Isaiah 53 at Qumran
(A Brief Word)

  Of the 900 plus scroll fragments found in the eleven caves at Qumran above the Dead Sea, some 200 are biblical texts. So far, all but one book (Esther) is represented. The three most widely represented books of the Hebrew Bible are Deuteronomy (30 distinct scrolls), Isaiah (21) and Psalms (36).

Coincidentally, these come from the three traditional divisions of the Bible: Torah, Prophets, Writings. They are also the three most often quoted and cited books in the New Testament.

Of the twenty-one Isaiah texts, only one is complete. It is called the Great Isaiah Scroll. It was one of the original seven scrolls discovered in 1947, and is 24 feet long. It is now designated 1QIsaa (=Isaiah manuscript "A" found in Qumran Cave 1). Scholars date the writing of the scroll to 125–100 BC/E, over a century before the time of Yeshua of Nazareth.

The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) is 24 feet 5/16 inches (7.34 m.) long, and 10 5/6 inches (26.2 cm.) high, and is composed of 54 columns of text, written on 17 sheets of sheepskin (or parchment).


A 3-translation comparison in PDF of Isaiah 52:13—53:12 in modern English includes two Jewish Bible versions: Isaac Leeser's The Holy Bible (1865) and the Jewish Publication Society's Tanakh (1985).

On this website is a photo-scan of Isaiah 52:13—54:4 from 1QIsaa — click Great Isaiah Scroll 53.

For a sample of the 1QIsa Hebrew script see: Dead Sea (Qumran) Scroll Scripts.

The entire Isaiah Scroll can be seen in a readable and seachable online format, produced by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Click here for their website: The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls. Other Qumran scrolls are included in their presentation.



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Hebrew-Greek Transliteration [PDF]