On the basis of the Rule of the Community (1QS) and the Damascus Document, Joseph Baumgarten (1953, pp. 141–159) inferred the abandonment by the sectaries of Qumran of the Jerusalem Temple and the development of rituals and prayers (“offerings of the lips”) in place of the Temple sacrifices. At the same time, the Damascus Document indicates that the sect was intent on preserving the laws pertaining to the sacrificial service. This view was confirmed by the translation of the War Scroll (1QM), which specified that the sect looked forward to its restitution to a purified Jerusalem, specifically, during the seventh year of a forty-year war between the forces of light and darkness, when they would build a new temple. This step was essential. It held that the Jerusalem of their time was polluted: It contained a wrongly constructed temple and an impure and disqualified priesthood, and both the Temple and priesthood operated by a wrong calendar. The New Jerusalem text also predicts that a temple with its sacrificial rites will be reinstituted in the future (2Q24, frg. 4; 11Q18). The program for rebuilding the correct temple and reinstituting a correct sacrificial service according to a correct calendar was fully laid out in Temple Scrolla (11Q19).

The Sacrificial Calendar of the Temple Scroll.

Temple Scrolla describes the burnt offering (῾olah) for every day, Sabbath, and the new moon, which is sacrificed (11Q19 xii–xiv) on a rebuilt outer altar (11Q19 xii). Numbers 28.2–15 details the sacrificial adjunct of cereal, oil, and wine, which is supplemented by instructions found in Exodus 29.38–42 and Numbers 15.4–10, and a notice concerning the priestly prebend from the burnt offering is derived from Leviticus 7.8.

On the basis of Numbers 29.1–6, which ordains special sacrifices for the first day of the seventh month, Temple Scrolla prescribes the same sacrifices for the first day of the first month, except that the goat for the purification offering (ḥaṭṭa᾽t) is offered first (11Q19 xiv). In Yigael Yadin's editio princeps of Temple Scrolla (Yadin, 1983, vol. 1, p. 90), he suggests that the change in order is influenced by Jubilees 7.2–3, which also bears a tradition that in a sacrificial series the purification goat takes priority. The greater likelihood, however, is that the scroll was influenced by Ezekiel 45.18, which prescribes for this day a purification of an animal (though a bull, not a goat) for the purpose of purging the Temple. Furthermore, that Ezekiel ordains similar sacrifices for the first days of the first and seventh months (according to Septuagint's Ezekiel 45.20) is probably what prompted the scroll's author to equate the number and type of sacrifices for both days.

Consecration of Aaron and his sons.

The first major innovation in the sacrificial calendar of Temple Scrolla is the seven-day consecration of Aaron and his sons (based on Exodus 29, Leviticus 8), which it mandates as an annual observance (11Q19 xv–xvii versus the rabbinic text B.T., Suk. 43a; B.T., Men. 45a). This rite is aptly placed following the discussion of the new moon sacrifices, since it begins, according to the scroll, on the first day of the first month (so, too, Rabbi Aqiva, Sipre Num. 68; the rest of the rabbis hold that the weeklong consecration ends on this day Sipra Millu᾽im, Tsaw 36). Since the sect allows no sacrifices on the Sabbath other than those biblically prescribed (Nm. 28.29–10), the consecration rite ends on the eighth day of the first month. These are the additional innovations introduced by Temple Scrolla: the sacrificial items, the same for each of the seven days, are prepared in advance and distributed among the seven priestly divisions (11Q19 xv.4–5). The elevation rite (tenufah) is performed solely by the priestly consecrators (11Q19 xv.4; see below), two purification bulls—not one—are sacrificed at the high priest's consecration (xv.6–8, see below); and the high priest replaces the priestly elders as the officiant after he is daubed and sprinkled with the blood of the ordination (millu᾽im) ram (xvi.2, 14–18; see below).

First, it should be noted that in Temple Scrolla the account of the consecration of ordinary priests, in contrast to that of the high priest, is severely truncated. It seems that the author wrote down only the parts of the ceremony that differed with the mainstream interpretation. In other words, his text is a polemic. This is strikingly evident in the prescription for the high priest's consecration, which deals exclusively with the sacrifice of two purification bulls. The reason for the unattested second bull can be surmised: it allows the altar to be sanctified by the second purification bull after its decontamination by the first bull. The author builds his case on the basis of Leviticus 4.13–21. The priestly purification offering is always followed by one on behalf of the people (e.g., Lv. 9.2–3, 16.3, 16.5), but the only text that prescribes a bull for the people is Leviticus 4. Refinements need also be added. First, in all attested cases of the elevation rite, it is performed by the officiating priest. In this case, however, the offerers, the consecrators perform the rite. This ostensible exception can be explained by assuming that the consecrators officiate as priests as soon as they are consecrated by the sacrificial blood. Thus, according to the scroll, Moses orders the elevation rite, but the consecrators execute it. Second, the ashes of the purification offering of the bulls are to be kept apart from the ashes of other sacrifices (11Q19 xvi.12, versus Zev. 12.5; T., Yoma 3.17; but cf. B.T., Zev. 104b). The sect's position can be explained by the belief attested elsewhere in the ancient Near East, that these ashes contained residual (black) magical powers. Finally, the priestly elders perform the hand-laying ceremonial because they are empowered to represent the people (Milgrom, 1991, pp. 561–566).

