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Orphans in the dead sea scrolls

Kotze, Gideon R. (2016-08)

CITATION: Kotze, G. R. 2016. Orphans in the dead sea scrolls. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 72(4):1-9, doi:10.4102/hts.v72i4.3271.

The original publication is available at

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


This study investigates the literary references to orphans in writings amongst the Qumran texts that were written in Hebrew and can be associated with the sectarian Qumran movement. The study focuses on passages where forms of the word יתום are used. These include the Damascus Document (CD 6:16–17), Hodayot (1QHa 13:22) and Barkhi Nafshia (4Q434 1 i 2). The investigation concludes that the references to orphans in these passages do not have the same rhetorical functions. In CD 6, the wordings of authoritative scriptures are adapted to portray orphans and widows as the victims of wrongdoing. In 1QHa and 4Q434, however, orphans are mentioned in hymns that praise the Lord’s positive treatment of needy people

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