BAR 33:03, May/Jun 2007
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls: Spotlight
The War Scroll
The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness (or in short, the War Scroll) is one of the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls to have been discovered. Its genre is unique, describing an eschatological war that is to put an end to evil in the world. It is a kind of military manual, intended for priests, describing their role in providing ceremonial, cultic, and even tactical leadership to the army of the Sons of Light.
The introduction (Columns 1–2) gives the historical background to the war and the sequence of its development. It will begin with a “War against the Kittim,” a short but intense battle against Israel’s eschatological enemy (Numbers 24:24). After six rounds during which the Sons of Light will alternate between gaining and losing the upper hand, God will intervene with his mighty hand to miraculously bring victory.