were found in Cave 4 and do not mention “Sons of Zadok” reflect an earlier revision of the compositions. Hempel, “The Rule texts,” 199–201.


This article will not discuss the priesthood in Qumran. For a fuller review of the matter, see Kugler, “The Priesthood at Qumran,” 93–116; Kugler, “Levi and the Levites,” 465–79; Fabry, “Priests at Qumran,” 243–69.


Compare also ‮בית קודש לאהרון להיחד קודש קודשים ובית יחד לישראל ההולכים בתמים‬‎ (“the holy house of Aaron uniting as a Holy of Holies, and the synagogue of Israel as those who walk blamelessly,” 1QS 9:6).


The translation was adapted from the DSS Study edition. Although the study edition translates ‮בתוך בני אדם‬‎ “amongst the sons of Adam,” the translation “among humankind” as suggested in the pericope is preferable.


Hempel, The Community Rules from Qumran: A Commentary, 244.


Angel offers an analysis of the connection between the divine hierarchy and earthly beings as reflected in Shirot Olat Hashabat. He argues that the idea that people have a connection with the angels was common in the Second Temple period. Angel, Eschatological Priesthood, 87–97.


See section 2.3 above.


In other cases in MLM, as in 4Q418 55 8–10 and 4Q418 69 10–14, the angelic beings are also described as seeking knowledge, and probably described as “role models” for human beings. See Bakker, “The Praise of the Luminaries,” 177–79.


Dimant, “Men as Angels,” 471.


Dimant, “The Vocabulary,” 70–72.


Dimant, “The Vocabulary,” 71.


See also ‮דורשי רצונו‬‎ 1QS 5:10.


Licht, Hodayot, 162.


Brooke, “Some Issues behind the Ethics of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 93.


Brooke, “Some Issues behind the Ethics of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 100–1.


Schiffman, “Halakhic Elements in the Sapiential Texts,” 89–100.


Bakker, “Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 141–53.


Nitzan, “The Ideological and Literary Unity,” 257–79.


See for example also 1QS 5:1 and 1QSa 1:1.


Tigchelaar, To Increase Learning, 192.


A similar position is also held by Lange, “Wisdom Literature from the Qumran Library,” 2418.


Elgvin, however, recognizes two literary layers in Instruction and suggests that 4Q417 could be a Qumranic recension. See Elgvin, An Analysis of 4QInstruction, 53–57.


  • Angel, Joseph L. Otherworldly and Eschatological Priesthood in the Dead Sea Scrolls. STDJ 86. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

  • Angel, Joseph L. “The Liturgical-Eschatological Priest of the ‘Self-Glorification Hymn.’ ” RQ 24 (2010): 585–605.

  • Bakker, Arjen. The Figure of the Sage in Musar Le-Mevin and Serek Ha-Yahad. Dissertation, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, 2015.

  • Bakker, Arjen. “The Praise of the Luminaries in the Similitudes of Enoch and its Parallels in the Qumran Scrolls.” Meghillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls 13 (2017): 171–84 [Hebrew].

  • Bakker, Arjen. “Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Jewish Interpretation.” Pages 141–53 in The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible. Edited by Will Kynes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.

  • Ben-Dov, Jonathan. “The Book of HGY and Ancient Reading Practices.” Pages 423–37 in Is There a Text in this Cave? Studies in the Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of George J. Brooke. Edited by Ariel Feldman, Maria Cioată, and Charlotte Hempel. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

  • Brooke, George J. “Some Issues behind the Ethics in the Qumran Scrolls and Their Implications for New Testament Ethics.” Pages 83–106 in Early Christian Ethics in Interaction with Jewish and Greco-Roman Contexts. Edited by Jan Willem van Henten and Joseph Verheyden. Leiden: Brill. 2012.

  • Chazon, Esther. “Dialogue with Scripture in Hymns and Prayers from Qumran.” Meghillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls 1 (2003): 59–70. [Hebrew].

  • Collins, John J. “The Mysteries of God: Creation and Eschatology in 4QInstruction and the Wisdom of Solomon.” Pages 287–305 in Wisdom and Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Biblical Tradition. Edited by Florentino García Martínez. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2003.

  • Collins, John J. Beyond the Qumran Community: The Sectarian Movement of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.

  • Dimant, Devorah. “‮בני שמים‬‎ - ‮תורת המלאכים בספר היובלים לאור כתבי עדת קומראן‬‎.” Pages 141–60 in Connected Vessels: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Literature of the Second Temple Period. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2010.

  • Dimant, Devorah. “Men as Angels: The Self-Image of the Qumran Community.” Pages 465–72 in History, Ideology and Bible Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Collected Studies. Edited by Devorah Dimant. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014.

