MOTIVATION FOR COMMUNAL PRAYER
IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND EARLY JUDAISM
-rough draft, not complete paper-
Dr. Daniel Falk, University of Oregon
Note: Hebrew has not been formatted.
Although there are no regulations of prayer in the Hebrew Bible, the rabbis sought to derive a scriptural basis for prayer at fixed times*which is a given in the earliest rabbinic literature. The most prominent justification given was prayer as a replacement for sacrifice. For example, with reference to Hosea 14:3 R. Abahu could reason, *What shall replace the bullocks we formerly offered to thee? `Our lips,' in the prayer we pray to thee.*1 Thrice daily prayer was attributed to Mosaic ordinance,2 or the patriarchs.3
Such statements are of interest for exploring the rabbinic understanding of the significance of prayer, but they are of limited historical value for the origins of regularized prayer. For this, the Dead Sea Scrolls are probably our most valuable source, because they provide the first clear examples of regulated prayer. Not surprisingly, scholars have tended to focus on the idea of prayer as replacement for sacrifice as the key motivation for regulated prayer in the Qumran scrolls. Perhaps the rabbinic discussion has exerted undue influence on the historical interpretation of these texts.
This is not to ignore the many pieces of evidence in the scrolls that suggest a correlation between prayer and sacrifice, which is essentially of three kinds. (1) There are sharp criticisms of the temple cult (e.g., CD 6:11b-14a), and expressions of the community as fulfilling the role of atonement and cultic worship in its prayers and deeds (e.g., 4Q174 Flor 3:6-7). (2) Numerous passages speak of prayer as a sacrifice, or prayer instead of sacrifice (e.g., CD 11:20-21; 1QS 9:4-5, 26; 10:6; 1QH 9[=1]:28). (3) The fixed times for prayer*daily, sabbath, and on festivals*can be seen to correspond to times of sacrifice.4 Daily prayer at the interchange of day and night (cf. Exodus 30:7-8; Num 28:3-8, in the morning and *between the evenings* ... a daily burnt offering ordained at mount Sinai for a *pleasing odor* (ÿëç Éëçç), an expression applied to prayer in the scrolls). The descriptor for a collection of sabbath songs (Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice) is based on the sabbath offerings (ÆîÜ ÖüÜ üÖüÜà, Num 28:10).
Nevertheless, there are good reasons not to regard the idea of prayer as a replacement for sacrifice as a wholly satisfying historical explanation of the originating motivation for regulated prayer. Logically, one is caught in a chicken or egg dilemma: does the above evidence exist because Jews who could not or would not participate in the temple cult began to regulate prayers to fill this void, or because prayer had come to be associated with or function in a similar sphere as sacrifice? This is a theoretical distinction which becomes important in pursuing historical reconstruction of the origins of liturgical prayer. For example, Words of the Luminaries is our earliest example of petitionary prayers composed for daily, liturgical recitation. Assuming that these were used in the Ya2ad, it is plausible to suggest that these prayers may have served in the place of the Tamid sacrifice to God, even though concrete evidence for this is completely lacking. But is this necessarily the motivation for composing the prayers in the first place? As Chazon has convincingly argued, it is likely that Words of the Luminaries pre-dates the Ya2ad, being composed probably no later than about the middle of the second century BCE. In searching for the unknown composer(s) of these prayers, must we imagine a community without involvement in the temple cult? It is problematic to simply posit this.
