This scroll was discovered in 1956, when a group of Ta`amireh Bedouin happened on Cave 11, but it was first unrolled fourteen years later, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Inscribed in the scroll are parts of the final chapters (22-27) of Leviticus, the third book in the Pentateuch, which expounds laws of sacrifice, atonement, and holiness. This is the lowermost portion (approximately one-fifth of the original height) of the final six columns of the original manuscript. Eighteen small fragments also belong to this scroll. The additional fragments of this manuscript are from preceding chapters: Lev. 4, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18-22.
The Leviticus Scroll was written in an ancient Hebrew script often referred to as paleo-Hebrew. The almost uniform direction of the downstrokes, sloping to the left, indicates an experienced, rapid, and rhythmic hand of a single scribe. The text was penned on the grain side of a sheep skin. Both vertical and horizontal lines were drawn. The vertical lines aligned the columns and margins; the horizontal lines served as guidelines from which the scribe suspended his letters. Dots served as word-spacers.
- (22)[…edges of your field, or] gather [the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I the LO]RD [am]
- your God.
- (23)The LORD spoke to Moses saying: (24)Speak to the Israelite people thus: In the seventh month
- on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with load blasts.
- (25)You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall bring an offering by fire to the LORD.
- (26)The LORD spoke to Moses saying: (27)Mark, the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day
- of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: you shall practice self-denial, and you shall bring an offering
- by fire to the LORD; (28)you shall do no work throughout that day. For
- [it is a Day of Atonement on which] expiation is made on your behalf [before the LO]RD your God. (29)Indeed, any person who