The Secret of the Way Things Are represents a further development of the “wisdom instruction” (cf. text 10, The Book of Secrets), in which a sage delivers his teaching to his disciples, addressed as his children. This text has the same kind of framework, but the content goes beyond the usual contrasts of wisdom and folly. As in The Book of Secrets, the teacher appeals to “the secret of the way things are” — that is, knowledge of the inflexible purposes of God acquired by study of the Scripture and the laws of the sect.
Again and again the teacher returns to the theme of poverty and the importance of being satisfied with what God has provided. The biblical book of Proverbs usually portrays poverty as the unwelcome result of foolish behavior (e.g., Prov. 28:19). Here, in contrast, poverty is the natural circumstance of the ideal disciple — a motif that anticipates the high view of poverty in early Christianity: “Blessed are you poor” (Luke 6:20). The Secret seeks to motivate by appeal to the judgment to come and the eternal damnation of the wicked — another new theme that foreshadows the importance of the Last Days for early Christianity.
The manuscripts assigned to this work are all fragmentary in varying degrees, and it is not certain that al1 the pieces actually do belong to one composition. One large subsection, in particular, is addressed to “farmers” and uses agricultural language extensively. It may originally have formed a separate work. Nevertheless, a single perspective is at work here, finding expression in a number of themes. The nearest analog once again is in early Christianity: the collection of sayings called the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7) is the same type of genre, that is, ethical instruction under the threat of impending judgment.
Given the nature of the work, no references to the greater world of war and politics appear. Hence, we cannot date its composition or infer as much as we would like about the original setting in which it was written. Did it serve a purpose within the Yahad? Two clues may point to an answer. In 4Q421 frag. 1, col. 2, the disciple is urged to obey his “Instructor.” That was a technical term designating an official of the sect according to the Charter of a Jewish Sectarian Association (text 5). Second, we encounter here a “vision of insight” (4Q417 frag. 2, col. 1,1. 15). A similar expression appears in the Damascus Document (text 1) and in the Charterfor Israel in the Last Days (text 6), in both cases representing a body of knowledge whose mastery is incumbent upon stated individuals. Accordingly, The Secret of the Way Things Are may be an introductory course of study for new or probationary initiates into the Yahad.
Introductory paragraphs, placing the questfor wisdom within the context of firm self discipline and the worship of God.
4Q412 Frag. 1 5[Impo]se discipline on your [lips], and on your tongue double-doors. [ . . . ] 6Meditate on righteous words. [ . . . ] to those who seek [ . . . ] 7Always with your mouth praise [God . . . ] your trembling [ . . . ] 8Give joy to His name [ . . . ] 9in the general assembly [ . . . l i¡day and night[ . . . ]
4Q418 Frag. 77 2[ . . . ] the secret of the way things are, and learn the nature of man and gaze at the faculties [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] has made him. Then you wil1 understand the nature of mortal man and the weight of [ . . . ] 4his spirit, and learn the secret of the way things are, the weight of eras and the measure of [ . . . ]
4Q418 Frag. 123 Col. 2 1[ . . . ] 7when years begin and when eras end [ . . . ] 3everything that has happened in it, why it was and what will be in [ . . . ] 4His era that He revealed to the ears of those who understand the secret of the way things are [ . . . ] 3you are one who understands, when you observe all these things [ . . . ] 6by its hand is the weighing of your deeds with the era [ . . . ] 7Whatever He leaves with you, guard carefully [ . . . ]
The sage asserts that his teaching comes from God.
4Q426 Frag. 1 Col. 1 1[ . . . ] glory and a measure of true knowledge and long life 2[ . . . ] those who keep all his commandments; but the seed of the wicked 3[ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] God has put into my heart true knowledge and understanding [ . . . ]
The dire consequences of ignoring this teaching.
4Q410 Frag. 1 2[ . . . if you] transgress any of [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] curse after curse will cling to you 5[ . . . ] upon you and you will not have any peace there for [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] what is truly good and what [is truly] evil [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] all the days of eternity.
