Torleif Elgvin

1Q/4QMysteries, 4QInstruction and the roots of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy

The earliest rabbinic reference to the Rosh Hashanah litugy is Lev. R. 29.1, which attributes the composition of the Shofar benediction to Rav (Babylonia, 3rd cent), and quotes some sentences from it. This paper examines some texts from the last two centuries BCE which demonstrate a number of parallels with the Rosh Hashanah liturgy, and force us to ask whether elements of the liturgy may be pushed back as far as the second century BCE.

We will primarily review two discourses in the sapiential composition 4QInstruction. The first (4Q416 1) deals with eschatology, the second (4Q417 1) reflects on creation and revelation. Both passages demonstrate poetic features which might reflect liturgical traditions. We will also review Flusser's suggestion that 1Q/4QMysteries (some kind of relative of 4QInstruction) has influenced the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. Also this composition shows poetical elements. Relevant material from 1 Enoch and some other second temple sources will also be discussed. In our survey we will go through main motifs in the liturgies of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and note the parallels from the second temple sources in the process.

Creation, remembrance of creation

In the liturgy, 1. Tishrei is the day of creation, and the festival is a memorial of creation: "This day, on which was the beginning of Your work, is a memorial of the first day" (= Lev. R. 29.1). 4Q417 1 i preserves a long discourse which admonishes the addresse to meditate on the mysteries of creation and history which now are revealed; "what was and what comes into being with what will b[e" (ll. 6-7). The passage describes God's creation of the world and its creatures (ll. 10-12). Further, man will understand his ways when he remembers the time of creation, when the heavenly tablets were inscribed (ll. 15-17).

Creation and order of luminaries

The liturgy combines the notion of God’s yearly judgement with the creation of the luminaries: "He stretched out the heavens and established the foundations of the earth" (RH liturgy); "He changes the times and appoints the stars in their heavenly courses according to His will, He who is the Creator of day and night" (Yom Kippur liturgy, this benediction recurs in the Maariv prayer). The benediction hakol yoduka praises the Lord of creation and the luminaries, who will redeem his people and whom all creatures will exalt.

4Q416 1 preserves a text on the final judgment. The text opens with a theophany description (ll. 2-7), refers to the creation of the heavenly hosts and the luminaries, perhaps connected to the calendar on earth (ll. 8-10), and continues with a description of the judgment in heaven and on earth (ll. 11-14).

Similar motifs occurs in 1 Enoch 2 and 72-82. The Enochic texts compare the order of the heavenly realms with the sin and disorder which characterizes the world of men, a theme found also in the festival prayers 1Q34bis II 1-5. According to 1 Enoch 100:10-13, angels and luminaries testify against the ungodly on earth.

Day of judgment

Some rabbis expected the eschatological redemption to happen on Rosh Hashanah, thus the world would be judged in the same month it was created (Mekilta to Exod 12:42; Lev. R. 29.10; b. Rosh Hash. 10b, 11b). A main theme in the Rosh Hashanah liturgy is God's yearly judgment of all creation and his deciding the fate of the year to come: "Today is the birth(day) of the world, today all creatures of the world stand in judgement"; "For the remembrance of every creature comes before You, each man’s deeds and destiny"; "You will bring on the appointed time of memorial when every spirit and soul shall be visited". Rabbinic literature frequently refers to this dimension of Rosh Hashanah, m. Rosh Hash 1.2; t. Rosh Hash 1:13; Lev. R 29.1; b. Ber 18b; b. B. Bat 10a; b. Rosh Hash 16b; Ber. R. 25:1.

The final judgment occurs as well, there is a correlation between the two 'judgment days'. The divine judgement on men and nations on Rosh Hashanah foreshadows the end-time judgement. "Hidden in (his) heart is (the time of) the final vengeance"; "You look and see unto the end of all generations". The meditation in 4QInstruction mentions the creatures, their destinies as well as the eternal visitiation (4Q417 1 i 9-10). The liturgy uses the word pequdah for God’s visitation of men each year, the destiny of each and every one, and the ultimate visitation at the judgement day. We find the same usage in 4QInstruction (4Q417 1 i 9-10). Rosh Hashanah is the day of judgment, yom hamishpat, yom hadin. The eschatological passage in 4QInstruction looks forward to the end-time day of judgment (yom mishpatah, i.e.the day of the judgment of evil, ll. 13-14). The terminology in 4QInstruction is close to 1 Enoch 10:6 "the great day of judgement" (of Azazel/evil powers).

