The Shapira Strips / Manuscript
The oldest Torah portions known to humankind, maybe.
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Approximate Date: 830 BCE, same as the Moabite Stone and found in about the same place.
In 1883, an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem named M. W. Shapira decided to sell an ancient manuscript of the Book of Deuteronomy that he believed to be extremely valuable. But when he sent the manuscript to biblical scholars, they all agreed it was a forgery. Humiliated, Shapira committed suicide in 1884. The following year, the manuscript sold at auction (for much less than Shapira hoped to get for it), and promptly disappeared. But comparisons of the Dead Sea Scrolls to descriptions in stories of Shapira’s manuscript have led scholars to believe that Shapira’s Deuteronomy was quite probably authentic—and thus worth told millions. That just goes to show you: Never, ever kill yourself. www.mentalfloss.com/cheatsheets/dead-sea-scrolls/
"In the late 1880s, Jerusalem shop-keeper Moshe Wilhelm Shapira arrived in England with several strips of parchment. Shapira claimed that these fragments were found in the Dead Sea area and were part of an early version of the book of Deuteronomy. Experts who examined the strips called them forgeries, saying that the manuscript could not have survived in the Dead Sea climate. Disgraced and dishonored, Shapira left England and soon after committed suicide. Ironically, scholars in recent years have come to believe that Shapira's manuscript was not a hoax - and may actually have been a portion of the oldest Bible in the world. This is the true story of a 19th century mystery and controversy which resulted in discrediting what may have been one of the most important archaeological findings of all time. The author of this book travelled to the Dead Sea where the manuscript was said to have been found. His account of the trip and its significance, and his recounting of Shapira's claims add up to a fascinating story of scholarly prejudice and vindictiveness which may have robbed the modern world of one of the greatest treasures of the ages." – From the jacket of John Marco Allegro’s The Shapira Affair.
Editor’s note: This text seems to be the voice of Moshe (first person) recounting to the Israelites their recent history and the numerous prophetic messages he received from Elohim Eloheinu.
Open the thumbnail to see the sketches of the Paleo text.
(Deut.1:1) These are the words that Moshe spoke according to the mouth of YHWH to all the children of Yisrael in the wilderness beyond Yarden in the plain. (v.6) Elohim Eloheinu spoke to us in Horev, saying, You (pl) have lived long enough in this mount. (v.7) You (pl) turn around and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorim, and to all the places close by, in the plain, in the hills, in the valley, and by the sea shore.
Moshe Regarding Those Who Were Destroyed & Others Who Succeeded Them
(v.19) When we left Horev, we
went through all that great and terrible wilderness that you (pl)
saw; and we came to Qadesh-barnea. (v.20) And I said to you, You
(pl) have come this day to the mountain of the Amorim. (v.21) Go up
and possess the land, as [the Elohim of your fathers] told [you].
(v.20) [But] you (pl) would [not] go up. (v.27) And you (pl)
murmured and said, Because [Elohim] hated ...
to destroy us. (v.34) And Elohim was angry
[and swore] saying, As I live, surely all the people (Num.14:22) who
have seen (Ex.7:3) my signs and my wonders (Num.14:22) that I did
these ten times,
(Deut.1:46) [And] they stayed in Qadesh-barnea until (Deut.2:16) the men of rebellion were wasted out by death from among the host. . . (Deut.2:4) You (pl) are to pass through this day the coast of the children of Esaw who dwell in Seir. (v.9) You will not distress them, nor interfere with them in battle, (v.5) for I will not give you of their land any possession, because I have given it to the children of Esaw for a possession. (v.12) The Horim have lived there from ancient times, but the children of Esaw succeeded them, and lived in their stead.
(v.8) And we turned and passed by the wilderness of Moav. (v.9) And Elohim said to me, (v.18) You (pl) will pass over this day the coast of Moav; (v.9) you (pl) will not distress them, nor interfere with them in battle: for I will not give you of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the children of Lot for a possession. (v.20) The Rephaim lived there since ancient times and the Moavites called them Emim, (v.21) but Elohim destroyed all of them, and the Moavim lived there in their stead.
(v.8) And we turned (v.13) and went over the brook Zered. (v.17) And Elohim spoke to me, [saying], (v.24) You (pl) get up, and pass over the river Arnon. (v.25) This day I will begin (v.24) to deliver to your face Sihon the Amori, governor of Heshbon, and his land. And we went forth against Sihon (v.32) to Yahaz, (v.33) and we smote him (v.34) until we left him none to remain. And we took all his cities (v.36) from Aroer by the brink of the river of Arnon, to Gil’ad and to (v.37) the river Yabbok (v.36) so Elohim Eloheinu delivered all to us.
