About the Author(s)

Ananda Geyser-Fouché Email
Department Old Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Geyser-Fouché, A., 2016, ‘Cultural stereotyping of the lady in 4Q184 and 4Q185’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 72(4), a3469. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3469

Project leader: A.B. Geyser-Fouché

Project number: 1258230

Description: This research is part of the project, ‘Second Temple Literature and Qumran’, directed by Dr Ananda Geyser-Fouché of the Department Old Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria.

Original Research

Cultural stereotyping of the lady in 4Q184 and 4Q185

Ananda Geyser-Fouché

Received: 06 May 2016; Accepted: 10 June 2016; Published: 25 Oct. 2016

Copyright: © 2016. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Wisdom and wickedness as a ‘Woman’ have always attracted much discussion, especially in the ways images of the female are employed in wisdom literature. This article focuses on two Qumran texts that fall into the category of wisdom literature, namely 4Q184 and 4Q185, and the metaphorical appropriation of the woman as a figure of wisdom or a figure of wickedness. By combining a number of traditions in certain forms, sages tried to establish an education for their learners on how to obtain wisdom with the ultimate purpose of creating harmony. The ultimate purpose of the wisdom teachings of the sages was to confirm the harmony in the universe, and these teachings were also conveyed to their learners. In their instructions, they often employed binary opposites such as ‘wise’ and ‘fool’ according to which someone was characterised, or rather stereotyped. The result of such binary stereotyping was that the ‘whore’ and the ‘holy one’ represented opposite poles, and became fixed images in Judaism. According to feminist exegetes, these images typify the concept of cultural stereotyping. This article aims to illustrate that two Qumran texts, 4Q184 and 4Q185, regarded as wisdom texts, employ the female stereotypes that were known in the wisdom literature of Judaism.


Wisdom and wickedness as a ‘Woman’ have always attracted much discussion, especially in the ways that images of the female are presented in wisdom literature.1 The Qumran texts of 4Q184 and 4Q185, regarded as wisdom texts, also make use of these images, and employ them in a metaphorical manner. In this article, I will analyse these texts by looking at a concept that originates from the side of feminist exegetes, namely the concept of cultural stereotyping. Therefore, it is necessary to begin with an explanation of the theoretical background of what may be understood as cultural stereotyping.

The theoretical background of cultural stereotyping

The idea of cultural stereotyping originates from feminist circles. Christl Maier (2014) draws connections between cultural stereotyping and wisdom literature. She (Maier 2014:77) combines the approaches of feminist criticism and ideology criticism and notes the tendency in wisdom literature to generate types of human characters, which she calls cultural stereotypes.2 Maier (2014:78) then refers to Lippmann’s (1898–1974) definition of stereotyping: ‘[stereotyping is] an ordered, more or less consistent picture of the world, to which our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts and our hopes have adjusted themselves’. According to Maier (2014:78–79), people need stereotyping in order to cope with the complexities of society, but stereotyping also tends towards ‘othering’ people, ‘that is, distinguishing individuals or a group from oneself through negative assessments … and reduces people to those characteristics’ (Maier 2014:78).

Newsom (1989:148) mentions the patriarchal discourse in which the self is male; the logical consequence is then that the woman becomes the typical ‘other’. The figure of the female functions pretty well for defining the significant ‘other’ because of her ambivalence: ‘… both frightening and attractive. Her words are described as “smooth,” a term that suggests both pleasure and danger’. Thus, the woman as the ‘other’ functions not only to indicate borders but also to detect what must be suppressed and what must be excluded in a particular culture.

Fontaine (2002:12) refers to female stereotypes in the wisdom texts. Women in the wisdom books are stereotypical representations who are: ‘good wives, devoted mothers, wicked prostitutes, slick adulteresses, hard-working slaves and lusty daughters to be controlled’. These stereotypes of women were the topic of conversation among the sages who presumably composed most of the book of Proverbs by gathering and editing oral traditions into a collection of wisdom instructions for young men (cf. Fontaine 2002:12). She (Fontaine 2002:24) then asks the following question: ‘Did our Sages ever recognize their own role – and that of their fellows – in creating the very stereotyped predatory female behaviors that they later decry?’ Words are important, says Fontaine, because we live by words. With words we inflict meaning and construct worlds, and a saying like ‘words do not have meaning’ is only used when someone is desperate in an argument.