  • Dimant, Devorah. “The Vocabulary of the Qumran Sectarian Texts.” Pages 57–100 in History, Ideology and Bible Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls; Collected Studies. Edited by Devorah Dimant. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014.

  • Elgvin, Torleif. An Analysis of 4QInstruction. PhD dissertation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997.

  • Elgvin, Torleif. “The Mystery to Come: Early Essene Theology of Revelation.” Pages 113–50 in Qumran between the Old and New Testaments. Edited by Frederick H. Cryer and Thomas L. Thompson. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.

  • Elgvin, Torleif. “Priestly Sages? The Milieus of Origin of 4QMysteries and 4QInstruction.” Pages 67–87 in Sapiential Perspectives: Wisdom Literature in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature (20–22 May 2001). Edited by John J. Collins, Gregory E. Sterling, and Ruth A. Clements. STDJ 51. Leiden: Brill, 2001.

  • Fabry, Heinz-Joseph. “Priests at Qumran: A Reassessment.” Pages 243–62 in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Texts and Context. Edited by Charlotte Hempel. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

  • Fletcher-Louis, Crispin H.T. All the Glory of Adam: Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Leiden: Brill, 2002.

  • Frisch, Alexandria and Schiffman, Lawrence H. “The Body in Qumran Literature: Flesh and Spirit, Purity and Impurity in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” DSD 23 (2016): 155–82.

  • Gayer, Asaf. “A new reconstruction of the ‘Wisdom of the Hands’ unit in 4QInstructiond (4Q418).” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 30 (2020): 60–73.

  • Goff, Matthew J. 4QInstruction. Atlanta: SBL, 2013.

  • Harrington, Daniel J. “Wisdom at Qumran.” Pages 137–52 in The Community of the Renewed Covenant; the Notre Dame Symposium on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Edited byEugene Ulrich and James VanderKam. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994.

  • Hempel, Charlotte. The Laws of the Damascus Document. STDJ 29. Leiden: Brill, 1998.

  • Hempel, Charlotte. “The Sons of Aaron in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Pages 207–24 in Flores Florentino: Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish Studies in Honour of Florentino García Martínez. Edited by Anthony Hilhorst, Emile Puech, and Eibert Tigchelaar. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

  • Hempel, Charlotte. The Qumran Rule Texts in Context: Collected Studies. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013.

  • Hempel, Charlotte. The Community Rules from Qumran: A Commentary. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 2020.

  • Hempel, Charlotte. “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Challenging the Particularist Paradigm.” Pages 93–106 in Torah, Temple, Land: Constructions of Judaism in Antiquity. Edited by Markus Witte, Jens Schröter, and Verena Lepper. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021. DOI 10.1628 / 978-3-16-159854-8.

  • Himmelfarb, Martha. A Kingdom of Priests: Ancestry and Merit in Ancient Judaism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

  • Hughes, Julie A. Scriptural Allusions and Exegesis in the Hodayot. STDJ 59. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

  • Kister, Menahem. “Physical and Metaphysical Measurements Ordained by God in the Literature of the Second Temple Period.” Pages 153–76 in Reworking the Bible: Apocryphal and Related Texts at Qumran. Edited by Esther G. Chazon, Devorah Dimant, and Ruth A. Clements. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

  • Kister, Menahem. “Wisdom Literature at Qumran.” Pages 299–319 in Qumran Scrolls and Their World. Edited by Menahem Kister. Yad-Yitzhak Ben Zvi: Jerusalem, 2009. [Hebrew].

  • Kister, Menahem. “Qumran, Jubilees, and the Jewish Dimensions of 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1.” Pages 103–39 in The Religious Worldviews Reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature (28–30 May, 2013). Edited by Ruth A. Clements, Menahem Kister, and Michael Segal. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

  • Knibb, Michael A. Essays on the Book of Enoch and Other Early Jewish Texts and Traditions. SVTP 22. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

  • Kugler, Robert A. “Priesthood at Qumran.” Pages 93–116 in The Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment Vol. III. Edited by Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam. Leiden: Brill, 1999.

  • Kugler, Robert A. “The Priesthood at Qumran: The Evidence of References to Levi and the Levites.” Pages 465–79 in The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues. Edited by Donald W. Parry and Eugene Ulrich. Leiden: Brill, 1999.

  • Lange, Armin. “The Determination of Fate by the Oracle of the Lot in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Mesopotamian Literature.” Pages 39–48 in Sapiential, Liturgical and Poetical Texts from Qumran; Published in Memory of Maurice Baillet. Edited by Daniel K. Falk, Florentino García Martínez, and Eileen M. Schuller. Leiden: Brill, 2000.

