The Battle Between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness
Date- c. 100 BCE
Current Location- Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Language and Script- Hebrew; alphabetic
The scroll pictured here, known as the War Scroll, describes the apocalypse as expected by the Qumran sect. Undoubtedly, it was authored by a member of the community. Referring to themselves as the Sons of Light, the sect members do battle with and defeat the Sons of Darkness at the end of days.
“On the day when the Kittim fall there shall be a battle and horrible carnage before the God of Israel, for it is a day appointed by Him from ancient times as a battle of annihilation for the Sons of Darkness. On that day the congregation of the gods and the congregation of men shall engage one another, resulting in great carnage. The Sons of Light and the forces of Darkness shall fight together to show the strength of God with the roar of a great multitude and the shout of gods and men- a day of disaster.”
Circumstances of Discovery and Acquisition- The scrolls were initially discovered by Bedouin tribesmen in caves on a cliff face. In total between 1947-56, eleven caves containing scrolls and fragments in jars were found. The first cave was one of the few to contain complete scrolls, including this copy of the War Scroll. Circuitously, Prof. Elazar L. Sukenik of the Hebrew University purchased the War Scroll and two others from an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem. His posthumous edition of the text was published in 1955 after much controversy over the authenticity of such rare, incredible finds.