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Puzzling Out the Past

Studies in Northwest Semitic Languages and


Literatures in Honor of Bruce Zuckerman

Edited by

Marilyn J. Lundberg
Steven Fine
Wayne T. Pitard

LEIDEN BOSTON
2012

2012 Koninklijke Brill NV

CONTENTS

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
Bruce Zuckerman Publications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii
List of Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv
Where Will Yehoyisma# Go?: A Reconsideration of TAD B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Annalisa Azzoni

Yet Another Jewish Tombstone from Late Antique Zoar/Zoora: The Funerary Marker of
Hannah Daughter of Levi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Jacob Bitton, Nathan Dweck and Steven Fine

Q, Fragment Reconsidered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Edward M. Cook
Space, Line, and the Written Biblical Poem in Texts from the Judean Desert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
F.W. Dobbs-Allsopp
An Inscribed Bulla with Grazing Doe from Tel #Eton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Avraham Faust and Esther Eshel
Torah and Testament: Teaching and Learning Scripture in Dialogue and in
Hermeneutics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Zev Garber
Methodological Principles in Determining that the So-Called Jehoash Inscription is
Inauthentic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Edward L. Greenstein
Gleanings from the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon I: Previously Unknown Syriac
Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Stephen A. Kaufman
Job in the Light of the Ketef Hinnom Inscriptions and Amulets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Theodore J. Lewis
New Drawings and Photographs of Four Cypriot Inscriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Marilyn J. Lundberg
An Inscribed Arrowhead of a Crown Prince of Babylon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
P. Kyle McCarter, Jr.
Jonah :The Descent to the Netherworld and Its Mesopotamian Congeners . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Shalom M. Paul
Nodding Scribe and Heavy Thumb: The Scribal Errors in CAT . III V . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Wayne T. Pitard
New Lighting on the Amarna Letters: Mainly London, Berlin and Paris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Anson F. Rainey

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contents

An Old Hebrew Stone Inscription from the City of David: A Trained Hand and a
Remedial Hand on the Same Inscription . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Christopher A. Rollston
Why was Old Poetry Used in Hebrew Narrative? Historical and Cultural
Considerations about Judges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Mark S. Smith
Squeezing Blood from a Stone: The Archaeological Context of the Incirli Inscription . . . . . 213
Lynn Swartz Dodd
Meshas Ryt in the Context of Moabite and Israelite Bloodletting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Ziony Zevit
Index of Scripture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Index of Texts and Inscriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
Index of Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
AppendixExhibition Catalogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309

2012 Koninklijke Brill NV

4Q541, FRAGMENT 24 RECONSIDERED

Edward M. Cook
Catholic University of America

Bruce Zuckerman was the first person I ever met who had actually seen and touched the Dead
Sea Scrolls. This alone was enough to mark him out as someone unique in the s, when
access to the Scrolls was still limited to a small number of specialists, and traveling Qumran
exhibitions for the general public were still undreamed of. His own knowledge and enthusiasm
made a lasting impression on me; as a token payment of my indebtedness to him for this and
other benefits (too numerous to mention), I offer the present essay.
Fragment of the text Q has proved to be puzzling to scholars. Taken as a whole, the
scroll belongs clearly to the testamentary genre, and many (including the author1) have taken
it to be a part of the literature associated with the name of Levi: either a part of the so-called
Aramaic Levi Document, or in some other way connected with the Semitic precursors of the
Greek Testament of Levi. However, of the several larger fragments, fg. has resisted any kind of
clear translation or characterization in terms of the larger document.2 Emile Puech has treated
the fragment most recently in DJD XXXI.3 In some ways his treatment can be improved, as I
hope to do here, but parts of the text must remain obscure.
Of the six lines of the fragment, the first three are virtually illegible. Puech reads lines as
follows:

[ ][] . .

.

[[ ]] {{}}
^ ^

His translation of these lines is as follows:


. Cherche et demande et sache ce que demande lagitateur, et ne le repousse/laffaiblis pas au moyen

dpuisement/baton et de pendaison/crucifixion comme [pein]e [(capitale) ne prononce pas (?)]