1. Motivations for Regularized Prayer
The key innovation in the perspective of prayer that we are considering is the concept of prayer at fixed times ordained by God. Does this imply the theoretical conception of prayer as an alternative for sacrifice? First of all, we can note that in two texts probably of non-sectarian origin fixed times of prayer are linked with the offering of sacrifices. 4Q409 calls to praise and bless God (äîî àüÿè) in conjunction with what appear to be festival sacrices (mention of whole offering, lambs, burning incense, altar; Æûëì îÆàîä ... àïüÖëì ... üäùê]ÿ[ ... Æî Äåü]ç[). According to David's Compositions, songs are to be sung over the daily tamid sacrifice (ÆàîÜ äÜÄëâ), and at sabbath and festival offerings (ùàÿüÅ). Nitzan correctly recognized that *this refers to songs which accompany the offering of sacrifices, rather than to prayer which corresponds to it,* yet her interest was in the meaning of such prayer in a context without sacrifice.5
Secondly, if we consider the catalogues of times ordained for prayer in the sectarian texts (1QS 9:26-10:17; 1QM 14:12b-14a; 1QH 20:4-11), these are described as times ordained for praise, rather than praise being offered at times ordained for sacrifice, even if prayer is presented metaphorically as a sacrifice. This becomes clear in 1QS 9:26-10:17 which is punctuated with the metaphor of prayer as an offering (1QS 9:26; 10:6, 8, 14), and yet the list is not limited to occasions where sacrifice might have been brought*for example, times of affliction (1QS 9:26; 10:15-17) and grace before meals (1QS 10:15). Therefore, even in sectarian texts, prayer at fixed times and use of the metaphor of prayer as offering does not necessarily indicate that prayer was thought of as an alternative for sacrifice.
Daily prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls is most commonly associated with imagery of creation*the divinely ordained cycle of heavenly lights*and angelic worship (e.g., 4Q408; Hymn to Creator 11QPsa 26:11-12; 4Q503; 4Q504 1-2 vii 6). Nitzan has emphasized that prayer at fixed times thus expresses harmony with the created order and union with heavenly worship. Can this conception itself be seen as originating from the need to develop a substitute for the sacrificial cult? It is possible, on the one hand, since according to some traditions (e.g., Jub. 3:27; 6:14; 49:19; cf. Num 28:3-8) the times for sacrifice were associated with sunrise and sunset. On the other hand, however, it clear from Jubilees that the idea of praise of God at fixed times (in this case, Sabbath) in union with the angels must have developed in a setting alongside sacrificial worship. The motifs of joint angelic and human praise of God as creator, God's holiness, and God's kingdom are linked with Sabbath as an appointed time.
And he gave us a great sign, the sabbath day, so that we might work six days and observe a sabbath from all work on the seventh day. And he told us*all of the angels of the presence and all of the angels of sanctification, these two great kings*that we might keep the sabbath with him in heaven and on earth. . . . And thus he created therein a sign by which they might keep the sabbath with us on the seventh day, to eat and drink and bless the one who created all things just as he blessed and sanctified for himself a people who appeared from all the nations so that they might keep the sabbath together with us. And he caused their desires to go up as pleasing fragrance, which is acceptable before him always. (Jubilees 2:17-22)6
But in addition to praising God with the angels on Sabbath the people are still to atone for sins by means of sacrifices in Jubilees
Thus there is no basis to argue that the idea of prayer at fixed times originated out of the need to produces an alternative for sacrifice, even though it was certainly influenced by the idea of cultic worship at divinely ordained times.
In the remainder of this paper, I will focus on one important type of prayer found at Qumran: communal penitential prayers at fixed times. A priori it might seem likely that because penitential prayer has an atoning function, its extension to fixed periodic use must have arisen as a substition for sacrifice. The goal then, is to test this. Admittedly, however, the evidence is incomplete and inconclusive. Furthermore, as Richard Sarason reinforced, it is necessary to make clear differentiations between different types of texts and different social settings. But such differentiation itself cannot yet be accomplished with confidence. I have set for myself a very modest goal. I will approach the question negatively and with little regard for the differentiation that is ultimately crucial. That is, I will directly ask, is there a case to be made that communal penitential prayer could have become institutionalized at fixed times apart from an ideology that it is an alternative for sacrifice?
