In 1902, W.L. Nash acquired in Egypt, four fragments of papyrus, that make up the Nash Papyrus. These fragments were the oldest known portions of Hebrew biblical text, at that time. It was originally dated around 1st century BCE.  Since the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the dating has been moved back to 2nd century BCE. The Nash Papyrus fragments are of the Decalogue [What is termed the Ten Commandments] and the Shema  [HaDebariym (Deuteronomy) 6:4, “Hear Yisrael, YHWH Eloheiyka, YHWH is one (echad).”]. The Decalogue, is sometimes closer to the Masoretic text of Shemoth [Exodus] and sometimes that of HaDebariym. Other times it is closer to the Hebrew text that was used for the Septuagint translation. This is consistent with the findings of the Dead Sea Scroll, that the fixed Hebrew text, that the Masorites used,  had not been fixed yet and was still evolving. The Nash Papyrus is housed in the Cambridge University Library.









1   i am YHWH your elohey, who brought you out from the land of mitsrayim

2   you will have no other elohiym before my face. you will not make for yourself    
     an idol.

3   or any likeness of what is in the heavens above or on the earth beneath;

4   or in the water under the earth.  you will not worship them or

5   serve them; for i am YHWH your elohey,  a zealous el, visiting the iniquity

6   of the fathers on the sons, on the third and the fourth generations of those
     who hate me, but showing

7   kindness to thousands, to those who love me and keep my commandments. you
    will not bear the

8   name YHWH, your elohey, for YHWH will not cleanse whoever

9   bears his name for nothingness. remember the shabbath day, to keep it qadesh.

10 six days you will labor and do all your work,  and on the seventh day is

11 a shabbath of YHWH your elohey; in it you will not do any work, you

12 or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant, your ox,

     your ass, and all you cattle,

13 or your ger who stays with you. for in six days YHWH made

14 the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them

15 and rested on the seventh day; therefore YHWH blessed

16 the shabbath day and made it qadesheh [set apart]. honor your father and your
     mother, that

17 it may be well with you and that your days may be prolonged in the land which

18 YHWH your elohey gives you. you will not commit adultery.  you will not

     murder.  you will not

19  steal.  you will not bear against your neighbor worthlessness. you will not

20 the wife of your neighbor, you will not desire the house of your neighbor, his
     field, his male servant,

21 or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your

22 and these statutes and these rules that mosheh commanded to the sons

23 of yisrael, in the wilderness, when they went from the land of mitsrayim. hear

24 yisrael, YHWH your elohey, YHWH is one and you will love

25 YHWH your elohey with all your heart.


Kathryn QannaYahu