. et de clou napproche pas de lui. Et tu tabliras pour ton pere un nom de joie, et pour tous tes freres

une fondation prouve


. tu feras surgir. Et tu verras et tu te rjouiras dans la lumiere ternelle et tu ne seras pas quelquun

de lennemi.
. Search and ask and know what the agitator demands, and do not reject/weaken him by means of

exhaustion/a rod and hanging/crucifixion as (capital) [punishmen]t do not pronounce


. and do not let the nail approach him. And you will establish for your father a name of joy, and for

all your brothers a proven foundation


. you will cause to come forth. And you will see and you will rejoice in the eternal light and you will

not be one of the enemy.


1

See E.M. Cook, The Words of Levi, in The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (M.O. Wise, Martin Abegg,
and E.M. Cook; San Francisco: Harper, ): , esp. . The interpretation published here supersedes my
previous translation.
2 For an attempt to situate the fragment, and the entire scroll, within the context of the history of biblical
interpretation, see Martin Hengel with Daniel Bailey, The Effective History of Isaiah in the Pre-Christian Period,
in The Suffering Servant: Isaiah in Jewish and Christian Sources (Bernd Janowski and Peter Stuhlmacher, eds.;
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, ): , esp. .
3 . Puech, . QApocryphe de Lvib? ar, in Qumran Grotte .XXII: Textes aramens, premire partie: Q
(DJD XXXI; Oxford: Clarendon, ): .

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edward m. cook

The material readings of the fragment are clear in most places, although below I will suggest
some reasons for caution in the more doubtful restorations. But the overall meaning of the text
is far from clear.
In this essay, I will deal principally with only one segment, namely line and the first part
of line , since they are the most mysterious. The key mystery centers around the import of the
three words , translated by Puech as que demande lagitateur. Puech first translated
the phrase as qua demand la colombe (what the dove asked) in his original publication of
the fragment,4 followed by many others,5 including F. Garca Martinez and E.J.C. Tigchelaar.6
Two other translations are based on different readings. Klaus Beyer translates it as was das
Recht verlangt (what the law requires) reading as .7 Robert Eisenman and Michael
Wise read the phrase as , translating how Jonah wept.8 However, a close look at the
photograph will show that the readings and are correct.
Puech turned away from his previous translation of the dove, because the word is feminine,
and the suffix on the expression , which he takes to refer to the figure of this phrase, is
masculine. (He might also have noted that the masculine verb in the perfect would have
been feminine .) He now takes as a Hebraism, a Qal participle from the root , to
oppress, with an Aramaic definite article attached.9 However, this is morphologically unlikely:
in Aramaic, when the article is attached to a masculine singular participle of a final-weak verb,
the third radical is expressed by yod, as in, for instance, mahya" the smiter (from the root mhy;
Tg. Onq. Ex :). The form of the word should be if it were what Puech claims it to be.
Nor is it clear why, if the original writer wished to refer to an agitator or oppressor, he should
use Hebrew rather than Aramaic.
Hence there are grammatical objections to dove and to oppressor, agitator. As for Jonah,
there seems to be no convincing reason why the prophet should be mentioned here or how he
fits into the general picture. In short, all the options suggested so far fall short contextually or
grammatically.
Although the fragmentary nature of the passage precludes certainty, I believe that the
construal of as a noun is a mistake. Puech was on the right track when he identified
as the root of the word, but fell into error by trying to make it into a Hebrew participle, which it
cannot be. Judging purely by the morphological shape, looks like a third person imperfect
" Ap #el verb from the cognate Aramaic root , to vex, oppress.10 If so, the sentence
can be construed to yield an appropriate sense.
An examination of the larger immediate context suggests how this can be done. The phrase
is preceded by three imperatives: . They have usually been understood to be
three coordinated verbs, all governing the indefinite pronoun , with subordinated
to : Search and seek and know what This construal does not need to change, but the
construction that follows, instead of being taken as SubjectVerb, should instead be taken as

