Dead Sea Scrolls: One of Last Two Encrypted Ancient Writings Deciphered in Israel, Revealing Secret Calendar

After decades of work, one of the final two encrypted Dead Sea Scrolls that had resisted efforts to decipher its meaning has at last been decoded, revealing an ancient Jewish calendar.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have represented one of archaeology’s most compelling enigmas since their discovery in the 1940s and ’50s in the Dead Sea Caves. Also known as the Qumran Scrolls, they were written by the hermetic religious Qumran Sect in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. This particular scroll was written in coded Hebrew, a rarity among the existing body of deciphered texts, according to Haaretz.
The Qumran Sect’s name for itself was the Yahad, which translates to “Together Community,” according to the Jerusalem Post. Archaeologists had spent decades assembling and deciphering their fragments, until at last only two had remained undecoded. Researchers from Haifa University in Israel spent a year painstakingly reconstructing the scroll from 60 fragments, according to Jerusalem Online. Some of those fragments were just a few millimeters across. The research was published in the journal Biblical Literature.
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“Tens of thousands of fragments belonging to over 900 scrolls were found in the caves of Qumran,” Eshbal Ratson, a biblical expert at Haifa University, told Haaretz. “This is the most important archaeological find ever made in Israel. This is literature from the Second Temple period, and that’s rare.”
Ratson told Haaretz that most Jews from that time period used a calendar similar to the one we use today. The Qumran sect used a 364-day calendar—so, almost based on a solar year but not quite—with 30- or 31-day months in each season. Since 364 divides into 7, Ratson continued, each date falls on a specific day of the week and all holidays have fixed dates.
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“We now know that in the Temple there were disputes over what happens it the Passover falls on Shabbat,” Ratson told Haaretz “What supersedes what, Shabbat or the holiday? This sect solved the problem, since no holiday fell on Shabbat. This scrolls details all dates on which Shabbat falls and all the days of the week on which the holiday falls.”
Fragments of the 2000-year-old Dead Sea scrolls at a laboratory in Jerusalem.MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images
The 364-day calendar also contained the sect’s previously unknown word for days that marked the changing of the seasons: tekufah. The word, whose meaning had previously been lost, appears in the Mishna (the written record of oral Jewish laws), according to Haaretz.
“This shows us that the researchers who believed the day of celebrating the transition between the seasons was called by this name were correct, and that this word, used in the Mishna, was preserved from the days of the Second Temple—it’s a very early concept in the halakha [religious Jewish law],” Raston told Haaretz.
Reported By Kastalia Medrano
JBL 136, no. 4 (2017): 905–936
eshbal ratzon
University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
jonathan ben-dov
University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
In this article we ofer a reconstruction and edition of one of the last unpublished
Dead Sea Scrolls. It is an extremely fragmentary calendrical scroll written in the
Cryptic A code. While images of 4Q324d were included in the DJD series, no
formal edition of it exists. Te suggested jigsaw-puzzlelike reconstruction integrates
forty-two extremely small fragments into a stretch of fve consecutive columns
of what we consider to be one continuous scroll (pace earlier preliminary
editions). In terms of its content, the calendar contained in this scroll resembles
the one found at the top of 4Q394 3–7 (a copy of 4QMMT) and in 4Q394 1–2.
An intriguing interlinear gloss in both shape and content ofers a ruling on the
Festival of Wood Ofering that follows the halakic rulings of the Temple Scroll.
A distinctive corpus of scrolls written in cryptic script stands out among the
scrolls found in Qumran.1 While the fnal publication of all Qumran scrolls is ofen
celebrated, several scrolls in cryptic script are the only scrolls lef that have not been
Tis study was written with the support of the Israel Science Foundation, grant number
1330/14. We would like to express our gratitude to Asaf Gayer, who has been deeply involved in
the material reconstruction of this scroll and ofered invaluable help. Composite images in this
article are based on the PAM images, supplied to us courtesy of the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls
Digital Library, Israel Antiquities Authority. In addition, we gained much beneft from the new
multispectral images supplied to us by the same library (photographer: Shai Halevy). 1For a description of this corpus, see Stephen J. Pfann, “Te Character of the Early Essene
Movement in the Light of the Manuscripts Written in Esoteric Scripts from Qumran” (PhD diss.,
Te Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2001); Pfann, “Writings in Esoteric Script from Qumran,” in
Te Dead Sea Scrolls Fify Years afer Teir Discovery: Proceedings of the Jerusalem Congress, July
20–25, 1997, ed. Lawrence H. Schifman, Emanuel Tov, and James C. VanderKam (Jerusalem:
Israel Exploration Society, 2000), 177–90. furnished with a full scientifc edition.
In effect, they are the last unpublished Dead
Sea Scrolls. We are privileged to have completed an edition of one of these last
scrolls and present it here. We assign the scroll presented here the number 4Q324d.2
Te reconstruction suggested here for one of these extremely fragmentary
scrolls presented outstanding difculties and required extraordinary eforts, much
like assembling a jigsaw puzzle with individual pieces measuring 1.5 cm × 1.5 cm
on average. Important preliminary work on this scroll was carried out by Józef T.
