1-2 Chronicles/dating

Greg Doudna gdoudna at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 20 06:15:10 EST 2001

On the subject of Ian's discussion of dating of production of
1-2 Chronicles, mention was made of a Qumran fragment
which has been identified as an attestation of 1-2 Chronicles
among the Qumran finds. As someone noted the fragment is
4Q118, published Trebolle Barrera 1992 (RevQ 15: 423-529).

I have no strong views on the dating of 1-2 Chronicles, but 
I can say this is somewhat weak as an attestation for Chron
at Qumran. It has five lines which correspond to 
2 Chron 28:27-29:3 alright. But does this five-line
fragment represent an attestation of the entirety of 2
Chronicles (and all of 1 Chronicles as well) or is it a
version of 2 Kings or some other source which was
used in a subsequent composition of 2 Chronicles? Although
4Q118 _may_ be a fragment from an entire book of 
2 Chronicles as we know it the 4Q118 fragment hardly
delivers sufficient information to know this--and no other
fragments from Qumran have even been claimed to be
from either 1 or 2 Chronicles. In fact T.B. 1992 noted
that a series of letter readings visible in the column preceding
the column of the readable lines of 4Q118 corresponds
to nothing in known 2 Chronicles.

(I have not seen the more recent DJD edition publication
of 4Q118, in case there is new information not in the 1992

The other item relevant to 1-2 Chronicles at Qumran is
the different versions of wicked king Manasseh. In Kings
there is no repentance of Manasseh. In Chronicles 
Manasseh repents and is restored to rule. The repentance 
of Manasseh, which is specific to Chronicles (and not 
in Kings) is assumed in another Qumran text, 4Q381, 
a prayer of Manasseh. However not much can be
proven from this, since the story of Manasseh's 
repentance is of unknown origin and could as easily
have appeared in 4Q381 prior to the composition
of Chronicles which also makes use of the same

Emanuel Tov suggests that really all of the Bible was
there in Qumran, including Esther, and that the lacunas
in the finds (e.g. the missing Esther, possibly this weak
attestation of Chronicles) is simply accidental. That is
possible. On the other hand, it is possibly not right
either. That's what makes Qumran interesting: questions
that are potentially answerable, someday, but just not
answered now, today.

Greg Doudna

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