The 1,300-year-old fragments, which are among only a handful of Hebrew biblical manuscripts known to have survived the era in which they were written, existed separately and with their relationship unknown, until a news photograph of one’s public unveiling in 2007 caught the attention of the scholars who would eventually link them.
Together, they make up the text of the Song of the Sea, sung by jubilant Israelites after fleeing slavery in Egypt and witnessing the destruction of the pharaoh’s armies in the Red Sea.
“The enemy said: ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil. My lust shall be satisfied upon them, I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them,'” reads the song, which appears in the Book of Exodus. “Thou didst blow thy wind, the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.”