And now, I, with [the help of the Lord] in the spirit [ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] he wil1 not lie [ . . . ] 9The oracle concerns [ . . . ], the vision is about the house of [ . . . ], for I have seen [ . . . ]
The subject matter is human behavior and how to distinguish right actsfrom wrong ones.
4Q413 Frag. 1 1Discipline [and insight] and wisdom I shal1 teach you. Now consider the ways of humanity and the activities of 2the human race. [ . . . ] a man. He enlarged his share in the knowledge of God’s truth, and to the degree that that man loathes 3everything evil, [his judgment] shall not be affected by what his ears hear and what his eyes see.
So now, 4mercy [ . . . ] of the forefathers, and consider the years of [each] generation, as God has shown [to . . . ]
The poverty of the student is a constant theme. It is probably both a literal poverty and a spiriual poverty, in that all are poor compared to God.
4Q415 Frag. 6 1[ . . . ] the secret of men [ . . . ] 2You are needy, and [ . . . ] 3your poverty in your counsel [ . . . ] 4Test these things by the secret of the way things are [ . . . ] Sfrom the place of [origins] and by the weight [ . . . ]
The initiate into this teaching will acquire comprehensive knowledge of God’s purposes and of good and evil.
4Q4L7 Frag. 2 (+ 4Q418) Col. 1 1[ . . . ] you are one who understands [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] the wonderful secrets [ . . . fearful things you will master . . . ] 3[ . . . why things are and how they are . . . ] 4[ . . . why] 5[things are and why they continue to be ] 6[ . . . at night meditate on the secret] of why things are and investigate it at all times, and then you will know truth and evil, wisdom 7[and falsehood . . . Consider the wicked in al1 their ways, with all their punishments throughout the world eras and the eternal punishment 8and then you will know the difference between good [and evil] deeds, for the God of knowledge is the confidant of Truth, and in the secret of the way things are 9He has made plain its basis [ . . . ] what is its nature and the governing principle of its deeds 10for every [ . . . ] He kas made plain to the mind of every [man] how to live by 11the nature of His understanding; and He has made plain [ . . . ] and by the faculty of understanding [He revealed] the enigmas of His purpose with blameless conduct [in all] His deeds. Inquire into these things at all times, give careful thought to al1 13their effects, and then you will know [eternal] glory with His wonderful secrets and His mighty deeds.
In early Judaism there was a legend that Seth, the son of Adam, wrote out many revelations on stone tablets, which could be read only by the righteous (Josephus Ant. 1. 70). A later Gnostic sect called the Sethians used the myth of the tablets of Seth to support their own ideas, as did Christians in the apocalyptic Testament of Adam. In the following passage, the tablets of Seth are identifed with the “Vision of Insight,” in which all the secrets of God are revealed.
You are 14one who understands. Your poverty is your reward in the remembrance of time, [for] the decree is engraved, and inscribed is every time of punishment, 15for that wkich is decreed is engraved in stone before God, over all [ . . . ] the children of Seth. A book of remembrance stands written before Him i6for those who keep His words; and that is the “Vision of Insight,” the book of remembrance, and He bequeathed it to Enosh with a spiritual people, because 17his nature was patterned after the holy angels. But “Insight” he did not again give to carnal souls, for they did not know the difference between 18good and evil aGcording to the judgment of His spirit.