Fontaine (2002:97) then touches upon the matter of gender, and remarks that ‘… gender matters for interpretive work because it constitutes a category in those things being interpreted’. ‘Woman Wisdom’ and ‘Woman Stranger’ are such categories. Although they are literary constructs, they also originate from an oral tradition ‘with its tales, lullabies, love songs and proverbial teachings about gender. We should not be inordinately surprised then to find that Wisdom’s ‘story’ is fleshed out along the lines of traditional storytelling, and told largely from the perspective of the male hero!’ (Fontaine 2002:99).

Cultural stereotyping develops from concepts in a particular culture. Fontaine (2002:150) refers to folklore studies and says that the way certain folk genres were used in ‘proverbs, riddles, jokes, legends, etc.,’ portrays true values and ideologies of that culture. She says both the large and small folk genres give an idea of a culture’s way of imposing and giving meaning to their society.

Carol Newsom considers the influence of ideology upon cultural stereotyping. Ideology ‘recruits subjects’, says Newsom (1989:143). Stereotypes are construed by means of a specific ideology. She adds that a specific ideology addresses someone and the moment that that person responds to being addressed, he or she becomes the subject of that ideology. The same applies to a text developed from a specific ideology. She then refers to the symbolic way in which women are portrayed to represent a certain construct in a patriarchal discourse and she emphasises that this construct is confirmed as long as only men carry the society’s discourse. The moment that women enter the discourse, the symbolic representation becomes confused because a woman cannot have ‘the same symbolic relation to herself that she does to a man’ (Newsom 1989:155).

Personified wisdom and wickedness as a form of cultural stereotyping

These images of women appear in all wisdom texts and are covered by studies on personified wisdom3 but also its counterpart, namely wickedness or folly.

According to Baumann (2014:57–58), personified wisdom appears in three Old Testament writings, namely Proverbs 1–9, Sirach (Ecclessiasticus) and the Wisdom of Solomon. According to her, Job 284 and Baruch 3:9–4:4 do not qualify as examples of personified wisdom, because in these texts, wisdom appears as an entity without personal characteristics whilst the former texts portray wisdom as a person who can speak and act. The grammatical gender for wisdom in both Hebrew and Greek is feminine, and because of the feminine personification of Wisdom, she is often called ‘Lady Wisdom’. Baumann (2014) says:

The expansion of an earlier image of God, dominated by masculine aspects, to include the missing feminine side may help account for this feminine portrayal of Wisdom. Personified Wisdom appears in different social and literary contexts and can be viewed as one of the most fascinating literary creations of the Bible, especially in relation to the question of a feminine image of God. (p. 57)

Personified wisdom that presents negative images of women seems to occur more frequently in androcentric texts. Baumann (2014:75) then cautions:

Today’s female readers of these androcentric texts should not allow themselves to be pushed into the less attractive alternative of either identifying themselves with the male addressees or with the devalued and even demonized women in the texts.

Maier (1998:99) agrees that an androcentric stance of a text becomes obvious when the woman is depicted as an adulteress, because in the mind of the (androcentric) author, the woman only belongs (like an item or possession) to one man, first her father and then her husband. Maier (2012:264) also refers to the ‘other’ woman in Proverbs 7 and Proverbs 9 and says that she does not only symbolise a woman who is ethnically different. The reference to adultery as a crime may indicate that the ‘other woman’ characterises every woman who does not keep to social teachings. That ‘[o]ther as a chiffre connotes something mysterious and at the same time nonnormative’ (Maier 2012:264).