(Deut.2:17) And Elohim spoke to me, saying, (v.18) This day, you (pl) are to pass the coast of the land of (v.19) the children of Ammon. You (pl) will not distress them nor interfere with them in war, because I have given to the children of Lot the land of the children of Ammon for a possession. (v.20) The Rephaim have lived there since ancient times; and the Ammonim called them Azamzummim, (v.21) and Elohim destroyed them before them, and they lived in their stead.
And Elohim said to me, (Num.21:32) Send men to spy out Ya'azer. And we took Ya'azer and lived in the cities of the Amorim. (Deut.3:1) And Og the governor of Bashan came out against us to battle, (v.3) and we smote him until none was left to him remaining, (v.4) and we took from them sixty cities, all the region of Argov, (v.5) cities fenced with high walls, gates and bars, beside unwalled towns a great many. (v.10) And all the cities of the plain, and all Gil’ad, and all Bashan, to Salkah and Edre’i... the land of the Rephaim. (v.11) For Og governor of Bashan remained of the remnant of Rephaim.
Moshe on Apostasy and Reformation
And we turned and journeyed southward and (v.29) abode over against Beit-peor. (Num.25:1) And at that time the daughters of Moav and the wives of the Midianim came out against you, and (v.2) they called you to eat of their sacrifices, and you (pl) did eat of their sacrifices and drink of their drink offerings, and you (pl) bowed down to their gods, and (v.1) committed whoredom with the wives of the Midianim. (v.3) And you (pl) joined yourselves to Baal-peor that day: and the anger of Elohim was kindled against you, and he smote you at that time with a great plague. (Num.31:6) And I sent from among you men (v.7) to war against the Midianim, and you (pl) smote them with the edge of the sword, (v.9) and you (pl) took from the captives very many, (Num.25:8) and the plague was stayed.
(Deut.4:14) And Elohim commanded me at that time to teach statutes and judgments, that you (pl) might do them in the land in which you (pl) go over to possess. (v.15) Take heed to yourselves; (v.2) you (pl) will not add to my statutes neither will you (pl) diminish anything from them. (v.23) Take heed to yourselves, lest you (pl) forget, and make you a graven image and similitude, the likeness of any figure that is in your sky above, or (v.18) on the earth beneath, or in the waters beneath the earth, and his anger be kindled against you and he destroy you speedily from this good land.
Moshe on the Shema & the Stone Tablets
(v.39) So know this day, (v.40) and keep his statutes and his commands, that it may go well with you [and that] you (pl) may prolong your days upon the earth whom Elohim Eloheika gives to you. (Deut.6:4) Hear, O Yisrael; Elohim Eloheinu is Elohim Echad. (v.5) And you will love Elohim Eloheika with all your heart, and with all your soul exceedingly. (v.6) And these words that I command you this day will be in your heart: (v.7) and you will teach them diligently to your children, and you will talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you get up. (v.8) And you will bind [them] for a sign upon your hand, and they will be as frontlets between your eyes. And you will write [them] upon the posts of your house, and on your gates.
(Deut.5:2) For Elohim made a covenant with them in Horev (Deut.9:10) in the day of the assembly. And (Deut.5:5) I stood between Elohim and you ... at that time, (for you (pl) were afraid by reason of the fire, and [went] not [up] ) ... to show you the word of Elohim, saying, (Deut.9:1) Hear, O Yisrael: you (pl) are to pass over Yarden this day, to go in to possess many nations and mighty, great cities with fenced walls. (Deut.7:17) Speak not in your hearts, These nations are many; we cannot dispossess them. (v.18) You will not be afraid of them. Remember what Elohim did to Pharaoh, and to all Mitzraim; (v.19) so will Elohim do to all your enemies, (Deut.9:3) for Elohim is he who goes over before you; as a consuming fire he will destroy them, and he will bring them down before your face quickly. (Deut.7:20) Moreover Elohim will send the hornet among them, until they who are left, and hide themselves from you, be destroyed. (v.11) Only if you (pl) keep his commands, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command you this day.
