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SEREKH (Heb. סֶרֶך), word appearing in several places in the Talmud (Nid. 67b, passim), with the meaning "example," "habit," or "rule." It appears as almost a technical term in the *Qumran texts to denote the community's "rule" of life or some aspect of it, and is used practically as the title (or part of the title) of some of the community documents. Thus the Manual of *Discipline is "[the book of the ru]le of the community" ([sefer ser]ekh ha-yaḥad; 1qs 1:1), the rule of the congregation is "the rule for the whole congregation of Israel in the latter days" (ha-serekh le-khol adat Yisrael be-aḥarit ha-yamim; 1qsa 1:1), the *War Scroll is (probably) "[the book of the rule]of war" ([sefer serekh]ha-milḥamah). Both the noun and its cognate verb sarakh ("set in order") are particularly common in the War Scroll in the sense of military dispositions and the like. The officers are anshei ha-serekh (1qm 7:1; 13:1). The use of the term in other texts may be due to the members of the community regarding themselves as continually engaged in a holy war, against spiritual enemies if not against the mortal sons of darkness.

"This is the rule (serekh) for the men of the community" (1qs 5:1); "this is the rule (serekh) for all the hosts of the congregation" (1qsa 1:6); "this is the rule (serekh) for all the judges of the congregation" (cd 10:4); "this is the rule (serekh) for the session of the many" (1qs 6:8) – these are samples of the characteristic use of the word.


Y. Yadin, Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness (1962), 148ff. See also bibliography under *Discipline, Manual of; *War Scroll; *Yaḥad.

[Frederick Fyvie Bruce]