DSS Genesis Scroll (4Q4)

c. 50 BCE | Facsimile, original located in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

This fragment is from cave 4 and contains 11 lines of text (Genesis 1:18-27). It begins with the 4th day of creation and ends with the creation of man on the 6th day. The 4th Qumran Cave was discovered in 1952. It is actually two hand-cut caves (4a and 4b), but since the fragments were mixed, they are labeled as 4Q. Cave 4 is the most famous of Qumran caves both because of its visibility and its productivity. It contained 90% of the Dead Sea Scrolls and scroll fragments (approx. 15,000 fragments from 500 different texts)!

The text translation reads (passages in [brackets] are missing because of the scrolls fragmentation):

[and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide] the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

God said, “Let the waters abound [with living creatures, and let birds fly] above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.”21 God created the [large] sea creatures [and every living creature] that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every [winged bird after its kind.] God [saw that it was good.] God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, [and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply] on the earth.” [There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.]

[God said,] “Let the earth produce [living] creatures after their kindlivestock, creeping things, [and animals of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made] the animals of the earth after their kind, [and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind.] God [saw] that it was good.

[God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and] let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, [and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps] on the earth.” God created man [in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.]