Saturday, April 12, 2014

Qumran

In the Old Testament times a small settlement
 existed here as City of Salt. 
This frontier post for the tribe of Judah 
was later renamed Khirbet Qumran.

Qumran is  9 miles south of Jericho
 and 13 miles east of Jerusalem
 and 20 miles NE of En Gedi.

The Essenses, an extreme sect of the Pharisees, 
is thought to have moved here in the 2nd century BC.
They did not approve of many of the religious practices in Jerusalem and moved here to lead a communal lifestyle and practice an ascetic life as they waited for the Messiah.


They never married and practiced ritual baptisms
 and lived in the caves that dot the cliffs.

The community was abandoned in 30 BC
 following an earthquake. It was resettled in 4 BC
 until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD.



Excavations here show the ritual baths, 
the rooms where the ascribes copied the scrolls,
 the dining hall, a storeroom, and other public buildings.

Cave number 4
In 1947, a young Bedouin boy
 was chasing his goats 
and discovered seven parchments in a cave. 
They had been stored in clay jars.

The "Dead Sea Scrolls" as they became known by-
 had been preserved for over 2000 years. 
Fragments of all the Old Testament books 
except Esther were found here. 
The manuscripts fall into 3 major categories:
Biblical, apocryphal and sectarian. 
The Biblical manuscripts comprise some 200
 copies of books of the Hebrew Bible,
 representing the earliest copy of Biblical text found.


 These scrolls have a storied past once they were found. 
They were moved through dealers of antiquities, 
smuggled to the United States, 
and finally an archeologist returned them to Israel.

They are now carefully preserved in the Shrine of the Book 
in Jerusalem which opened in 1965. 
They are displayed under strict atmospheric conditions
 to minimize aging and damage.
Shrine of the Book

A visit to this site certainly brings praise to God
 for a community
 that had such reverance for God's Holy Word.




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