4QMMT/The Halakhic Letter
Dead Sea Scrolls

feared [the To]rah was saved from troubles, and to those who were seekers of the Law, their iniquities were [par]doned. Remember David, that he was a man of piety, and that he was also saved from many troubles and pardoned. We have also written to you (sing.) concerning some of the observances of the Law (miqsat ma‘ase ha-Torab), which we think are beneficial to you and your people. For [we have noticed] that prudence and knowledge of the Law are with you. Understand all these (matters) and ask Him to straighten your counsel and put you far away from thoughts of evil and the counsel of Belial. Consequently, you will rejoice at the end of time when you discover that some of our sayings are true. And it will be reckoned for you as righteousness when you perform what is right and good before Him, for your own good and for that of Israel.

Romans 4:9

New Testament

4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin.” 9 Is this blessedness then for the circumcision or also for the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised!

 Notes and References

"... Nowhere does Paul, in his exposition of this scheme, mention Solomon, Jeroboam, or Zedekiah. He does, though, mention David, in a very similar fashion to MMT C25f. In Romans 4.6–8, he cites David in support of his primary contention, that the family of Abraham is marked out by faith, not works of Torah. David, he says, speaks of the blessing that comes on one to whom God ‘reckons righteousness apart from works’, and he quotes Psalm 31.1 (LXX) to prove the point: in the Psalm, David speaks of forgiveness, of God not ‘reckoning’ or calculating one’s sin ... What, then, is Paul attacking under the label ‘works of the law’? Not, we must insist, what one might call proto-Pelagianism, the belief that one must earn one’s justification and salvation by unaided good works. Nor, we note, is he attacking the idea that true religion is about outward observances rather than inward attitudes. That caricature of Paul has become so popular that Paul is still sometimes criticised as though he had anticipated Luther, or even Kant. But nor, more importantly for the present discussion, is he attacking the sort of extra-biblical halakoth which feature in most of MMT: detailed commands concerning animal fetuses, observing certain purity laws relating to streams of liquid, and so on ... Rather, Paul is denying that the basic biblical commands, which in his day were the most obvious defining marks of Israel over against the nations, are of any continuing relevance in defining the true people of God, the people in and for whom the promises of Deuteronomy, and for that matter the promises to Abraham, were now coming true ..."

Wright, N. T. 4QMMT and Paul: Justification, ‘Works,’ and Eschatology (pp. 104-132) T&T Clark, 2006

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