The scroll fragment Acts of a Greek King (4Q248), previously also Pseudohistory, is now called Historical Text. It is approximately 8 by 8 centimeters in size and ought to be dated paleographically to between 30 and 1 bce. Stitching holes on the right margin testify to the existence of at least one sheet to the right of our column. It is written in late Second Commonwealth Hebrew. Our fragment preserves nine of ten lines, all dealing with events connected with King Antiochus IV Epiphanes: his first invasion of Egypt, the first siege of Alexandria, selling Egyptian land, and the capture of Jerusalem and the conquest of Cyprus. An interesting fact mentioned here but not recorded in other sources is that the Seleucid king sold Egyptian land for lucre. This agrees closely with the data about Antiochus's rapacity. It also explains a difficult verse in Daniel concerning this monarch: “and he shall distribute land for a price” (Dn. 11.39). A passage in Acts of a Greek King, “And when the shattering of the power of the ho[ly] people [comes to an end] then all these things [be fulfilled],” is identical to Daniel 12.7. Acts of a Greek King refers to events that took place between 170 and 168 bce, and its author does not know yet of the persecutions of 167 bce. The Book of Daniel, which has ample references to the persecutions (Dn. 7.25, 11.30–33, and 12.1) and refers also to the victory over Xerxes, king of Armenia, which took place in 166 bce, could not have been edited before this year. Therefore our text should be regarded as one of the sources of Daniel.

Bibliography

  • Broshi, Magen, and Esther Eshel. “The Greek King Is Antiochus IV (4Q248).” Journal of Jewish Studies 48 (1997), 120–129.

Magen Broshi