Post-biblical Rib Pattern Admonitions in 4Q302/302a and 4Q381 69, 76-79

Bilhah Nitzan

4Q302 is a papyrus scroll, copied in ca. 125-100 B. C. E. The text was catalogued as two compositions, 4Q302 (pap Praise of God) and 4Q302a (Parable of the Tree), of the same book (Sap A). However, according to common factors of the two parts of Sap A one ma ask, are these indeed two separate compositions? Considering the content, style, vocabulary and genre one may reach the conclusion that these are two parts (or chapters) of the same composition, an admonition of the rib (lawsuit) pattern. The tex t follows the main biblical theme of justification of God's judgment, considering His historical acts on behalf of Israel, and the accusation of Israel for intentional sins. This theme is presented both by historical survey and by a parable of a tree. Th e vocabulary and the orthography follow the biblical ones, and there are no apocalyptic and sectarian-Qumranic characteristics in the text. Thus it may be considered as a pre-sectarian composition of the Persian-Hellenistic period.

The main theme of 4Q301/302a is dealt with in two other rib pattern compositions, the non-canonical psalms 4Q381 69, and 76-77, of the Persian-Hellenistic period. The common subject of these three compositions is the warning of Israel to segregate themse lves from the foreign inhabitants of the land. This is helpful for identifying the actual events of the Second Temple period dealt with in these three compositions. All consider the actuality in light of biblical theme and literary form, typological to the pre-sectarian and pre-rabbinic literature.