Introduction: Among the regulations discovered in Cave I was a short fragment setting forth, among other things, the protocol to follow when the Lord sent the priest and the Messiah to Israel. As the Temple Scroll vividly demonstrates, the Essenes had radically different ideas in mind for the Temple in Jerusalem, and they were waiting for the Lord to reveal to them the new High Priest after the order of Aaron, who would inaugurate the necessary reforms. The community also expected at any time “a king like David” to be revealed, the future Messiah. The selection given here has to do with the order of precedence at the great banquet to be held when both shall finally have made their appearance.
(11) [Concerning the mee]ting of the men of renown [called] to assembly for the Council of the Community when [the Lord] will have begotten (12) the Messiah (cf. Psalm 2:7) among them.
[The Priest] shall enter [at] the head of all the Congregation of Israel, then all (13) [the chiefs of the sons] of Aaron, the priests called to the assembly, men of renown; and they shall sit (14) [before him], each according to his rank.
And afterwards, [the Mess]iah of Israel [shall enter]; and the chiefs (15) of [the tribes of Israel] shall sit before him, each according to his rank, … then all (16) the heads of the fa[milies of the Congregation, together with the wise me[n of the holy Congregation], shall sit before them, each according to (17) his rank.
And [when] they gather for the Community tab[le], [or to drink w]ine, and arrange the (18) Community table [and mix] the wine to drink, let no man [stretch out] his hand over the first-fruits of bread (19) and [ wine] before the Priest; for [it is he who] shall bless the first-fruits of bread (20) and w[ine, and shall] first [stretch out] his hand over the bread. And after [wards], the Messiah of Israel shall [str]etch out his hands (21) over the bread. [And afterwards], all the Congregation of the Community shall [bl]ess, each according to his rank.
And they shall proceed according to this rite (22) at every mea[l where] at least ten persons [are as]sembled.
1. Translated by A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, trans. G. Vermes,
(Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1962), pp. 108–9.