The paschal sacrifice (pesaḥ) and the sacrifice for the Festival of Unleavened Bread (matstsot; 11Q19 xvii) follow the biblical prescriptions (Lv. 23.5–8; Nm. 28.16–25), except that the scroll specifies that the pesaḥ must be sacrificed before the daily evening offering (tamid) by every male over twenty years of age and eaten in the Temple court (cf. Jub. 49.20). It is in the Festivals of the First Fruits, however, that Temple Scrolla enjoins its major, often startling, sacrificial innovations.

Festivals of the First Fruits.

The Festival of the New Barley (11Q19 xviii.1–10) follows the instructions of its biblical source (Lv. 23.12–14). To the prescribed lamb, however, the scroll adds a burnt-offering ram and a purification goat with its cereal, oil, and wine adjuncts (on the basis of Nm. 28.27–30 and Lv. 14.10). The Festival of the New Wheat (11Q19 xviii.10, xix.9) also follows its biblical source (Lv. 23.15–22; Nm. 28.27–31), but in addition it prescribes twelve burnt rams (restored) and twelve loaves instead of two (offered by the twelve tribal chieftains), each composed of two-tenths of an ephah of semolina, the requisite cereal offering (minḥah) for a ram (Nm. 15.6, 28.28) for the obvious purpose of involving all the tribes in the Festivals of the First Fruits.

The nonbiblical Festival of New Wine and Festival of the New Oil follow, the former fifty days after the Festival of the New Wheat, the latter fifty days after the Festival of New Wine (11Q19 xix.11–xxi.10, xxi.12–xxiii.2). Again the scroll prescribes twelve burnt rams and their requisite adjuncts (11Q19 xix.14–16; cf. xxii.4), to be offered during the first quarter of the day (that is, early in the morning), and also enjoins healthy (“well-being”; shelamim) rams, and fourteen healthy lambs, one each for the priests, Levites, and the twelve tribes, to be eaten in the outer court on the same day before sundown as a thanksgiving (todah) offering (but in opposition to Lv. 7.15, 22.30). From the tribal portions, the priests also receive the right thigh, breast, cheeks, maw, and foreleg “until the shoulder,” but the shoulder is assigned to the Levites as their prebend from the well-being offering (Lv. 7.32–34; Dt. 18.3). Since this is a Festival of the First Fruits, the scroll also adopts the sacrificial requirements of the Festival of the New Wheat from Numbers 28.26–31.

The unattested Festival of New Wine follows fifty days later, starting the count with the Festival of the New Wheat (11Q19 xix.11–xxi.10). The scroll prescribes twelve burnt-offering rams, two and four-tenths of an ephah of semolina, two-tenths per tribe, and four hins of the new wine, one-third of a hin per tribe in accordance with Numbers 15.6–7, to which fourteen rams and fourteen lambs as a well-being offering are added, one of each for the priests, Levites, and the twelve tribes, with their respective cereal offerings and libations (as enjoined by Nm. 15.4–7). The lambs, rams, their cereal offerings (Lv. 7.32–34; Dt. 18.13), and the shoulder are awarded to the Levites (derived from Dt. 18.1–2; Milgrom, 1983, pp. 169–176). A memorial offering (azkarah) of the cereal is burned on the altar (Lv. 6.9), and the rest is eaten unleavened by the priests (Lv. 2.3, 2.10, 6.10) in the inner court (Lv. 6.9). All altar sacrifices are salted (Lv. 2.13; Nm. 18.19). The climax of the ceremony is reached with the drinking of the new wine and eating of the new grapes by the entire assembly. The purpose of the festival is to release (kipper; “ransom”) the year's wine crop for its sacred use as altar libations and its secular use by the populace. [See Atonement.]

