CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - In honor of the nation's 60th anniversary, the Israel Museum put a 2,100-year-old scroll on display for the next two months.
The scroll, written by the Jewish prophet Isaiah, was removed in 1967, after two years of public display. For the past 40 years, the scroll has been stored in a temperature- and humidity-controlled dark room.
Of the 220 biblical scrolls, known collectively as the Dead Sea Scrolls, this scroll is the only complete one.
In 1947, Mohammed al-Dib, a Bedouin shepherd entered a cave at Qumran to see what caused the clinking noise from a stone he threw inside to coax a goat out. Al-Dib found seven scrolls housed in pottery jars.
Al-Dib sold the scrolls to two Bethlehem-based antiquities dealers, who in turn sold three to Hebrew University Archaeology Department head Eliezer Sukenik.
Four other scrolls, among them the Isaiah scroll, were sold to Anastasius Samuel, head of the Syrian Greek Orthodox Church in east Jerusalem, who smuggled them to the US.
After several unsuccessful years of trying to find buyers for the scrolls in America, Samuel ran an ad in the paper.
Sukenik's son, archaeologist Yigael Yadin, who was Israel's second chief of staff, happened to be in the States, saw the ad.
Knowing that Samuel would never sell the scrolls to an Israeli Jew, Yadin used an intermediary to purchase the four scrolls for $250,000.
*Originally posted May 13, 2008.