John the Baptist

And God considered their works, for they had sought Him with a perfect heart;

and He raised up for them a Teacher of Righteousness to lead them in the way of His heart and to make known to the last generations what He would do to the last generation, the congregation of traitors.377

John the Baptist is mentioned in CD as the "Unique Teacher,"378 the "Unique One,"379 and above as "a Teacher of Righteousness," who "made known to the last generations what He would do to the last generation.."380 According to the Slavonic version of the War, Josephus has John first appear in the reign of Archelaus (4 BC-AD 6). In fact, John the Baptist first appears in 4 BC after the death of King Herod. I quote Robert Eisler's restored version of the Slavonic passage about John below:

380. CD 1:10-2. Robert Eisler identified John the Baptist with the Unique Teacher/One and the Teacher of Righteousness in CD. See Robert Eisler, "The Sadoqite Book of the New Covenant: Its Date and Origin," Occident and Orient (Gaster Anniversary Volume) B. Schindler, ed. (London: Taylor's Foreign Press, 1936), 125, 137. However, I do not take the view that all the references to the Teacher of Righteousness in CD refer to John the Baptist (see p. 60). In Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, Thiering tentatively identified John the Baptist as the Teacher of Righteousness of the scrolls and Jesus as the Wicked Priest/Man of Lies [B. Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness (Sidney: Theological Explorations, 1979), 207-14]. In her later writings, she claimed to have discovered a code in the gospels and the Acts that further supported her initial hypothesis. For a review of her theory, see N. T. Wright, Who Was Jesus? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 19-36.

Now at that time [4 BC] there walked among the Jews a man in wondrous garb, for he had stuck on to his body animals' hair wherever it was not covered by his own. But in countenance he was like a savage. This man came to the Jews and allured them to freedom, saying: "God hath sent me to show you the way of the law, by which ye shall be freed from many tyrants. And no mortal shall rule over you, but only the Highest who hath sent me." And when the people heard that, they were [excited].381 And there went to him all Judaea and the region around Jerusalem.382

But he did nothing else to them, save that he dipped them into the stream of the Jordan and let them go, warning them that they should renounce evil deeds. So would they be given a king who would free them and subject all who are insubordinate, but he himself would be subjected to none. At his words some mocked, but others put faith in him.

And when he was brought to Archelaus [ruled from 4 BC to AD 6] and the learned doctors of the Law had assembled, they asked him who he was and where he had been until then. And he answered and said, "I am a man; as such has the spirit of God called me, and I live on bulrushes [cane] and roots and tree-fruits."383 But when they threatened to torture him if he did not desist from these words and deeds, he said: "It is meet rather for you to desist from your shameful works and to submit to the Lord your God."

And Simon, a scribe, arose in wrath and said: "We read the divine books every day. But thou, only now come forth like a wild beast from the wood, durst thou teach us and lead the multitudes astray with thy accursed speeches?"

And he flung himself forward to rend his body. But he said in reproach to them: "I will not reveal to you the secret that is among you,384 because you desired it not. For this cause has unspeakable misfortune befallen you and for your own doing." And when he had thus spoken, he went away to the other side of the Jordan. And since no man durst hinder him, he did as he had done before.385

381. The Slavonic passage actually has "glad" here, but Robert Eisler has given good reasons why it was originally probably "excited." Robert Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, ed. by A. H. Krappe (London: Methuen & Co., 1931), 224, note 7, 246-7.

382. Robert Eisler takes the words in italics to be a Christian interpolation (Eisler, The Messiah Jesus andJohn the Baptist, 224, note 8).

383. The phrase "tree-fruits"in italics here actually means "wood-shavings" in Slavonic. However, the former meaning must have been intended by the latter. See the chapter titled John's Food and Dress for an explanation of this problem.

384. The "secret that is among you" was that the identity of the Messiah of Israel was known, although he had not been formally anointed into his office as yet. Since, as will be seen below, Judas the Galilean was the only messianic claimant to have survived the revolt of 4 BC, John must have expected him to be this personage.

385. Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, 224-6. For the unrestored version, see Josephus, Bk. III, Appendix, p. 644-5.

