Reworked Pentateuch

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Rohde & Bohn: Reworked Pentateuch (4Q158)

Introduction and Paraphrase prepared by Warren Rohde & Rick Bohn

Introduction :

4Q158 is also known as 4QPPa, and The Reworked Pentateucha. 4Q158 is grouped with 4Q364-7, and together are called the Reworked Pentateuch. 4Q158 contains portions of Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy. Most lines are exactly as they appear in the Bible and some are extrabiblical. In general, 4Q158 parallels quotes from the Pentateuch with minor additions. Some scholars wonder if it could be an atypical version of biblical manuscripts[1]. Wise, Abegg-Jr, and Cook (pg 200) also present a similar theory suggesting we may be dealing with a “wild” text of the bible. A “wild” text is of a form vastly different from a “standard” version. This may be true when considering the entire Reworked Pentateuch, but since 4Q158 largely consists of direct quotes from sections of Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Exodus, it by itself would not be considered a wild text.

Emanuel Tov and other scholars have suggested that 4Q365 is another copy of 4Q158. A relationship exists between the two in that they both contain material from Exodus although the readable sections are different. Considering the large portion of unreadable material in both documents it is conceivable, although difficult to prove, that the two could be duplicates of each other. Fragment 1-2 contains lines from Genesis 32:24-32 and Exodus 4:27-28, with extrabiblical additions. An addition to Genesis 32:30 is the exact wording Jacob received from God. Another interesting point is the tradition told in Genesis 32:32 ‘one does not eat from a certain portion of the thigh muscle’ is transformed into a direct command from God. Fragment 4, lines 1 and 2 appear to be the second half of Exodus 3:12. Lines 4-5 are a variation of Exodus 24:4-6, and the final lines are extrabiblical reflecting Gods covenant with the patriarchs.

Fragment 6 contains Exodus 20:19-21.

This is expanded upon with Gods affirmation of Moses’ statement to the people, and goes onto instill additional fear by holding them accountable to live up to God’s commandments. Fragment 7-8 combines Exodus 20:12-17, Deuteronomy 5:30-31, Exodus 20:22-26, and Exodus 21:1-10, with small extrabiblical additions. The 1st half of line 5 is such an addition. It is suggested by Wise, Abegg-Jr, and Cook that there may be some attempted biblical interpretation taking place. For example by mixing Exodus 20 with Deuteronomy 5 the author may have been attempting to clear up the confusing chronology surrounding the revelation at Sinai. Ancient scholars noticed that Moses went up the mountain seven times, but only explicitly descended twice. In order to correct the chronology one has to rearrange the order of the events. Certain aspects of 4Q158 seem to represent this sort of problem solving.

Fragment 10-12 closely parallels Exodus 21:32 to 22:13 with a small quantity of minor differences.

Fragment 14, an extrabiblical passage, records God speaking in the first person to a then current leader of Israel, probably Abraham or Jacob. God is providing a view into the future by revealing his intentions to desolate Egypt and promote the position of Israel for generations to come.

Paraphrase :4Q158

Fragments 1-2

3Gn 32:25-30 Jacob wrestled with [a man] until [daybreak. Realizing he could not win against Jacob the man struck him on his thigh, and dislocated his hip].
They continued wrestling until early morning. [The man said, “Let me go for the day is breaking:” Jacob agreed to let go if the man 5blessed him] The man asked him his name and Jacob told him. [The man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have striven with God] and humans and have prevailed.” Jacob asked him his name, and he said, “Why is it you ask my name?” Then he blessed Jacob and said, ” May the Lord make you fruitful, [know]ledgeable, insightful, and prevent you from sin for this day, and forever […]” 10Then the man left.

Gn 32:31-33 Jacob named the place where he saw God face to face, Penuel[2] . As Jacob was leaving Penuel (limping because of his injury) God appeared and said, “You shall not eat [the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket.” To this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle] on the hip socket, [because he struck Jacob there.]

Ex 4:27- 28[God said] to Aaron, “Go [into the wilderness] to meet [Moses.” Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain[3] of God where he kissed him. Moses told] Aaron everything 15God said to him. Moses said, “The Lord [has spoken] to me, saying, ‘When you have brought the people out [of Egypt …’] to go as slaves, and consider, they number thirty ….] the Lord, God […]

Fragments 3

1And Jacob called […] in this earth […] my fathers in order to enter […]

Fragments 4

1When you bring the people out of Egypt worship me on this mountain. So Moses built an altar there, and set up twelve pillars to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he prepared a burnt offering on the altar […Moses took half the blood and put it ] 5in bowls, Ex 24:6 and the other half he painted on the [altar … God said to Moses, “…] that I revealed to Abraham and to Isaac [and to Jacob … the contract that I made ] with them to be their God, and the
people’s […] forever…

Fragments 6

1 Ex 19:20- 21 [like us, and live. Come and hear everything God tells us. Then tell us everything God said. [we will listen to you, but] don’t let [God] talk to us or we [will die.” Moses said, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you] [and t]o put the fear of [God in you so that you do not sin.” The people stood at a distance, while Moses entered the darkness where] God was. God said to Moses, [“I have heard what the people have said to you. They are correct in all they have said. If] 5they continue to fear [Me and obey all the commandments all may go well for them and their children forever! Now that you have heard] My words tell them, [‘I will give them a prophet like you from their own people; This prophet will speak everything I tell him. Anyone] who does not listen [to this prophet, I will hold accountable.