Thus, evidently, these androcentric texts originated in an androcentric society where men played a dominant role. Newsom (1989:145–146) concurs with this observation in her discussion of personified wisdom (Ḥokmot) as it appears in Proverbs 1 and 8. She considers this wisdom to be the expansion and consequence of the ‘cultural voice’. The authoritative voice in the family is the father, and personified wisdom is the matching feminine voice in the public sphere (streets, public squares). The places that she resides in (entrance of gates and city) are representative of ‘collective authority and power’ (Newsom 1989:146). In Newsom’s opinion, however, personified wisdom as characterised by a woman is not necessarily destructive. On the more positive side, she also has the power to prevent ruination (Proverbs 1:26–33).


According to Maier (2014:78), wisdom literature was part of a cultural tradition in the ancient Near East that aimed at establishing harmony and order in creation. The sages appropriated a number of literary traditions in their education in order to convey this wisdom to their learners. Maier notes a certain peculiarity in these writings, namely the tendency to make use of binary pairs, ‘such as “wise” and “fool”’. In describing certain deeds and thoughts of a ‘wise’ or a ‘foolish’ person, the proverbial sayings characterise them as types or rather as stereotypes (Maier 2014:78). Such stereotypes become permanent or fixed images in a culture, which Maier (2014:79) defines as cultural stereotypes. She (Maier 2014:92) also refers to the reception history of female characters and says that binary stereotyping and the cultural stereotyping of women eventually led to the polarisation of the ‘whore’ and the ‘holy one’.

It is clear that such standard images existed in the wisdom literature of Judaism. The wisdom writers employed cultural stereotyping to teach or to express a certain message to the readers. Much has been published on the personification of wisdom and/or folly and furthermore the ways in which biblical wisdom literature made use of cultural stereotyping to create metaphors of ‘Lady Wisdom’ or ‘Madame Folly’ with which the readers could associate or disassociate received attention as well. In this article, I want to examine two Qumran texts (4Q184 and 4Q185) that also employed these female figures.

The image of the woman in 4Q184 (this text is commonly known as: ‘the wiles of the wicked woman’) is a very negative image, inclining towards Madame Folly, while the woman in 4Q185 is in general portrayed more positively. 4Q185 is a fairly longer work than 4Q184, with three columns of the text preserved, but for the argument of this article, only 4Q185 Frags 1–2, II: 8–15 will be discussed. Because the attempt of identifying cultural stereotyping depends very much on the wording of the text, I consider it necessary to start by determining the appropriate text and also giving a translation of it.

4Q184 and 4Q1855

Both these texts form part of the wisdom corpus at Qumran, even though they are not part of the collection that was named 4QInstruction.6 Therefore, it may help to refer briefly to the broad characteristics of the wisdom literature at Qumran in general.

4Q184 and 4Q185 as part of Qumran wisdom

4Q184 and 4Q185 are both reckoned as wisdom literature in the Qumran corpus. They do differ from 4QInstruction, but they also share some general characteristics. The wisdom literature of Qumran shares features with apocalyptic literature as well as with biblical wisdom (Collins 1997a:118).7,8 ‘These include supernatural revelation, eschatological judgment and a deterministic conception of the cosmos’ (Goff 2009:308).

The wisdom of Qumran, just like any other wisdom literature, is a combination of practical advice, and theoretical and theological reflections. For example, family relations are based on order, and believed to be God-given. Parents are honoured because they revealed the mysteries to their children. However, these insights are augmented with perspectives from apocalypticism and eschatology. A key concept in which both notions of wisdom and apocalypse are contained is raz niyeh. This concept is used not only in 4QInstruction but also in the Book of Mysteries (1Q27) (Harrington 1996:48, 71). Although this term is not used in 4Q184 and 4Q185, it is necessary to reckon it as a fundamental feature of Qumran wisdom thoughts. Collins (1997a:118) also refers to this concept and says that the addressee in the wisdom texts is repeatedly told to ‘gaze at the mystery to be’ (raz niyeh). Collins (1997b:128, 131, 228) emphasises the fact that wisdom literature from Qumran seems to be a combination of apocalyptic literature and wisdom literature. It seems that the addressee in these texts is poor, but unlike 1 Enoch 92–105, there is no anger towards the rich.

