Dead Sea Scrolls

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(Read Dead Sea Scrolls Part 1 First)

Dead Sea Scrolls - The Book of Isaiah
Over 200 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed at the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem. Remarkably, the only fully intact scroll displayed at the Shrine of the Book is the "Great Isaiah Scroll" (1Qls-a), which contains the entire book of Isaiah that we read today -- all 66 chapters! A number of scholars, from a number of religions and professional disciplines, have analyzed this major find.

The Great Isaiah Scroll was discovered in Cave 1 in 1947. It was identified as the Biblical Book of Isaiah in 1948, and purchased by the Syrian Orthodox Church at that time. Israel reacquired the Great Isaiah Scroll in 1954 to study it and preserve it as a national treasure. It has been displayed as the centerpiece exhibit at the Shrine of the Book museum since 1965. A second partial Isaiah scroll (1Qls-b) was also discovered in Cave 1 in 1947. Since that time, approximately 17 other fragments of Isaiah scripture have been discovered in other caves at Qumran.

As far as dating, it appears that pieces of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1Qls-a) have been carbon-14 dated at least four times, including a study at the University of Arizona in 1995 and a study at ETH-zurich in 1990-91. The four studies produced calibrated date ranges between 335-324 BC and 202-107 BC. There have also been numerous paleographic and scribal dating studies conducted that place 1Qls-a at a date range of approximately 150-100 BC. (See Price, Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1996; Eisenman & Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, 1994; Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, 1995; Wise, Abegg & Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, 1999.)

Dead Sea Scrolls - Isaiah 53
The Dead Sea Scrolls have provided phenomenal evidence for the credibility of biblical scripture. Specifically, the nearly intact Great Isaiah Scroll is almost identical to the most recent manuscript version of the Masoretic text from the 900's AD. (Scholars have discovered a handful of spelling and tense-oriented scribal errors, but nothing of significance.) In light of Isaiah's rich Messianic prophecy, we thought it would be rewarding to reproduce a portion of the English translation of the actual Hebrew text found in the Great Isaiah Scroll. Specifically, the following corresponds to Isaiah 53 in today's Old Testament. Remember, this text was dated 100 to 335 years before the birth of Jesus Christ!

Translation of the actual Great Isaiah Scroll (Isaiah 53), beginning with line 5 of Column 44:

5. Who has believed our report and the arm of YHWH to whom has it been revealed And he shall come up like a suckling before him
6. and as a root from dry ground there is no form to him and no beauty [+to him+] and in his being seen and there is no appearance
7. that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and knowing grief
8. and as though hiding faces from him he was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely our griefs he
9. is bearing and our sorrows he carried them and we esteemed him beaten and struck by God
10. and afflicted. and he is wounded for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities, the correction
11. of our peace was upon him and by his wounds he has healed us. All of us like sheep have wandered each man to his own way
12. we have turned and YHWH has caused to light on him the iniquity of all of us He was oppressed and he was afflicted and he did not
13. open his mouth, as a lamb to the slaughter he is brought and as a ewe before her shearers is made dumb he did not open
14. his mouth. From prison and from judgment he was taken and his generation who shall discuss it because he was cut off from the land of
15. the living. Because from the transgressions of his people a wound was to him
16. And they gave wicked ones to be his grave and [a scribbled word probably accusative sign "eth"] rich ones in his death
17. although he worked no violence neither deceit in his mouth And YHWH was pleased to crush him and He has caused him grief.
18. If you will appoint his soul a sin offering he will see his seed and he will lengthen his days and the pleasure of YHWH
19. in his hand will advance. Of the toil of his soul he shall see {+light+} and he shall be satisfied and by his knowledge shall he make righteous
20. even my righteous servant for many and their iniquities he will bear. Therefore I will apportion to him among the great ones
21. and with the mighty ones he shall divide the spoil because he laid bare to death his soul and with the transgressors
22. he was numbered, and he, the sins of many, he bore, and for their transgressions he entreated.

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