Milik and Stephen J. Pfann, to whom we are greatly indebted. Te fnal result, as
presented here, is a calendar text covering a 364-day year, with pronounced concluding
formulas at the conclusion of each of the seasons. A calendar list of the
same kind was famously preserved at the top of 4Q394 3–7, a copy of the important
halakic scroll Miqṣat Mataśe haTorah. Tere only its last line can be read, but more
information can be gleaned from the better-preserved scroll 4Q394 1–2.3 Notwithstanding
the partial information of the above scrolls, we are now able to trace the
structure of the whole year according to that—or a very similar—order.
A complete publication of this modest-looking scroll is signifcant for Qumran
studies, even for the entire feld of biblical studies, in several respects. It alerts
scholars to the opportunities that are still present in the Dead Sea Scrolls corpus if
older editions are reexamined with the proper attention and with new technologies
available today.4 Te scribal practice of this little scroll adds particularly telling
2Te number 324d was used by Pfann for only a small part of the sixty or so fragments
discussed here, as he divided them into six diferent copies 4Q324d–i. Since we now see all
fragments as constituting a single copy, we name it 4Q324d, the frst available siglum in the
sequence. Although we are alert to the confusion that choosing this siglum may cause, we prefer
to use it in order to preserve the direct fow of 4Q324 numbers, rather than invent a whole new
siglum. Since no publication was written about this scroll beyond the mere editions, the risk of
confusion seems limited. 3 See the initial publication of 4Q394 1–2 and 3–7 in Elisha Qimron and John Strugnell,
Qumran Cave 4.V: Miqṣat Mataśe ha-Torah, DJD X (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), 6–9, 44–45. While
DJD X assigns frags. 1–2 and 3–7 to one and the same manuscript, Strugnell (ibid., 203) doubted
this association, and VanderKam concluded against it; see James C. VanderKam, “Te Calendar,
4Q327 and 4Q394,” in Legal Texts and Legal Issues: Proceedings of the Second Meeting of the
International Organization for Qumran Studies, Cambridge, 1995, ed. Moshe Bernstein, Florentino
García Martínez, and John Kampen, STDJ 23 (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 179–94. In his title, VanderKam
called frags. 1–2 by the old designation “4Q327.” His arguments were accepted by Shemaryahu
Talmon; see S. Talmon, J. Ben-Dov, and U. Glessmer, Qumran Cave 4.XVI: Calendrical Texts, DJD
XXI (Oxford: Clarendon, 2001), 158. Elisha Qimron leaves the question open in his new edition:
Te Dead Sea Scrolls: Te Hebrew Writings [in Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, 2013), 2:204.
For the relation between MMT and the calendar of 4Q394, see Hanne von Weissenberg, 4QMMT:
Reevaluating the Text, the Function, and the Meaning of the Epilogue, STDJ 82 (Leiden: Brill, 2009),
33–38.4 See, e.g., Jonathan Ben-Dov, Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra, and Asaf Gayer, “Reconstruction of a
Single Copy of the Qumran Cave 4 Cryptic-Script Serekh haEdah,” RevQ 29 (2017): 21–77;
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Ratzon and Ben-Dov: A Calendrical Scroll from Qumran 907
examples to the record of scribal practices assembled by Emanuel Tov.5 In addition,
our reconstruction adds several signifcant details about the 364-day calendar, specifcally
about the nature of the Feast of Wood Ofering and about the tәqûpôt, that
is, the days standing at the turn of the seasons. Finally, the reconstruction of 4Q324d
as a single scroll rather than as a collection of six separate scrolls, as suggested in
earlier research, is signifcant for assessing the nature and scope of encryption in
sectarian circles. Te religious phenomenon of secrecy and encryption in the
ancient Near East, Judaism, Christianity, and other late-antique religions, keeps
attracting scholarly attention and will beneft from the fnds of the present project.6
Tese three aspects are discussed below, followed by a detailed edition of 4Q324d.
Te extent of material work performed here requires an extensive technical apparatus,
without which the more general results cannot stand.
I. The 364-Day Calendar Tradition
Te calendar constituted a central part of the sectarian identity. Members of
the Yaḥad adhered to a year of 364 days, which was diferent from the luni-solar
year of the Jerusalem temple and the Hasmonean state.7 Te sectarian calendrical
tradition is well represented in a variety of documents from Qumran and outside
it.8 It is a highly schematic year with ideal relations between its numerical
Chanan Ariel, Alexei Yuditsky, and Elisha Qimron, “Te Pesher on the Periods A–B (4Q180–
4Q181): Editing, Language, and Interpretation” [in Hebrew], Meghillot 11–12 (2015): 3–39. 5Emanuel Tov, Scribal Practices and Approaches Refected in the Texts Found in the Judean
Desert, STDJ 54 (Leiden: Brill, 2004).