And you, O son, are one who understands; observe the secret of the way things are and know i9[the inheritance] of all that is living, and walk in it and attend to it [ . . . ] 20[ . . . ] between much and little and in your intimacy [with ] 21[ . . . ] by the secret of the way things are [ ] 22[ . . . ] all the vision of [know]ledge and in all [ . . . ] 23So always be strong, do not become weary doing evil [ ] 24he will not cleanse his hands by it, his inheritance in [ . . . ] 25for the man of insight has carefully considered your secrets and in the man of [ . . . ] 26his foundations in you [ . . . ] with acts of [ . . . ] 27Do not let yourself blindly follow your heart or your eyes [ . . . ]
Col. 2 1-2[ . . . ] 3by the secret of the way things are [ . . . ] 4comforted [ . . . ] 5walk blamelessly [ . . . ] 6bless His name [ . . . ] 7by their joy [ . . . ] 8great are the mercies of God [ . . . ] 9praise God, and for every plague bless [ . . . ] 10be in His will, and He understands [ . . . ] 11He will guard all your ways [ . . . ] 12Do not let a thought from the evil impulse deceive you [ . . . ] 13seek the truth, do not let I . . . ] deceive you [ . . . ] 14without a command from God; do not let carnal understanding make you err [ . . . ]
The figure of Wisdom, the supernatural principle by which God determined all things, is contrasted with Folly (cf. Prou 8:22-31).
4Q415, Frag. 9 5[ . . . Do not let your mind dwell] 6on Folly, do not be like the mlul[titude of the wicked . . . Acquire Wisdom, for] 7by it He created it (i.e., the human spirit), for she, Wisdom, is the measure [of creation . . . She made them] 8together, the dominion of male with [female . . . ] 9her spirit, dominion is in her, for [ . . . ] 10and if one has less than another [ . . . ] 11Accordingly [ . . . male and] female, and in the scales of [ . . . ]
The wise man is advised to avoid unnecessary confict with the powerful. The wrath of kings is a common theme of the wisdom literature, as in Proverbs 16: 14-20.
4Q41.7 Frag. 1 Col. 1 [Speak gently to a ruler] 1at all times, lest he adjure you; and speak to him in accordance with his mood, lest [he . . . ] 2without reproach. When propitious, go to him; but when it is forbidden [stay away . . . ] 3do not trouble his spirit, because you speak gently, [ . . . ] 4quickly recount his rebuke, but do not pass over your sins [ . . . ] Sand he is righteous as you are, for he is a prince [ . . . what he wants,] 6he will do, for he is incomparable in every deed, without [ . . . ]
An admonition not to give this teaching to the wicked.
7Do not consider an evil man a helper, nor any enemy [ . . . ] 8the wickedness of his deeds. At the time of his punishment he will know how he should conduct himself. With him [ . . .
Poverty is no barrier to acquiring wisdom. True wisdom is more important than riches.
His commandment] 9must not depart from your heart, God will resolve that you, you alone, will increase [ . . . by your poverty . . . Do not say,] 10″For what is more lowly than a poor man?” So do not rejoice when you should mourn, lest you toil pointlessly in your life. [Consider the secret of] 11the way tkings are, and learn about the causes of well-being, and know who will acquire glory or shame. For indeed [ . . . ] 12instead of mourning, eternal joy. Be an advocate for your affairs, without [ignoring] 13all your offenses. Argue your case like a righteous governor; do not [ . . . ] 14and do not pass over your sins. Be glorified [in your] poverty; [consider his] judgment [ . . . ] 151earn of it. And then God will see it and his anger will cease and he will pass over your sins, for before [ . . . ] 16none will last; and who will be acquitted in his judgment? And without forgiveness [ . . . ] 17needy.
God will take care of those who are faithful to him. “Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things will be given to you” (Matt. 6:33).
Now if you have need, the food you desire and more besides [He wil1 supply . . . And if you have something] 181eft over, bring it to the city He delights in. Accept your legacy from Him, but do not continue to [ . . . ] 19but if you have need, do not [ . . . ] that you need, for [His] storehouse lacks notking. [ . . . ] 20[from] His mouth all things shall come to pass; so whatever He feeds you, eat, and do not continue in [ . . . ] 21[ . . . ] If you borrow the wealth of men in your time of need, do not [ . . . you will be anxious] 22day and night; but God is your true comforter [ . . . ] He will restore your soul [ . . . ] do not deceive [ . . . ] 23to kim; why will you forget such guilt and [not remember] an insult [ . . . do not entrust yourself anymore . . . to] the power of your fellow, 24who, in your time of need wil1 close up kis hand, like a hook [ . . . ] 25and if he strikes you with a blow, then [ . . . ] 26behold, it will be revealed [ and then] 27he will not strike him with a rod [ . . . ] 28any more. And you [ . . . ]
The disciple is again encouraged to seek everything from the hand of God, from whom everything comes.