4 E. Puech, Fragments dun apocryphe de Lvi et le personnage eschatologique. QTestLvicd(?) et QAJa, in


The Madrid Qumran Congress: Proceedings of the International Congress on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Madrid March
(J. Trebolle Barrera and L.V. Montaner, eds.; STDJ .; Leiden: Brill, ): .
5 See, e.g., G. Verms, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (New York: Lane/Penguin, ): .
6 F. Garca Martinez and E.J.C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition ( vols.; Leiden: Brill, ): ..
7 Klaus Beyer, Die aramischen Texte vom Toten Meer, Band (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ):
[hereafter ATTM ].
8 R. Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (Shaftesbury, UK: Element, ): ,
esp. .
9 Puech, DJD XXXI (n ): .
10 M. Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine Period (Dictionaries of Talmud,
Midrash, and Targum, ; Ramat-Gan, Israel: Bar Ilan Univ., ): b (hereafter cited as DJPA).

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q, fragment reconsidered

VerbObject. If is understood as a masculine singular participle, not as a finite verb in


the perfect, then the sentence makes better sense: [] search and seek and know what will
vex/oppress anyone who seeks. In QLevia (Q), a text similar in many ways to Q,
he who seeks wisdom ( ) is mentioned (fg ii ), using the masculine singular
participle of the root , as we have in Q.
If this interpretation is accepted, we are now in a position to consider the rest of the text.

Line . Despite Puechs ambitious restoration,11 the only readable word of significance in line
is , revealed things. It is not possible to reconstruct the line as a whole, but it seems likely
that a body of revelatory teaching of some kind is the subject of the discourse at this point. This
falls into line with what can be gathered from the rest of the scroll. The speaker takes up his
discourse (fg. :), speaks of understanding deep things (fg. :) and uttering riddles (fg. :,
fg. i ); he also speaks of a writing (fg :, fg. :) and of books of wisdom that shall be
opened (fg. :); most prominently, he speaks of a figure who will make atonement for his
people, reveal the word of God in his teaching (fg. :), and bring light to the world (fg. :
), but will suffer calumny and persecution (fg. :). Hence it seems likely that the unspoken
it of line is either a book containing teaching, or the teaching itself.
The lost sentence at the end of line , then, leads to the initial verbs of line . [ l search
and seek and know. The addressee, while being exhorted to seek, is admonished to know
what will vex one who seeks. The verb in Aramaic, as in Hebrew, means to vex, oppress,
wrong a person, especially someone already in a weak social position.12 In the present context
it refers more generally to circumstances that cause trouble for those, like the addressee, who are
seeking wisdom. This may include pain and suffering: in another fragment, the speaker speaks
of pains (fg. :) and of the stripes of your pains ( , fg. :13) in connection with
your charge ().
In view of this threat, the addressee is exhorted: , so do not neglect it. This phrase
Puech originally read , do not afflict the weak.14 This scribe, however, differentiates
between yod and wawthe yod is a circumflex-like angle, while the waw is longer with a
rounder headand waw is clearly used after the het. Since the context requires a second person
singular, the letters , which are separated by aspace from the previous letters, must be taken
as part of the verb,15 and the verb must be construed as from , to be lax, neglect, followed
by the third person masculine suffix.
is attested in a similar context in QLevia: & , do not neglect
to study wisdom (Q fg i ).16 In Mishnaic Hebrew, the root signifies to remit (a
debt); to forgive, pardon, to forego, renounce (Jastrow ), and the few occurrences in Jewish Aramaic are similar (Jastrow idem, DJPA to forgo, remit a debt). (Puechs translation to weaken is derived from the Syriac use of the root, but it is likely that this is actually a different, homophonous, root.17) The Qumran instances are the oldest attestations of

11

Puech, DJD XXXI (n ): .