6 See, e.g., Alan Lenzi, Secrecy and the Gods: Secret Knowledge in Ancient Mesopotamia and
Biblical Israel, SAAS 19 (Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2008); Adela Yarbro Collins,
“Messianic Secret and the Gospel of Mark: Secrecy in Jewish Apocalypticism, the Hellenistic
Mystery Religions, and Magic,” in Rending the Veil: Concealment and Secrecy in the History of
Religions, ed. Elliot R. Wolfson (New York: Seven Bridges, 1999), 11–30. 7For the role of the calendar in sectarian polemics, see the ever-relevant Shemaryahu
Talmon, “Yom Hakippurim in the Habakkuk Scroll,” Bib 32 (1951): 549–63. Although much of
the criticism leveled against Talmon by Sacha Stern (“Qumran Calendars and Sectarianism,” in
Te Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Timothy H. Lim and John J. Collins [Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2010], 232–53) is valid, the core sectarian value of the calendar cannot
be denied. 8Uwe Glessmer, “Calendars in the Qumran Scrolls,” in Te Dead Sea Scrolls afer Fify Years:
A Comprehensive Assessment, ed. Peter W. Flint and James C. VanderKam, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill,
1999), 2:213–78; James C. VanderKam, Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Measuring Time,
Literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls (London: Routledge, 1998); Jonathan Ben-Dov, “Te 364-Day
Year in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish Pseudepigrapha,” in Calendars and Years II: Astronomy
and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World, ed. John M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow, 2011), 69–105.
Te Qumran calendrical texts 4Q319–324c and 4Q325–330 were published by Talmon, Ben-Dov,
and Glessmer in DJD XXI.
constituents. Te number of 364 days is neatly divided by seven, a typological
number with signifcant religious connotation. Each 364-day year contains exactly
ffy-two weeks, a fact that allows anchoring the festivals to fxed weekdays, thus
avoiding their coincidence with the Sabbath. In addition, the number 364 divides
neatly by four as well, yielding a good symmetry of the four seasons, each season
containing exactly 91 days. Finally, the synchronization of the 364-day year with a
schematic lunar calendar of alternating twenty-nine- and thirty-day months is easily
achieved, using an intercalation of one thirty-day month every three years (a
triennial cycle of three years of 364 days = three lunar years of 354 days + an intercalary
month of thirty days).
A distinct part of the 364-day calendar tradition appears in a collection of
calendar texts from Qumran that present the characteristics mentioned above in
the form of detailed rosters in addition to the following: the triennial cycle involving
lunar months; a six-year cycle that incorporates the times of service of priestly
families (mišmārôt) in the temple; and a detailed record of lunar phases along the
six-year cycle. Each type of calendrical scroll represents only some of these traits,
and thus a variety of calendrical “genre” is created.9 Te scroll 4Q324d represents
the Sabbaths and festivals as well as a simple record of the names of priestly courses
but does not go into the details of either the mishmarot service or of the lunar
phenomena. It is unique in phrasing a distinct type of formula indicating the dates
of transition between the seasons.10
Te vocabulary and style of the calendrical texts are typically very limited and
monotonous, a fact that eases the task of reconstructing fragmentary scrolls. We
benefted greatly from this characteristic when assembling the jigsaw puzzle of
Te account of annual festivals recorded in 4Q324d generally agrees with the
record of festivals in other scrolls. An exception pertains to the Festival of Wood
Ofering, as explained below. In this case, a long marginal note specifes some
details about the performance of this particular feast, in accordance with the halakah
of the Temple Scroll and in contrast to other practices refected in Second
Temple literature.11 Te inclusion of this note seems to indicate an awareness of
halakic disagreements and the need of additional clarification.
DSS A Newly Reconstructed Calendrical Scroll
Tese lines describe the end of month 6 and the beginning of month 7,
together with an expanded tequfah formula. Such an expanded formula is the
norm in 4Q324d, as will be shown below. In this particular case, however, it is abbreviated.
Te text then continues to describe the initial days of month 7, albeit
with substantial omissions, some of which were subsequently corrected. Te scribe
had omitted the Day of Atonement, which was later added between the lines (9a).
Te omitted Festival of Wood Ofering was completed in a long marginal gloss, for
which see below. Omitted also is the holiday of the frst day of the seventh month
(called הזיכרון יום in 4Q320 III, 6; 4Q321 V, 2; etc.), which is represented here only
as the day of tequfah and as heading the month, not as a holiday. In addition, the
thirty-frst day of the sixth month is omitted. Tese omissions were not corrected.
Finally, the omitted letter bet in the word עה(ב)באר ,and the letter he in the word
(ה)בעשר constitute minor copying mistakes. While the multiple omissions admittedly
raise doubt about the reconstruction of the column, two factors make it compelling:
the completion of two broken letters across frags. 14 and 10 and the fact
that the omission (and subsequent completion) of the Day of Atonement is not a
matter of reconstruction but rather is attested quite clearly on frags. 13–14.
Te Marginal Gloss
Column III ends with the words חג בו עשר בחמשה” ,on the ffeenth in it (the
seventh month) – the feast of.” We expect that the next column will begin with the
word הסוכות) Tabernacles). Luckily enough, frag. 18 with the remains of the top
right margin of an unknown column preserved the letters [סו.
31 Te text thus runs
directly from column III to column IV. Fragments 19 and 20, which, like frag. 18
accumulated white residue and preserve a part of the top margin, are placed at the
top of column IV and make good sense as the continuation of the text.
