This is an excerpt from one of the Qumran scrolls, written by a member of the community of Jews who chose to seclude themselves in the desert opposite the Dead Sea. The text belongs to the very beginning of the first century CE and speaks of the community’s understanding of God’s true dwelling place. The scroll speaks of God building a “temple of men” (מקדש אדם) that cannot be destroyed or defiled by foreigners. Consider it as parallel to NT idea of temple being made from human beings (1 Cor 3:16, Eph 2:21). The larger passage is a Midrash on 2 Sam 7 and Ps 1 which speaks the fallen tent of David and the promise of the seed, the Messiah himself.

1 [will] an enemy [strike him any]more, 2 Sam 7:10 [nor will] a son of iniquity [afflict] him [aga]in as in the past. From the day on which 2 [I appointed judges] over my people, Israel». This (refers to) the house which [he will establish] for [him] in the last days, as is written in the book of 3 [Moses: Exod 15:17–18 «The temple of] YHWH your hands will est[a]blish. YHWH shall reign forever and ever». This (refers to) the house into which shall not enter4 [… for] ever either an Ammonite, or a Moabite, or a bastard, or a foreigner, or a proselyte, never, because his holy ones are there.

5 «Y[HW]H [shall reign for] ever». He will appear over it forever; foreigners shall not again lay it waste as they laid waste, in the past, 6 the tem[ple of I]srael on account of their sins. And he commanded to build for himself a temple of man, to offer him in it, 7 before him, the works of thanksgiving. And as for what he said to David: 2 Sam 7:11 «I [shall obtain] for you [rest] from all your enemies»: (it refers to this,) that he will obtain for them rest from a[ll] (4Q174 Martı́nez and Tigchelaar Translation)

Text in [] is a reconstruct and is missing from the original scroll.



  1. Hi Professor Shir
    I think I can understand the temple of men. King David being faithful to Yahweh in all he did laid the foundation(or is the foundation), on the promise of Yahweh to David all of his line are the temple, again faithful to Yahweh
  2. May I ask regarding 2Samuel 7:6 on David enquiring of building a temple of cedar the reply of Yahweh through Nathan "I have never stayed in a house from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today". This is the text in the Jerusalem Bible,
  3. Is this an accurate translation from Hebrew or another interpretation that is close but inexact as this in English conveys the meaning a house for Yahweh (as in made of cedar or such like) existed before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt?
    • The translation seems fine. What God is saying is that his dwelling place was a tent, nor a permanent house. Only now a permanent structure is being considered.


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