  • Lange, Armin. “Wisdom Literature from the Qumran Library.” Pages 2399–443 in Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture. 3 Volumes. Edited by Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel, and Lawrence H. Schiffman. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2013.

  • Licht, Jacob. ‮מגילת ההודיות ממגילות מדבר יהודה‬‎. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1957.

  • Licht, Jacob. Rule Scroll: A Scroll from the Wilderness of Judea, 1QS—1QSa—1QSb / Text, Introduction and Commentary by Jacob Licht. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1965. [Hebrew].

  • Metso, Sarianna. The Textual Development of the Qumran Community Rule. STDJ 21. Leiden: Brill, 1997.

  • Mizrahi, Noam. “ “The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice” and Biblical Priestly Literature: A Linguistic Reconsideration.” Harvard Theological Review 104 (2011): 33–57.

  • Naeh, Shlomo. “ ‘Creates the Fruit of Lips’: A Phenomenological Study of Prayer According to Mishnah Berakhot 4:3, 5:5.” Tarbiz 63 (1994): 185–218. [Hebrew].

  • Nitzan, Bilha. “The Ideological and Literary Unity of 4QInstruction and Its Authorship.” DSD 12 (2005): 257–79.

  • Puech, Émile. “Les fragments eschatologiques de 4QInstruction (4Q416 1 et 4Q418 69 ii, 81–81a, 127).” RevQ 22 (2005): 89–119.

  • Qimron, Elisha. A Grammar of the Hebrew of The Dead Sea Scrolls. Jerusalem: Yad Yizhak Ben-Zvi, 2018.

  • Qimron, Elisha. The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition (published by author, 2020), vol. 2, 153. Online: https://10.5281/zenodo.3737949.

  • Rey, Jean-Sebastian. 4QInstruction: Sagesse et Eschatology. STDJ 81. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

  • Reymond, Eric D. “The Poetry of 4Q416 2 III 15–19.” DSD 13 (2006): 177–93.

  • Schiffman, Lawrence. “Halakhic Elements in the Sapiential Texts.” Pages 89–100 in Sapiential Perspectives: Wisdom Literature in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature (20–22 May 2001). Edited by John J. Collins, Gregory E. Sterling, and Ruth A. Clements STDJ 51. Leiden: Brill, 2001.

  • Schofield, Alison. From Qumran to the Yaḥad: A New Paradigm of Textual Development for The Community Rule. STDJ 77. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

  • Strugnell, John, and Daniel J. Harrington. Qumran Cave 4, XXIV: Sapiential Texts, Part 2, 4QInstruction (Musar le mevin): 4Q415 ff. with a Re-Edition of 1Q26. DJD 34. Oxford: Clarendon, 1999.

  • Shemesh, Aharon. “‮המבדיל בין בני אור לבני חושך, בין ישראל לעמים‬‎.” Pages 209–20 in ‮עטרה לחיים‬‎. Magness: Jerusalem, 2000.

  • Stuckenbruck, Loren T. “4QInstruction and the Possible Influence of Early Enochic Traditions: An Evaluation.” Pages 245–62 in The Wisdom Texts from Qumran and the Development of Sapiential Thought. Edited by Charlotte Hempel, Armin Lange, and Hermann Lichtenberger. BETL 159. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002.

  • Stuckenbruck, Loren T. “ ‘Angels’ and ‘God’: Exploring the Limits of Early Jewish Monotheism.” Pages 45–70 in Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism. Edited by Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Wendy E.S. North. London: T & T Clark, 2004.

  • Tigchelaar, Eibert J.C. “The Addressees of 4QInstruction.” Pages 62–75 in Sapiential, Liturgical and Poetical Texts from Qumran Published in Memory of Maurice Baillet. Edited by Daniel K. Falk, Florentino García Martínez, and Eileen M. Schuller. Leiden: Brill, 2000.

  • Tigchelaar, Eibert J.C. To Increase Knowledge for the Understanding Ones: Reading and Reconstructing the Fragmentary Early Jewish Sapiential Text 4QInstruction. STDJ 44. Leiden: Brill, 2001.

  • Tigchelaar, Eibert J.C. “Wisdom and Counter-Wisdom in 4QInstruction, Mysteries and 1 Enoch.” Pages 177–93 in The Early Enoch Literature. Edited by Gabriele Boccaccini and John J. Collins. SJSJ 121. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

  • Werman, Cana. “What is the “Book of Hagu”?” Pages 125–40 in Sapiential Perspectives: Wisdom Literature in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium of the Orion Center, 2001. Edited by John J. Collins, Gregory E. Sterling, and Ruth A. Clements. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

  • Wold, Benjamin. 4QInstruction: Divisions and Hierarchies. STDJ 123. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 726 109 5
PDF Views & Downloads 837 108 6