4QInstruction discerns sharply between the righteous and the ungodly. In the discourse on meditation we encounter 'the Book of Memory of those who keep His word', a book which records the names of the righteous (4Q417 1 i 17-19). This motif recurs in the liturgies of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in the petitions to be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life, as well as the liturgy's mention of 'the Book of Memories' (in the piyyut Unetaneh toqef, see below), which forms the basis for God's judgment. Similarly, the liturgy asks God that "the decree of our sentence be torn asunder".

In both traditions God's might is contrasted with man's humble standing. "Every creature will know that You made him, and every being understand that You formed him, every living being shall acknowledge You"; "Are not all the mighty men as nought before You, the men of renown as though they had not been, the wise as if without knowledge, and the men of understanding as if without discernment?" (RH/YK liturgy); "Before His wrath nobody can stand, and who can be deemed righteous in His judgement? And how can the poor one [stand] without forgiveness?" (4Q417 2 i 15-17).

The liturgy asks God to "appear and be exalted over us before the eyes of all living", and proclaims that "all the sons of flesh will call upon Your name, when You will turn unto You all the wicked of the earth"; The theophany scene in 4QInstruction closes with the conviction that everyone will know God’s judgements and understand that man is only flesh before the divine judge ( 4Q416 1 16-17). Man will see that he is only a creature of flesh (ki yetser basar hu'a). The theophany scene opens with God's coming to confront 'all the spirit of flesh', kol ruah basar. The wording is close to the liturgy's kol bene basar "all the sons of flesh will call upon Your name", as well as 1 Enoch 1:9 "He will censure all flesh on account of everything that they have done".

According to the liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah God will determine the fate of the provinces for the coming year. "And on the provinces will be pronounced, which one to the sword and which to peace, which one to famine and which to abundance" (= Lev. R. 29.1). 4QInstruction preserves remarkably similar terminology in its description of the end-time judgment: God will judge everything created; "hin for hin, ge[neration upon generation, city upon city(?), kingdom] upon kingdom, provi[nce] upon province, man upon man" (4Q416 1 5-6). Both sources use the word medinah for the provinces to be censured by God.

The annihilation of evil

To the end-time hope of the liturgy as well as that of the Qumran texts belongs the annihilation of all evil. D. Flusser proposed in a 1994 article that 1QMysteries did influence the 'Ten pachdeka' prayer of Rosh Hashanah. According to Flusser, this prayer reflects a dualistic view of this world and its approaching end more than standard rabbinic theology, and portrays God in contrast to the transcendent 'kingdom of evil'. Both texts use the image of smoke that disappears to describe the comsumption of evil.

"When the begotten of unrighteousness are delivered up, and wickedness is removed from before righteousness, as darkness is removed from before light. (Then), just as smoke wholly ceases and is no more, so shall wickedness cease for ever... and all the adherents of the mysteries of [evi]l will be no more" [1Q27 (1QMyst) 1 i 4-6];

"Then the righteous will see and be glad, the upright will rejoice, the pious will shout in happiness, iniquity will shut its mouth, and all evil will disappear like smoke, for You will remove the usurpant kingdom from the earth" (liturgy).

For Flusser, the 'kingdom of evil', memshelet zadon, originally did not refer to the Roman empire, but to overworldy forces antagonistic to God. Three further texts from 1Q/4QMysteries refer to the coming day of judgment, 4Q299 50; 4Q300 9; 4Q301 (4QMystc?) 3 8. The theophany scene in 4QInstruction also describes the trembling of some kind of evil kingdom, meml[eket rish'ah?: "the king[dom of iniquity?] will tremble, and expects that "all iniquity shall be consumed" (4Q416 1 12-14). Similarly, 1 Enoch 10 expects the judgement of Azazel and the evil powers.

The theophany text describes the evil forces trembling and the sinners being stripped naked before God. In a similar way the liturgy proclaims that "every creature will tremble before him ... the world trembles intensely, before the one enthroned upon the cherubim the earth will shudder". And it asserts that God will investigate and "act towards all, those below and those above". He is "the King, for whom the world is terrified when gazing him, he makes the foundations shudder when they gaze him"; and "Heaven and earth will tremble from the fear of the King". Another eschatological text of 4QInstruction describes the trembling of the foundations of heaven before God (4Q418 69 ii 14-15).

Flusser saw 1QMysteries as a work of the Yahad, and thus asserted a direct influence from the Yahad upon the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. The ascription of the composition of 1Q/4QMysteries to circles of the Yahad can hardly be upheld. And I would rather speak of a common background of 1Q/4QMysteries and this part of the liturgy than a direct influence.

The liturgy's mention of the righteous ones rejoicing at God's judgment has close parallels in the two eschatological discourses of 4QInstruction, 4Q416 1 11; 4Q418 69 ii 7-9. One could also point to the description of 1. Tishrei as a day of rejoicing already in biblical times, Neh 8:9-12.