The unattested Festival of the New Oil occurs fifty days later, the count starting with the Festival of New Wine (11Q19 xxi.12–xxiii.2). An offering of one-half hin of newly pressed oil is brought by each tribe as one of the ingredients of its cereal offerings and serves to light the Temple menorah during the festival. Thereafter, the oil is released for use by the sanctuary and the populace. The sacrifices are identical to those of the Festival of New Wine, with the exception of an expiatory burnt-offering bull (which thus far defies explanation). The ceremony is climaxed by the entire assembly anointing itself with new oil and partaking of the olives.

The key principle in the ritual for all first-fruit offerings is that the crop is not released for sacred or secular use until God, via the altar, receives his portion. Thus, a sheaf (῾omer) of new barley releases the rest of the crop (11Q19 xviii.7, E. Qimron, Israel Exploration Journal 37 [1987], 31) for secular use. A loaf of new wheat is brought to the Temple by each tribal leader (eaten by the priests since leaven is forbidden on the altar; Lv. 2.11) before the new wheat is available to the community; a libation of new wine releases the new crop for use by the Temple and people, and an offering of new oil (as part of a cereal offering) precedes its sacred and secular use.

An otherwise unattested Festival of the Wood follows the Festival of the New Oil, probably beginning the following day and celebrated for six days (11Q19 xxiii.1–xxv.2). Wood is offered by two tribes each day, beginning with Levi and Judah. The doubling of the tribes is most likely due to the necessity to avoid overlapping Ro᾽sh ha-Shanah (see below). Ephraim and Manasseh are subsumed under Joseph in order that the tribes add up to a total of twelve. Each tribe offers one bull, one ram, and one lamb as burnt offerings and one male goat as a purification offering (on the model of Numbers 7.15–88). Presumably, the amount of wood contributed depends on the Temple's fuel needs for an entire year.

The common denominator of these festivals, which may also be considered their major innovation, is that the twelve tribes, that is all Israel, participate in bringing and offering the first fruits and wood. In every case, the priest and Levites take priority. Other examples of the primacy of the tribe of Levi (priests and Levites) in the sacrificial service are that the new wine is drunk by priests, Levites, tribal leaders, and the rest of Israel in that order; one each of the well-being offering of fourteen rams and fourteen lambs is a perquisite of the priests and Levites, thereby giving the tribe Levi a double portion over the other tribes; Levi is the first of the tribes to bring the wood offering; and the Levites perform the sacrificial slaughter in the Temple (cf. Ezek. 44.10–11, 2 Chr. 30.17, 35.6, 35.10–11). Probably the most radical innovation of the priestly perquisites is the Levitic share of the well-being offering, the shoulder. The shoulder is never considered a sacred portion in the Hebrew scriptures, nor are the Levites ever entitled to sacrificial flesh.

Other Sacrificial Innovations.

Regarding animal slaughter, the Temple Scroll interprets Leviticus 17.1–9 and Deuteronomy 12.5–7 as implying that nonsacral slaughter is forbidden within a three-day journey from the Temple. Leviticus 17.13–14 required that the blood of nonsacral slaughter, both domesticated as well as wild animals (beyond a three-day journey from the Temple) be covered. Deuteronomy 12.27 is interpreted as prohibiting the eating of the meat of nonsacral slaughter in Jerusalem. Thus, Temple Scrolla demarcates three areas in regard to slaughter. In the Temple city it is forbidden to eat any meat slaughtered outside it (11Q19 lii.19–21); within a three-day journey from the Temple it is forbidden to slaughter animals except as burnt and well-being offerings (11Q19 lii.13–16); beyond this, nonsacral slaughter is permitted on the proviso that the blood is drained (11Q19 liii.7–8). [See Purity.]

Among other sacrificial innovations of the scroll is its insistence that the purification goat be accompanied by a cereal offering and wine libation equivalent to that accompanying a lamb in other sacrifices (e.g., 11Q19 xviii.4–6); its insistence that the purification and reparation (asham) offerings for the priests and the people be kept apart (11Q19 xxxv.10–15). The first day of the first month is given special prominence as the beginnings of the annual consecration of the new priest (see below), and since it follows the sacrificial rites of the first day of the seventh month (Nm. 29.1–6), in effect it gives the calendar two New Year days (cf. the Septuagint's Ezekiel).

Ro᾽sh ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot follow in their biblical order (Lv. 23.23–36; Nm. 29.1–38), on the first, tenth, and fifteenth through the twenty-first days, respectively (11Q19 xxv.2–xxix.3). They follow the biblical prescriptions for the sacrifices, and where there is a conflict in the sources such as that for the Festival of the New Wheat (Lv. 23.18–19, Nm. 28.27–30), Temple Scrolla adopts the simple expedient of combining them, making all the prescribed sacrifices mandatory. Similarly, the scroll ordains that on Yom Kippur three rams are sacrificed, the two listed in Leviticus 16.3 and 5, and one in Numbers 29.8 (a view also adopted by Rabbi Eli῾ezer, Yoma 70b).