(Deut.9:6) So understand this day, that Elohim Eloheika gives not before you this land to possess it, for you have been a stiff-necked people (v.7) from the day that you did depart out of Mitzraim until this day. You (pl) have been rebellious against Elohim Eloheika. (v.8) In Horev on the day (v.9) when I had gone up into the mount to receive the two tablets of stone, (v.10) and on them were written all the words that Elohim spoke with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
(v.22) You (pl) provoked your Elohim to wrath, and (v.16) you (pl) made you a molten calf. (v.18) And I fell down before Elohim in (v.15) the mount that burned with fire: and the two tablets were in my hands. (v.16) And I beheld your sins, (v.17) and I broke the two tablets before your eyes, and I prayed for you at the same time (v.18) forty days and forty nights. (v.22) And at Taverah, and at Massah, and at Qivroth-hattah’avah, you (pl) rebelled against your Elohim.
(Deut. 10:1) At that time Elohim said to me, Hew you two tablets of stone like to the first, and come up to me into the mount. (v.3) And I went up into the mount, having the two tablets in my hand. (v.4) And Elohim wrote on the tablets the Ten Words that he spoke to you in the mount in the day of the assembly. And he gave them to me, (v.5) and look, they are in the ark that I had made.
Moshe Relates a Promise to a Populous & Mighty People
(Deut.9:23) And at Qadesh-barnea when Elohim said to me, Go up and possess the land; you (pl) rebelled against your Elohim and you (pl) went not up nor listened. (v.25) And Elohim said he would destroy you. (v.26) So I prayed for you when (Deut. 10:10) I stayed in the mount forty days and forty nights. And Elohim listened at that time also, and he did not destroy you in a moment. Not for your righteousness has your Elohim (Deut.8:18) given you power to get wealth. [(Deut. 10:15) Only Elohim had a delight] in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even above all peoples [(v.17) For Elohim] Eloheinu is Elohim of all elohim, and Governor of governors, a mighty El, and a terrible one. (v.21) He is your praise, and he it is who has done for you these great and terrible things. (v.22) Your fathers went down into Mitzraim with seventy souls; and now you have become a people mighty and populous.
Moshe Recites the Blessings Toward Gerizim
(Deut 11:22) For if you (pl) will only keep all the commands that I command this day to do, to love your Elohim, to walk in all his ways, and in all his statutes, (v.23) then Elohim will drive out all the men of the place, and (v.24) every place upon which the soles of your feet will tread. (v.25) There will no man be able to stand before you; for the fear of you and the dread of you will be upon all the land that you (pl) will tread upon.
(v.26) Look, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; (v.27) a blessing, if you (pl) obey my commands and my statutes, (v.28) a curse, if you (pl) will not obey but turn aside out of the way that I command you this day. (v.29) And it will come to pass, when Elohim has brought you into the land where you go to possess it, that you will put the blessing upon Mount [Gerizim] and the curse upon Mount Eyval. (v.30) Are they not on the other side of the Yarden, by the way where the sun goes down, in the land of the Kena’anim, over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh? (Deut.27:13) And these will stand upon Moun[t Eyval]; Reuven, Zebulun [and] Gad, Asher, Dan and Naphtali. (v.12) And these will stand upon Mount Gerizim; Shimon, and Yehudah, and Yissaskar, Manasheh and Ephrayim and Benyamin.
(v.14) And the Lewites will stand before Mount Gerizim and will speak, and say with a loud voice: Blessed be the man who loves Elohim Eloheinu and bows down to him only and serves him only. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who consecrates the seventh day and rests thereon. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. [Blessed be the man] who honors his father and his mother. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the [man] who avenges not nor bears any grudge against the soul of his brother. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who defiles not the wife of his neighbor. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who oppresses not his neighbor. And all the people will answer [and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who swears not by my name falsely. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who deals not falsely nor lies against his neighbor. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who sets not his eye upon his neighbor's goods. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who loves his neighbor. And all the people [will answer] and say, Amein. Blessed be the man who confirms all the words of this Torah to do them. And all the people will answer and say, Amein.
And you (pl) will answer further and say with a loud voice. Look, (Deut.28:1) if you will hearken diligently to the voice of your Elohim, to observe and to do all his commands, (v.2) then all these blessings will come upon you. (v.3) Blessed will you be in the city, and blessed will you be in the field. Blessed will be your basket and your store. (v.4) Blessed will be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your kine and the flocks of your sheep. (v.6) Blessed will you be when you come in, and blessed will you be when you go out.
Your Elohim will cause your enemies to be smitten before your face. Elohim will command the blessing upon all the works of your hand. (v.9) Elohim will establish you a people set-apart to himself. (v.10) And all the people of the earth will see and will be afraid of you. (v.12) Elohim will open to you your sky to give the rain to your land in his season; and you will lend to many nations, and you will not borrow. (v.13) And you will be above, and you will not be beneath . . . 
