Lowering himself into the cave, he discovered several sealed jars. To his disappointment, he found them to contain leather scrolls.
Their studies of the Old Testament Scriptures led them to believe that God’s judgment upon Jerusalem was imminent and that the anointed one would return to restore the nation of Israel and purify their worship.
Anticipating this moment, the Essenes retreated into the Qumran desert to await the return of their Messiah.
This community, which began in the third century B.
C., devoted their days to the study and copying of sacred Scripture as well as theological and sectarian works.