Toraweisheit is also considered to be a key aspect of Qumran wisdom,9 as well as ye’ser or human inclination.10 Harrington (1996) summarises Qumran wisdom as follows:

Perhaps the most striking contribution of the Qumran wisdom texts is their insistence on wisdom as a gift from God and on the need for understanding the ‘mystery that is to be/come’. According to Psalm 154, ‘wisdom is given to make known the glory of God’. According to 4Q185, ‘God gave her to Israel, and with a good measure He measures her out’. (p. 83)

4Q184 Text11 and translation

1[הזון]12 ה תוציא הבל וב[ ·· . ]א תועות תשחר תמיֹד֗[ ל]שנן13דבר֗י֗[ה . ·· ]14

2וקלס תחל֗[י]ק ולהליץ יחד בש[וא]15 עול . לבה יכין פחוז16 וכליותיה מק֗[ ·· . ]17

3בעול נגעל֗י ה֗וה18 תמכו שוח . רגליה֗ לה֗ר֗שיע ירדו וללכת בא֗שמות[ פשע19 ·· . ]

4מוסדי חושך רוב20 פשעים בכנפיה [ ]ה תועפות לילה . ומלבשיה[ ·· ]

5מכסיה אפלות נשף֗ ועדיה נגועי שח֗ת . ערשיה{{י֗צ֗ו֗ע֗י֗ה֗}} יצועי שח֗ת֗[ ·· ]

6מעמקי בור . מלונותיה משכבי חושך ובאישני ליל[ה מם]שלותיה21 . ממוסדי אפ֗ל֗ו֗ת֗

7תאהל שבת ותש֗כון באהלי דומה בתוך מוקדי עולם . ואין נחלתה בתוך בכול֗

8מאזרי22 {{°}}נוגה . וה֗יאה ראש֗ית כ֗וֹל דרכ֗י֗ עול הוי הוה לכול נוחליה ושדדה לכ[ול]

9תו֗מכי בה כיא דרכיה דרכי מות ואורחותיה שבילי חטאת מעגלותיה משגות

10עול ונתיבו[תי]ה֗ אשמות פשע . ש֗עריה שע֗רי מות בפתח ביתה תצעד . שאו֗[לה]23

11כ֗[ו]ל֗[ ·· ]ישובון24 . וכול נוחליה ירדו שחת . וה֗[י]א֗ במסתרים תארוב °[ ·· ]

12כו֗ל֗[ ·· ]ב֗רחובות עיר תתעלף ובשערי֗ קריות תתיצב ואין להרג[יעה . ]

13מה[ ]ת֗ ת֗°°°[ ]25 עיניה הנה וה֗נה ישכילו וע֗פעפיה בפחז תרים לראו[ת לא]י֗ש֗

14צדיק ותשיגהו ואיש֗[ ע]צ֗ום ותכשיל֗הו ישרים להטות דרך ולבחורי צדק֗

15מנצור מצוה סמוכי °[]°26 להביל בפחז והולכי ישר להשנות ח[וק] להפשיע

16ענוים מאל ולהטות פעמיהם מדרכי צדק להביא זד֗[ו]ןֹ °[ ]27 ב֗מה בל ע֗רוכי[ם ·· ]28

17במעגלי יושר֗ להשגות אנוש בדרכי שוחה ולפתות בחלקות בני איש .

