One of the most amazing things you can do in Israel is visit the current home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are located in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 11 different caves in the Qumran area of Israel in 1947 by a young Bedouin shepherd.
Each cave was completely filled with these amazing 2,000 year old scrolls. The climate, packaging, temperature, and atmosphere in the caves preserved them perfectly. Over 700 different types of manuscripts were found, which is absolutely amazing considering that the Hebrew Bible contains 170 different books. EACH one of the 170 books of the Hebrew Bible were found amongst these scrolls. There was only one missing, which was the Megillat of Esther.
Who Made These Scrolls And When Were They Made?
It is believed that a group of rebel Jewish people known as the Essences community hid away and labored on these scrolls from approximately 200AD to 68AD. This group of people lived a life of abstinence, poverty, self-purification, equality, and cleanliness. They focused on living a simple life and completing their work as scribes. Many historians believe that the Essences hid the scrolls in the caves for preservation when the Romans approached the area.
What Other Scrolls And Treasures Were Found In The Caves?
As if the magnificence of the biblical scrolls was not enough, a couple other amazing discoveries were found. There was actually a scroll found that is the oldest Isaiah manuscript currently in existence, which is believed to have been written just 600 years after Isaiah prophesied. This manuscript dates back 1000 years PRIOR to any other biblical text ever discovered, which makes it well over 3,000 years old.
Believe it or not, it doesn’t stop there. The Dead Sea Scrolls also contained Psalms and prophesies that are not found in the Bible. It is believed that these findings were originated by King David, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Besides that, there was a discovery made of the “Copper Scroll.” This scroll is a treasure map, if you will. It gives details of 64 different underground hiding places throughout Israel where silver and gold can be found. It is believed that these treasures came from the Jerusalem Temple and were hidden to keep them safe.
What Is Required To Preserve The Dead Sea Scrolls?
The Dead Sea Scrolls are exhibited on a rotation system. They are protected in a case and can only be viewed under glass. Each scroll is only placed out on exhibition for three to six months. It is then taken down and stored in a climate controlled environment to let it “rest” until the next time it is chosen for exhibition. Since there are so many scrolls in existence, it is possible that a scroll that has been exhibited then placed to rest might not be exhibited again for several years.
Prepare To Be Amazed!
Most people have never seen ancient text like this before. Many countries have not even been in existence as many years as these scrolls have been. You will be truly amazed at these ancient wonders and at the work that went into having each of these written so perfectly and meticulously. In fact, it is believed that if an error was made on one of the scrolls they would scrap the scroll and start all over again. Now that is dedication to ones work!
Elijah Tours & Travel offer tours that include a stop at the museum that holds the Dead Sea Scrolls. If you would like to see the scrolls, but are not planning to take one of the tours that includes that stop, contact us to schedule a special tour of the scrolls or to customize a tour that is perfect for you!