Scholars owe new Dead Sea Scrolls reading to Google
The word “El” appears close to the phrase “tent of Shem,” and might indicate that the intent was to “Hashem” as a synonym for God. By comparing this text with another of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the scholars have come up with another interpretation. The scholars believe that the word “tent” can be interpreted as “land,” and that the text may mean that Hashem (God) lives in the “land of Shem.” Thus, Canaan invaded a land that was not his, and that was the reason his descendants were exiled, not because of his father’s sin.
This interpretation is also known from the Apocryphal Book of Jubilees, which survived in the Ethiopian sacred language of Gez and in Greek. There, it also states that Canaan’s sin was in taking the land in a manner different than the way Noah had intended to divide it, ignoring his brothers’ warning not to do so. “Whoever wrote this text knew this interpretation from the Book of Jubilees,” Ariel said. The conclusion is that this alternative tradition to the biblical version was common in the Judean Desert in Second Temple times and later disappeared.
The passage after the Noah story goes on to describe Abraham’s visit by three messengers, who tell him Sodom and Gomorrah are to be destroyed. All attempts to connect the passages into a continuous story have failed, leading scholars to conclude that this was originally a collection of interpretations of Genesis stories.
Yuditsky goes even further, suggesting that “all these segments talk about places where the bad guys lose. In their time, the Judean Desert people saw as the victors their enemies, the Pharisees and the Sadducees whom they believed were distorting the true Torah. This text might have been to prove that the bad guys might have good periods, but in the end they are punished.”