Height 8.8 cm (3 7/16 in.), length 21.5 cm (8 7/16 in.)
Copied late first century B.C.E.Äearly first century C.E.
Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority (7)
Originally known as The Manual of Discipline, the Community
Rule contains a set of regulations ordering the life of the
members of the "yahad," the group within the Judean Desert sect
who chose to live communally and whose members accepted strict
rules of conduct. This fragment cites the admonitions and
punishments to be imposed on violators of the rules, the method
of joining the group, the relations between the members, their
way of life, and their beliefs. The sect divided humanity
between the righteous and the wicked and asserted that human
nature and everything that happens in the world are irrevocably
predestined. The scroll ends with songs of praise to God.
A complete copy of the scroll, eleven columns in length, was
found in Cave 1. Ten fragmentary copies were recovered in Cave
4, and a small section was found in Cave 5. The large number of
manuscript copies attests to the importance of this text for the
sect. This particular fragment is the longest of the versions of
this text found in Cave 4.
- Qimron, E. "A Preliminary Publication of 4QSd
Columns VII-VIII" (in Hebrew). Tarbiz 60 (1991):435-37.
English Translation of The Community Rule
And according to his insight he shall admit him. In this way
both his love and his hatred. No man shall argue or quarrel with
the men of perdition. He shall keep his council in secrecy in
the midst of the men of deceit and admonish with knowledge, truth
and righteous commandment those of chosen conduct, each according
to his spiritual quality and according to the norm of time. He
shall guide them with knowledge and instruct them in the
mysteries of wonder and truth in the midst of the members of the
community, so that they shall behave decently with one another in
all that has been revealed to them. That is the time for
studying the Torah (lit. clearing the way) in the wilderness. He
shall instruct them to do all that is required at that time, and
to separate from all those who have not turned aside from all
These are the norms of conduct for the Master in those times
with respect to his loving and to his everlasting hating of the
men of perdition in a spirit of secrecy. He shall leave to them
property and wealth and earnings like a slave to his lord,
(showing) humility before the one who rules over him. He shall
be zealous concerning the Law and be prepared for the Day of
He shall perform the will [of God] in all his deeds and in all
strength as He has commanded. He shall freely delight in all
that befalls him, and shall desire nothing except God's will...
Transcription and translation by E. Qimron.