This text is an excerpt from the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. It appears to be a scroll containing the internal community rules of the Dead Sea sect. The text is believed to have been written sometime during the 1st century BCE, or even bit earlier. The rules are quite strict. Yet I want to focus attention, not on the rules themselves, but on the ancient beliefs they reveal. First, just like the Samaritan woman in John 4:19-26, these Qumran Jews speak of the coming of “the prophet” (cf. Deut 18:15-22). But the text also describes the coming of two Messiahs! In much of Jewish thought, the Messiah not necessarily a divine figure, but simply a leader sent by the Almighty; an “anointed one” (מָשִׁיחַ; mashiach/Greek: Μεσσίας), a prophetic or salvific figure like Moses, Joshua, Samuel or even the Persian king Cyrus (see Isa 45:1). Qumran Jews believed that God would send multiple messianic leaders: a righteous priest (the “Messiah of Aaron”) and a righteous king (the “Messiah of Israel”).

This passage also teaches about the hatred of the “men of the pit.” As far as scholars can tell, this is a nickname ascribed to Sadducees, Pharisees, and all who, according to the Dead Sea Scrolls, profit from the poor. Hatred is to be directed towards them and economic transactions with them are prohibited. In Matthew 5:43, Yeshua refers to the erroneous idea you should “love your neighbor, but hate your enemy.” But this dictum is not found in the Torah. It is possible that Jesus’ teaching about loving enemies is a refutation of kind of Qumranic teachings that we see in the following excerpt from the scroll that scholars call the “Community Rule”:

1… Only someone who sins through oversight 2 shall be tested for two full years with respect to the perfectness of his behavior and of his counsel according to the authority of the many, and shall then be enrolled according to his rank in the Community of holiness…. 3 When these exist in Israel in accordance with these rules in order to establish the spirit of holiness in truth 4 eternal, in order to atone for the guilt of iniquity and for the unfaithfulness of sin, and for approval for the earth, without the flesh of burnt offerings and without the fats of sacrifice—the offering of 5 the lips in compliance with the decree will be like the pleasant aroma of justice and the perfectness of behavior will be acceptable like a freewill offering—at that moment the men of 6 the Community shall set apart a holy house for Aaron, in order to form a most holy community, and a house of the Community for Israel, those who walk in perfection.

7 Only the sons of Aaron will have authority in the matter of judgment and of goods, and their word will settle the lot of all provision for the men of the Community 8 and the goods of the men of holiness who walk in perfection. Their goods must not be mixed with the goods of the men of deceit who 9 have not cleansed their path to separate from injustice and walk in a perfect behavior. They should not depart from any counsel of the law in order to walk 10 in complete stubbornness of their heart, but instead shall be ruled by the first directives which the men of the Community began to be taught 11 until the prophet comes, and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel….

16 And thus shall be his love and thus shall be his hatred…. He should not reproach or argue with the men of the pit 17 but instead hide the counsel of the law in the midst of the men of injustice. He should reproach (with) truthful knowledge and (with) just judgment those who choose 18 the path…. This is the time for making ready the path 20 to the desert and he will teach them about all that has been discovered so that they can carry it out in this moment [and] so they will be detached from anyone who has not withdrawn his path 21 from all injustice…. And these are the regulations of behavior for the Inspector in these times, concerning his love and his hatred. Everlasting hatred 22 for the men of the pit in clandestine spirit. (1Qs Col ix:1-22, Martinez Translation)

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting. I was a little confused where in the Torah does it say that enemies are to be hated. Thanks for this information.
  2. I LOVE TO LEARN THIS BLESSED MESSAGE...HOW I WISH TO JOIN AS STUDENT FREE OF COST. AS OF NOW IM NOT ABLE TO PAY FEES AS IM POOR IN FINANCIALLY, NOT WORKING AND INDIA SITUATION NOT GOOD. BUT I LOVE THE WORD AS JESUS MY LORD.
  3. If the above explanation is in line with the Torah or the Bible, could not refer to two Messiahs but one Messiah and other profeta but not Messiahs.
    Thank you for this wonderful work of yours.
    God bless,
    Gladys
  4. SHALOM, wow, Isaiah 53:5 says He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. When Yeshua comes back, Zachariah 13:6, the people ask about his hands having wounds , received in-house of friends, SHALOM
  5. Only one Messiah,, John 6:43 Jesus, Yeshua, I am come and my father's name, and he received me not: if another come in his own name, him ye will receive. Only one sacrifice lamb for all, Romans 1:16, Psalms 22 David described verse 16 they pierced my hands and feet.

    • + More answers (1)
    • Steven, please check the bible translation you use..."Zechariah", not "Zachariah", try the HNV (Hebrew Names Version) or I use, the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) for help with that. Also, if I may, some of your references seem jumbled. Do you reference chapter and verse as a prefix or suffix??
      J.
    • We are glad that you are finding our articles enlightening. You’ve already started your path into Scripture, but there’s so much more that awaits you! Consider enrolling in our immersive online courses: Biblical Hebrew I: First Steps or . We guarantee that they will deepen your understanding of Scripture and enrich your faith experience.
  6. Yes, I believe the Sermon on thr Mount was or is rooted in Essene teaching. If I am not mistaken wasn't John the Baptist an Essene? Anyhow both he and Jesus of Nazareth were familiar with Essene teaching?. I know the
    Essenes weren't only in Qumran.
  7. Dr. Shir, is it fair that I equate Jesus’s forgiveness imperatives from the four Gospels as the fulfilment of the Torah?
  8. The scriptures say that there were several messiahs, but none of them demonstrated it only Jesus, and those of the pit did not believe him, to this day they do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and Jesus demonstrated it by saying: love your enemies. And he gave his life for those who believe in him. (And those enemies are those who divert humans from the path to God) Somewhere many Rabbis are crowning someone to be his messiah.
    • SHALOM-SALAM, MESSIAH IS AN ANOINTED ONE AND THERE HAVE BEEN MANY, JESUS NEVER CAME WITH A NEW RELIGION, HE WAS A JEW, LIVED AS JEW, AND CRUCIFIED AS JEW. QURAN IDENTIFIES JESUS AS NAZRITE-NASARA, A FOLLOWER OF A SECT OF JUDAISM. ISLAM CONSIDERS JEWS NASARAS AND MUSLIMS AS ONE FAITH.
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