4Q416 Frag. 2 (+ 4Q417) Col. 1 21Ifyou are in a hurry 22to avoid sending [ . . . from him you should] ask your food, for he Col. 2 1has opened up kis generos[ity . . . ] all the needs [of his goodness, giving food] 2to everything that has life, without [ . . . it he should close his hand, the spirit of everything 3mortal would [be withdrawn]. Do not accept [ . . . ] In the time of our reproach, cover your face, and in the folly of 4imprisonment [ . . . ]
Be wary when borrowing money or delaying repaymentfor a long time.
[As for money . . . whoever borrows should] repay [quickly!] Then you will be quit of your lender, for otherwise your purse 5with all its treasures you have effectively left [with him. As for someone who lends you money because he is your friend,] and all your life you owe him, quickly [give] him what is his, so that 6he does not take [your] purse. [In such dealings do not degrade yourself;] do not exchange your holy spirit for any amount of money, 7for there is no price adequate [for your spirit . . . ]
Various precepts on serving God and doing his will.
Let no man turn you aside [from worskiping God.] In His favor seek His presence, and according to His way of speaking 3you should speak, and then you will find what you truly desire. [ . . . ] do not be lax in your regulations, and preserve the secrets you have learned.
9[ . . . ] if he assigns you a task [do not allow] sleep to your eyes until you perform 10[it . . . ] do not add, but if you must deposit [ . . . ] do not let any money be left over without 11[ . . . lest he should say, He has defrauded me and . . . ] and behold how powerful is i2[human] jealousy. It deceives the heart [ . . . ] so in His will be strong in His service and in the wisdom of His goodness.
13[ . . . you will be] to Him like a firstborn son and He will feel for you as a man does for his only child 14[ . . . for you . . . ] so do not be too credulous, lest you err inadvertently; and yet do not be overanxious of your pride 15[ . . . ] Do not lower yourself to whatever is not worthy of you; then you wil1 be 16[ . . . ]
Do not touch anything for which your strength is not equal, lest you falter and you arre terribly embarrassed.
17 Do not become preoccupied with money; it is good for you to be a servant in spirit, and to serve your overseer freely.
18 Do not sell your honor for any price, and do not barter away your inheritance, lest you bring ruin on your body. Do not overindulge yourself with bread [ . . . ] 19 without clothing.
Do not drink wine when there is no food. Do not seek luxuries when you [ . . . ] 201arck bread. Do not pride yourself on your need when you are poor, lest [ . . . ] 21you despise your life, and moreover, do not disdain your wife, your closest companion.
More admonitions on the danger of money.
Col. 3 2Remember that you are poor [ . . . in your . . . ] and your poverty 3you will not linger, nor when it goes well for you [ . . . ]
If someone leaves something valuable with you, 4do not touch it, lest you be burned and completely consumed by its fire. As you have taken it, so return it, 5and joy will be yours if you are innocent with regard to it. Also, do not take money from any one that you do not know, 61est he add to your poverty. But if he forces it on you with the threat of death, deposit it safely, and do not corrupt your soul 7with it. Then you shall lie down to die with the truth, and when you expire, your memory will blossom pike the . . . ], and your posterity will inherit 8joy.
The poor disciple should be content with whatever God gives. Serving God is the truly noble way of life.
Yes, you are needy. Do not crave anything except your inheritance, and do not be consumed by it, lest you cross 9the boundaries of the Law. If He should return you to an honorable position, conduct yourself accordingly, and, knowing the secret of the way things are, seek its causes; then you will know 10His true inheritance, and you will live righteously, for [ . . . ] in all your ways. Give honor to those who pay you honor 11and praise His name always, for your head is taller than the mountaintops, and He has made you sit among the nobility, and 12 he has made you master of a glorious inheritance. Seek His wil1 always.
