The Copper Scroll
Paraphrase and comments by Chad Hack & Nathaniel Carey
IntroductionOne of the most illusive documents found in the Qumran
region is The Copper Scroll. Made of two separate sheets of copper,
rolled up and oxidized right through, the contents of The Copper
Scroll could only be determined after it had been cut into parallel
The text is difficult to read because it is virtually impossible to
differentiate between some letters and others that are almost like them. The
copyist made numerous mistakes thus making the task of the translators even more
The document is mysterious. Is it legend from folklore about fictitious
treasures or a catalogue of hiding places for real treasures? The formulas and
directions are ambiguous and inconclusive thereby hinting at the possibility
that the scroll is a myth. Furthermore, scholars presume that The Copper Scroll
was written about 40 years after all the other scrolls.
Specific and blatant contradictions among the translators forced us students
to make educated guesses between the possible choices without certainty of the
accuracy. For example, one translator suggested that the location of a treasure
was facing a certain direction. Meanwhile another translator suggested that the
entrance of the location is facing that direction, but location itself was
facing in a different direction. Some treasure had a numeric value and other
descriptions of the same treasure did not. Sometimes the treasure was gold, and
other times it was silver. All together these examples combined to make the
translated text ambiguous and intimate towards the fictional nature of the
Column IIn the ruin of Horebbah
which is in the valley of Achor, under the steps heading eastward about forty
feet: lies a chest of silver that weighs seventeen talents (yard stick).KEN  In
the tomb of the third section of stones there is one hundred gold bars. Nine
are concealed by sediment towards the upper opening, at the bottom of the big
cistern in the courtyard of the peristyle. Priests garments and flasks that were
given as vows are buried in the hill of Kohlit.
This is all of the votive offerings of the seventh treasure. The second tenth is
impure. The opening is at the edge of the canal on its northern side six cubits
toward the immersed pool.CAG Enter into the hole
of the waterproofed Reservoir of Manos,
descend to the left, forty talents of silver lie three cubits from the bottom.
Column IIForty two talents lie under the stairs in the salt pit.HN Sixty five bars of gold lie on the third terrace in
the cave of the old Washers House.QE Seventy telents of silver are enclosed in wooden
vessel that are in the cistern of
a burial chamber in Matia's courtyard.
Fifteen cubits from the front of the eastern gates, lies a cistern. The ten
talents lie in the canal of the cistern.DI Six
silver bars are located at the sharp edge of the rock which is under the eastern
wall in the cistern. The cistern's entrance is under the large paving stone
threshold. Dig down four cubits in the northern corner of the pool that is east
of Kohlit. There will be twenty two talents of silver coins.
Column IIIDig down nine cubits into the southern corner of the
courtyard. There will be silver and gold vessels given as offerings, bowls,
cups, sprinkling basins, libation tubes, and pitchers. All together they will
total six hundred nine pieces. Dig down sixteen cubits under the eastern corner
to find forty talents of silver.TR Votive
vessels and priestly garments are at the northern end of the dry well located in
The entrance is underneath the western corner. Thirteen talents of silver coins
are located three cubits beneath a trap door in the tomb in the north-east end
Column IVFourteen talents of silver can be found in the pillar on the
northern side of the big cistern in Kohlit. SK
When you go forty-one cubits into the canal that comes from...you will find
fifty-five talents of silver. Dig down three cubits in the middle of the two
boulders in the Valley of Achor, and you will find two pots full of silver
coins. At the mouth of the underground cavity in Aslah
sit two hundred talents of silver. Seventy talents of silver are located in the
eastern tunnel which is to the north of Kohlit. Dig for only one cubit into the
memorial mound of stones in the valley of Sekaka
to find twelve talents of silver.
Column VA water conduit is located on the northern side of Sekaka. Dig
down three cubits under the large stone at the head of this water conduit to
discover seven talents of silver. Vessels of offering can be found in the
fissure of Sekaka, which is on the eastern side of the reservoir of Solomon.
Twenty-three talents of silver are buried quite nearby above Solomon's Canal. To
locate the exact spot, go sixty cubits toward the great stone, and dig down for
three cubits. Thirty two talents of silver can be located by digging seven
cubits under the tomb in the dried up riverbed of Kepah,
which is between Jericho and Sekaka.
Column VIForty-two talents of silver lie underneath a scroll in an urn.
To locate the urn, dig down three cubits into the northern opening of the cave
of the pillar that has two entrances and faces east. Twenty-one talents of
silver can be found by digging nine cubits beneath the entrance of the
eastward-looking cave at the base of the large stone. Twenty-seven talents of
silver can be found by digging twelve cubits into the western side of the
Dig nine cubits into the burial mound of stones located at the Ford of the High
Priest to find twenty-two talents of silver.
Column VIITo find four hundred talents of silver measure out
twenty-four cubits from the water conduit of Q...of the northern reservoir with
Dig six cubits into the cave that is nearby Bet Ha-Qos
to locate six bars of silver. Dig seven cubits down under the eastern corner of
the citadel of Doq
to find twenty-two talents of silver. Dig three cubits by the row of stones at
the mouth of the Kozibah river
to obtain sixty talents of silver, and two talents of gold.
Column VIIIA bar of silver, ten vessels of offering, and ten books are
in the aqueduct on the road that is to the east of Bet Ahsor,
which is east of Ahzor.
Dig down seventeen cubits beneath the stone that lies in the middle of the sheep
pen located in the outer valley to find seventeen talents of silver and gold.