Moshe Recites the Curses Toward Eyval
(Deut. 27:14) And the Lewites will turn their faces towards Mount Eyval, and will answer and say with a loud voice: (v.15) Cursed be the man who makes any graven or molten image, the work of the hands of the craftsman. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Cursed be the man who does any work on the seventh day to profane it. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. (v.16) Cursed be he who sets light by his father or his mother. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. (v.24) Cursed be he who smites his neighbor secretly. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Cursed be the man who approaches to any who is near of kin to him or who commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, or (v.21) who lies with any manner of beast. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. (v.17) Cursed be he who removes his neighbor's landmark. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Cursed be the man who swears by my name falsely. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. (v.25) Cursed be he who takes reward (Deut.19:18) to testify falsely against his neighbor. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Cursed be the man who lifts up his eye to his neighbor's wife or to his daughter or to his maidservant or to anything that is his. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. Cursed be the man who hates his brother in his heart. And all the people will answer and say, Amein. (v.26) Cursed be he who confirms not all the words of this Torah to do them. And all the people will answer and say, Amein.
And the Lewites also will call with a loud voice and say, (Deut.28:15) And it will come to pass, if you will not hearken to the voice of your Elohim, to observe to do all his commands and his statutes; that all these curses will come upon you. (v.16) Cursed will you be in the city, and cursed will you be in the field. (v.17) Cursed will be your basket and your store. (v.18) Cursed will be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your land, the increase of your kine, and the flocks of [your sheep.] (v.19) Cursed will you be when you come in, and cursed will you be when you go out. (v.25) Elohim will cause you to be smitten before your enemies. (v.20) Elohim will send cursing upon all the works of your hand. (v.37) Elohim will make you a scandal, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations of the earth. Elohim will restrain the skies. (v.43) The stranger who is within you will get up very high above you; and you will come down very low. (v.44) He will lend to you, and you will not lend to him. (v.21) Elohim will make you perish, and will consume you from off the face of the land, wherever you may go-forth to possess.
Moshe’s Final Words and Postscript
(Deut.31:2) I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out (and) come in before you. And Elohim said to me. You will not go over this Yarden. (v.3) Yehoshua, who stands before you, he will go over Yarden, and he will (v.7) come with you to the good land where you (pl) go to possess. (v.6) Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid: for Elohim Eloheinu he is the one who goes before you.
These are the words that Moshe commanded all the children of Yisrael, according to the mouth of YHWH, in the plains of Moav before his death.
Elohim’s Ten Words (Commandments)
I: I am Elohim Eloheinu, who liberated you from the land of Mitzraim, from the house of bondage. You (pl) will have no other Elohim. You will not make for you (pl) any hewn image, or any likeness of anything that is in (the) sky above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: you will not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: I am Elohim Eloheinu.
II: (Ex.20:11) [. . .] In six days I made sky and earth, and all that in them is, and I rested the seventh day: so (Ex.23:12) you also will rest, you, and your cattle and all that you have. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
III: Honor your father and your mother. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
IV: You will not ki[ll] the [s]oul of your brother. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
V: You will not commit adultery with the wife of your neighbor. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
VI: You will not steal the property of your brother. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
VII: (Lev.19:12) You will not swear by my name falsely for I will visit with zealous anger the iniquity of the father upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who take my name falsely. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
VIII: You (pl) will not bear false witness against your brother. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
IX: You will not desire the wife of [. . .] your brother, his man-servant, or his maidservant, or anything that is his. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
X: (Lev. 19:17) You will not hate your brother in your heart. I am Elohim Eloheinu.
(Deut.5 22) These Ten Words Elohim thus spoke.
 (My attempted restorations are from the RSV.) Cf. Deut. 1:17… us he has brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, …
 The text actually reads "committed adultery" (alternate translations are from Allegro).
 RSV Num. 14:22in Egypt and in the wilderness
 Or, “generation.”
 “Will be wasted out from …”
 Jazer in the RSV.
 Deut. 28:13: if you obey the commandments of the Elohim that I command you this day . . . etc.
 Deut. 27:16 YLB: Cursed [is] He who is making light of his father and his mother.
 Let the reader note the differences between the canonized commandments and these in the Shapira; and let us also remind the reader that this set may well be the more ancient, even pre-exilic account.
 One strip adds, that your days may be prolonged.