Yes, you are needy. Do not say, “Since I am poor, 13 I cannot seek true knowledge.” Just apply yourself to every kind of learning and in every [ . . . ] refine your heart, and your thoughts will be characterized by great insight. 14 Seek the secret of the way things are, and give careful thought to all the ways of truth, look long at the roots of wickedness. 13 Then you will know what is bitter for someone and what is sweet for a man.
True wisdom entails honoring parents.
Honor your father by your poverty? 16 and your mother in your ways, for a man’s father is like God to him, his mother is like his superior. For 17they are the crucible of your conception, and since He gave them authority over you and formed the spirit, so serve them. And since He l8has revealed to you the secret of the way things are, honor them fot your own honor’s sake, and in [ . . . ] praise in their presence 19for your own life’s sake and for length of days. Even if you are as poor as a sheep [ . . . ] 20without the law.
The disciple may take a wife if she too is a disciple. God has given him authority over her.
If you would marry a wife in your poverty, take her from the Children of [Light (?) . . . ] 21from the secret of the way things are. When you are united, live together with your fleshly helper [ . . . For as the verse says, “A man should leave] Col. 4 1his father and his mother [and adhere to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).] 2He has made you ruler over her, so [ . . . ] 3God did not give [her father] authority over her, He has separated her from her mother, and unto you [He has given authority . . . He has made your wife] 4and you into one flesh. Later, He will take your daughter away and give her to another and your sons [ . . . ] 5But you, live together with the wife of your bosom, for she is the kin of [ . . . ] 6Whosoever governs her besides you has “shifted the boundary of his life [ . . . ] 7He has made you ruler over her, for her to live the way you want her to, not making any vows or offerings [ . . . ] 9Turn her spirit to your will and every binding oath [ . . . ] 9 annulling the utterance of your mouth, and forbidding the doing of your will [ . . . ] 10your lips making light of her, for your sake do not [ . . . ] 11your honor in your inheritance [ . your bosom and shame [ . . .] 12 in your inheritance lest [ . . . ] i3the wife of your bossom and shame [ . . . ]
The stars, the “host of heaven,” communicate — through astrological knowledge? –the ways of God.
4Q416 Frag. 1 2[,, . ] and to measure His will [ . . . ] 3time by time [ . . . ] 4according to their host, for the [need ] Sand its kingdom learn [well . . . ] 6according to the need of their host [ . . . ] 7and the host of heaven He has established [ . . . ] 8by their symbols and signs for [ . . . ] 90ne to the other and all their vast number [ . . . ] He has numbered [ . . . ] ‘¡in heaven.
In the Last Days, God will punish evil and reward the good.
He will judge the work of wickedness, but all those who belong to the truth He will favor [ . . . ] 11its time, and all who have indulged in wickedness will be afraid and cry aloud, for Heaven sees [ . . . ] 12waters and abysses were afraid, and every mortal spirit will be laid bare, and the members of the heavenly retinue [ . . . ] 13He judges it, and every evil act will perish, and the era of truth will be complete [ . . . ] 14in all the eras of eternity, for He is the God of truth, and of old the years of [ . . . ] 15 to establish justice between good and evil [ . . . ] 16it is the impulse of flesh, and he who understands [ . . . ]
The angels in heaven, like the true disciples, are followers of God’s wisdom.
