Hidden Things and Their Revelation

A. Shemesh, C. Werman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The verse 'The hidden things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law' (Deuteronomy 29:28) is the source of the pivotal concept of revealed and hidden found in the Qumran literature. The Qumran Commun-ity claimed that the hidden were reserved to God at the time of the First Temple, but that during the period of the Second Temple the hidden were made available to the members of the Community (CD 3:9-20; 5:20-6:11). This claim is based on a double reading of the verse: once with the words 'unto the Lord our God', and once without these words. Moreover, member of the Community believed that Chapters 29 and 30 of Deuteronomy referred to them and not to Israel as a whole; indeed, the descripion of return and redemption found in Chapter 30 are read by them as referring specifically to the Community. We find a double reading of the verse in Chapter 29 in the writing of the rabbinical Sages, too. The Sages, however, do not specify the time of revelation, nor do they indicate that the revelations will be confined to any restricted group. Despite emphasizing that the revelation of the hidden is based on God-given inspiration, members of the Community accepted the decisive contributions of their exegesis of the Biblical verses in the development of halakhah. The similarity of the view of the Community to the view of the Sages is obvious; both emphasized the centrality of exegesis (drashah) in the development of halakhah. Since the two groups made use of a similar method, the use of drashah to derive halakhah, and since the results were strikingly different, each group was compelled to defend its own approach. Thus, the Community refers to the explications (drashot) of the Sages as slick interpretations, and the Sages accuse the Community of barefaced defiance of the Torah.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-427
Number of pages19
JournalRevue de Qumran
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Intertestamental, Apocrypha, NT Use: Qumran
  • Deuteronomy 29:28


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