For the Hebrew, see HALOT s.v. ; for later Palestinian Aramaic, see Sokoloff, DJPA (n ): . The meaning
discourage is particularly evident in Tg. Onq. Num :, .
13 Or, possibly, your pains are before me.
14 Puech, Fragments (n ): , .
15 The scribe was not particularly careful about spacing; (fg :) is actually written .
16 See J.C. Greenfield, M.E. Stone and Esther Eshel, The Aramaic Levi Document: Edition, Translation, and
Commentary (Leiden: Brill, ): .
17 See C. Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum (nd ed., ; repr. Hildesheim: Olms, ): : Pe #al debilis factus
est, Pa" el debilitavit. The Syriac lexeme is a stative verb in the Pe" al, to be weak, while the Qumran lexeme is transitive
in the Pe" al.
12

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edward m. cook

the root, and the original meaning, from which the later meanings are derived, is something
like to let go, let fall, hence in this context to neglect.18
The addressee is admonished to not neglect the teaching , with a feeble hand. This
phrase also has been something of a crux for commentators, with no agreement on its meaning.
Puech in DJD translates by means of exhaustion/a rod. He correctly, in my view, relates the
expression to BH  (HALOT: consumption; Deut :, Lev :).19 His translation of
this and the preceding phrase, however, misses the mark: do not weaken him by means of
exhaustion. Puech believes the expression refers to a form of torture or of flagellation where
the torturer beats the condemned man to punish or weaken him before finishing him off on the
gibbet.20 All of this is unconvincing. As we have seen, the meaning of does not fit Puechs
proposed context, and the concept of weakening someone by means of exhaustion is as clumsy
in Aramaic as it is in English. Exhaustion or enfeeblement is the goal of weakening someone,
it is not the means by which it is achieved.21 Not only this, but the idiomatic use of meaning
by the agency of normally is followed by a name or a noun indicating a personal agent, not
the name of a condition or disease.
It is more likely that is a feminine singular participle from the root , modifying ,
hand. is known from Mishnaic Hebrew, where, in its rare occurrences, it is means to fade,
be lean, be emaciated or reduced (cf. Jastrow ).22 The idea of a slack or feeble hand ( )
as a symbol for the failing powers of the faithful is common in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Isa :;
:; Ezek :; Job :; Ezra :; Neh :), and is also found in the Qumran literature (e.g.,
QpHab :, Q fg ii ).
The entire phrase, then, should be understood as an exhortation to the study of wisdom:
search and seek and know what will trouble one who seeks. And do not neglect it (or: let go
of it) with a slack hand A close parallel can be found in the Hebrew text of Ben Sira ::
, Study and search, seek and find; and take hold of her
[wisdom] and do not let her go. (The Ben Sira text is itself indebted to Prov :a: ena #
Wz, take hold of discipline, do not let it go.)
The next words in Q, transcribed by Puech as [ , are difficult to
make out; only the letters are clear. Puechs restoration, which he translates as de
pendaison/crucifixion comme [pein]e [(capitale) ne prononce pas (?)] can only make sense
if Puechs general interpretation hangs together, which it does not. Beyers reading is [] ,
and impure things,23 while Garca Martinez and Tigchelaar give no translation or restoration.
Where the ground is so uncertain, it is unwise to venture very far out. It is not clear, for
one thing, whether a new sentence begins here or whether might be restored as another
feminine participle modifying , such as , failing (kalya" , from the root kly, to cease,

18 Puech, DJD XXXI (n ): , translates with the meaning renounce or according to the Syriac Pa" el weaken,
understanding the object as personal: ne le repousse/laffaiblis pas. He is followed by Beyer (ATTM [n ]: ,
), who, however, understands the object as impersonal: schwche es nicht.
19 Puech DJD XXXI (n ): .
20 Puech, DJD XXXI (n ): : une forme de torture ou de flagellation o le bourreau frappe le coupable pour
le corriger ou laffaiblir avant de lachever au gibet.
21 Beyer, ATTM (n ): , , follows Puech, translating Auszehrung (emaciation). Garca Martinez and
Tigchelaar ([n ]: .) translate do not punish it by the sea-mew, as if from  (Lev :, Deut :), but it
is not clear what, if anything, this could mean. As an alternate translation, Puech also suggests baton (rod) based
a) refers to a type of foliage
on an occurrence in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic; but the word he cites (from b.Sab
(see M. Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic of the Talmudic and Geonic Periods [Ramat-gan: Bar
Ilan Univ., ]: ).
22 An Arabic cognate may exist in shf, to be feeble (wit), to be stupid, foolish; see Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of
ed.; Ithaca: Spoken Language Services, ): .
Modern Written Arabic (rd ed.; J. Cowan,
23 Beyer, ATTM (n ): .