I will focus here primarily on one possible source of evidence: the biblical inspiration. First I will outline strands in biblical traditions that could provide a theoretical framework for an institution of penitential prayer that is not essentially in conflict with or in substitution for sacrifice. I will then explore the use of these strands in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is little question that the biblical traditions we will consider are prominent in the background of penitential prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls, whether directly or indirectly. The question is what meaning these traditions carry in that context.
2. The Biblical Framework for Communal Prayers of Confession
The first strand can be traced through the Deuteronomistic tradition. Rodney Werline recently has described how the covenantal warnings of Deuteronomy provided the basis for the development of penitential prayer as a *religious institution.* One might quibble over his somewhat vague application of the latter phrase, but the overall argument is clear enough. According to Deut 4:29-30, after the curses of the covenant have come upon the people, they will: seek (üùÖ, âÿÖ) the Lord with all their heart and all their soul, return (Öàü) to the Lord, and obey (ÖÄÆ) him. Deut 30:1-10 states this in casuistic form: if they return (Öàü) and obey (ÖÄÆ) with all their heart and with all their soul (30:2), then God will return to them, gather their dispersed from the ends of the earth (30:3-4), circumcise their heart (30:6) so that they will love the Lord with all their heart and soul, and God will put the curses on their enemies (30:7). Then the people will turn, obey, and do all that God commanded (30:8) and God will prosper them. That is, in the sequence sin*exile*restoration, the key mechanism is described in Deuteronomy as turning (Öàü) and seeking (üùÖ, âÿÖ). Werline also points out that what it means to *seek* and *return* is not defined, but that these are used as general metaphors for repentance. The Deuteronomistic perspective represented by the prayer in 1 Kings 8 marks a key transition: it is repentance (Öàü) and prayer (äÜöîî, äÜçÉÅ) as the enactment of repentance (1 Kings 8:35, 47, 48). Thus, *seek* is apparently interpreted as supplication. Sacrifice plays no role in this restoration, which Werline concludes is because the context concerned is that of the exile. Werline continues to trace the development of this tradition through the exilic and post-exilic prophets and penitential prayers, including the interpretation of Öàü and âÿÖ as confession of sins and study (Neh 9, Dan 9, Sir 39:5, Jubilees, Qumran; ch 2 and passim), the appropriation into an eschatological context in sectarian groups (ch. 3), and modification to allow for the idea of the pious sufferer (ch. 4).
Werline's analysis of this strand is I think essentially sound and so it will be sufficient for now merely to have summarized his treatment. My major criticism is that he focuses almost exclusively on the D tradition, ignoring or slighting some very significant texts, and thus he surprisingly downplays the P tradition which provides a second strand. We will need to balance his treatment with a survey of the evidence for this second strand below. But first, let us take note of the implications of his study to our topic so far. The sin of idolatry leading to exile is atoned for by repentance and prayer (or penitential prayer and study). Although this theoretical basis for penitential prayer develops during the exile, there is no evidence of established practices based on this until beginning in the reconstruction period. He does not state the implication, but this suggests that although the loss of the temple provided the theory of penitential prayer as exile remedy, the development of practice towards a *religious institution* (to use his terminology) came when there was a temple, and in connection with the temple. We can state as a conjectural proposition that disillusionment with the return and the sense that exile continues led to a need for continual repentance. This is far from sure, given the incomplete nature of our evidence, but it does raise the possibility that it is not so much replacement for sacrifice that is the real motivating significance for the origin of regular communal penitential prayer. We need also raise at this point the question whether it is convincing that the absence of sacrifice in this strand is due to the exilic context as Werline suggests. I believe that this is not completely convincing because he did not take sufficient stock of pre-exilic material and priestly influence, to which we now turn.
