The passages dealing most explicitly with this theme are found in the initial section of the Damascus Document (I, 3–8), and in the Pesher of Psalms (4Q171), especially in its interpretations of Ps. 37:11, 22, and 29. The Damascus Document sees the demise of Israel at the hand of the Babylonians as a punishment for its sins against the covenant commandments. However, God left Israel a remnant (שארית – see, e.g., Isa. 37:32; Jer. 23:3; 40:11, 15), from which a "root of planting" grows, evidently the community itself. Because of its faithfulness to the true and correct practice of the Covenant, namely Torah commandments, this planting will inherit the land. Thus, the passage imparts the notion that while Israel had forfeited its right to inherit the land through its sins against the covenant, the Qumran covenanters gained the land through their fidelity to the covenant. This idea is also pegged to Isaiah's "plant of God" (60:21, 61:2), which symbolizes Israel as a righteous people who will "inherit the land". This image is taken up by Psalm 37, where the heirs to the land are the righteous and the meek. The pesher of this psalm (4Q171) equates the righteous and the meek with the members of the Qumran community, and thus affirms their being the rightful heirs to the land. Here the inheritance of the land is still applicable to the real, concrete piece of earth. At the same time another, more abstract notion is already present, namely, that the inheritance of the land is acquired by, and even equated with, the proper practice of the Torah commandments. The full transition from the inheritance of a real land to the inheritance of what is gained by righteousness, is effected in m. Sanh. 10:1's interpretation of Isa. 60:21, and similarly in Matthew 5:3, 5, an interpretation of Ps. 37:11.
|State||Published - 2010|