Fragment 4Q462 1 (4QNarrative) is the only substantial piece of this manuscript to survive. The nineteen partly broken lines preserved enable relatively certain reconstruction of its context and meaning. Its first section (ll. 1–12) describes Israel's past servitude in Egypt. In a peculiar midrash on the ninth plague, darkness (Exod. 10:21–23), the author contrasts the Israelites, who enjoyed light, with the Egyptians, who remained in complete darkness for three days. The wondrous character of this contrast is later recognized by the Egyptians as a sign of the election of Israel as the beloved people of God. The light and darkness of Egypt are seen as prefiguring the eschatological end of the era of darkness, to be followed by the era of light. This exposition is the first explicit attestation combining the well-known dualistic Qumranic teaching with the concept of history as a sequence of predetermined periods. The second part of the fragment (ll. 13–19) compares the ancient servitude in Egypt to another, more recent servitude of the Israelites there, probably closer to the time of the Jewish author, apparently in Ptolemaic Egypt. In addition, this section alludes to destruction and plunder of Jerusalem. The discussion analyzes the affinity of this passage to other sapiential texts from Qumran (4QMysteries – 1Q27 1; 4QInstruction – 4Q416 1 + 4Q418 2; and 4QTime of Righteousness – 4Q215a). Finally an attempt is made to suggest possible historical contexts for the various allusions in the text.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Egypt and Jerusalem in Light of the Dualistic Doctrine at Qumran (4Q462)
|Meghillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls / מגילות: מחקרים במגילות מדבר יהודה
|Published - 2003