4Q246: 4QAramaic Apocalypse

4Q246 Manuscript


Transcription of 4Q246


Translation of  4Q246

Col. I 

1. [   ] rested upon him, he fell befor the throne

2. [… k]ing, rage is coming to the world, and your years

3. […]. . . your vision, all of it is about to come unto the world.

4. [… mi]ghty [signs], distress is coming uopn the land

5. […]  great slaughter in the provinces

6. […] king of Assyria [ and E]gypt

7. […] he will rule over the land

8. […] will do and all will serve

9. [… gr]eat will be called and he will be designated by his name.

Col II

1. He will be called the Son of God, and they will call him the Son of the Most High like a shooting star.

2. that you saw, so will be thier kingdom, they will rule several years over

3. the earth and crush everything, a people will crush another people and nation (will crush) nation.

4. Blank (space left balnk in the manuscript) Until the people of God arises and makes everyone rest from warfare.

5. Their kingdom will be an eteranl kingdom, and their paths will be righteous. They will judge

6. the earth with truth, and all (nations) will make peace. The warfare will cease from the land,

7. and all (nations) will worship him. The great God will be their help,

8. He Himself will fight for them, putting peoples into their power, all of them

9. He will cast them away before him, His dominion will be an everlasting dominion and all the abysses

The main question of 4Q246 (Aramaic Apocalypse) is the personage designated the “Son of God.” Who is the “Son of God”? Is this a positive figure or a negative figure? J. T. Milik insists that the “Son of God” refers to a Seleucid king, referring Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Milik 1992, 383). Florentino Garcia Martinez suggests that it is an angelic savior as Michael, Melchizedek, and the Prince of Light (Martinez 1992, 162-79). Most scholars view the figure as a messianic redeemer who will overthrow God’s enemies and establish the kingdom of God’s people (Cross 1996, 1-13). But Joseph A. Fitzmyer argues that the reference of the Son of God is not a messiah, but a coming Jewish ruler, perhaps a member of the Hasmonean dynasty (Fitzmyer 1993, 173-74). According to the scholars, therefore, the title “Son of God” would be either a heavenly figue or a human being.

Martin Hengel suggests that the figure is similar to “the one like a Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14 (Hengel 1976, 45), and argues that the tiles may be interpreted collectively “of the Jewish people.” I also argue that the author of 4Q246 was influenced by Daniel 7. The two texts reveal such an extensive degree of verbal, thematic, and structural correspondence. The most striking parallels between the two texts are the two phrases שלטנה שלטן עלם (“whose dominion is an everlasting dominion” [Dan 7:14; cf. 4Q246 2:9]) and מלכותה מלכות עלם (“his/its kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom” [Dan 7:27; cf. 4Q246 2:5]). Karl A. Kuhn argues that the verb דוש (crush) supplements these two verbal correspondences (Dan 7:23; 4Q246 2:3) in terms of the thematic parallels (Kuhn 2007, 28). In addition to these parallels, Kuhn suggests that the two texts present a transition of the dominion from the beasts/provinces to an individual figure/the people of God:

1. Following the prologue, both begin with a description of distress and destruction resolved by God’s intervention and the coming of God’s agent: in Daniel, the “one like a son of man,” and in 4Q246, the “Son of God, Son of the Most High” (Dan 7:4-14; cf. 4Q246 1:4-2:1ab).

2. The first account is followed by a second, again depicting the dominion of the evil beast(s)/peoples until the people of God arise and gain possession of the kingdom (Dan 7:15-22; cf. 4Q246 2:1c-7a).

3. Both texts conclude with still another rehearsal of the overthrow of the beast(s)/peoples who oppose God’s people (Dan 7:23-28; cf. 4Q246 2:7b-9).

Reference List

Cross, Frank Moore. 1996. “Notes on the Doctrine of the Two Messiahs at Qumran and the Extracanonical Daniel Apocalypse (4Q246).” in Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dea Sea Scrolls: Conference on the Texts from the Judean Desert, Jerusalem. 30 April 1995. Edited by W. Parry and Stephen D. Rick. STDJ 20. Leiden: Brill. 

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. 4Q246: The “Son of Gpd” Document from Qumran. Biblica 74 (1993): 153-74.

Hengel, Martin. 1976. The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion. Translated by John Bowden. Philadelphia: Fortress. 

Kuhn, Karl L. 2007. “The ‘One like a Son of Man’ Becomes the ‘Son of God'” CBQ 69: 222-42.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia Martinez. 1992. Qumran and Apocalyptic: Studies on the Aramaic Texts from Qumran. STDJ 9. New York: Brill.   

Milik, J. T. 1992. “Les modeles aramaeens du livre d’Esther dans la grotte 4 de Qumran.” RevQ 15: 321-406.


14 Responses

  1. Hi Jin Yang,

    You say, “I argue that the author of 4Q246 was influenced by Daniel 7.”

    Why do you think the direction of influence is from Daniel 7 to 4Q246, and not vice versa?


  2. Dear Deane,
    Thank you for your comment.
    As you know very well, it is very difficult to state which version is older.