(1) [29] She produces futility and in […] perversions she seeks diligently continually to teach diligently30 the words of [her mouth31 (2)] and derision and she smoothens and she derides (the) community32 with worthless iniquity. Her heart prepare his traps and her kidneys [nets. Her eyes33] (3) are defiled with iniquity. Her hands34 take hold of the pit, her feet go down to act wickedly and to walk in crimes [. Transgression … (4) …] (are) foundations of darkness,35 and a lot of transgressions are in her wings. Her […] are gloom of night and her cloths […] (5) Her veils are shadows of the twilight and her adornments are plagues of the pit. Her beds {her couches} are couches of the pit […] (6) depths of the cistern. Her lodging places are couches of darkness, and in the midst of night is her realm. From the foundations of darkness (7) she pitches to dwell and she dwells in tents of silence in the midst of eternal fire. She has no inheritance among all (8) those who shine36 {.} bright light. And she is the beginning of all the paths of injustice. Alas, she is for all that inherit her and she destroy/ruin all (9) those that grasp her because her roads are roads of death and her ways are paths of sin. Her trails lead astray (10) towards iniquity, and her pathways to the guilt of transgression. Her gates are gates of death in the entrance of her house treads Sheol.37 (11) All those [who go to her will not38] return and all those who inherit her, they will go down to the pit. And she lies awaiting in secret places […] (12) [….]All […] in the city squares she veils herself, at the gates of the city she stations herself and there is no rest for her (13) from (her) incessant [fornicat]ing)39 […] […]her eyes (goes) hither and thither (for) the wise and her eyelids with wantonness she exalts to spot a (14) just ma[n] and to overtake him and a mighty man to make him stumble; the straight to turn (from) the path; and the righteous young man/elect (15) from keeping the commandment; the ones that are steady of [mind]40 to let those that walk straight be ridiculous with wantonness and to let them change the ordinance. To let (16) the humble/poor turn against God and to let their steps turn from the paths of justice to bring presumpt[uous]ness [in their hearts41] so that they do not walk42 (17) in the paths of straightness. To let go astray humanity to the paths of the pit and to deceive with smoothness the sons of man.

4Q185 (Frags 1–2, II, line 8–15) text and translation

8מה ת°43 [ ]°°[ ·· ]לפניו תצא רעה֗ לכל עם . אשרי אדם נתנה לו

9מ֗ן֗ א°[ ·· ]°ד֗44. ואל י֗תהלל[ו] ר֗שעים ל֗א֗מור לא י֗מ֗נֹה45

10לי ולא[ ·· .46 ]לישראל ומ֗מ֗ד֗[ת ט]ב ימדה֗47 ו֗כ֗ל עמו֗ ג֗אל

11והרג ש°°°°[ ·· . ]אב֗[ ·· ]48 יאמר המתמ֗°°°49בה יש֗א֗נה[ . ]50 שה

12ומצאה ו֗°[]°51בה֗ יכ֗יֹלה֗52 ועמה[ ·· ]מים53ורשף֗ עי֗נ֗י֗ם54 ושמחת לבב ע°[ ·· ]55

13וחסדיו ע֗למיה ויש֗ו֗עו֗ת °[ ·· ]°° .56 אשרי אדם יעשנה ולא יאל על֗[ ]ו[ ]57

14מרמה לא יבקשנה ובחלקות לא֗ י֗ח֗זֹיקנה . כן תתן לאבתיוֹ כן ירשנה֗[ ·· ]°°[ ]58

15בכל עוז כחו ובכל [ ]°ו59 לאין חק֗ר֗ . ויורישנה לצאצאיו ידעתי לעמ[ש]וב60.

(8) what […] […]. before him (she) evil will go out to the whole nation. Blessed is the man to whom she (wisdom) has been given to, (9)61 the son of ma[n …]… The wrongdoers/wicked should not boast saying: She has not been given62 (10) to me and not[…. God has given her63] to Israel and a good measure he measured. And he saved his whole people (11) but he destroyed (killed) those who hate [his wi]sdo[m…].64 Whoever glories in her, should say: One should take her and one should possess/inherit her (12) and find her; and hold her with force and get her as inheritance65; because with her there is extended days and fatness of bone66 and joy of the heart […] (13) and his mercies are her everlastingness or futurity and his67 salvation […] Blessed is the man who does (utilise) her and (who) does not slander against [her] and who [with a spir]it68 (14) of deceit does not seek her, nor holds onto her with smoothness or flattery. As she was given to his fathers, so will he inherit her [and he will cling] onto her69 (15) with all the might of his strength and with all […] without (any) questioning. And he will let his descendants inherit her. And I know the dist[ress (it takes) to do go]od.70