The second strand belongs to the Priestly (and Holiness) tradition. I take as my starting point Jacob Milgrom's exposition of the 'asham offering. Curiously, Werline cites this study approvingly but does not pursue its implications.7 In Cult and Conscience, Milgrom notes that maal (ÄÆî) according to P is sin against God (Num 5:6) and falls into two categories: *trespass on Temple sancta* and *violation of the covenant oath.*8 Its penalty is destruction by God. Unintentional maal can be atoned by restitution + 1/5 and an asham sacrifice, but deliberate maal cannot be atoned by sacrifice. Nevertheless, there are three instances in Priestly sources where deliberate sins against God are expiated by sacrifice (Lev 5:20-26 [Eng. 6:1-7]//Num 5:6-8, re: false oath about sin; Lev 5:1 (see Milgrom); and Lev 16:21, re: scapegoat for removal of sins of community on the Day of Atonement). These are also the only three cases that *explicitly demand a confession from the sinner over and above his remorse.*9 According to Num 5:6-8, when a person feels guilt10 he confesses (äÜàâä) the sin (çêÇä), makes reparation (ÇÖì, to the person, kinsman, or priests), and a ram of expiation is offered on his behalf.11 Thus, Milgrom proposes that *confession is the legal device fashioned by the Priestly legislators to convert deliberate sins into inadvertencies, thereby qualifying them for sacrificial expiation.*12 Furthermore he notes a complete absence in P of Öàü in its covenantal meaning *repent,* but rather P distinctively uses ÇÖì, äÜàâä and ÉïÉÆ. He concludes from this that *P's sacrificial system of expiation must be of pre-exilic* origin.13
Of great importance for our topic, Lev 26:39-42 understands the violation of the covenant (v. 15) as a deliberate ÄÆî committed against God.14 It prescribes that the people (1) confess (äÜàâä) their sin and the sin of their fathers, (2) humble (ÉïÉÆ) their uncircumcised hearts, and (3) make reparation for their sin. Then God will remember the covenant with the patriarchs and will remember the land. That is, the priestly legal innovation just described is applied to the exile. There are here three of the four elements: contrition (here ÉïÉÆ, elsewhere most often ÇÖì), confession, and reparation. Sacrifice is missing. Milgrom reasons that this is because in the absence of the possibility to sacrifice*the envisaged context here is the people removed from the land*confession does double duty: to convert the sin to an inadvertence and to atone for it. Thus, Lev 26:39-42 provides a theoretical basis for confession of sin as the response to exile, but in a context where the normative procedure would include sacrifice as well as confession. The absence of sacrifice is an extraordinary feature due to the condition of exile. Furthermore, confession is not involved as an alternative to sacrifice, but as an essential element since sacrifice alone could not from the priestly perspective atone for this type of sin. Even with sacrifice, confession would be required to allow atonement. Without sacrifice, the role of confession is simply extended. We must also note the element of reparation, which corresponds to the priestly requirement of restitution plus one-fifth. What is it in the context of exile envisaged by Lev 26? This is clarified in verse 43: their removal from the land so that it can lie desolate is accepted as reparation.
Now we need to consider the development of these two strands. The prophets mostly reflect the language of the first strand, calling the people to repent (Öàü) and seek (âÿÖ, üùÖ). This pattern is already well established in pre-exilic prophets. Besides Hos 5:15-6:1 mentioned by Werline, *repent* and *seek* define the program for restoration in Hos 3:5; 7:10; 14:2; Isaiah 9:13; Jer 36:7.15
In 1 Kings 8, too, the Deuteronomic strand is prominent, as Werline has amply demonstrated. The prayer closely echoes the language of Deut 4 and 30 with regard to the relationship between God and the people, the curses of the covenant, and the prescription for restoration, especially to *return to their heart* and to return (Öàü) to God with all their heart and soul. Nevertheless, the Deuteronomic language is reformulated into conditional sentences, adopting the form of Priestly casuistic law.16 Furthermore, Werline had noted that 1 Kings 8 interprets the *seeking* (âÿÖ, üùÖ) of Deut in terms of prayer: the people are to repent and pray (äÜöîî, äÜçÉÅ). This is the key movement in the development from the covenantal warnings of Deuteronomy to the post-exilic penitential prayers, and it is almost certainly under the influence of the Priestly strand: even though the term äÜàâä is not used but rather äÜöîî and äÜçÉÅ, the content of the supplication is a three-fold confession of sin (çêÇÉà àäÆàëÉà ÿÖÆÉà; 1 Kings 8:47) related to the confession of sin in Lev 16:21 for the Day of Atonement (ÆàÉÜ, öÖÆëäì, çêÇÜì).