4Q41B Frag. 55 3[ . . . ] in toil will we dig her paths, we shall have rest 4[ . . . ] and vigilance shall be in our hearts [ . . . ] He will make all our paths secure [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] true knowledge, but they did not seek [ . . . ] and they did not choose [ . . . ] Indeed the God of knowledge 6[ . . . ] for truth to establish all [ . . . ] Insight He has allotted to those who inherit truth 7[ . . . ] vigilance in [ . . . ] actionj indeed peace and quiet a[ . . . ] or have you not heard that the holy angels [ . . . ] in heaven 9[ . . . ] truth and they traced back all the causes of insight, and they were vigilant concerning 10[ . . . ] their knowledge, and each man will have honor from his fellow, and his honor will increase according to his intelligence 11[ . . . are the angels] like mortals, who are slothful? Are they like humans, who cease to be? Indeed 12[ . . . ] they obtain an eternal inheritance. Have you not seen [ . . . ]
A further discourse on the punishment of evil in the Last Days.
4Q41L8 Frag. 69 Col. 2 4[ . . . ] And now, O foolish of heart, what is goodness without 5[ . . . what] good is tranquillity for what has not come to pass? What good is justice for what has not been established? And how can the dead groan for [ . . . ] 6[ . . . “Why] were you created?” and “for eternal destruction” is their reply, for [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] In darkness they will wail for your multitude and what has happened in the world; but those who seek truth will awaken to give judgment [ . . . ] 8they will destroy those who are foolish of heart, and the children of evil will no longer exist, and all who cling to wickedness will be bewildered [ . . . ] 9when you righteous give judgment the pillars of the sky-dome will be shattered, and all the [host of heaven] will thunder [ . . . ]
The disciple must not grow tired of his learning; an eternal reward awaits him.
10 But you are the chosen of truth, those who earnestly seek [ . . . ] the watchful 11for knowledge. How can you say, We are weary of insight, and we have been careful to pursue true knowledge [ . . . ] 12 and untiring in all the years of eternity. Indeed he will take delight in truth for ever and knowledge [ . . . ] will serve me [ . . . ] 13heaven, that eternal life is their inheritance. Will they truly say, We toiled in deeds of truth, we worked hard 14in every era. Indeed, in eternal light they will walk [ . . . ] glory and great honor you [ . . . ] 15in the sky [ . . . ] council of the divinities all [ . . . ]
But you, my son, are one who understands [ . . . ]
This exhortation uses expressions evoking the duties of the priesthood. The disciple is “separated” from the general run of humanity; he receives God himsef as his inheritance, as do the Levites (Num. 18:20); he is consecrated to God.
4Q418 Frag. 81 1Open your lips as a spring to bless the holy ones, and give praise by the eternal spring [ . . . ] he has separated you from every 2carnal spirit; so you, be separate from everything he hates, and abstain from every abomination of the soul, for He made everything 3and bestowed an inheritance on everyone. And He Himself is “your portion and inheritance” (Num. 18:20) among the human race, and He made you ruler over His inheritance. So 4honor Him by this when you consecrate yourself for Him, just as he has placed you among the most holy ones [ . . . ] in every [ . . . ] 5He has cast your lot and increased your honor and has made you like a firstborn son for Him [ . . . ] 6I will give to you my goodness, and you, is His goodness not for you? So in His faith walk always [ . . . ] 7your deeds and you should seek His rules at the hand of every [ . . . ]
More about the priesthood of the disciple.