The War Scroll (1QM) describes the military tactics, weapons, and ritual for the final war of the righteous against the wicked. Two major sections seem to be contained in the scroll. They are cols. 2-9, the earlier section, and cols. 1, 15-9, the later one.386

The former section describes a forty years war in which the first six years would be to liberate the land and regain control of the temple. Then the first "year of release" would come when the righteous would rest from war and set up the new Temple organization. Finally, there would come a thirty-three year period in which war would be waged against all the other nations of the world. In this period, there would be twenty-nine years of actual warfare and four more years of release.387

The latter section is mainly concerned with the final battle against the "Kittim" (i.e., the Romans) and their allies. The "sons of light" (i.e. the righteous) would be successful for the first three engagements, then the "sons of darkness" (i.e., the wicked) would be successful for the next three engagements, and finally God himself would intervene to insure a decisive victory for the sons of light.388 According to Davies, "col. I is a summary of the entire Final War, and brings together the visions of cols. II-IX as well as of XV-XIX, visions which otherwise remain juxtaposed in blatant contradiction."389

1QM 1, 15-9 comes from a later period (i.e., AD 65-6) when Symeon, the son of Clopas, was the leader of the sect. He is the "Chief Priest" mentioned in this section of the War Scroll.390 There is a mass exodus of the sect to the land of Damascus taking place at this time, but it is stated that the sect would return to Judea when the time came to execute the final war against its enemies:

The Deportation of the desert shall fight against them [the sect's enemies]; fo[r war] (shall be declared) on all their bands when the Deportation of the sons of light returns from the desert of the peoples [the land of Damascus] to camp in the desert of Jerusalem.391

386. Philip R. Davies, 1QM, The War Scroll from Qumran: Its Structure and History (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1977), 24-5, 68-9; Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 105-9, 172, 201 note 51.

389. Davies, 1QM, The War Scroll from Qumran, 113.

391. 1QM 1:2-3 in A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, trans. by G. Vermes (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1973), 169.

At the time of their return to Judea the second Nebuchadnezzar (i.e., probably Nero) would have destroyed Jerusalem. That is the reason for the use of the designation "desert" of Jerusalem. The city would then be in ruins.

It was during the events of 4 BC that 1QM 2-9 was written.392 As will be remembered, the Jews revolted against the Romans and the Jewish establishment at this time. Varus, the legate of Syria, had to come to Judea to put down the revolt, which he did after crucifying two thousand rebels. Three messianic claimants had come forward to lead the people in their efforts. They were Judas, the son of Ezekias (probably the same person as Judas the Galilean); Simon of Perea; and the former shepherd, Athronges. Only Judas survived.

The hierarchical organization in 1QM 2-9 is similar to that which is described in 11QT except that the "Prince of all the Congregation"393 (i.e., the King) is given more authority than the "Chief Priest."394 This would make sense, since the lay leader would be better equipped to conduct war. According to Thiering, when compared to 11QT, "both have been reduced in status, so that neither is superior according to title. But the lay leader now has an overall rule which is not given to the Chief Priest. ... There is an equality of status, with much greater power given to the lay ruler."395 The Chief Priest was John the Baptist. The "Prince of all the congregation" would be the messianic claimant (i.e., Judas, Simon or Athronges) who was successful against his enemies. This would mean that God condoned his leadership. Since Judas was the only one who survived the revolt, he must have been awarded this office.

Although Judas was able to escape from the Romans and go into hiding, John the Baptist was arrested according to the above quoted Slavonic passage. Fortunately, he was let go. The release of John at this time can be explained as follows:

Only the desire of Archelaus, owing to his uncertain position as unconfirmed heir to the throne, not to exasperate unnecessarily his subjects, can account for the release of their leader, the accused Baptist, on this occasion. Had Archelaus got him into his hands 'after he had received the ethnarchy from Augustus' and begun 'to harass the Jews with intolerable oppression,' the Baptist would not have come off so easily.396

392. It should be noted that Thiering places the composition of 1QM 2-9 to about AD 6, when the Essenes formed an alliance with Judas the Galilaean's movement (Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 206-7).

395. Thiering, Redating the Teacher of Righteousness, 123.

396. Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, 303.

The leadership structure that is envisioned in 1QM 2-9, if we accept a continuity with 11QT, is as follows (the higher up the table, the greater the authority):397


The Community Leadership Structure

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