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Like other Jewish wisdom texts, 4QInstruction bases its understanding of the world upon a description of how God fashioned the natural order. Like other compositions of the Hellenistic period, 4QInstruction's claims about the natural order are legitimated by revelation. The act of creating the world and its regulation are understood as divine mysteries because of the difficult situation of the addressee, which forces the author of 4QInstruction to look heavenward for evidence that God's hand guides events. (185-186) Strugnell and Harrington suggest that the dualism of 4QInstruction could "fit an early stage of development that led to such thinking ["Instruction of the Two Spirits"]." (DJD XXXIV.33) Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV.8

Harrington, “Wisdom at Qumran,” 141, provides a rough outline of the fragment (by line):

1-10 – God's orderly rule over the cosmos – the heavenly hosts and luminaries

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verb and the absence of the second make knowing their exact fates difficult, though if we understand wr(r(tyw to be a derivative of to make bare, strip, then the sons of heaven must be in for something better. Of the four rW(, occurrences of {ym#, the first (line 7) refers to God's establishment (}wk) of the angelic hosts in heaven,286 hosts here to be equated with the hosts mentioned in lines 4 and 6.287 The second use at the beginning of line 10 places God in the heavens as it is from heaven that God shall judge. The third occurrence near the end of line 11 is difficult to understand based on the poor preservation of the verb that follows.288 In this fragment, heaven is not the object of God's creative activity; it is the location of God's activity. In line 12, is coupled with the seas, a relationship {wht found in the Hebrew Bible,289 and in this case the pair is personified. In the face of the judgment they are in dread.290 Finally, what may be a nominal occurence of )rb at the beginning of line 17, his creatures (w}y}t)r◦), is of little use given the disrepair of the surrounding text.

3.2.16 Additional Texts

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10-11 – God's rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked at the judgment 12-14 – The response of creation to this judgment 15-17 – (increasingly fragmentary) mention of discerning between good and evil and to the inclination of the flesh.


The occurrence of xwr in line 1 is questionable because of the state of the manuscript, and with no direct context any exegetical comment is near impossible.

r#b is used a second time in this fragment. In line 16 it is paired with rc[y. This use of the "inclination of the flesh" strengthens the fact that r#b xwr lk in line 12 ought to be read as a reference to sinful humanity.

Cf. MT Prov 8.27. }wk is used with the earth/world as the object in MT Isa 45.18, Jer 10.12, 51.12, Prov 3.19.

Note that }wk is also used in line 15 to describe the establishment of the difference between good and evil.


w)ry may come from either )ry or h)r. Given that the context is divine judgment either is possible.

MT Isa 51.10; Ps 33.

7, 135.7; Job 38.16.

MT Amos 7.4, in a vision of the Day of the Lord, has the great deep being devoured.

According to the analysis of A.A. Di Lella, The Hebrew Text of Sirach, (Studies in Classical Literature 1; The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1966), the third colon of Sir 15.14, wptwx dyb whyt#yw, found in both MSS A and B, is likely a misplaced Medieval insertion of a retroversion of the Syriac of 14.19b. (121-125) Superscripted text is a note from the right margin of the MS B that notes a difference with a manuscript of the recension of MS A.

Sir 15.11-20

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use of in the Hebrew manuscripts of Sirach. The verse is found in two manuscripts, MS B and the Masada wht The larger context of this verse is a pessimistic poem (Sir 41.5-13)300 about the persistent manuscript.

disobedience of humankind to the ‘Law of the Most High’.301 While any deliberate connection with MT Gen 1.2 Beentjes, Ben Sira in Hebrew, ad loc.

Di Lella, Hebrew Text, 121.

A similar use of #)rm comes in MT Prov 8.23, regarding the genesis of wisdom. Other uses of #)rm that allude to the beginning of creation and/or the world come in Deutero-Isaiah (MT Isa 40.21, 41.4, 26, 48.16) and in MT Qoh 3.11 where it is used in conjunction with vws-d( to indicate the unknowable extremities of God's actions.

The whole of the Greek of Sir 15.14 reads:

auvtoj evx avrch/j evpoi,hsen a;nqrwpon kai. avfh/ken auvto.n evn ceiri. diabouli,ou auvtou/) Cf. Ziegler, ed., Sirach - Göttingen, 194.

LXX Isa 40.21, 41.