Sanctuary Gifts.

Other than altar sacrifices, Temple Scrolla conveniently provides a list of sanctuary gifts, presented to its sacral cadre. Priestly gifts include elevation offerings, first-born males, sanctifications (qodashim), cattle tithes, the fruit of fourth-year trees (qodesh hillulim: “jubilation sancta”), one-thousandth of the spoil and hunt, and one-hundredth of the wild doves (cf. Dt. 18.3–5; Nm. 18.9–19; Lv. 19.24, 27.32–33; 4Q395 (MMTb) 62–64). These gifts are cooked and eaten by the priests in the inner court according to Temple Scrolla (11Q19 xxxviii.17). Levitic gifts include tithes of grain, must and oil, the shoulder of the well-being offering, one-hundredth of the spoil and hunt, one-tenth of wild honey, and one-fiftieth of wild doves (Nm. 18.21–22; Dt. 18.1–2).

Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torah (MMT).

The sacrificial polemics of the sect are accentuated in Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torah. In the broken text of Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torahb, it is forbidden to cook other sacrifices in or add remnants of other sacrifices to a pot in which the purification offering was cooked (in consonance with) Temple Scrolla (11Q19 xxxv.10–15, xxxvii.8–10). It is quite likely that Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torahb (8–9) forbids offerings from gentiles. Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torahb (9–11) holds, in agreement with the rabbinic view (Sifra on Tsav 12.1) and Temple Scrolla (11Q19 xx.12–13) that the cereal offering must be eaten by the priests, for whom it is a perquisite, on the same day it is offered. However, this provision also maintains that the day terminates at sundown, in disagreement with many rabbis who hold that in sacrificial matters, as plainly indicated in the Bible (e.g., Lv. 7.15), the day includes the following night (Zev. 6.1). Miqtsat Ma῾asei ha-Torahb (36–38) ordains that a mother and her fetus may not be sacrificed on the same day (based on Lv. 22.28) in consonance with Temple Scrolla (11Q19 lii.5–7), but in opposition to the rabbis who hold that the fetus is part of the mother (Ḥul. 4.1–4).

Damascus Document.

Two sacrificial provisions are of importance. First, the Damascus Document (CD xi.17–18) prohibits all offerings on the Sabbath except those explicitly prescribed, namely, the Tamid and Sabbath offerings (Nm. 28.9–10). It is on the basis of this unambiguous statement that it can be assumed that all the festivals that coincide with the Sabbath are extended an extra day for their sacrificial requirements to be fully met. Second, the Damascus Document (CD xii.8–9) prohibits the sale of sacrificial animals to gentiles, presumably lest they sacrifice them to their (pagan) deities.

Purification Rules Bb-c and the Red Cow.

The red cow whose ashes are used to purify the corpse-contaminated person is labeled a ḥaṭṭa᾽t (“purification offering”; Nm. 19.9). Since the offering also is referred to as a “burnt ḥaṭṭa᾽t” (Nm. 19.17), it falls into the category of a stringent purification offering, the flesh of which may be eaten but is burned outside the camp (Lv. 4.6–7, 4.11–12; cf. 6.23, 10.18. Yet the difference in the ritual procedures is glaring: the blood of the red cow is not offered up on the altar as is the blood of every other purification offering and, indeed, of every other animal sacrifice. Rather, the whole cow, together with its blood, is incinerated outside the camp (Nm. 19.5). Thus, it does not appear to be a sacrifice at all (for a resolution of this discrepancy, see Milgrom, 1981, pp. 62–72).

The Qumran sectaries leave no doubt that the red cow is a sacrifice. Although the rabbis maintain that those involved in the preparation of the ashes of the red cow need but bathe (Par. 3.7–8, 6.4), members of the Qumran community believe that a corpse-contaminated person must bath and then wait until after sunset in order for purification to be complete (4Q395 16–20). The stringency of the sect is even more apparent in Purification Rules Bb-c (Baumgarten, 1995, pp. 112–119), which yield the following information: The preparatory rites with the red cow are priestly functions (in contrast to Nm. 19.3, 19.5, 19.8–9). The slaughter and blood sprinkling are performed without sacred garments, presumably lest they become defiled in the performance of the rites (in contrast to Par. 4.1 on Nm. 19.4). The blood must be collected in a sacred vessel (cf. B.T., Zev. 20b). The blood bears a purging function kapparah, as is the case with every purification offering (contrast B.T., Yoma 2a). The sprinkling of the purification waters is also a priestly function (cf. 4Q265 7.ii.3 and despite Nm. 19.21). The sprinkling is performed by a mature priest and not by a boy (in agreement with the Damascus Document [4Q271], but in contrast to the explicit specifications of Parah 3.1–2).

