The Preliminary Edition of the First Numbers Scroll from Naḥal Ḥever -- By: Peter W. Flint

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 09:1 (NA 1999)
Article: The Preliminary Edition of the First Numbers Scroll from Naḥal Ḥever
Author: Peter W. Flint

The Preliminary Edition of the First
Numbers Scroll from Naḥal Ḥever

Peter W. Flint


Andrea E. Alvarez

Trinity Western University

This article begins with the discovery of the biblical scrolls from Naḥal Ḥever near the western shore of the Dead Sea and then offers an overview of the manuscripts of the book of Numbers in all the Dead Sea Scrolls. The main section contains the preliminary edition of the first Numbers scrolls from Naḥal Ḥever, abbreviated 5/6Ḥev/Numa. The edition is in three parts: contents and physical description; palaeography and other features; and a transcription (including notes). The article closes with a complete index of all the Numbers passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Key Words: Numbers, Dead Sea Scrolls, scrolls, biblical text, Old Testament, Naḥal Ḥever

Previous discussion: J. C. Greenfield, “The Texts from Naḥal Ḥever (Wadi Seiyal),” in The Madrid Qumran Congress: Proceedings of the International Congress on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Madrid, 18-21 March 1991 (ed. J. Trebolle Barrera and L. Vegas Montaner; STDJ 11/2; Leiden: Brill/Madrid: Universidad Complutense, 1992) 661-65, esp. 661-63.

1. Discovery Of The Naḥal Ḥever Scrolls

Besides the famous Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Naḥal Ḥever (8Ḥev XIIgr), there are four more biblical scrolls from “Naḥal Ḥever / Wadi Seiyal.” The bulk of this material (excluding 8Ḥev XIIgr) was discovered by the Bedouin in 1951 or 1952, together with many nonbiblical texts (listed in E. Toy with S. J. Pfann, Dead Sea Scrolls on Microfiche: Facsimile Edition [Leiden: Brill, 1995] 64-66; S. A. Reed et al., Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue [Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994] 263-64). The Bedouin, claiming to have found all of these scrolls at Wadi Seiyal (Naḥal Ṣeʾelim), took them to the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem and sold them to the Palestine Archaeological Museum (now the Rockefeller Museum).

However, even in the 1950s there was uncertainty about precisely where this material had been discovered. The first texts (both nonbiblical) were published in 1954 as coming from “prés de la Mer Morte” (J. Starcky, “Un contrat nabatéen sur Papyrus,” RB 61 [1954] 161-81; J. T. Milik, “Un contrat juif de l’an 134 après J.-C.,”...

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