Any prophet who speaks falsely in My name,] or spea[ks in the name of other gods will die. You may ask, “How will we know if a prophet speaks the Lord’s words?”] If [the things a prophet says do not happen it’s not the Lord’s word. This prophet has spoken presumptuously, but do fear him.”]

Fragments 7-8

1Ex 20:12- 17 Honor your [father] and your mother, [so that you may live long in the land God will give you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear] false witness [against] your [neighbor]. You shall not desire [your] nei[ghbor’s] wife, [slave, ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor]. God said to Moses, Dt 5:30- 31 “Tell them to [return to their tents. And with you next to Me I will tell them all the commandments, statues] and ordinances you are to teach them. They are to follow these rules in the land [I am about to give them”…]

5The people returned to their tents, but Moses remained before Ex 20:22-26 [God. God said, “tell the Israelites] ‘that they have seen Me speak to you from heaven. They are not to make [gods of silver or gold. They need to only make an altar of earth, and sacrifice] on it your burnt offerings and offers of well being, your sheep [and oxen. Every place where I cause My named to be remembered I will come and bless you. If] you build me [an altar of stone] do not use formed stone. For by using a chisel [upon it you ruin it. Do not go up steps to My altar or your nakedness will be exposed] on it”

Fragments 10-12

1 Ex 21:32- 37 [If a bull kills a slave man or woman, the bull’s owner is to pay the slave owner] thirty sil[ver] shekels[4] [and the bull is to be stoned] 2 [The owner] of an uncovered well [is responsible to compensate] the owner of any bull or ass that falls into it and return the [dead animal to the owner. If a bull kills someone else’s bull, the killing bull is to be sold] with the proceeds from the sale and the dead bull [shared between both owners]. 4 However, if the killing bull [was known to] gore [and its owner did not keep it in, the bulls would be exchanged live for dead]. 5 If someone steals a bull or ewe and slaughters it or s[ells] it, [he is to repay the owner with five bulls for a stolen bull and four sheep for a stolen ewe. If the thief was caught during the break in] and was killed, he should not be the subject of blood retaliation. Ex 22:1-13 If the thief was caught stealing in daylight hours he will be subjected to blood retaliation. [The thief must pay for what is stolen. If he has no worth, he will be sold for the value of the stolen property. If 7 the stolen property is found in his possession, he will pay double if it is a live bull, ass or ewe. If a man allows his flock to graze on a field or vineyard owned by someone else, he is to repay with the produce from his own field. If he has allowed his flock to consume the entire field, he is to repay with the best of his fields or vineyards. Damages to a field as a result of fire are the responsibility of the person who started the fire. Thieves who steal property that has been entrusted in a neighbor’s care are required to pay double. If the thief is not found, the person to whom the property was entrusted shall approach the house of God to decide if he is guilty of the theft. Both parties are to present their case to God, and if either party is convicted he shall pay his neighbor double. 12 [When someone has given] livestock to his neighbor for safekeeping and it dies, becomes injured or is stolen without an eye witness, judgment will be made while both parties are under oath before the Lord. If the entrusted neighbor states under oath that he did not harm or steal the owner’s property, the owner is forced to agree and no repayment is required. If the entrusted neighbor was present at the time of the theft, he is required to pay damages to the owner. If the animal as torn to pieces, 14[the remains are to be shown to the owner and payment is not required.] If an animal is loaned to a friend and it dies or is torn to pieces without the owner present, the borrower is responsible for payment of damages.

Fragment 14

2 [all the fl]esh and all the spirits 3 […] as a blessing for the land 4[…] the people […] this; Egypt shall be desolated […] I shall create in […] [I will rescue them from] the restraint of Egypt’s power and liberate them from Egyptian control. I shall make them My people forever [and ever…I will bring them out] of Egypt. 7 Future generations [will settle in the] land safely for[ever … but, I will hurl Egypt into] the heart of the sea at the deepest part […] where they will live 9 […] [bo]rders […]

Footnotes :

[1] Martinez. Pg. 218
[2] Penuel means the face of God
[3] Mt. Sinai, also called Mt. Horeb.
[4] About 12 ounces

Bibliography :

Martinez, Florentino Garcia. The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated. Michigan: Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1996. Pp. 218-221.
Wise, Abegg, Jr. And Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation. San
Francisco: Harper Collins Publishing. 1996. Pp. 199-204.
Vermes, G. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. New York, New York: Allen
Lane The Penguin Press. 1997. Pp. 429, 442-443.


prepared for Intro. to the Hebrew Bible
by Warren Rohde & Rick Bohn

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