Cultural stereotyping in 4Q184 and 4Q185

The depiction of the woman in 4Q184 was composed in the shadow of the Foreign Woman in Proverbs 1–971; however, there were some modifications. These modifications complicate the text, especially with regard to how it should be understood. Personified wisdom (in this case contra-wisdom) in 4Q184 seems to come and go. There is no clear indication when the woman is physical and when she typifies personified wisdom, and it is quite clear that the image is overall very negative. The female figure in 4Q185 seems to relate to the personified wisdom in Proverbs 9:1–6 and 31:10–31 where she is portrayed in a more positive light. However, whether the portrayal is positive or negative, it is clear that the sages employed certain concepts and images of the feminine in their Judaic culture in order to convey their message. The strong patriarchal and androcentric elements of this culture can be seen in phrases like: ‘inherit/been given/hold/cling/grasp’ (4Q184: 7; 8; 9; 4Q185: 8; 11; 12; 14; 15). These phrases depict the woman as a possession that can be held or inherited. This cultural concept of the feminine became so strongly standardised that the image of a woman as a possession has been applied as a metaphor for wisdom or folly without questioning it.

Certain phrases that were used to depict wisdom or contra-wisdom correlate very much with the stereotyped images that Maier (2014)72 has discerned as cultural stereotyping. Negative concepts associated with non-wisdom are found in phrases like: ‘derision’ or ‘smooth words’ (4Q184:1;17; 4Q185:14); ‘traps … nets’ (4Q184:2); ‘defile’ or ‘iniquity’ or ‘crimes’ or ‘transgression’ or ‘injustice’ or ‘wickedness’ (4Q184: 2; 3;4; 8;); ‘destroy’ or ‘ruin’ (4Q184:2; 8; 11; 14); ‘let him stumble’ or ‘turn away from straight road’ or ‘change’ or ‘go astray’ or ‘deceive’ (4Q184: 8–17). The woman is imagined as a temptress who seduces the righteous (4Q184: 11–17) and whose ways are leading to perdition or Sheol (4Q184: 9–11), and therefore the portrayal of such a woman becomes a form of cultural stereotyping of the foolish.

Positive aspects associated with wisdom are concepts like: blessed is the person that she is given to (4Q185:8–10); YHWH saves the people that holds strongly onto her; the ones that glory in her (4Q185:11–15); she is an inheritance (wife) that must not be betrayed or deceived (4Q185: 8–15). These aspects are forms of cultural stereotyping of the wise. Both negative and positive aspects associated with ‘Woman’, are attempts of either instructing or warning the readers.

Concluding remarks

There is no clear indication whether the female figure(s) in 4Q184 or 4Q185 are physical women or personified wisdom, but most scholars are of the opinion that they are metaphors applied by sages to convey a message. The purpose of the image in 4Q184 within the Qumran community is also not clear. Most scholars agree that the image in 4Q185 is personified wisdom as we find it in Proverbs. I am of the opinion that these texts may have had a purpose of instructing or warning the Yaḥad but cannot say with any clarity what that purpose might have been.73

In these texts, it becomes clear that the sages (authors) were aware of cultural stereotypes and did not hesitate to implement the images and/or symbols from their database, because these images were useful for their purpose. Very subtly they referred to existing texts in the memory base of the community without quoting them verbatim. The ‘Lady’ (whether she is Lady Folly or Lady Wisdom) as a metaphor developed in a process of cultural stereotyping and became a standard image in Judaism. Without any doubt, the sages of both 4Q184 and 4Q185 made use of this standardised image. They adopted the method of binary opposition to stereotype particular female figures and consequently the ‘whore’ and the ‘holy one’ became polarised. Thus, existing cultural stereotypes, those images and/or symbols that were familiar to the community, served in order to convey a poignant message.


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.


