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4Q184 - Wiles of the Wicked Woman

A fragment of a poem from the Dead Sea Scrolls depicting the evil wiles of a seductress/whore and all the damnation that shacking up with her brings. Many view it as a metaphoric warning of the trappings of false doctrine, meant to keep its readers from straying down spiritual paths that seem really attractive but which actually will send you straight into the fiery depths of hell. Ah, temptation…

Fragment 1

1 Folly produces nothingness, and in ... She is always seeking error, she whets the words of her mouth. With raillery

2 and jesting she flatters, and adds derision to useless vanity. Her heart creates lewdness, and her inner being ... Her eyes

3 are befouled with perversity, her hands grip corruption tight. Her feet come down to do evil, and to walk in the crimes of ... Her thighs are

4 pillars of darkness, a horde of sins is under her hem, her ... blackest night. Her attire ...

5 her robes are gloom of twilight, while her jewelry is infected with rot. Her bed is a couch of corruption ...

6 pits of hell. Her inns are where darkness lies down, she holds sway at dead of night, Among the pillars of gloom

7 she pitches her tent, and settles among the tents of silence, in the middle of perpetual flames. She does not belong with any of those

8 illuminated by brightness. No, she is the beginning of all evil paths: alas for all who take possession of her, and destruction comes to all

9 who take hold of her, for her ways are deadly, her paths lead to sin, her by-ways end in

10 evil, her tracks in criminal wrongdoing, Her gates are the gates of Death, in the entrance of her house she walks to Hades

11 all without return! All who take possession of her go straight to hell. She lies secretly in wait ...

12 all ... in the city streets she hides, in the town gates she takes her stand, and no one will ...

13 ... her eyes dart here and there, she flutters her eyelids lewdly, looking for a

14 righteous man to catch, looking for a strong man to trip up, for someone honest to lead astray, for innocent youths

15 to keep from obeying the commandments, for the firm of purpose to make empty with lewdness, for those who live honestly to make them break the law; to cause

16 the humble to rebel from God, and to divert their steps from the ways of righteousness, to put arrogance in the hearts, so that they do not remain

17 in the paths of integrity. She seeks to make people go wrong in the ways of Hell, seducing the human race by flattery.

Translation by Edward Cook


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