Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars found fragments (and, in some cases, fuller scrolls) of every biblical book except for Esther and Nehemiah. Until now. Torleif Elgvin (Evangelical Lutheran University College, Oslo) and Esther Eshel (Bar Ilan University, Israel) will be publishing a collection of more than two dozen previously unknown scroll fragments, including the first known fragment of Nehemiah. The book will be titled Gleanings from the Caves (T & T Clark), and will include fragments from:
- Cave 4 at Qumran: This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were originally found;
- The Bar Kokhba Caves in the Wadi al-Murabbaat: These are located to the south of Qumran, where Jewish resistance to Rome during the Bar Kokhba Revolt (AD 132–135) finally came to an end;
- The Caves in the Wadi ed-Daliyeh: This is where fugitives from Alexander’s siege of Samaria (332 BC) fled.
Given the nature of finds in these three locations, I expect the Nehemiah fragment to have come from Qumran. Every fragment in valuable in helping build a picture of the compositions and transmission of the biblical texts.