26. The phrase is also used again in the Greek of Sir 39.16. This verse is partially preserved in MS B, though the first word on the right margin is missing.

The first three letters of the line are missing in the Masada manuscript, otherwise the lines are the same.

Skehan and Di Lella, Ben Sira, 469.

The Hebrew of Sir 41.8 in both MS B and Masada is extremely fragmentary. The Greek, however, reads: ouvai.

u`mi/n a;ndrej avsebei/j oi[tinej evgkateli,pete no,mon qeou/ u`yi,stou – Woe to you, ungodly men, who abandon the Law of the Most High God.

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Hebrew Bible, and the similar pessimistic tone about a group of people, the goyim in Isaiah and the unlawful in Sirach, suggests at least an intertextual connection.305

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Though this portion of the 1QM has no creation theme, it is included because of its unique use of wht and In the wake of a defeat at the hands of the sons of darkness,311 this is a speech meant to gird-up the reservists whb.

K. Baltzer, Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40-55, (trans. M. Kohl; Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress,

2001) does suggest that there is an allusion to MT Gen 1.2 in MT Isa 40.17. (72) MT Isa 40.17 ;Ol-Ub:$:x"n Uhotfw sep")"m OD:gen }iya):K {iyOGah-lfK All nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as darkness and emptiness.

MT Isa 40.12-31; see above, pp.


Also, Skehan and Di Lella, Ben Sira, 474.

Sukenik, DSS of the Hebrew University, plate 32.

The end of line 4 is absent. Only the bottom portions of )wlw are visible, though their reconstruction as such seems plausible.

Carmignac, La Règle de la Guerre, reconstructs this lacuna )[yk v)]. (236) While it seems reasonable that there is a conjunction here, I cannot see any evidence of an aleph from the photograph, Sukenik, DSS of the Hebrew University, plate 32.

This reconstruction reflects the work of Milik and Yadin, [l)m )yk w(dy], as noted by Carmignac, La Règle de la Guerre, 237.

There is a similar phrase in 1QS iii.15 – hyyhnw hywh lwk tw(dh l)m – From the God of knowledge comes all that is and shall be. This phrase also bears some similarity to the hyhn zr of 4QInstruction, noting that the mysteries of God are meant to be a focus of the soldiers (1QM xvii.9). Also similar is the statement in 1QS iii.15.

1QM xvi.11-12 – 146 –


who have been placed on the front lines in the face of battle.312 It directs the new troops to stand firm as God in his mysteries will back them to victory. While the order of wht and whb is the same as in MT Gen 1.2, the preposition, is used in 1QM xvii.4. Assuming an intertextuality with Gen 1.2, one might read line 4: "And you, strengthen l, yourselves and do not fear them, [for] they long for tohu wabohu..."313 That this is one of two uses of wht and whb in the non-biblical texts from Qumran314 and given the infrequency of its use within the corpus of the Hebrew Bible,315 supports at least an intertextual connection with MT Gen 1.2.316 Any further reference to MT Gen 1.1-5 in this passage, however, is absent.317 3.2.17 Excursus: Intertexts in the Mishnah As noted at the beginning of this chapter, the Mishnah is a precarious inclusion in a study that draws its historical boundary at 200 CE. While its final redaction is attributed to Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (c.135-c.220) and is often approximated at c. 200 CE,318 it seems clear that redactional work continued after Rabbi and is reflected in the final form of the text.319 At the same time, most of those to whom the teachings of the Mishnah are attributed lived before 200 CE. For example, Simon ben Zoma, to whom the interpretation in m.Hul 5.5 (below) is attributed, lived during the first decades of the second century CE.320 If any credence is placed in the attributation of the interpretation in m.Hul 5.5 to ben Zoma, then this portion of the Mishnah pre-dates 200 CE by decades. Rather than wade into these difficulties, I offer the two texts below on the margins of the historical boundaries of this study in order to highlight their intertextuality with MT Gen 1.1-5 and the tapestry as a whole.

1QM xvi.12 Carmignac, La Règle de la Guerre, notes the similarity with Gen 1.2 and makes the comment that the author of 1QM may have been inspired by Gen 1.2, 1 Samuel 12.21 [two occurrences of wht], or Jer 4.23. (237) Also 4QMeditation on Creation A (4Q303) 1, 5. A similar text that may have wht and whb of MT Gen 1.2 in mind is the pairing of wht and sp) in 4QWords of the Luminariesa (4Q504) 1 iii recto 3.

