title of any pericope numbered in red to access the original language text.
Essenes are Rural
||Then too, Syrian Palestine is
not unproductive in moral excellence. There the major portion
of the Jewish people are distributed. It is said that among
them there are more than 4000 persons with the name of Essenes.
In my judgment---(though) it is not exact in the Greek
dialect---they are , indeed, they have become servants (therapeutae) of
God, not by sacrificing animals, but by praying to render
their thoughts fit for the holy.
||Now in the first place, they
dwell in villages, keeping away from the
cities because of lawlessness practiced by city-dwellers. They
know that the pestilence bred from this company, as from
polluted air, would render their souls incurable. There are
some who till the soil, while others pursue crafts which work
for peace. And so they benefit themselves and their neighbors.
They do not treasure silver and gold or acquire great sections
of land because of a desire for the proceeds. Instead, they
provide the necessities for the basic requirements of life.
||For they are unique among all the
race of men, having become penniless and landless
by choice rather than lack of good luck. But they count
themselves very wealthy, judging ready satisfaction and
contentment with little (to be) abundance, as it is.
Good Man is Free
Settlement of Essenes
||On the west bank
(of the Dead Sea) the Essenes take refuge, to
the point where they are harmful. This is a solitary people
and remarkable in comparison with others in the whole world.
They live as partners of the palms, without
any women---having renounced all desire---and without
money. From day to day this throng of refugees is renewed by
crowds weary with life, whom fortune drives in waves from afar
to adopt their customs. Thus, through thousands of
ages---incredible to say---a people in which no one is born is
eternal, so fruitful for them is others' repenting of life!
||There is also another order of
Essenes which, though agreeing with the others in life-style,
customs and rules, is distinct in its doctrine regarding marriage.
That is they think that those who do not marry cut off the
greatest goal of life---the line of succession. Moreover,
(they claim), if all were of this mind the race would very
shortly die out.
||Although (the Essenes) are Jews
by birth, they love one another even more
than the others. They avoid pleasures as a
vice and hold that virtue is to overcome one's passions and
not be subject to them. Marriage is disdained by them. But
they adopt the children of others while still young, leading
them like kin through their studies and impressing them with
||While they do not
reject marriage even from their teaching, they guard themselves
against the wantonness of women and have been persuaded that
none (of them) keeps faithful to one (man).
on wealth. And their common life is
wonderful! No one can be found superior to others in property.
For their law is for those entering the party to make their
substance public for the order. So nowhere is either
extreme poverty or exceptional wealth evident. Rather, each
man's possessions are mixed into one property
which is for all the brothers.
||Oil they regard as pollution.
And if anyone in the assembly is anointed he
scrubs his body. For they count dryness as good and wear white
everywhere. Those who administer the community are elected and
their appropriate duties determined by vote of the whole.
||They have no city,
but many settle in each town. And all that they own lies open
to those who have come from elsewhere, just as if they
belonged with them. And they entertain those whom they have
never seen before as their closest associates.
||And so they make their
carrying nothing at all except weapons on account of
the bandits. In each town an attendant is chosen by the order
to serve strangers, and he provides clothing and whatever they
||Like children, they are trained
to be scrupulous about dress and bodily appearance. And they
change neither garments nor sandals until they are tattered or
worn out by time...
||They master an even temper and
control their anger. They advocate trust and
assist peace. And all that is spoken by them
has more force than an oath. But they avoid
swearing, regarding it worse than perjury. For they say that
he who cannot be believed unless God is against him is already
||Now they expel from the
order those who wander into substantial sins. And he
who has been condemned often winds up with a miserable fate.
For he who is bound by their vows and customs cannot partake
of a meal with others...
||Therefore, they take back many
who are at their last breath out of pity, deeming the near
fatal torture as satisfaction for their sins...
||Now they obey their
elders and hold that the majority is right.
For example, when ten sit together, no one speaks if nine are
||They also avoid
spitting in their midst or to the right side. And they are the most distinct
of all Jews in abstaining from work on the Sabbath.
For not only do they prepare their meals one day ahead so as
not to light a fire on that day, they do not dare to move a
dish or even relieve themselves.
||...And all who volunteer for his
Truth shall bring all their knowledge and powers
into the Unity of God:
--to purify their knowledge by the truth of God's precepts,
--to measure their powers
||according to the perfection of
and all their possessions according to his righteous
Sea Scrolls, Community
Rule (1QS) 1.11-13
||All who enter in the council of
Holiness are those who walk in perfection of way,
as he commanded. Every man from this (group)
||who with a lax or high hand
bypasses a word from the Torah
shall be driven out
of the council of the Unity
||and shall return no more.
one from the men of Holiness shall mix his property with his
Sea Scrolls, Community
Rule (1QS) 8.21-24
||These are the precepts for the
instructor to walk in
with all who live according to the rule
for each occasion and the value of every man:
||--to go along with the
according to all that has been revealed for
and to measure with all the understanding he
has attained according to the times
||along with the precept for each
--to separate and weigh the sons of Zadok
according to their spirits
and to uphold those chosen at the
||by his favorable decision;
--to judge each as to his spirit and to bring near each as his
hands are clean
and to advance him according
to his understanding.
||--Thus his love is like his
He is not to argue or dispute with the men of
||but to conceal the counsel of the Torah
among the men of error.
Sea Scrolls, Community
Rule (1QS) 9.12-17
& Communal Meal
||Moreover, their way of
worshipping God is their own. For they utter nothing mundane
before sunrise, but with some of their fathers'
prayers they beg him to arise.
||After this they are
dismissed by those in charge, each to his own craft. And they
work strenuously until the fifth hour [= 11 a.m.], when they
again gather together in one spot. Girding themselves with
linen cloths, they wash their bodies with
cold water. And after this purification, they
assemble in a private room, where no one with other beliefs is
allowed to come. Having purified themselves, they enter the
dining hall as if it were some shrine.
||When they are seated
in silence, the baker passes out the loaves according to rank
and the cook passes each one a portion from a single dish.
||The priest prays before
the meal; and one is not allowed to eat before this
prayer. When they have breakfasted, he gives thanks again. So,
they begin and finish (eating) by honoring God as the author
||...No shouting or confusion ever
pollutes the house, but they speak in turn to one another.
||Now, to those outside, the
of those within seems like some awesome mystery.
But it is really because they are allotted just enough food
and drink and, so, are always sober.
Communal Order at
||They shall walk in these ways in
all dealings with each other, wherever they dwell:
--regarding work and wealth [mammon]:
shall heed the greater.
--but united they shall eat
||and united they shall
and united they shall take counsel.
--and in every locale where there are ten men
from the common council,
shall not be lacking among them.
and they shall sit before him each according to his rank;
and thus they shall be asked for their counsel in every case.
--and when they prepare the table for eating or the new wine
||for drinking, the priest shall
be the first to stretch out his hand for the blessing
on the first portion of bread or new wine.
Sea Scrolls, Community
Rule (1QS) 6.2-5
Council of Twelve
||In the council of the community
there shall be twelve men and three priests
perfected in all that has been revealed from the whole
--for practicing truth and righteousness, justice and loving
kindness and walking humbly with each other;
||--for keeping faithfulness in
the land with firm intention and contrite spirit;
--for overcoming iniquity by deeds of justice and endurance of
||--and for walking in all things
by the standard of truth
and the regulation for the occasion.
Sea Scrolls, Community
Rule (1QS) 8.1-4