The early piyyt Unetaneh toqef (ca 6th century), included in the liturgy, describes 'this day' as a day of judgment for heavenly forces above - and for men through all times of history, below. In the context of the liturgy 'this day' refers to Rosh Hashanah and the last day together, while in its original setting it probably meant the ultimate day of judgment only.

Revelation of God's mysteries

The dimension of divine revelation is mentioned a number of times in the liturgy, a few times it refers to revelation of mysteries: "From the beginning You made this Your purpose known, and from aforetime You revealed it"; "Before you all hidden things are revealed, and the many mysteries since the beginning of creation"; "The supreme king ... who reveals the deep mysteries" (RH liturgy) "You know the eternal secrets and the hidden mysteries of all the living" (YK liturgy).

Revelation is a main thrust in 4QInstruction. The central revelatory concept all through this work is raz nihyeh, 'the mystery to come', a term referring to the mysteries of creation, history and salvation of the elect. The discourse in 4Q417 1 deals with revelation, and exhorts meditation on the mysteries of creation as well as God’s preordination of history and the ways of men, in past, present and future. Similarly, the liturgy proclaims that God "sees all hidden things ... foresees the things that come into being, and searches out future happenings. The texts of 4QInstruction connect the dimensions of creation, judgement and revelation, as does the liturgy.

At one point the liturgy appeals to "the mystery (sod) of wise and knowledgable ones, to teaching deriving from the knowledge of discerning ones (mebinim)". In another prayer the supplicant asks the Master of the Universe to give him "knowledge and insight to understand and discern the depths of your mysteries". We may note that 4QInstruction is addressed to the (son of) the discerning one, to whom the mysteries of God have been revealed.

In both traditions we encounter Noah in an important role. For the liturgy Noah is a type of salvation through judgment, and he received divine revelation on what was to come: "and You remembered Noah in love and endowed him with the word of salvation and mercy, when you brought the waters of the flood to destroy all flesh". In 4QInstruction we encounter Noah as recipient of divine revelation about the periods of world history, including the end-time judgement: "what was] to come God made known to Noah" (4Q416 1 3/4Q418 201).

We disagree with Strugnell's recent reading of this fragment (in DJD 34) as "God has made known the inher[itance" (reading nah[alah ] in stead of Noah). 4Q253 (CommGenB) 1 provides support for our reading, as it uses exactly the same phrases on revelation to Noah, h]oq lehodia' to Noa[h. The location of the text of this fragment from 4Q418 ("what was] to come God made known to Noah ... He will shut up all the sons of e[vil") in lines 3-4 of the theophany text in 4Q416 is only tentative, but both physical evidence and the thematical context supports this solution.

Noah has the same typological role in 1 Enoch 10, as type of salvation through judgment as well as recipient of divine revelation. Also the later Sefer ha-razim describes how to Noah were revealed the secrets of the end-time.

Other terminological parallels

The liturgy and 4QInstruction use similar terms with regard to the people that hopes for salvation. Both traditions use the words heleq and goral on the spiritual inheritance of the elect, and simhat olam is used for their end-time hope. Both texts refer to the turning away of God’s wrath: "let Your wrath turn from your people, your city, your land and your inheritance" (liturgy); "Then God will appear, his anger will subside and he will overlook your sin" (4Q417 2 i 15); "It is in your hands to turn aside wrath from the men of {HIS} favour" (4Q418 81 10).

Similar divine designations are also used. Both traditions refer to the 'God of truth': In 4Q416 1 15, the One on the judgment seat is El 'emet . The liturgy proclaims that "You are a God of truth (Elohim 'emet), and your word is true'. Further, in both settings the God of judgment is 'the awesome God', El nor'a(im): 4Q417 1 i 4, 4Q300 (4QMystb) 3 5. "Ex[alted ]is He in His great mercy, and terrifying is He in the plan of His wrath"; "Impose Your dread upon all You have created, that all creatures may fear You ... and Your name is to be feared above all You have created" (liturgy).

The liturgies of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur often use the word ma'aseh with the meaning ‘creature’. The same word occurs three times in 4Q417 1 i 11, 21, where the translation ‘creatures’ makes good sense. The same use of ma'aseh is found in 4Q300 (4QMystb) 2 ii 15, "the tribulations of every creature"

In 1979 L. Hartman investigated the parallels between 1 Enoch 1-5 and the liturgies of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Shavuot (Asking for a Meaning. A Study of 1 Enoch 1-5). He found the following five elements in each of these contexts: (1) theophany imposes dread, (2) nature's order, (3) God as creator, (4) judgment, (5) blessing of the righteous and cursing of the wicked. He tended to see in 1 Enoch 1-5 a reflection of liturgical traditions connected to the feasts of Tishrei and perhaps of Shavuot. The wider Qumran material available today confirms Hartman's perceptions more with regard to the feasts of Tishrei than to Shavuot.

