The Community Rule (1QS)

Written on September 8, 2022 – 12:31 pm | by dave |

This contains more detail about the Community Rule document found in Qumran 1.

  • This generally explains what is expected of the Essenes
  • Divided into 5 sections:
    • Introduction (1:1-3:11) – Emphasis on community and covenant
    • Tractate on the Two Spirits (3:12-4:25) – Presenting the dualism of the sect
    • Statutes (5:1-9:11) – A series of laws that govern the sec, including its communal lifestyle, organization, leadership, etc.
    • Rules of the Master (9:12-10:4) – Rules specific to the leader of the community
    • The Hymn of the Master (10:5-11:22) – A poem in first person, as the Master addresses God.


  • Mentions the Sons of Light (members of the sect) and the Sons of Dark (other Jews). Any others are not even worthy of mention (no concern for Gentiles).
  • The members of the group were volunteers who willingly submitted to the group and share their wealth.
  • Warns not to deviate AT ALL from the word of God which aligns with Essenes being the most rigid followers of the faith.
  • Offers guidance not to move the days around of the holy times (i.e. if a holiday occurs on the sabbath, how do you do it?)
  • Discusses the requirements for the initiates into the group

Tractate of the Two Spirits

  • Discusses dualism – God has created a Spirit of Light and a Spirit of Darkness in each person
  • These groups are led by a “Prince of Light” and “Prince of Darkness” respectively
  • May have drawn from Zoroastrianism – ancient Persian Religion
  • Explains the Essenes’ belief in predetermination or predestination


  • Establishes that the priests are referred to as “Sons of Zadok” which forces the leadership to be from the line of Levi – perhaps a disagreement with priests in Jerusalem.
  • Discusses the coming of the ‘Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel’ – people of Israel expected a Messiah of Israel, but never is there an additional Messiah – Aaron (a priestly Messiah) until this finding.
  • Continues explaining the communal lifestyle of the Essenes such as eating together
  • Provides guidance on punishment by confinement for various offenses including:
    • Speaking foolishly
    • Interrupting another member while speaking
    • Falling asleep during a meeting
    • Exposing one’s nakedness
    • Spitting during a meeting
    • Not using your left hand to peeing or pooping (lasuach).
  • Discusses ritual immersion to clean yourself of impurity before even taking in food in the community.
  • Beliefs that immersion not only cleaned impurity but also cleaned sin and transgressions
  • No references to women in the text > May indicate that Essenes were celibate or did not allow women to partake
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