8 Love Him and in kindness and mercy towards all those who keep His words and sanc[tify . . . ] 9 And He has opened knowledge for you and made you ruler over His storehouse and given the authority to determine a reliable measure [to you . . . ] 10are with you, and it is in your power to turn away wrath from those with whom God desires to be reconciled and to number [ . . . ] 11with you. Before you take your inheritance from His hand honor His holy ones, and before [ . . . ] 12He has opened a [spring] for al1 His holy ones, and all who have been called by His name are holy [ . . . ] 13 for all times His glory and His beauty are for the eternal plantation [of His chosen . . . ] |4[ . . . in 1igh] all those who inherit the earth shall walk, for in heaven [ . . . ]
15 You are one who understands, if He has made you rule over the skill of His hands, and know [ . . . ] 16goodness for all humans who pass by, and from there you will attend to your food [ . . . ] 17 consider well and add to your learning by listening to all your instructors [ . . . ] 18show your poverty to all who seek pleasure and then you will establish [ . . . ] 19you will be filled, and satisfied by abundant goodness and by the skill of your hands [ . . . ] 20for God has distributed an inheritance to every [living thing] and all those who are wise at heart will have success [ . . . ]
4Q418 Frag. 88 1you will establish all your pleasures [ . . . ] 2in your life He will make you complete a multitude of years [ . . . ] 3be careful of yourself lest you mingle [ . . . ] 4you will judge evil and by the strength of your hands [ . . . ] 5He will close his hand against your poverty [ . . . ] 6to the sole of your foot, for God seeks among [ . . . ] 7by your hand to live and you will be gathered in [ . . . ] 8and your inheritance will be full in truth, and you will become [ . . . ]
4Q418 Frag. 102 2[ . . . ] pleasure, and righteous truth all his deeds [ . . . ] 3[ . . . you are one who] understands in truth from every skill of your hands [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] your movement, and then He will seek your pleasure for all who seek Him [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] abominable sin He will forgive and and in the joy of truth you will [ . . . ]
The disciple is also like afarmer, who knows how to plant crops properly and not to mix dfferent crops, as forbidden in Leviticus 19:19.
4Q418 Frag. 103 CoL 2 2[ . . . ] farmers until all [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] put in your baskets and in your granaries all [ . . . so that a man] 4may not forget it, from time to time, study them and do not be silent [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] for all of them will study at the right time, and each one according to his desire [ . . . ] your [ . . . ] will be found, indeed [ . . . ] 6like a spring of living water that contains a [ . . . ] your poverty do not mingle [ . . . ] 71est it become a case of “forbidden mixtures” (Lev. 19:19), like the mule, and you will become like a garment [of linsey-woolsey] or of wool and flax mingled; or your work might be like one who plows 8with an ox yoked to a donkey; or your produce might be like one who sows improper mixtures, of which the seed and the full yield and the produce of 9[the vineyard] should be holy [ . . . ] your money with your body and your life, [all] will perish together, and in your life you will not find it [ . . . ]
4Q423 Frag. 2 1[ . . . ] every fruit of the crops and every pleasant tree “that is desirable to make one wise” (Gen. 3:6), is it not the garden [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] to make one wise [through it] and he made you ruler over it to till it and keep it. 3[ . . . ] “the land will sprout thorns and thistles for you” (Gen. 3:18), and “it wil1 not yield its strength to you” (Gen. 4:12) [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] when you fall away. [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] begotten, and all the wombs of [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] in all your needs, for it shall grow all [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] and when you plant [ . . . ]
4Q423 Frag. 3 1[ . . . ] in vain [his] stren[gth . . . ] 2[ . . . by the secret of] the way things are, and so comport yourself, and [all your] crops [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] and this is the land and at His command it has conceived all [ . . . ] 4[ . . . with] the first yield of your womb and the firstborn of all [your livestock . . ] 5[ . . . ] saying, I have sanctified [ . . . ]
4Q423 Frag. 4 (1Q26) 1[ . . . ] watch [yourself lest] you glorify yourself from it and [ . . . ] 2[ . . . and you become accursed in] al1 [your] crops [and guilty] in all your deeds [ . . . ]
The section concerning farmer disciples cautions them against offending the God ordained authorities. Line 2 refers to the bad example of Korah, who rebelled against Moses (Num. 16).
4Q423 Frag. 5 3a[ . . . ] watch yourself lest [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] the judgment passed on Korah, and because He has opened your ear 3[to the secret of the way things are . . . the he]ad of the clans [ . . . ] and the Leader of your people 4[ . . . ] He has assigned the inheritance of all those who exercise authority and the purpose of every thing that is done is in His power, and He [has . . . ] the actions of [ . . . ] 5[ . . . judging] all of them in truth, and He has appointed duties to fathers and sons to [ . . . ] with all the native-born and spoken 6[ . . . for] those who til1 the soil He has appointed the summer festivals and the gathering of your crops at the proper time. The change of 7[seasons] you must comprehend for al1 your crops and be wise in your business [ . . . ] the good with the bad [ . . . ] 8[ . . . there is no] insight with the foolish man [ . . . ] thus the man 9[ . . . ] all [ . . . ] shall say [ . . . ] the abundance of his insight 10[ . . . the secret of the way] things are with all [ . . . ] without 11[ . . . ]
God has divided the good and the evil from before creation.
