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Word Order in the War Scroll (1QM) and Its Implications for Interpretation

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In studies of Qumran Hebrew, syntax has been somewhat neglected. The present study attempts to help fill in our understanding of QH syntax, and word order specifically. The data of 1QM can best be explained using a Subject-Verb model. However, the model is not perfect. Consideration of the strange word order patterns of and leads to a revision of the SV model, which is better able to account for all the word order phenomena in 1QM. The basic word order of 1QM is best described as Subject-Verb, with inversion triggered by the fronting of a non-subject element or by the use of an intransitive main verb. A robust understanding of word order carries important ramifications for interpretation. In 1QM 1:1‐3, for example, word order supports an identification of the sons of Levi, Judah, and Benjamin as “violators of the covenant.”

Affiliations: 1: Trinity Western University 7600 Glover Road, Langley, BC, V2Y 1Y1 Canada, Email:


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