Similar to the interlinear mention of the Day of Atonement in line 9a, the gloss
completes information that had been lef out of the main calendar by mistake—the
Festival of Wood Ofering. As mentioned above, Pfann and Abegg did not connect
the vertical, intercolumnar gloss between columns III and IV to the upside-down
note on the bottom margin. Both of them read the bottom note as a record of the
Feast of Weeks.32 Tey difer regarding the intercolumnal note. Abegg’s reading
ימימ̇ ה ת̊ נו̇ ב[חש” ,cal]culations of days,” is difcult for several reasons. Abegg assumes
a defcient spelling of the word חשבנות without vav following the bet. Te absence
of the vav is very clear in frag. 12. Te spelling חשבן is very frequent in Aramaic,
in which the bet is pronounced with the long vowel ā (ḥušbān). 4Q324d is a Hebrew
31Tis feast is always called הסוכות חג with the defnite article he (e.g., 4Q320 4 III, 9; V, 7;
VI, 2). Its designation here סוכות חג is admittedly awkward but hard to deny. Te letters סו are
not part of the calendrical vocabulary in any other way. Close examination of the new multispectral
images of frag. 18 at the top of the column reveals the faint remains of shin, written perpendicularly
to the main text. Tis trace is best seen on plate 240 frag. 12, IAA image number B-360071. It may
indicate another, albeit shorter, marginal gloss. 32Pfann’s reading of the gloss in the bottom margin was ]ים]וע[השב חג בו עשר בחמשה
חד[א ביום ם]י[ר>ו<כ]והב) see n. 19 above). Abegg did not read a substantial statement here.
scroll, however, and the spelling חשבונות should be expected (cf. 1Q27 1 II, 2). In
addition, the second letter of the second word cannot be a yod. Te right curve of
an ayin is clearly seen on frag. 22. Finally, a comparison with mem at the end of the
word makes it highly unlikely that the middle letter is mem.
Pfann’s suggestion that the vertical gloss recounts the Wood Ofering solves
all of the above reservations.33 In this case the vertical note should read ת֯ בנו[קר
העצימ .Te gloss begins exactly next to III, 7, where, according to our reconstruction,
the Wood Ofering is mentioned. Admittedly the shape of the ṣade is somewhat
unusual (compared with the same letter in III, 6 on frag. 7), but a similar ṣade
is found in the cryptic document 4Q298 (1 I, 9 and 3, 2). Tis fact supports the
possibility that the gloss was written by a second hand.
Since the upside-down gloss in the bottom margin continues the vertical
gloss, we expect it to take up the theme of the Wood Ofering rather than the Festival
of Weeks.Te preservation of the bottom gloss is extremely bad; therefore, we
ofer the following reading cautiously:
שש֯ ת֯ ] י[מ֯ י֯מ֯ ] [ש֯ נ֯ ]י[מ֗ ביומ ]
The composite gloss thus yields a curious statement on the Festival of Wood
קר[בנו֯ ת העצימ שש֯ ת֯ ] י[מ֯ י֯מ֯ ] [ש֯ נ֯ ]י[מ֗ ביומ ]
Te Of]erings of Wood [pl.] (last) six [d]ays, t[w]o in (each) day [
Tis note is quite interesting for halakic reasons, as it clearly echoes the sectarian
view of the Festival of Wood Ofering and disagrees with the rabbinic opinion.34
XI, 12 mentions העצים קרבן] ימי ובששת ,based on a certain reconstruction
since it is the feast immediately following the Feast of Oil (cf. 4Q394 1–2 col. V and
DJD XXI:165). In these six days, the twelve tribes of Israel ofer trees, two on each
day, as mentioned in 11QTa
XXIII–XXIV. A similar account is preserved in the
rewritten Pentateuch scroll 4Q365 frag. 23, which is ofen considered the source of
the Temple Scroll.35 In contrast, m. Tatan. 4:5 assigns the wood oferings to nine
days spread throughout the year (cf. Josephus, J.W. 2.17.6 §§429–430). Te author
of the gloss in 4Q324d thus found it appropriate to complement the mention of the
Wood Ofering in III, 7 with a gloss expanding the conduct of that festival.
Figure 3. Reconstruction of Column IV (frags. 21–28). PAM 40.985, 41.692,
41.867, 42.430
1 סו]כות יומ רביעי [ב֯ שמ]ונה [עש]ר בו שבת[
. . . . . . . . . . .
7[ בו שבת בעשרימ ואח[ד֗ ב֯ ו֗] שבת בעשרימ[
8 ושמו]נה בו שבת [י֗ו֗ ]מ ש[ני בו שלו֗ שי]מ[
9 יומ הש֗ ]לי[ש̊ ]י נו[אספ ב֯ ]אחד [ב֯ עשר֯ י תקופה
10  יומ ר֗ ביעי בארבעה֯ ב֯ ו֯ ש֯ ]ב[ת֯ באחד֯
1. Tab[ernacles on (week)day four]. On the ei[ghte]ent[h in it – Sabbath.]
. . . . . . . .
7. [in it – Sabbath. On the twenty-frs]t in it – [Sabbath. On the twenty-]
8. eigh[th in it – Sabbath]. (Week)da[y t]wo – in it (falls the) thirti[eth (day of
the month)]
9. (Week)day th[ree is additio]nal. On [the frst day of] the tenth (month) –
10. (on) (week)day four. On the fourth in it (= the tenth month) – S[ab]bath.
On the eleve[
Joins and Layout
Fragments 19 and 20 share the same physical characteristics as frag. 18: all
three fragments preserve the remains of a top margin and show white residue on
the leather.36 Tey should thus all be taken as one sequence.