It is further worth mentioning that Mowinckel in the 50'ies used Rosh Hashanah traditions to understand the nature of the New Year festival in biblical times. He asserted that the themes and celebration of the New Year festival inevitably would create among the Israelites the hope of eschatological fulfilment of the kingship of YHWH, for which they would long and pray on this occasion.

A couple of other second temple sources may bear on the subject. Pseudo-Philo´s Biblical Antiquities connects the Feast of Trumpets on 1. Tishrei with creation as well as the fate of men. At this time God musters all men and decides their fates. According to Jubilees 12:16-18, on the 1st of the 7th month "Abraham observed the stars from evening until daybreak so that he might see what the nature of the year would be with respect to rain". The text continues with Abraham praying to the creator of all things.

One of the festival prayers in 1Q34 would fit well as a prayer of 1. Tishrei:

You will reward the righteous ones] with the lot of the right[eo]us, and [give] to the evil ones the l[o]t [of the evil ... ] in their bones a disgrace to all flesh. But the righteous ones [ ...You will let fl]ourish, thanks to the yields of the heavens and the produce of the earth, to d[iscer]n [ ... between the righte]ous and the wicked. You will give wicked ones for our [ra]nsom and tr[ai]tors [in our stead, and bring about the de]struction of all our enemies. And we will praise Your name for ever [and ever ... , ]for this is why You created us. Thus [we will praise ]You: Blessed [ festival pr1Q34bis 3 i (4Q508 1, translation and emendations ours)

Concluding comments

How are these various sources to be dated? Biblical Antiquities was probably authored in Judea around the turn of the era. Jubilees is from the Maccabean period or shortly thereafter. The introduction to the Book of Watchers, 1 Enoch 1-5, may be dated to the first half of the 2nd cent BCE. Although all its copies are written in Herodian hands, most interpreters tend to locate 4QInstruction somewhere in the 2nd century BCE (so Lange, Harrington, Collins, Elgvin), while Strugnell and Stegemann advocate a much earlier dating. With Harrington I tend to ascribe 4QInstruction to precursors of the Yahad. 1Q/4QMysteries is also a non-Yahad text from Qumran, perhaps with origins in the Maccabean period.

Are we able to draw conclusions from this survey of texts from somewhat different backgrounds? Caution is needed, my conclusions are tentative and by nature hypothetical. However, the weight of evidence assembled together seems to point in certain directions.

The bulk of the Rosh Hashanah prayers is medieval, from Eleazar Kallir (6th-7th cent) and onwards. A core must go back to the tannaitic and amoraic periods. The parallels in second temple sources surveyed here suggest that those who composed the medieval liturgy drew upon traditions connected to 1. Tishrei going back to second temple times, and that some kind of a nucleus of the liturgy was in use before the turn of the era.

We have observed striking parallels between three Qumran writings (4QInstruction, 1Q/4QMysteries, 1Q34) and traditions connected with 1. Tishrei from the medieval and rabbinic periods and back to the second century BCE. One must admit that neither 4QInstruction nor 1Q/4QMysteries explicitly mention 1. Tishrei. And some of the parallels between 4QInstruction and the liturgy may be incidental. Others may reflect parallel, but independent use of biblical terms and motifs in similar eschatological contexts. However, the large number of parallels does suggest common roots.

4QInstruction was an influential book in Qumran. Six or seven copies of this work were found in Cave 4, one in Cave 1. Writings authored in the Yahad quote 4QInstruction at least three times, and probably allude to it in other cases.

On this background I suggest that the eschatological passages in 4QInstruction and 1Q/4QMysteries were connected to 1. Tishrei, as it was celebrated by the men of the Yahad and their predecessors. Both the Temple Scroll and the calendrical scroll 4Q321 confirm that the 'Day of Remembrance' or 'Day of Remembrance and Trumpetblowing' was an important one in the festival calendar of the Yahad.

The evidence further suggests that the later Rosh Hashanah prayers together with these Qumran texts, 1 Enoch 1-5 and the Epistle of Enoch have common roots in eschatological traditions in the land of Israel in the second century BCE, before the Yahad separated from Israel at large. There is thus reason to believe that some kind of nucleus of the Rosh Hashanah prayers was formulated as festival prayers already in the early second century BCE. Whether the Sitz im Leben of these prayers should be sought in temple liturgy, pietist circles or circles seeing themselves as an alternative to the temple and its worship, remains an open question.