Israel Department of Museums and Antiquities

Long lost, this passage from the Book of Samuel does not appear in the version of the Old Testament that we know today. One of thousands of manuscript fragments found in the famous QumraÆn caves near the Dead Sea, this passage solves a mystery in chapter 11 of the Book of Samuel. It explains that the Ammonite king Nahash attacked the Israelite city of Jabesh-Gilead because the city had harbored fugitives from conquered tribal lands of Reuben and Gad.

Until the discovery of this scroll fragment, the rationale for Nahash’s attack and for his threat to blind the city’s men had been an unsolved puzzle.