See Appendix A.

Carmignac, “Les Citations,” notes the connection with MT Gen 1.2, but suggests that it could equally be dependent on 1 Sam 12.21 and Jer 4.23. (380) MT Jer 4.23 seems well within the realm of possibility. MT 1 Sam

12.21 is less likely as it only has wht, though it is used within a warning to stay away from useless things (wht). It is also of note that this is the only implicit citation of MT Gen 1.1-5 (no explicit citations) that Carmignac identifies in the War Scroll. (384) While rw) does appear in line 6, it alone does not increase any intertextual connection to MT Gen 1.1-5 because of the frequency of its use and the overall lack of a creation context in the passage.

E.g. J. Neusner, The Mishnah: Introduction and Reader, (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1992) 5.

G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, (trans. M. Bockmuehl; 2nd ed.; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), relying on the textual work of J. N. Epstein, Introduction to the Text of the Mishna (Jerusalem, 1948) [Hebrew], says that the Mishnah ‘in its present shape cannot possibly come from Rabbi himself’ as his interpretations are contrasted with others, in particular those who lived later than he are quoted in the final form of the text. (133-134)

J. Neusner, ed., Dictionary of Ancient Rabbis: Selections from The Jewish Encylopedia, Peabody, MA:

Hendrickson, 2003) 95.

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In the midst of this discussion of sacrifice in m. Hullin, there is this interpretation of the occurrence of in MT Lev 22.28, a text in which it is forbidden to slaughter both an animal and its young on the same day dx) {wy

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with the night. The connection with MT Gen 1.1-5 is quite clear, both in intertextual markers (dx) {wy, {wy/hlyl, and in the citation within the text of the Mishnah. That is, while there is an intertextual connection, in the ty#)rb)

–  –  –

refers to MT Lev 22.28, in which the slaughter of a cow or ewe and its young on the same day is wnb t)w wtw) forbidden.

m.Ber 9.2, m.Meg 3.6, m.Hag 2.1 Though not based on the firmest critical grounds, Simeon ben Zoma, a Tanna from the first decades of the second century CE who was never called ‘rabbi’, was concerned in large part with the exegesis of the First Creation Story and was reportedly known for his innovative / heretical exegesis. Joshua ben Hananiah said of him, ‘Ben Zoma is outside,’ meaning outside proper interpretation. Cf. Neusner, ed., Ancient Rabbis, 96

–  –  –

forbidden degrees of Lev. 18.6ff before (fewer than) three persons, the story of creation before two, and the Merkabah vision before one.328 To these examples from the Mishnah one might add Sir 15.14 MS A.329

–  –  –

3.3.1 Re-tellings of Genesis 1.1-5 There is only one text that can be placed in the category of a re-telling of MT Gen 1.1-5 – 4QJubileesa.

Even though the text is severely damaged, there is enough extant text to identify it as the Hebrew version of what is preserved in full in Greek and Ethiopic. Given the fragmentary nature of the text, little can be said about this textual retelling of MT Gen 1.1-5, other than that the spirits/angels are the subject of God’s creative activity in this retelling,330 and that it is likely that with knowledge God organizes day and night, evening and dawn.331 3.3.2 Methods of Creation Of the methods of creation employed in this chapter, four are highlighted here: creation by stretching out the heavens, creation by the establishment of boundaries, creation by word or divine speech, and creation by wisdom or knowledge.

The reference to Rabbi Judah ben Ilai, always referred to simply as Rabbi Judah in the Mishnah (cf. Stemberger, Talmud and Midrash, 77), suggests that at least a portion of m.Ber 9.2 is traditionally attributed to this second century Tanna, Neusner, ed., Ancient Rabbis, 285.

The translation of }mzb with a traditional local or instrumental meanings of the preposition are not adequate in this situation, rather a relational application appears more appropriate. See M.P. Fernández, An Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew, (trans. J. Elwolde; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 162.

The works of creation (ty#)rb h#(mb) are to be read by the maamad (rural priests) in six days (including the Sabbath) – six days to avoid reading it on the Sabbath.

As with m.Ta’an. 4.2-3, m.Meg. 3.6 regulates the reading of the creation story by the maamad.

m.Meg 4.10 also forbids the reading of the Merkabah vision, with the exception of Rabbi Judah, who permits it.

While there are other stories mentioned, the story of creation is not among them.

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