4Q418 Frag. 126 Col. 2 1[ . . . ] not a single one of all their host shall be lacking [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] in truth from all the storehouse of men [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] truth, and He has measured the proper weight for all [ . . . ] 4He distinguished them in truth, He made them and for their needs He seeks [ . . . ] 5the secret place of everything, and indeed nothing has happened apart from His will and [ . . . ] 6judgment to wreak vengeance on evildoers and the punishment [ . . . ] 7to lock up the wicked and to show favor to the weak [ . . . ] 8by eternal glory and perpetual peace and the spirit of life to separate [ . . . ] 9all the children of life and in God’s strength and the abundance of His glory with His goodness [ . . . ] 10and of His faithfulness they will speak all the day, they will constantly praise His name [ . . . ]
The disciple belongs to those foreordained for God’s favor.
“And you shall walk in truth with all those who seek [Him . . . ] 12and by your hand His storehouse and from your basket (?) He will seek his pleasure, and you [ . . . ] 13and if His hand is not sufficient for your need and the need of His storehouse [ . . . ] 14[ . . . ] and God will arrange it by His pleasure, for God [ . . . ] 15[ . . . ] your hand for what remains, and it will burst out of [ . . . ]
The grim fate in store for those who reject God.
4Q418 Frag. 127 1[ . . . ] your source and your need you will not find; and your spirit will grow faint unto death, deprived of all goodness [ . . . ] 2[ . . . ] all the day, and your spirit will yearn to enter her gates and you will bury and cover [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] your body and you will become food between the teeth of wild animals and you will be consumed by pestilence (cf. Deut. 32:24) before [ . . . ] 4[ . . . those who seek what they] desire, you have oppressed them in their life, and also you [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] to you, for God has done whatever He wanted in kindness, and apportioned them in the truth [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] He weighed their character in the scales of righteouness and in the truth [ . . . ]
The importance of priests in the plan of God.
40419 Frag. 1 [ . . . ] 1which you should do according to all the rulings [ . . . ] 2unto you through Moses and that should be done [ . . . ] 3through his priests for they are loyal to the covenant [ . . . ] 4he will make known-that which is His and what is [good . . . ] 5He chose the seed of Aaron to [ . . . ] 6His ways and to bring to sacrifice the savory [ . . . ] 7and He gave them [ . . . ] to all His people 8and He commanded [ . . ] 9the throne exalted in glory [ . . . ] 10He lives forever and His glory is eternal [ . . . ] 11you shall diligently seek, but the filthy abominations [ . . . ] 12you have loved and they relished all the [ways . . . ]
The behavior expected of the disciple, who is clearly also an initiate of the Yahad.
4Q421 Frag. 1 Col. 2 10[ . . . ] the intelligent and insightful man 11shall be humble and defer [ . . . ] he will endure rebuke 12of the Instructor, each [ . . . ] to walk in the ways of God, i3to do righteousness 4Q420 Frag. 1 Col. 2 1[ . . . ] he will not answer before he hears 2[and he wil1 nog speak before he understands.] With patience he will reply and [humbly] 3he wil1 express himself [ . . . ]he will seek truth and justice, and in seeking for righteousness 4he will find its] origins [ . . . ] and his mind is humble and submissive. He wil1 not draw back [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] faithful. He will not deviate from the ways of righteousness [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] his back and his hands shall work for righteousness; he is, redeemed [ . . . ] 7by insight all [ . . . he shall put away] his impurities. The borders of [ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] righteous deeds [ . . . ]