4Q252

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4Q252, or the "Pesher on Genesis," is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is the technical designation for a collection of scroll fragments found in Qumran's cave 4. Together these fragments are currently named 4Q Commentary on Genesis A or 4QComm Gen A. It is dated approximately to the 1st century BCE. 4Q252 has variously been described as pesher, commentary, and retelling. Elements of each are present in the text.

For decades only column V of 4Q252 was known to scholars, and this fragment was known as 4QPatriarchal Blessings. Gerbern S. Oegema and other scholars later recognized that other fragments should be included with this work to comprise 4QCommentary on Genesis A.

There are 6 columns extant of 4Q252, some more fragmentary than others.

Column I and II lines 1-7 mostly retell and expand slightly the story of Noah and the flood from Genesis 6-9. In this portion, the author was mostly concerned with including more dating details than appear in Genesis.

Column II lines 8-14 and all of column III focus on the story of Abraham, including the judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah and the binding of Isaac. Column III is especially fragmentary, with several blanks.

Columns IV-VI are based on Genesis 49, Jacob's blessing of his twelve sons.

Column IV covers Jacob's blessing of Reuben. The author's comment on Jacob's blessing is an exclusively negative portrayal of Reuben.

Column V, formerly known as Patriarchal Blessing, covers Jacob's blessing of Judah. It contains a quotation from Jeremiah 33:17. The author links this blessing to Messianic expectation and the "covenant of royalty" given to David. The commentary serves dually as anti Hasmonaean polemic and affirmation of the Qumran community's self-understanding as spiritual descendants of David.

Column VI is a couple of lines and only a few words, but apparently contains Jacob's blessing of Naphtali.

Sources[edit]

  • Martinez, Florentino Garcia, ed. Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.
  • Oegema, Gerbern S. "Tradition-Historical Studies on 4Q252." Pages 165-85 in Qumran-Messianism. Studies on the Messianic Expectations in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Edited by J. H. Charlesworth, H. Lichtenberger, and G. S. Oegema. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1998.