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Maier, C.M., 2012, ‘Proverbs: How feminine wisdom comes into being’, in L. Schottroff & M. Wacker (eds.), A feminist biblical interpretation: A compendium of critical commentary on the cooks of the Bible and related literature, pp. 255–271, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Maier, C.M., 2014, ‘Good and evil woman in proverbs and job: The emergence of cultural stereotypes’, in N. Calduch-Bengages & C.M. Maier (eds.), The writings and later wisdom books, pp. 76–92, SBL Press, Atlanta, GA.

Newsom, C.A., 1989, ‘Woman and the discourse of patriarchal wisdom’, in P.L. Day (ed.), Gender and difference, pp. 142–160, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Tan, N.N.H., 2008, The ‘Foreignness’ of the Foreign Woman in Proverbs 1–9: A study of the origin and development of a biblical motif, De Gruyter, Berlin. (BZAW, 381).

Tigchelaar, E.J.C., 2001, To increase learning for the understanding ones: Reading and reconstructing the fragmentary early Jewish sapiential text. 4QInstruction, Brill, Leiden. (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, 44).

Tigchelaar, E.J.C., 2008, ‘Lady folly and her house in three Qumran manuscripts: On the relation between 4Q525 15, 5Q16, and 4Q184 1’, Revue de Qumran 23, 271–281.

Tigchelaar, E.J.C., 2010, ‘Constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing fragmentary manuscripts: Illustrated by a study of 4Q184 (4QWiles of the Wicked Woman)’, in M. Grossman (ed.), Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An assessment of old and new approaches and methods, pp. 26–47, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI.

Tigchelaar, E.J.C., 2012, ‘The poetry of the the wiles of the wicked woman (4Q184)’, Revue de Qumran, 100, 621–633.

Tigchelaar, E.J.C., 2015, ‘4QBeatitudes (with 4QWiles of the Wicked Woman)’, in A. Wright, R. Herms & B. Embry (eds.), Early Jewish literature: An introduction and reader, (9pages), Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI. (as obtained at https://www.academia.edu/499838/4QBeatitudes_with_4QWiles_of_the_Wicked_Woman_)


1. See inter alia Baumann (1996, 2014); Baumgarten (1991); Crawford (1998); Fontaine (1998, 2002); Ilan (2011), Lesley (2012); Maier (1995, 1998, 2012, 2014); Newsom (1989); Tan (2008).

2. See also Karre (1976).

3. See inter alia Baumann (1996, 2014), Maier (1995), and Collins (2004:497–502).

4. See also Crawford (1998:357).

5. Both texts are from Abegg (2001, as obtained from Bibleworks 9). I have compared these texts with the texts of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376, 378). I have marked in grey the places where they differ and have given the differences in a footnote. In the translation, I have specified in the footnotes where I have chosen the text versions of García Martínez and Tigchelaar. Unless otherwise specified, I have chosen the text variant that serves the context the best

6. See Tigchelaar (2001) and Goff (2013) for an in depth discussion on 4QInstruction.

7. See Collins (1997b:112–131) for a comparison between Qumran wisdom and biblical wisdom.

8. See Harrington (1996:15) for a list of the fragments of biblical wisdom literature (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach) that were found at Qumran.

9. See Harrington (1996:82) and Goff (2009:392) for a discussion of this aspect.

10. See Collins (1998:36) for a discussion of ye’ser in the Scrolls.

11. See also Tigchelaar’s (2012:12–13) poetically reconstructed text of 4Q184.

12. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) don’t have הזון[ה ]. If one has a look at PAM 43.432, it is clear that the beginning of the text is ruined so much that only a ה remained of the last part of the word. I think that it will not make sense to read any word in this lacuna, except if it can be qualified verbatim by another similar text.

13. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as וי]שנן ]. The pi’el infinitive constructus of שנן fits the best into this context.

14. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as […פיהי] דבר . Lesley (2012) has it as לשוניה . In this context, both words, ‘mouth’ or ‘tongue’, will fit.

15. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as עיל[וא תו]בש.

16. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376)have it as פחין

17. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376 have it as [שות עיניה ] מק

18. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as נגעלו ידיה

19. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) don’t have פשע

20. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as ורוב

21. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as אשלותיה [ ה]ליל

22. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as מאירי . In the context of Qumran (‘sons of light’), I think that ‘those that shine’ is a better reading than ‘those who are girded’.

23. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as[השאו[ל. See Tigchelaar’s (2008:378) discussion on why it is better to read Sheol here as a subject: ‘at the entrance of her house Sheol treads’

24. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as כ[ו]ל[ באיה בל ]ישובון

25. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as מה[זנו]ת תמיד

26. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as [ ה[לב.

27. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as ב[לב]במה

28. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376) have it as ידרוכו

29. Tigchelaar (2012) refers to the amount of words that was suggested for the first word of the fragment:

‘Several suggestions have been given for the first word of the fragment of which only the final he remains, such as הזונה (the harlot), האשה (the woman), נכריה (the strange woman) or מפיה (from her mouth)’ (p. 6).

Considering the fact that there is no consensus, I will rather not use any of the suggestions for this translation.

30. In this context, I do believe that ‘teach/speak diligently’ is the correct translation and not ‘sharpen’ as in most translations. The other Qumran texts in which it is used as ‘sharpen’ are most of the time in conjunction with a sword.

31. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

32. Reading of יחד in line 2 as ‘the Yah.ad’ has been widely adopted as it is common self-reference of the Qumran community, even though reference to the community is usually with an article( ה), Tigchelaar (2015:3) explicates it as the poetical feature and also as typical of the text of 4Q184 which has a non-article use.

33. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

34. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

35. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

36. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

37. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376)

38. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

39. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

40. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

41. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

42. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:376).

43. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as[…]…[…] תת

44. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as בן אד]ם …]עים ואל

45. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as נתנה

46. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as [ […אלהים נתנה

47. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as וכזבד [ט]וב זבדה

48. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as […שנאי[ח]כמ[תו

49. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as המתכבד

50. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as י[רו]שה

51. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as וח[ז]ק

52. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as ונחלה

53. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as [ ארך י] מים

54. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as ודשן עצם

55. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378) has it as [עש[ר וכבוד

56. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380) has it as …[…וישועות[יו

57. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380) has it as רגל על[יה וברו]ח

58. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380) has it as ירשה[ וחזק]בה

59. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380) has it as [מא]דו

60. García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380) has it as לעמ[ל לט]וב

61. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378).

62. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378).

63. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378).

64. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378).

65. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378).

66. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:378).

67. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380).

68. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380).

69. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380).

70. According to the text of García Martínez and Tigchelaar (1999:380).

71. See Tigchelaar (2008:379, as well as his other articles with regard to these texts: 2001, 2010, 2012, 2015).

72. On stereotyping in (inter-alia) Proverbs, Maier (2014) says the following:

The negative depiction of the ‘wicked’ (Heb. רשׁעים) may serve as an example: they speak violent words, and their mouth pours out evil (Prov 10:6, 11, 32; 11:9, 11; 12:6; 15:28; cf. Ps 73:8–9), their actions are deceptive or evil (Prov 11:18; 12:2, 10; 13:5; 21:7; cf. Job 10:3; Ps 37:14, 32), they bribe other people (Prov 17:23), they give treacherous counsel (Prov 12:5) and their ways lead others astray (Prov 12:26; 15:9). The aim of this dismissive characterisation of the ‘wicked’ is twofold. Firstly, the sages try to reveal violent actions and deceitful speech as detrimental to human relations. In contrasting such behaviour with the positive characterisation of the ‘righteous’, they intend to instruct their audience about socially accepted behaviour. Second, the stigmatisation of the ‘wicked’, especially the recurrent announcement of their well-deserved doom, aim at consoling the ‘righteous’ that the obvious thriving of the wicked will end soon (see Ps 37; 73) (p79).

73. In a following article, I will take a look at the possible purpose and/or identity of the ‘wicked’ woman in 4Q184.

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