Wisdom Text

The Dead Sea Scrolls: Harris, Parrish, & Jones: Wisdom Text: 1Q26,4Q410,4Q412-413,4Q415-421,4Q423
1Q26, 4QWisda=4Q410 & 4Q412-413, 4QWisdBa-b=4Q415, 4QWisdAa-d=4Q416-419,
4QRighta-b=4Q420-421, 4Qfarmer=4Q423
Paraphrase and comments by Tyler Harris, Jenn Parrish, & Carrie Jones


A composition of wisdom and instruction, which Wise, Abegg, and Cook title “The Secret of the Way Things Are,” reveals the inflexible purposes of God. Full of words of instruction and consequences, the text reveals how life should be lived. This can be seen in numerous fragments but none are more apparent then 4Q419 frag.1 when paraphrased states “carry out my deeds, following my guidelines”. In addition fragment 4Q418 col. 2 reveals, one’s actions will be weighed in the palm of His hand. Thus, indicating individuals who live their life following Gods commandments will be allowed into heaven. The consequences for sinners is written clearly in 4Q416 frag. 1, stating “For those who have engaged in sin will be fearful as judgement day approaches and even the darkest depths of Hell will be terrified”. Although specific examples of right and wrong are not given, The Secret of the Was things Are gives a general overview of finding personal wisdom and using that to become a righteous human who will make the rectified choices in life.


4Q410 Frag. 1

….1….2[…if you] breach any of the …3…4 curses will adhere to you 5 …and tranquility will elude you consequently …6…what is absolutely promising and what is detrimental…7…forever. Presently, I, with [the assistance of the Lord] essence…8…he will be truthful …9 The prophecy regards […], the dream entails details of the dwelling, for I have envisioned […]

4Q412 Frag.1

…5 Inflict correction on your tongue, and on your speech. […]6 Reflect on holy thoughts. […] to individuals striving […] 7 Constantly glorify [God…] you will quiver [and shiver] 8 Exalt His persona…9 the entire congregation…from dusk to dawn […]

4Q413 Frag.1

Instruction and [intuition] and I will educate you. Now understand the ways of man and the deeds of humanity. He will develop wisdom from His truth, and the
refusal of sin, 3 [and] shall not be influenced by circumstances seen or heard. And now, 4 mercy …of the founding fathers, and subsequent generations, as God
has planned.

4Q415 Frag.6

The elements of man 2 You are impoverished, and …3 you are inadequate in your acquaintance Test these things by the secret of the way things are […] 5 from
the source and by the influence.

4Q415 Frag. 9

[Do not let your thoughts reside] 6 on Foolishness, do not follow the horde of [evil]…obtain knowledge, for 7 by it He created it, for knowledge is the
allowance of the [macrocosm]…she constituted them, 8 simultaneously, the dominance of man with [women] her soul, dominance is a component of her, for
[…] 10 if one has unequal […] 11 In harmony […men and] women, and in the scheme of [life].

4Q416 Frag.1

[…] and to gauge His desire…3 day by day…4 corresponding to their multitude, [necessary] 5 and its empire hear…6 in accordance to the will of their host and the master of the stars He has promulgated 8 through their character and attributes 9 Between and all their great amount […] He has counted…
He will critique evil’s deeds, but all those whose hearts resides in truth He will honor 11 For those who have engaged in sin will be fearful as judgement day approaches.12 Even the darkest depths will be terrified, and all the spirits of flesh will strip naked, and the heavenly followers […] 13 At the time of justice all malignant deeds will vanish, and the epoch of righteousness will be absolute.14 And for infinity, for the He is the God of truth, and for all times, 15 So one’s soul will differentiate between right and wrong […] 16 it is the desire of the id, and those who comprehend…

4Q417 Frag.1 Col.1

[Verbalize softly to a leader] 1 always, for fear he commands you; one’s tone should conform to his manner, [he…] 2 without consequences. When congenial,
seek, but when argued remain detached. 3 do not cause grief, because you utter…quickly relate his criticism, but do not overlook your sins…5 for he is equivalent of you, for he is […his wishes] he will act, for he is unparalleled in every action… 7 of his actions. On the day of judgement, his demeanor will be in accordance, with him [walk].

4Q418 Frag. 77

[…] the secret of the way things are, and master the essence of life and consider at his abilities 3 experience has molded him. Only then, can one conceive the pureness of a man’s spirit and burden of his [self-discipline] 4 his soul, and master the answers of the unknown, the force of the period and the standard of [things to be judged].

4Q418 Frag. 123 Col. 2

[…] 2 From the beginning to the end of time…3 all the events that occurred, why things were, the way they were and all lead to an unknown, [future]. 4 The
time that God exposes, the answers to the unknown, too, those who listen…5 You will be one of the few, to be able to conceive, when I present you with the
[answers] 6 Your actions will be weighted in the palm of my hand along with time…7 Cherish greatly, the lessons learned […].

4Q419 Frag. 1

[…] carry out my deeds, following my guidelines […] 2 given to you through Moses, and should be obeyed… Through his ministers, for they poses the [promise] 4 Moses will make public which is His and [what] 5 From Aaron’s descendant’s, he will select…6 His paths and to verge on [the flames] which mollifies…7 and He passed on… to those who followed Him 8 and He ordered […] 9 the seat of honor exhilarated in splendor […] 10 His magnificence, will stand of all time, as will his life…11 you will seek, and the abomination of impurity…13 In turn for loving, they will wallow…ways.

4Q420 Frag. 1 Col. 2

[…] all must be considered before a response is rendered 2 and an answer will not be given, until all is pondered, after fortitude he will respond [humbly] 3
he will convey…and will strive to find truthfulness and fairness, and morality 4 He will find its roots […] and his reason will be modest and passive, He will not look back…5 He will not be achieved through manual labor; this will produce a neutralization [within] through sagacity …] poisons. Stretching to all corners of the world searching for honorable actions.

4Q421 Frag.1 Col 2

Only the knowledgeable and intuitive man, “modest in his stature will chide his teacher, to follow in the foot steps of their God, 3 I am the virtuous one…”


Abegg, M., Wise, M., Cook,E. (1996). The Dead Sea Scrolls. San Francisco: CA, Harper Collins.
Martinez, G.F. (1996). The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated. Leiden: NY. Wm. B.Eerdmans.
Vermes, G. (1997). The Complete DSS in English. New York: NY. Allen Lane, The Pegrum Press.

November 23,1998

prepared for Intro. to the Hebrew Bibleby Tyler Harris, Jenn Parrish, & Carrie JonesJonesT@albnet.alb.edu

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