Dig three cubits under the burial mound of stones located at the mouth of the
Potter ravine to find four talents of silver. Dig twenty-four cubits below the
northward burial chamber that is located on the south-west side of the fallow
field of the valley of ha-Shov to reveal sixty-six talents. Dig eleven cubits at
the landmark in the irrigated land of ha-Shov and you will find seventy talents
Column IXMeasure out thirteen cubits from the small opening at the edge
and then dig down seven cubits there. Seven talents of silver and four stater
coins lie there. Dig down eight cubits into the eastern-looking cellar of the
second estate of Chasa to obtain twenty-three and a half talents of silver. Dig
sixteen cubits into the narrow, seaward-facing part of the underground chambers
to discover twenty-two talents of silver. A sacred offering worth one mina of
silver is located at the pass. Dig down seven cubits at the edge of the conduit
on the eastern side inside the waterfall to locate nine talents of silver.
Column XWhen going down to the second floor, look to the small opening
to find nine talents of silver coins. Twelve talents lie at the foot of the
water wheel of the dried up irrigation ditches which would be fed by the great
canal. Sixty-two talents of silver can be found by going to the left for ten
paces at the reservoir which is in Beth Hakerem.
Three hundred talents of gold and twenty penalty fees can be found at the
entrance to the pond of the valley Zok. The entrance is on the western side by
the black stone that is held in place by two supports. Eight talents of silver
can be found by digging under the western side of Absalom's Memorial.
Seventeen talents are located beneath the water outlet in the base of the
latrines. Gold and vessels of offering are in this pool at its four angles.
Column XIVery near there, under the southern corner of the portico in
beneath the pillars of the covered hall are ten vessels of offering of pine
resin, and an offering of senna.
Gold coins and
consecrated offerings are located under the great closing stone that is by the
edge, next to the pillars that are near by the throne, and toward the tip of the
rock to the west of the garden of Zadok. Forty talents of silver are buried in
the grave that is under the colonnades. Fourteen votive vessels possibly of pine
and resin are in the tomb of the common people and Jericho. Vessels of offering
of aloes and tithe of white pine are located at Beth Esdatain, in the reservoir
at the entrance of the small pool. Over nine-hundred talents of silver are next
to the reservoir at the brook that runs near the western entrance of the
Column XIIFive talents of gold and sixty more talent are under the
black stone at the Western entrance. Forty-two talents of silver coin are in the
proximity of the black stone at the threshold at the sepulchral chamber. Sixty
talents of silver and vessels are in a chest that is under the stairs of the
upper tunnel on Mount Garizim.
Six-hundred talents of silver and gold lie in the spring of Beth-Sham.
Treasure weighing seventy-one talents and twenty minas are in the big
underground pipe of the burial chamber at the point where it joins the house of
the burial chamber. A copy of this inventory list, its explanation and the
measurements and details of every hidden item are in the dry underground cavity
that is in the smooth rock north of Kohlit.
Its opening is towards the north with the tombs at its mouth.
Footnotes Horebbah like most of the locations are
either fictional or too ambiguous in description to merit verification.
 According to Wise, Abegg, Cook the signifigance of the greek
letters that follow this in several of the subsequent descriptions remains
 The introduction by Vermes suggests that the
amount of treasure is arbitrary. All of the amounts would total sixty-five tons
of silver and twenty-six tons of gold in weight.
existence and location of this place is unknown.
location is unknown.
 This location is unknown.
 Wise, Abegg and Cook suggest that the cistern described here
may be the large ancient cistern lying just beneath the First Wall of
 The location of Matia’s courtyard is
 Wise, Abegg and Cook are uncertain whether
Milham refers to a place or a structure.
 Wise, Abegg
and Cook state that the Wadi Atsla opens to the northwest of the Dead Sea, about
two kilometers from the site of Qumran.
 Secacah appears
in the Bible in Joshua 15:61, in a list of cities located in the wilderness of
Judea. The modern identification is disputed, but many scholars think that
Secacah was an ancient name for the site of Qumran.
pool of Solomon is unidentified.
 Kepah’s location is
 The Queen’s Mausoleum is unidentified, but it
may well have been located near Jericho, where the Hasmonean kings and queens
had done considerable building and lived part of the year according to Wise,
Abegg and Cook.
 All of the translations submit only a
hiatus after the capital Q.
 The priestly family of
Hakkoz lived near Jericho. According to Ezra 8:33 and Nehemiah 10:6, they may
have been in charge of the Temple treasury in the Second-Temple period.
 Dok is about two kilometers north of Jericho according to the
sources of Wise, Abegg and Cook.
 Kozibah apparently
designated that portion of the Wadi Qelt stretching between Ein Qelt and
 This location is unknown.
 This location is unknown.
 Nataf was
a small opening resembling a large birdhouse that had many entrances, many birds
lived there at the same time.
 A city located sixteen
kilometers northwest of Jerusalem.
 Beth Hakerem is on
the south of Jerusalem, at the modern Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. No treasure has been
found there by modern inhabitants.
 Stood in the Ancient
Royal Valley, now known as Emeq Rephaim thirteen hundred kilometers south of
 No notes are given on Zadok.
 A former site of the Samaritians temple to the God of
 Beth Shem is unknown. It may be an error for
Beth Shemesh, the city in the southwest famously associated with Samson.
 The inventory list with all its details is supposedly in
another Copper Scroll. But it has never been found.
Works CitedVermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in
English. Allen Lane: The Penguin Press; New York, New York, 1997
Allegro, John. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reappraisal. Penguin
Books; New York, New York, 1990
Abegg, Martin Jr.; Cook, Edward; Wise, Michael. The Dead Sea Scrolls--A
New Translation. Harper San Francisco; New York, New York, 1996
Martinez, Florentino Garcia. The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The
Qumran Texts in English. Second Edition. E.J.Brill Leiden; New York, New
11-23-98prepared for Intro. to the Hebrew
by Chad Hack & Nathaniel Carey