Dead Sea Scrolls – What are they?

Posted: 2021-06-11

June 11, 2021

“‭‭Is God trying to remind humanity of something?” ‬‬

The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient manuscripts discovered between 1947 and 1965 in eleven caves on the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea called Khirbet Qumran. The scrolls are approximately 2,000 years old. Most of them are written in Hebrew, with a smaller number in Aramaic and Greek. Most are written on parchment, but a few on papyrus. The majority were found in fragments, with only a few intact — most famously the entire book of Isaiah, which is perfectly readable except for a few gaps here and there.

Recently, archeologists discovered new fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the first time in more than 60 years.
Oren Ableman and his team of archeologists found the fragments of biblical ancient script in a cave called the Cave of Horrors, probably because it’s only accessible by practically abseiling (rappelling) down a frighteningly steep cliffside; not a job for the faint-hearted.

The fragments that were found were pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle to reveal two verses: one from the book of Nahum and one from Zechariah.

They read:

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭8:16-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬
“But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”

‭‭‭‭Nahum‬ ‭1:5‬-6 NLT‬‬
“In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.”

I think it’s interesting that these verses were found at a time in history where there’s so much talk about “fake news” or misleading stories, and where it’s hard to know what’s truth and what’s false. And a time where there’s been an increase in the number and the strength of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions across the world.

Is God trying to remind humanity of something?

Perhaps these verses are meant to point to our fragility and how important truthfulness is to God, and how we too should value and speak the truth.

What else can we learn from this new find?

We also learn that living languages change. While the meaning of the Scriptures hasn’t changed, the way we communicate them has.
The most famous Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible today is the Septuagint. The fragments that were recently found are Greek, but they are a reworking of the Greek found in the Septuagint. Some words and word order are different. This is exciting for modern Bible translators because it shows the historical adaptability of language to convey the same meaning to people of every generation. This means translations are reliable whilst adaptable, and God has certainly watched over His Word!

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

Without question God is still revealing Jesus to the world through His Word!


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