Rabbinic Texts.

Of historic (that is, legal) importance in the development of the sacrificial system are the pronouncements of Temple Scrolla, usually in polemic style, which are at variance with subsequent rabbinic tradition (and often the plain meaning of the biblical text). These are the following: The purification offering requires a cereal offering and libation, which the rabbis reject (Men. 90b–91b). The entire sacrificial ritual with the purification offering, including the incineration of its suet, must be completed before the burnt offering is sacrificed, a requirement the rabbis do not endorse (Zev. 10.12). On the altar, different sacrifices must be kept apart, a pronouncement that the rabbis deny (Men. 9.4). All libations are poured on the altar hearth (Jub. 7.5), which, according to the rabbis, holds for discrete libations, but those accompanying other sacrifices must be poured on the altar base (B.T., Suk. 48b–49b). The blood of sacrifices maintains its sanctity even after it is drained from the altar (versus T., Zev. 6.9, the majority view). The carcass of the severe purification offering mentioned above (whose meat is not eaten by the priests) is burned outside Jerusalem “in a place set apart for purification offerings” (11Q19 xvi.12), contrary to Leviticus 4.12 and Tosefta Yoma 3.16–17, which enjoins that it is burned in the “ash heap/house” of other sacrifices. Other rulings found in Temple Scrolla include the following: The foreleg, cheeks, and maw of the well-being offering are considered priestly portions (Dt. 18.3), a practice also endorsed by some of the rabbis (T., Men. 7.17–18). That these offerings require an elevation rite is in disagreement with the majority of the rabbis who maintain that these portions are, indeed, priestly perquisites that are exempted from the elevation rite since they stem from secular slaughter and not from sacrifices (Ḥul. 10.1). The foreleg assigned to the priests does not include the shoulder, which belongs instead to the Levites (versus Ḥul. 10.4). Skins of impure animals are prohibited in the Temple city (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 12.14b; Ḥul. 9.2 and Sifra, Shemini, para. 10.6). The scroll is even more extreme by banning even skins of pure animals that were not slaughtered as sacrifices (11Q19 xlvii.7–18). The prohibition of Leviticus 22.28 banning the slaughter of a dam and its young on the same day applies to both father and mother, whereas the rabbis (the majority) hold that it applies solely to the mother B.T., Ḥul. 78b).

Aramaic Levif.

The fragment Aramaic Levif (4Q214b) contains nine broken lines discussing the woods recommended by Abraham to Isaac as acceptable for the altar fire. It lists twelve kinds of wood capable of producing a pleasant aroma (correcting Trebolle Barrera et al., Qumran Cave 4: Parabiblical Texts, Part 3. Discoveries in the Judean Desert, 22, pp. 68–97, Oxford, 1997; see Low, 1924, pp. 3 and 15–16): cedar, bay (?), almond, stone pine, pine (?), ash (?), sabina (= junipers excelsia), white fig (?), Aleppo pine, laurel, myrtle, and stone juniper (junipers drupacea). This list corresponds with the twelve trees enumerated in Jubilees, also attributed to Abraham's bequest to Isaac. The Mishnah declares all wood qualified except the wood of the olive tree and the grape vine (Tam. 2.3). No reason is given for their disqualification, but two are surmised: they make poor fuel (B.T., Tam. 29b), and their fruit is needed for the altar libation (Leqaḥ Tov to Lv. 18; Lv. Rab. 7.1). The same mishnah also claims that the following woods were preferred: fig, nut, and pine. Rabbi Eli῾ezer (Sifra on Nedava 6.4) adds the carob, palm, and sycamore.

Concerning defects in these woods, Aramaic Levif only mentions the presence of worms, but from the text's missing beginning, one can reconstruct “split wood.” This leads one to suspect that it read “split or dark wood” (Jb. 21.13). The Mishnah (Mid. 2.5) resorts to a generalization: “blemished and old wood.”

Aramaic Levif also specifies that the officiating priest must wash his hands and feet after he sprinkles the blood, corresponding to “And when you have completed making the offering, wash your hands and feet again. And let there not be seen any blood upon you or your garments” (Jub. 21.16–17).

[See also Ethics; Festivals; High Priests; Priests; Temple; Tithing; and Worship, article on Qumran sect.]


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Jacob Milgrom