    Daniel is commonly dated no later 164 B.C.E.
    Fitzmyer examined on paleographic grounds of the two texts, and insisted that 4Q246 is to be dated the last third of the first century B.C.E. If Fitzmyer’s examination on the paleograph of 4Q246, then the text of Aramic Apocalypse in Qumran was influenced by Daniel 7.

    • Do you really believe the book of Daniel originated in 164? What about all the Old Persian loan words, not to mention the several Akkadian loan words found in Daniel? That date is generally given to discredit the prophecies in Daniel due to their great accuracy. You may also consider that Josephus claims that Alexander the Great was shown the prophecies of Daniel and he showed grace to the nation of Israel because he understood the prophecies as applying to himself (Bk XI, sect. 5). Also consider the Mesopotamian influence in Daniel, such as the king’s dream of a great tree in light of the king’s imagery which coincides with the king;s relationship to the sacred tree/Assyrian tree in the ancient near east. The late language in Daniel can only hint at stages in which a text was copied but it does not reveal the origins or any given text. Think of the Talmud…would anyone judge the origins of the Talmud based on the style of text we see in its pages? No….we know that it was actually passed along orally for many years before it was written down. Why not be slower to agree with majority that Daniel was written at such a late date?

  3. Jin Yang,

    I don’t think you can reach such a conclusion from paleography. Paleographic dating refers to the dating of the copy of the particular scroll, not the date of the work itself. The paleographic dating of 4Q246 can only give us the date it was copied. By comparison, some of the copies of Daniel which were found at Qumran are dated even later than 4Q246. 1Q71 and 1Q72 are both in a ‘Herodian’ hand, for example. None of this paleographic evidence tells us when the Book of Daniel was first completed.

    What I was getting at was the reasons you had for saying, “I argue that the author of 4Q246 was influenced by Daniel 7.” What are your arguments for this direction of influence?



  5. Dear Laura,
    I also would believe that the personage in 4Q246 is Jesus in terms of the cannonical approach as I am also Christian, but the author of the text wasn’t Christian.

  6. Dear Mr. Kim,

    I am planning to write my thesis in the area of “The identity of the Son of Man in the Gospels”. There are many libaral scholars who claim that it is a reference to mere humanity of Christ. Being an evangelical Christian I firmly belove that it is a Messianic title refering to Daniel 7:13

    At the moment I am writing a paper for my Aramaic class based on the issue “The eschatological figure of 4Q246”.

    It was helpful to read this information on your website.

    Could you please expand more on what is your view on the Son of Man in Daniel 7? And your view on “Son of God” in 4 Q 246?

    kind regards,

    PC: Could you also guide me to a bibliographical list on this topic?

  7. I’m glad that you found my essay helpful for your research.

    As you read my essay, I would identity of “the Son of Man” in both Daniel 7 and 4Q246 with the Jewish people as collectively. You may also see my another essay on Daniel 7 in my blog:


    See the reference list which is at the end of the essay on 4Q246.

    • For a good interpretation we need to put in a single place all prophecies about times of divine punishments, about final war, about final “kingdom”.
      Tha mistake of Juda tha Iscariot (also like petrified souls from Israel) wos supose that all promises from revelations must be fulfiled in a single (incarnated-“son of man”) comming of Son of God.
      But this second incarnation of Hrist in the end of times (times for return from sins before punish of Judgement) is not the only one.
      Principal incarnation is God himself (Savaot as a kinde of king) who before will be selfpresented as promised Holly Spirit exactly in the mount of Sion (Isaia 66:16, etc) before first part of big punishmentand also the war who shall end in that day of catastrofical days of (vulcanic) darkness.
      That presentation of Him (Her) will cause tha final war. War started by (Gog) too fanatic muslims who will take Him (Her) like target with also his (her) religion (sect) of 144000 saints.
      Tha colour of his face must be founded in colour of that two stones from Rev. of John about “Someone” who sit on the throne- covered by the royal rainbow.
      Another (re)incarnation is promised in Maleahi 3:23.
      God Himself comme incarnated and wont make a single religion and a new order (“kingdom”) on entire earth calling all to comme and also thats why in that moment Hi will be gealous by His (any other) Name -Ezechiel 39:25.
      Thats why He (She) will be the stone in that 3 biblical significations plus another one from revelation of saint Malakia about last pope “Petrus Romanus” from list of 111 popes.
      will be selfincrownated in Rome. Not in Jerusalem like ex pope.
      But Son of God will be presented (alredy before anounced) by God himself after a period over tha big bane exactly when will start second period in wich will dye second 1/3 of population from earth -but this time death will be unexpected -day after day, nobody know his day – spontaneous suddenly deaths without eny researcheable reasons. In that period any bus driver wil be seconded by another just in case driver and all will be restricted to low speed.

      sorry for my englease lang.

  8. Is this photo of the scroll copyrighted? If so, would you give permission for me to use it?

  9. […] You can read the full (surviving) text here, along with some commentary. […]

  10. […] Psalm” that celebrated the king of Israel. There may also be a Dead Sea Scroll fragment (4Q246) that applies the very phrase “son of God” to a ruler, though the meaning is unclear. Psalm 2:7 […]

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