The fragments contain text from Zechariah and Nahum
Israeli archeologists announced Tuesday their discovery of dozens more Dead Sea Scroll fragments, adding to the already immense collection of ancient biblical texts that date back almost 2,000 years, the Associated Press reported.
The newly discovered fragments contain text from a Greek translation of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets, specifically Zechariah and Nahum, likely written in the 1st century A.D., according to radiocarbon dating. The discovery was reportedly made as part of a four-year campaign by the Israel Antiquities Authority, and is the first such discovery made in 60 years.
Among the texts recovered is Nahum 1:5–6, which says: “The mountains quake because of Him, And the hills melt. The earth heaves before Him, The world and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His wrath? Who can resist His fury? His anger pours out like fire, and rocks are shattered because of Him.”
And Zechariah 8:16-17: “These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to one another, render true and perfect justice in your gates. And do not contrive evil against one another, and do not love perjury, because all those are things that I hate — declares the Lord.”
Also unearthed in the excavation was a “6,000-year-old skeleton of a partially mummified child and a 10,500-year-old basket, which Israeli authorities said could be the oldest in the world,” NBC News noted.
Bedouin shepherds first discovered the treasure trove of ancient biblical texts now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s and 1950s in desert cave near Qumran. The documents date from the 3rd century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. Before then, the oldest manuscripts of the Old Testament could only be traced back to the 9th and 10th century A.D.
Archaeologists suspect the roughly 80 new fragments were part of a scroll hidden in the caves of Qumran during the Bar Kochba Revolt, an armed Jewish uprising against Rome during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. They were found in the so-called “Cave of Horrors” in the Judean Desert, named for the numerous human skeletons found inside.
The cave, which is situated approximately 80 meters below a cliff top, is “flanked by gorges and can only be reached by rappelling precariously down the sheer cliff,” according to the IAA.
“The desert team showed exceptional courage, dedication and devotion to purpose, rappelling down to caves located between heaven and earth, digging and sifting through them, enduring thick and suffocating dust, and returning with gifts of immeasurable worth for mankind,” IAA director Israel Hasson, added in a news release.