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The Chosen One

    Paraphrase and comments by Nick Flanigan


    The fact that all things happen according to God’s divine plan for the world is a fairly common theme among the Dead Sea Scrolls. For example, it was thought that if you belonged to the Qumran sect, then it was so because it was in God’s plan that you belonged to it. For this reason, the Qumran sect sometimes referred to themselves as “the chosen of God.” However, the following texts refer to a particular person as the “chosen one.”

    It was originally thought that the “chosen one” referred to a messiah (if not the messiah). In 4QTLevi (4Q541) there is a prophecy of an eschatological priest reminiscent of the man described in this text (Wise, 428). However, others believe that it is just as likely that the text alludes to the miraculous birth of Noah. For this reason, it is sometimes placed together with the remains of other Noah literature. Vermes believes that this with a few other Qumran fragments “appear to be the relics of a Book of Noah mentioned in Jubilees x, 13 and xxi, 10.” (521).

    The scroll marked 4Q534 is also labeled under the designations “4Qmess ar” and “4QElect of God”. This scroll tells what the “Chosen One” will look like and some about his education and future greatness. The scroll 4Q535 (also designated “4QAramaic N”) tells more about the circumstances of his birth, although details are obscure. The last of the scrolls in this set, 4Q536 (also designated “4QAramaic C”) tells of the “Chosen One’s” teachings.


    Col 1

    1[…] of his hand, two […] a mark. His | hair will be red and he will have moles on […] | and small marks in his thighs. [And after t]wo years, he will know one thing from another[1]. | While he is young, he will be like …[…like] someone who knows nothing, until he 5knows the three Books[2] […] | Then he will gain wisdom and learn understanding […] visions will come to him while he is on his knees. | And with his father and ancestors […] life and old age. He will have wisdom and discretion | and he will know the secrets of man. His wisdom will reach out to everyone and he will know the secrets of all living things. | All of their plans against him will fail, and his rule over all things will be great. 10[…] his plans will succeed because he is the one picked by God. His birth and the breath of his spirit […] and his plans will last forever. […]

    Col 2

    1[…] which […] fell in ancient times. The sons of the pit […] | […] evil. The spot […] | […] | […] in order to go […] 5 […] flesh […] | […] | and his breathing out […] | forever […] |10| […] | and the cities […] | and they will destroy […] | The waters will stop […] they will destroy […] from the heights. They will all come […] 15 […] | […] and they will all be destroyed. His work will be like that of the Watcher. | Instead of his voice […] he will establish his foundation on him. His sin and his error | […] the Holy One and the Watchers […] to say | they will speak against him […].


    frag. 1

    1when […] | Baraq’el […] | my face once more […] | I got up […]

    frag. 2

    1[…]the time of birth […] | […] the walls of the house of […]

    frag 3

    1[…] he is born and they are praised together […] | […] he is born at night and comes out complete […] | […] with the weight of three hundred and fifty shekels[3] […] | […] he sleep until mid afternoon and […] 5 […] during the day until two years are over […] | […] he removes it from him; and after [x] years […]


    frag 1 Col 1

    1[…] you will be […] | […] he will make you think of the holy angels […] | […] the lights will be revealed to him | […] all of his teachings 5 […] the wisdom of humanity, and every wise man | […] in the region he will be great | […] humanity will be troubled | […] he will share God’s secrets | […] he will understand God’s mysteries […]

    frag 1 Col 2

    8 he made […] | that you are afraid of […] 10 he will strengthen its concealment at the end of your powers. His possessions […] | and he will not die in the days of evil. And his words will contain great wisdom. I will praise you […] | is sentenced to death. Who will write the words of God in a book that will not decay? And my sayings […] |You will come to me and in the time of evil he will know you forever. A man who […] your servants, […] sons […]


    [1] “[And after t]wo years, he will know one thing from another” has also been translated as” which will be different from each other.”
    [2] I feel that this refers to the three parts of the Hebrew Bible (the law, the prophets, and the writings).
    [3] A shekel is defined as any of various ancient unit of weight; especially: a Hebrew unit equal to about 252 grains troy.


    Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. The Penguin Press, New York. 1997.

    Wise, Michael, Martin Abegg Jr., and Edward Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. Harper Collins Publishers, San Francisco. 1996.

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