Te frst words of the bottom lines of column IV are preserved on fragment
22, where days of the week are listed in lines 9–10. Since afer the Feast of Tabernacles
there are no more holidays in the seventh month, these two weekdays must
belong to the formula which concludes the tequfah, as attested earlier in column III
and as partly reconstructed in 4Q394 1–2 II, 3–14 and 4Q394 3–7 I, 1–3.37 Tese
lines thus correspond to the end of the ninth month and the beginning of the tenth.
We join frags. 22 and 23 based on the continuity of the lines. Tese two fragments
were associated by Milik already on PAM 41.692. Te composite piece
reveals that line 9 mentions the third day of the week (השלישי ,(while line 10 mentions
the fourth day (רביעי.(38Te fourth day of the week is the beginning of month
10, and the next Sabbath of this month thus falls on the fourth day of the month.
Tis contiguity confrms the join of frag. 24, which mentions the fourth day of a
certain month in the line right above a bottom margin. In addition, its contours
perfectly ft those of frag. 23. Te join of frags. 24 and 23 requires a refnement
of the readings suggested by Abegg.39 We reconstruct in the penultimate line:
אספ֗ ו[נ י֯ ]ש[לי̇ ]הש יומ” ,Te third da[y (of the week) is additio]nal.” Despite the
unique spelling of נואספ ,this exact term describes the epagomenal thirty-frst day
at the end of the season in the cognate calendar scroll 4Q394 3–7 I, 2. A Sabbath
on the fourth day of the following month, reported in the bottom line 10, lends yet
more credibility to the join of frags. 22–23–24 and to the suggested reconstruction.
Considerations of content allow the placement of frags. 21, 25–28 at the ends
of the lines begun in frags. 22–24, together forming column IV. Fragments 25 and
26 contain a bottom margin and adjoin each other perfectly according to the  ◦]
3 ב[ארבע]ה
Tis reconstruction is difcult for several reasons. First, there is no important date on the 4th,
14th, or 24th of the month in which the Feast of Tabernacle (= אסיף” ,ingathering,” Exod 34:22)
occurs. Second, the biblical term האסיף חג is never used in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Tird, that feast
appears already in frag. 18, where it is named סוכות(ה )חג as expected. Last, the traces of the frst
letter in line 2 protrude below the line and can thus only be dalet or vav.
breakage of lines; they thus form a natural sequel to the previous cluster. Despite
the fact that frag. 21 does not touch any of the other fragments, it shares with frag.
27 both the letter lamed of the word שלושימ on line 8 and the word העשרי on line
9. Note that the word עשרימ in line 7 exceeds the end of the column and reaches
column V. Te remains of its mem are visible on frag. 30. Although Pfann assigned
some of these fragments to separate scrolls, we consider it improbable to see such
a perfect match of text and contour across so many fragments and thus consider
them as stemming from one scroll.
Joins and Layout
Afer composing the bottom strip of columns II–IV, we are lef with only nine
fragments attesting to a bottom margin and not containing names of mishmarot.
We were able to arrange six of them in column V, despite Pfann’s earlier assigning
of them to various separate scrolls. Fragments 30 and 31 contain the right margin
and can be joined to frag. 28, standing at the lef end of column IV. In addition, the
last letter of line 7 in column IV is visible on frag. 30. Fragment 32 was joined
already by Pfann in the plates of DJD XXVIII to frag. 31. Te four other fragments
are joined here based on their content. In addition, the contours of frag. 30 touch
frags. 31 and 32, and it shares two letters with frag. 31. Fragment 29 also touches
frag. 30 and shares the shin and the nun with it.
Tese lines cover half of month 11 and the entire month 12. If our reconstruction
is correct, another line describing the thirty-frst day of month 12, the very last
day of the year, would have been written at the beginning of the next column (VI).
It would not have employed more than the frst line, and hence one may expect that
another list or composition was copied in the rest of that column.
4Q324d Columns VI–VII
Joins and Layout
In addition to the fragments discussed thus far, seven fragments in Cryptic A
script of a similar hand were preserved. Six of the fragments are physically joined
here, preserving a bottom margin, while the seventh preserves a top margin. Tese
fragments record names of priestly families (mishmarot) and are thus diferent
from the content of columns I–V. Since the mishmarot list is rather short, it is the
perfect candidate to ft into the next column (VI) of the scroll. Te single fragment
preserving a top margin would have belonged in yet another column VII. Although
no physical join can be proven for the placement of frags. 37–41 in column VI, their
overall material pattern resembles that of the previous columns.
An additional consideration supports the placement of the list in column VI.