If this is so, we may already detect the influence of the Priestly strand in some of the early prophets. Most striking is Hosea.17 After describing the guilt of Israel*using the priestly term ÇÖì*and the deserved death (Hosea 14:1 [Eng. 13:16]), the prophet pleads:
Return (Öàüä), O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity (ÆàÅ). Take words (âüÿëì) with you and return (Öàü) to the Lord; say to him, *Take away all iniquity (ÆàÅ); accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit (Heb bulls) of our lips* ... I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.
Does this not play off the priestly expiation of deliberate sin against God (here Äÿä) by repentance and penitential prayer as sacrifice?
In any case, the influence of both strands is clear in the post-exilic penitential prayer tradition. The Deuteronomic strand has been highlighted by Werline so there is no need to repeat the evidence here. We can recognize influence of the Priestly strand by the following distinctive traits18: sin described as ÄÆî; contrition/repentance as ÇÖì and/or humbling (possibly also expressions of humility: fasting, weeping, torn garments); seeking as prayer of confession; a confession formula related to the Day of Atonement confession from Lev 16:21.19 Thus, the version of Solomon's prayer in Chronicles shows more clearly a combination of both strands: *if my people ... humble themselves (ÉïÉÆ), and pray (äÜöîî) and seek (üùÖ) my face, and turn (Öàü) from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land* (2 Chron 7:14). Manasseh committed ÄÆî, and his renovation is due to prayer (Üöîä) and humbling (ÉïÉÆ) himself (2 Chron 33:19). The description of the penitential prayers in Ezra 9,20 Neh 1, 9, Dan 9, Bar 1:15-3:8, and Prayer of Azariah as acts of humbling and confession owes more to Lev 26 than the Deuteronomic strand. The sin of the people is called ÄÆî in Ezra 9, Neh 1 and Dan 9, and the prayers of Ezra 9, Neh 9, and Dan 9 are explicitly called confession (äÜàâä). The confession formula of Lev 16:21 seems to be the influence for the multiple confessions in Dan 9 and Bar 1:15-3:8. The prayers of Neh 9 and Dan 9 seem to understand respectively the message of the prophets and the covenantal warnings in the Pentateuch to prescribe repentance and prayer as the program for restoration.21 It is not sufficient to say that these prayers envisage repentance alone atoning for sin. As with Lev 26:43, the experience of God's punishment is assumed as reparation. This is explicit in Dan 9:24,22 but also underlies the frequent declarations that the people have suffered God's punishment. Furthermore, there is no hint that the confession is offered as an alternative to sacrifice. Ezra's prayer is offered at the temple at the time of the evening sacrifice (Ezra 9:5; 10:1), and for their sin of intermarriage*described as ÄÆî by which they incurred guilt (ÇÖì)*the congregation both confess (ÜÉà Üàâä) their sins and offer a guilt offering (ÇÖì; Ezra 10:10-11, 19). In Baruch, the people in Babylon do acts of humbling (weeping, fasting) and they pray (1:5), and they collect money to send to Jerusalem for sacrifices (1:6-7, 10). In Prayer of Azariah, there is petition for God to accept a contrite heart and humble spirit (cf. Lev 26) as sacrifice to atone, since they have no altar: *such may our sacrifice be in your sight today.* One should assume that if there was an altar the response would be to confess and make sacrifice.
