Who is the 'son of god' in 4Q246? an overlooked example of early biblical interpretation

Michael Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Aramaic Apocalypse of Daniel (4Q246) has been the subject of intense debate among scholars, primarily surrounding the enigmatic epithets "son of God" and "son of the Most High." Previous interpreters have suggested either that this character is a human sovereign with divine pretensions or that he is a divine messianic figure. The current study posits a new identification of this figure based upon the analysis of the biblical texts underlying this Qumran scroll: in addition to its dependence upon Dan 7 (which has been previously recognized), 4Q246 also contains a hitherto overlooked allusion to Ps 82. In light of the relationship to these biblical passages, it is proposed that the character described as "son of God/the Most High" should be taken as the heavenly representative of the penultimate kingdom in Dan 7. The identification of the allusion to Ps 82 within 4Q246 also enriches our analysis of Dan 7 itself, since the Qumran scroll demonstrates that early readers of the apocalyptic vision posited a literary-theological connection between Dan 7 and Ps 82. These texts together formed a cluster of related biblical passages that were read and interpreted in concert by ancient authors.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)289-312
Number of pages24
JournalDead Sea Discoveries
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2014


  • 4Q246
  • Daniel 7
  • Psalm 82
  • Son of God
  • apocalyptic
  • biblical interpretation


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