Most calendrical documents from Cave 4 constitute anthologies of various calendar
lists. Some of these lists contain mishmarot in various constellations and some
do not. Tus, lists of mishmarot follow the calendar in 4Q319.41 In addition, a list
of the twenty-four mishmarot without any calendrical notation next to them
appears preceding the calendar in 4Q329 and in the reconstructed “master list”
that probably underlay that scroll.42
Figure 5. Reconstruction of Column VI (frags. 37–41). PAM 41.457, 41.692,
41.867, 43.340
6] גמול דליה מעזיה]
7] יהויריב ידעיה חרימ שערימ]
8] מלכיה מימנ ]הק֯ [וצ אביה]
9] ישוע שכ]נ֗ י֗ה אלי֯ ש֗ י֯ב֯ [ יקימ]
10] חופה י]ש֯ ובאב בלגה אמ֗ [ר
6. [Gamul Delaiah Matoziah]
7. [Yoiarib Yedatiah Ḥarim Setorim]
8. [Malkiah Miyyamin] Haqq[oṣ Abiah]
9. [Yešuta Šek]aniah Eliašib[ Yaqim]
10. [Ḥuppah Ye]šubab Bilgah %Imme[r
Milik had seemingly believed that the mishmarot fragments belong to a diferent
scroll than the calendar, hence there are no images of these fragments on PAM
42.429 and 42.430 (taken in 1957). He later changed his mind, as the mishmarot
fragments are placed next to the calendar on PAM 43.340 (taken in 1960). Pfann
regards frags. 37, 38, and 40 as part of 4Q324i; frag. 41 as 4Q324h 9; and frag. 42
as 4Q324d 1. Fragment 39 is not included in Pfann’s edition.
Te reconstructed sequence of fragments is based on the match of contours
as well as on letters split between the pieces. Fragments 37 and 38 were squeezed
together in PAM 41.692, 42.429; thus the right side of frag. 37 rose above the lef
side of frag. 38. Tough they seem to have been torn when separated, it is still possible
to join them quite neatly. Fragment 39 exists only on PAM 41.692 and can no
longer be traced in the IAA collection. It contains the frst two letters of the name
בלגה and joins well with frag. 38. Te rest of the name בלגה is found on frag. 40.
Fragment 41 contains the frst two letters of ר֗ ]אמ ,which is the next priestly family
in order, and joins frag. 40.
Column VI commenced with one or more lines recording the end of the calendar
year, as the previous column V ends at day 28 of month 12. One would expect
that the formula ending the year is at least as long as the earlier tequfah formulas
in 4Q324d or that of 4Q394 3–7 I, 1–3. Be that as it may, the mishmarot list would
have begun at line 6 (assuming ten lines in column VI), leaving a place in the frst
fve lines for the concluding formula of the year.
Column VI ends with the mishmar name אמר .Te additional fve mishmarot
names expected at the end of the list would have been contained in the subsequent
column VII. Remains of the names ֯ר[חזי and צצ]הפ are preserved on frag. 42, just
below the top margin. Te fact that column VII contains only one line of mishmarot
names implies that at least one more list or composition was copied on this
scroll.43 Unfortunately, nothing was preserved from this list or composition.
Te priestly name ישבאב) 1 Chr 24:13) is variously spelled ישיבאב) 4Q319
VII, 6) and appears here as ובאב̊ ש[י) frag. 37; legible only on the older images).
Since yod and vav are graphically similar only in the square script, the variation
might indicate that the scroll, or at least the list of the mishmarot, was copied from
an earlier list written in the square script.
Fragments 1, 43–62
Fragments 1 and 43–62 are either too small to be identifed and are placed too
far away from the rest of the joined fragments or their placement in the scroll is
equivocal. Tey are thus not discussed here but will be presented in the full edition
of 4Q324d.

DSS A Newly Reconstructed Calendrical Scroll

To conclude, it turns out that the author of 4Q324d was exceptionally keen on
recording weekdays in his calendrical notations, keener than the authors of comparable
calendrical texts.48
V. Textual Reconstruction of 4Q324d
(See fg. 6, p. 932.)
Column I
[ ] 1
[ ] 2
3[ הראשונ י[ו֯מ] הרביעי תקופה בארבעה[
4[ בו שבת [בא֯ ]חד עשר בו שבת בארבעה
5[ עשר בו הפסח יומ שלישי בחמישה עשר[
6[ בו חג המצות יומ רביעי בשמונה עשר[
7[ בו שבת בעשרימ וחמישה בו שבת הנפ[
8[ העומר בעשרימ וששה בו אחר השבת יומ[
9[ החמשי בו שלושימ השני יומ הששי בשנימ[
10[ בו שבת בתשעה בו שבת בששה עשר בו[
3. [(Te beginning of the) frst (month) on (week)d]ay[ four. Tequfah. On the
4. [in it – Sabbath.] On the e[leventh in it – Sabbath. On the four-]
5. [teenth in it – the Passah, (week)day three. On the ffeenth]
6. [in it – the Feast of Mazzot, (week)day four. On the eighteenth]
7. [in it – Sabbath. On the twenty-ffh in it – Sabbath. Te Waving]
8. [of the Sheaf is on the twenty-sixth in it, afer the Sabbath. (Week)day]
9. [Five – in it (falls) the thirtieth (day of the month). (Te beginning of the)
second (month) is on (week)day six. On the second]
10. [in it – Sabbath. On the ninth in it – Sabbath. On the sixteenth in it –]
48 For the insertion of weekdays in dating formulas, see Ben-Dov, Head of All Years, 62–67.
Column II
1[  שבת בעשרימ ושלושה בו שבת בשלושימ[
2[  בו שבת השלישי אחר השבת בשבעה[
3[  בו שבת בארבעה עשר בו שבת בחמשה[
4[  עשר בו אחר השבת חג השבועימ[
5[  בעשרימ ואחד בו שבת בעשרימ[
6[  ושמונה בו שבת יום שני בו שלושים[
7  י[ו֯מ֯ ] השלישי נואספ vacat הרביעי יומ הרביעי[
8 תקופ֗ ]ה בארבעה ב[ו֯ ש֗ בת בא֗ ]חד עשר בו[
9  שב֗ ת֯ ] בשמונה עש[ר֯ ] ב[ו֯ שבת֗ ב֗ עש֯ ]רימ[
10[ וחמשה בו ש[ב֗ ת י֯ ]ום [ח֯ מישי] ב[ו֯ שלושים
bottom margin
1. [Sabbath. On the twenty-third in it – Sabbath. On the thirtieth]
2. [in it – Sabbath. (Te beginning of the) third (month) is afer the Sabbath.