Despite considerable use of Deuteronomic language, these prayers present a picture still reflecting the perspective of the Priestly strand: humbling, confessing sin, making reparation, and*where possible*sacrifice. There are plausible grounds, then, to argue that the development of the penitential prayer tradition blossomed in the Second Temple period drawing on a priestly legal tradition in which confession normally works together with sacrifice to atone for deliberate sin against God. Under the conditions of exile, confession and humbling before God could be accepted for atonement without sacrifice. But theoretically, at least, this is not as an alternative for sacrifice, since sacrifice alone could not atone for deliberate ÄÆî. Although this is speculative, I believe that the Priestly tradition on the role of confession may have influenced the D tradition on this. For our purposes speculation on the early development of traditions is not of real relevance. All that is important here is to recognize the two strands, and thir influence on the development of the penitential prayer tradition.
It is perhaps worth raising one further speculative thought. Milgrom deals with the psychology of fear of unconscious sin: one's suffering is imagined to result from having trespassed upon God's sancta.23 The response could be to offer a sacrifice *in case.*24 The growing importance of this is seen in the concept of the *suspended asham* cited in sayings attributed to early rabbis as a pious practice.25 Could this provide a psychological and social context for understanding the ultimate extension to daily confession of sin?
3. Prayers of Confession in the Dead Sea Scrolls
It is now time to turn to the scrolls to explore the use of the strands we have been considering. This will be only very tentative and preliminary, and for now will ask just one question in a limited way: how plausible is it that the theory of confession as a priestly legal device would have been perceived in our period, and more to the point, is there any evidence for it in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Milgrom points out that Philo shows the same interpretation of asham and confession in his exposition of Lev 5:20-26 (Eng. 6:1-7) about a deliberate false oath (Laws I, 235-238): it is atoned by voluntary confession, reparation + 1/5, temple sacrifice.26 He also finds evidence for this theory in the tannaim with regard to the Day of Atonment (*Since he has confessed his brazen and rebellious deeds it is as if they become as unintentional ones before him;* *Great is repentance which converts intentional sins into unintentional ones*).27 In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Milgrom points to 1QS 8:17-18 and CD 10:2-3 concerning purification for deliberate sin. He also notes that ÄÆî is an important term in the DSS and at least once refers to sancta trespass and once to covenant violation. In the latter case, 1QH 12(=4):34 it is drawn from Lev 26:40. But it often has a metaphorical use.28
There is, however, much stronger evidence. The key passage on which Milgrom built his argument*the priestly law concerning deliberate false oaths from Lev 5:20-26//Num 5:5-10*is raised twice in Damascus Document: CD 9:13-14 and 15:3-5. In both cases, confession is required to atone for deliberate sin in addition to restitution. In the situation when there is no human party to make restitution to (CD 9:13-14), one confesses sin, makes restitution to God by giving it to the priest29 in addition to the ram for ÇÖì sacrifice.30
The admonition section of the Damascus Document draws heavily on both the Deuteronomic strand and the Priestly strand in its presentation of the failings of Israel and the origins of the sect. The exile is thus the result of ÄÆî and warrants destruction. A penitent movement begins later (*390 years* after the beginning of the exile; CD 1:5-8): they recognized their guilt (ÇÖì), but didn't know what to do. They sought God (âÿÖ) but needed to be instructed in repentance (Öàü) and the secret things (ÉæÜÿàÜ; derived from a midrash on Deut 29:28 [Eng 29:29] and Neh 9:14). Those atoned by God (CD 3:18-19; 4:6; 20:34) are defined those repent (CD 4:2; 6:5; 8:16; 19:29) seek God (âÿÖ), described as study and interpretation (CD 6:2-11). Those who remain firm in the last days follow the teachings of the Teacher and confess (äÜàâä, mistakenly written äÜàÿä) their sins and God's just judgments (CD 20:27-30; similar to communal confessions but not quoting from any one, cf. Dan 9:5, 7). Thus, this seems to be interpreting the Öàü and âÿÖ of Deut as repentance/confession and study/interpretation.
