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orion-list 390 years and following
The mention of 390 years in CD col. I has been much discussed: for
instance, is 390 symbolic merely, or additionally an attempt at accurate
chronology, and how much did the writer know about chronology? Also, it's
been translated variously; Rabinowitz's assertion that the lamed must
indicate "before," was answered by H.H. Rowley (in Melanges...Andre
Robert). But has anyone previously suggested that the 390 years should be
counted not from the beginning but from the *end* of the period of being
given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar? If we count from the end, and if the
number is approximately reliable, there are consequences. First, that "end"
could mean the death of N. or the end of his empire, or the return of the
Jews, or, perhaps (less possible?), the second temple dedication.
If we read that way then the revised archaeological chronology of Qumran
appears to fit better. See e.g. Encyclopedia of the DSS (and a short review
at amazon. com) for the view that Qumran was settled later than de Vaux's
estimates and also not abandoned for long during the rule of Herod the
After the 390 years, according to CD (and 4QD), God saw their deeds (root
'asah) and after 20 years (to grow up?), because of their deeds, raised for
them a teacher of righteousness. (Compare the description of who will join
the covenant in 1QS col. I, which five times makes use of 'asah, which IMO
is the source of "Essenes.")
Furthermore, please note that also in the other texts which mention the
teacher, the 'osey hatorah are also remarkably represented (the teacher and
the Essenes, in other words, IMO, are associated by the Qumran mss).
Also, this reading or dating would appear to be too late for Jonathan
Maccabee as the wicked priest. On the other hand it would accord with
Alexander Jannaeus as wicked priest and Judah the Essene teacher and
prophet, the first Essene individual mentioned by Josephus (in Ant and
War), as the TR.
In any case, has the reading of 390 as after the end of the period of being
in N's hand been explored before? Thanks.
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