On the seventh]
3. [in it – Sabbath. On the fourteenth in it – Sabbath. On the ff-]
4. [teenth in it, afer the Sabbath, the Feast of Weeks.]
5. [On the twenty-frst in it – Sabbath. On the twenty-]
6. [eighth in it – Sabbath. (Week)day two – in it (falls) the thirtieth (day of the
7. [(Week)d]ay [three is additional. vacat (Te beginning of the) fourth
(month) is on (week)day four.]
8. Tequf[ah. On the fourth in] it – Sabbath. On the e[leventh in it –]
9. Sabbath. [On the eighteenth in] it – Sabbath. On the twe[nty-]
10. [ffh in it – Sab]bath. (Week)d[ay] fve – [in] it (falls) the thirtieth (day of
the month).
Column III
1[  החמישי יומ הששי בשנימ בו שבת[
2[  בשלושה בו מועד התירוש אחר השבת[
3[  בתשעה בו שבת בששה עשר בו שבת בעשרימ[
4[  ושלושה בו שבת בשלושימ בו שבת[
5[  הששי אחר השבת בש[ב֯ עה] בו שבת[
6[ בארבעה עשר בו שב[ת ב]עשרימ ואחד בו שבת[
7[  אחר השבת מוע[ד֯ היצ]הר בעשרימ [ו֯ ]ש[מ֯ ו֯ נ֯ ]ה
8  ב[ו֯ שבת ה֗ ]יומ השנ[י ב]ו ש[לושי֯ ]מ ה[ש֗ בי]ע[י
9  י[ומ הר֯ ב֯ ]יעי [ת֯ ק֗ ו֗פ֯ ה֯ בארעה֗ ב֯ ו ש֗ ב֯ ת
9a ב[עשר בו יו֯ ]מ ה[כ̇ פורימ֯
10 באחד עש֯ ]ר ב[ו֗ שבת בחמשה ע֗ שר֯ בו חג
bottom margin
ש֯ ש֯ ת֯ ] י[מ֯ י֯מ֯ ] [ש֯ נ֯ ]י[מ֗ ביומ ]
1. [Te (beginning of the) ffh (month) is on (week)day six. On the second
(day) in it – Sabbath.]
2. [On the third in it – Te Feast of Wine, afer the Sabbath.
3. [On the ninth in it – Sabbath. On the sixteenth in it – Sabbath. On the
4. [third in it – Sabbath. On the thirtieth in it – Sabbath.]
5. [Te (beginning of the) sixth (month) is afer the Sabbath. On the se]venth
[in it – Sabbath.]
6. [On the fourteenth in it – Sabba]th. On [the twenty-frst in it – Sabbath.]
7. [Afer the Sabbath (is) the Festiva]l of Oi[l. On the twenty-e]igh[th]
8. [in] it – Sabbath. [(Week)day tw]o – in [it (falls) the th]irti[eth (day of the
month). Te] (beginning of the) sev[en]th (month)
9. [(is on) (week)d]ay fou[r]. Tequfah. On the fourth in it (= the seventh
month) – Sabbath.
9a. [On the] tenth in it – the Da[y of At]onement
10. On the eleven[th in] it – Sabbath. On the ffeenth in it – the Feast of
Marginal gloss:
Te Of]erings of Wood [pl.] (last) six [d]ays, t[w]o in (each) day
Column IV
top margin
1  סו]כות יומ רביעי [ב֯ שמ]ונה [עשר֯ ב֯ ]ו שבת[
2[  בעשרימ וחמשה בו שבת יומ חמשי בו שלושימ[
3[  השמיני יומ הששי בשנימ בו שבת בתשעה[
4[  בו שבת בששה עשר בו שבת בעשרימ[
5[  ושלושה בו שבת בשלושימ בו שבת התשיעי[
6[  אחר השבת בשבעה בו שבת בארבעה עשר[
7[  בו שבת בעשרימ ואח[ד֗ ב֯ ו֗] שבת בעשרי[מ֯
8  ושמו]נה בו שבת [י֗ו֗ ]מ ש[ני בו שלו֗ שי]מ[
9  יומ הש֗ ]לי[ש̊ ]י נו[אספ ב֯ ]אחד [ב֯ עשר֯ י תקופה
10 יומ ר֗ ביעי בארבעה֯ ב֯ ו֯ ש֯ ]ב[ת֯ באחד֯
bottom margin
1. Tab[ernacles on (week)day four]. On the ei[ghte]ent[h] in it – Sabbath.]
2. [On the twenty-ffh in it – Sabbath. (Week)day fve – in it (falls) the thirtieth
(day of the month).]
