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)