Archaeology

The Minor Prophet Scroll

Date: 50 B.C. - 50 A.D.

 

In 1961 a group of experts started to explore the caves of Nahal Hever in the barren wilderness of the Dead Sea. They risked their lives descending from steel cables into a cavern, 80 meters below. What they found was so horrible that they gave this cave the nickname 'Cave of Horror'. The explorers discovered 40 skeletons of adults and children, who had hidden themselves in this place. They were followers of the Jewish leader Bar Kochba. During their stay in the cave, the Romans were quartered on top of the rock. They were literally trapped and probably died of hunger and thirst.

The explorers also made another important discovery relating to the Name of God - they found old manuscripts in the caves. Nine fragments must have been part of an old scroll of leather, containing the Bible books of Hosea through Malachi. That is why this is now called the 'Minor Prophet Scroll'. The text is written in Greek, the common language of that time, and is dated 50 B.C. - 50 A.D. So it includes the period of time Jesus lived on earth. What did they know in that time about the name of God?

Because the Septuagint, commonly used in Jesus' time, had replaced the Tetragrammaton with Kurios (which means 'Lord'), the presumption was that the first Christians did not use the Divine Name. But, the fragments they found put an end to the theological discussion of whether Jesus and his apostles used the Divine Name or not. The fragments, written in Greek, contain the Divine Name in an ancient Hebrew script, showing that the Name was still used by the Jews in those days. Verses like Mathew 6:9 and John 17:6 are proof that Jesus used and hallowed the Name of his father.

What you see shown are 2 fragments found in the cave. The first and largest fragment contains parts of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:15-20 and 3:9-14). We can see the Tetragrammaton written twice, in another font – paleo Hebrew. The second fragment contains parts of Zechariah (Zechariah 8:20 and 9:1,4). Here also we can see the Tetragrammaton twice, in a first century Hebrew font.

 

 

Facsimile made by B. Bonte

Facsimile made by B. Bonte

 

- top -