3. [Te (beginning of the) eighth (month) is on (week)day six. On the second
in it – Sabbath. On the ninth]
4. [in it – Sabbath. On the sixteenth in it – Sabbath. On the twenty-]
5. [third in it – Sabbath. On the thirtieth in it – Sabbath. (Te beginning of
the) ninth (month)]
6. [is afer the Sabbath. On the seventh in it – Sabbath. On the fourteenth]
7. [in it – Sabbath. On the twenty-frs]t in it – [Sabbath. On the twent]y
8. eigh[th in it – Sabbath.]. (Week)da[y t]wo – in it (falls) the thirti[eth (day
of the month)]
9. (Week)day th[ree is additio]nal. On [the frst (day) of ]the tenth (month)-
10. (on) (week)day four. On the fourth in it – S[ab]bath. On the eleveColumn
1[  עשר בו שבת בשמונה עשר בו[
2[  שבת בעשרימ וחמישה בו שבת יומ[
3[  החמשי בו שלושימ עשתי עשר החודש[
4[  יומ הששי בשנימ בו שבת בתשעה[
5[  ב[ו֯] שבת בששה עשר בו שבת בעשרימ[
6  ושל]ושה בו שבת בשלושימ בו שבת[
7  ש֗ ני֗מ֯ ] עשר החודש אחר השבת בשבעה בו[
8  שבת ב֯ א֯ ]רבעה עשר בו שבת[
9  ב֯ ע֯ ש֗ רימ֗ ] ואח[ד֯ בו שבת֗ ]ב[ע֗ שרימ֗
10 ושמ֯ ונה֗ ] בו [ש֯ בת ב vacat[ ש[נ֯ י בו֯
bottom margin
1. [-nth in it – Sabbath. On the eighteenth in it –]
2. [Sabbath. On the twenty-ffh in it – Sabbath. (Week)day]
3. [fve – in it (falls) the thirtieth (day of the month). (Te beginning of the)
eleventh (month)]
4. [ is on (week)day six. On the second in it – Sabbath. On the ninth]
5. [in] it[ – Sabbath. On the sixteenth in it – Sabbath. On the twenty-]
6. thi[rd in it – Sabbath. On the thirtieth in it – Sabbath.]
7. (Te beginning of the) twelf[th month is afer the Sabbath. On the seventh
in it –]
8. Sabbath. On the fo[urteenth in it – Sabbath.]
9. On the twenty-[frs]t in it – Sabbath. [On the] twenty10.
eighth [in it -] Sabbath. On vacat [(weekday) tw]o – in it (falls)
Column VI
1[  שלושימ יומ השלישי נואספ[
]          [  2
]          [  3
]          [  4
]          [  5
6[  גמול דליה מעזיה[
7[  יהויריב ידעיה חרימ שערימ[
8[  מלכיה מימנ[הק֯ ]וצ אביה[
9[  ישוע ש[כ֯ נ֗ י֗ה אלי֯ ש֗ י֯ב֯ ] יקימ[
10] חופה י[ש֯ ובאב בלגה אמ֗ ]ר
bottom margin
1. [the thirtieth day (of the month). (Week)day three is additional]
6. [Gamul Delaiah Matoziah]
7. [Yoiarib Yedatiah Ḥarim Setorim]
8. [Malkiah Miyyamin] Haqq[oṣ Abiah]
9. [Yešuta Šek]aniah Eliašib[ Yaqim]
10. [Ḥuppah Ye]šubab Bilgah %Imme[r
Column VII
top margin
1[  חזי[ר֯ הפ]צצ פתחיה יחזקאל יכינ[
1. [Ḥezi]r Happ[isṣ ̣eṣ Petaḥia Yeḥezqel Yakin]
VI. Conclusion
Meticulous work led us to a material reconstruction of a well-preserved
sequence of text from the calendrical scroll 4Q324d. Only the main lines of our
work are presented here, as we intend to present the full edition elsewhere. We hope
to have proven that what had been formerly conceived as the remains of six diferent
scrolls can now stand as one scroll only. Other cryptic scrolls from Cave 4
should be treated similarly.49 Te limited circulation of the cryptic script in the
Yaḥad is useful for the study of secrecy and esotericism in that community. It is also
valuable for enriching our knowledge about other cases of cryptology in writings
from antiquity, a well-known and intriguing aspect of ongoing research.
Te calendrical document 4Q324d resembles the one contained at the beginning
of the scroll 4Q394 3–7 (4QMMTa
). 4Q324d difers from 4Q394 in the way it
assigns special attention to weekdays included in the tequfah formula. In addition,
a unique intercolumnar gloss surprisingly aligns this text with the halakah of the
Temple Scroll. Tis scroll thus adds a small albeit unique detail to the study of the
sectarian calendar.
We feel privileged to have achieved the publication of one of the last unpublished
Dead Sea Scrolls. It is our contention that further study of the scrolls, whether
published or unpublished, with renewed attention and newly available techniques,
will be able to produce more new and exciting information for students of Second
Temple Judaism.
49For a similar claim with regard to the Cryptic A copies of Serekh haEdah from Cave 4 see
Asaf Gayer, Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra, and Jonathan Ben-Dov, “A New Join of Two Fragments of
Serekh haEdah from Cave 4 and Its Implications,” DSD 23 (2016): 139–54.

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