The Covenant Ceremony, only alluded to in Damascus Document (confession of sin in CD 20:27-30; the expulsion ritual in 4QDe 7 i 15-15//4QDa 11) and described most fully in 1QS 1:18-2:18, also shows a combination of both strands in a regularized ritual. It follows closely the *covenant formulary* of the Bible (e.g., Deut 27:11-26; see Baltzer, Covenant Formulary, 39-50) and the prayers of communal confession (e.g., Neh 9:6-37; Ezra 9:6-15; Dan 9:4-19; Bar 1:15-3:8; Pr Azar; 4Q504 2 v 1-2 vii 2). The confession of sin relates to the Priestly tradition (the terms äÜàâä in CD and Äàâëì in 1QS; the multiple confession cf. Lev 16:21). I have argued elsewhere that the unique character of the covenant ceremony*confession of sin followed by cursing on outsiders and apostates*is motivated by reflection on Lev 26:40-45 and Deut 29:17-20 and 30:1-10.31
Finally, I believe that the expulsion ritual described at the end of the Damascus Document draws on both strands and assumes the understanding of confession I have been suggesting.
Baumgarten suggests that the implication of the first quote is that *the disciplinary penalty is to be accepted as atonement comparable to a sin offering* (Baumgarten, DJD 18, 77). But then it is difficult to understand the meaning of the second quote (see Baumgarten's attempt in JJS 43 (1992) 95-8). The first quote mentions the case of inadvertent sin, for which sacrifice alone atones. The wording is mostly according to Lev 4:27 but it is the context of Numbers 15:27 in mind because the text goes on to talk about those whose sin is deliberate and their exclusion. Hence, apparenlty if one confesses sin and accepts discipline it is treated as an inadvertent sin. If one resists discipline, it is treated as deliberate sin and the offender is banished as according to Num 15:30-31.33 The second quote (Lev 26:31 + Deut 30:4) I believe must be understood disjunctively: for an inadvertent sin, sacrifice is accepted, but for Israel's sin that led to exile, sacrifice does not atone; it requires humbling, accepting discipline, repentance and confession. Reparation is mentioned, not sacrifice but rather acceptance of discipline. The basis for this may be Lev 26:39-42 where the people make reparation in exile while the land lies desolate. The third and fourth quotes (from Joel 2:12-13) support the idea that repentance is required. Thus, the assumption of this passage is that all sin (even inadvertent sin) in the age of wrath is treated as potential deliberate sin in the light of the exile. Sacrifice cannot atone for the sin that led to the exile but rather repentance, confession, and acceptance of discipline. These fulfill the requirements of Deut 4, 30 and Lev 26. Perhaps it is for this reason that the instructions in D emphasize confessing to the priest (not in either Lev 4:27 or Num 15:27, although telling the priest what one was there for is certainly assumed).
This paper has been very speculative and allows no positive conclusion. Its concern was merely to open up room to consider development of regularized prayer apart from the need to replace sacrifices. I tentatively suggest that there is room for such thinking. There is no biblical basis for the sins of the exile being atoned by sacrifice alone. In both D and P(H) strands confession is essential for atonement; in the absence of sacrifice, confession alone will suffice. There is evidence for the same theoretical framework even in the sectarian scrolls, and thus no reason to believe that confession would have been regarded as an alternative for sacrifice*i.e., if one had sacrifice one wouldn't have to confess*even when it functioned in lieu of sacrifice. Moreover, Words of the Luminaries suggests that daily communal confession originated before the establishment of the Yahad, and probably before that movement had withdrawn from temple participation (if this ever was absolute). When considering a possible Sitz im Leben for this composition*as with the origin of regularized prayer in general*one should not be restricted by the idea of prayer as replacement for sacrifice.