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q, fragment reconsidered

fail). It is possible that another sentence begins somewhere before the end of the line and is
continued at the beginning of the next, to which we now turn.
.

Line . The words are another crux. The material reading is not in serious
doubt; although the first letter of the verb is very unclear and the second is also obscured, it
is hard to see what else could be restored in their place. Aside from the first word, the whole
expression clearly means do not touch it/her/him; but it is the first word that is the knot
of the difficulty.
Puech understands to mean a nail, as in Syriac, and translates do not bring the nail near
to him; again his thought is of crucifixion.24 Garca Martinez and Tigchelaar25 translate do not
let the night-hawk near it, taking to denote a kind of bird (cf. Tg. Onq. Lev :, Deut
:). Even if a convincing reason could be found to introduce a night-hawk or a nail into the
passage, the translations also founder on a grammatical problem, in that the Pe #al of does
not mean to bring or let near, for which the Pa" el or " Ap #el would be more suitable; instead it
means to approach, come near; when, as here, it governs the preposition , it means to touch.
The context, then, demands something that the addressee is exhorted not to touch, immediately after he is told not to let instruction or wisdom slip out of his grasp. It is designated
by the enigmatic . Beyers guess is that it denotes the !, or the inscribed metal frontlet
mentioned as part of the high priests headgear (Exod :; :; Lev :).26 The meaning of
and the frontlet, do not touch it, may be a warning against aspiring to the authority of the
high priesthood;27 or it may be an exhortation to respect the holiness of the name of God, which
was written on the frontlet (Jos. Ant. .). The most likely interpretation, however, is that the
frontlet is not the high priests frontlet specifically, but a magical amulet or lamella, which was
denoted by the term ! in Jewish magical texts from a later period.28 If so, then the warning is
against involvement in idolatrous magic.
.
If the addressee obeys these commands, then , you will establish for
your father a name of joy. The meaning seems to be like that expressed in Q,
, you shall give to me [Kohath] among you a good name, and joy to Levi (fg
i ), although it is not clear if the speaker of Q refers to himself in the third person as
your father. The speaker, in the surviving parts of the text, never calls the addressee my son,
so very likely the speaker is a third party, possibly an angel, or more likely, a prophet or sage.
For the balance of the text, Puechs translation is sufficient.
To summarize: the key lines of fragment must be understood as a summons to faithful
pursuit of wisdom and an exhortation not to be slack in this pursuit. Additionally, the seeker
is enjoined to keep away from illegitimate sources of revelation through superstitious magic.
Contrary to the interpretation of Emile Puech, there is no reference anywhere in the fragment to
punishment, crucifixion, flogging, or nails. Lines a should be translated as follows: Search
and seek and know what will vex/oppress one who seeks. Do not neglect it with a weak and
[failing?] hand As for the lamella, do not touch it.

24

Puech, DJD XXXI (n ): .


Garca Martinez and Tigchelaar (n ): .
26 Beyer, ATTM (n ): .
27 Admonitions to respect the priestly authority of Levi appear in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (Reuben
:; Simeon :; Judah : ff.).
28 Sefer ha-Razim, ch. , line ; ch. , line , cited in Michael D. Swartz, Sacrificial Themes in Jewish Magic,
in Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World (P. Mirecki and Marvin Meyer, eds.; Religions in the Graeco-Roman World
; Leiden: Brill, ): . See also Tg. Ps-J. Gen : , they write spells on a lamella
of gold.
25

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