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The Community Rule (1QS)

Chapter 4

This is the Rule for an Assembly of the Congregation

CR 4:1   Each man shall sit in his place: the Priests shall sit first, and the elders second, and all the rest of the people according to their rank.  And thus shall they be questioned concerning the Law, and concerning any counsel or matter coming before the Congregation, each man bringing his knowledge to the Council of the Community.

CR 4:2   No man shall interrupt a companion before his speech has ended, nor speak before a man of higher rank; each man shall speak in his turn.  And in an Assembly of the Congregation no man shall speak without the consent of the Congregation, nor indeed of the Guardian of the Congregation.  Should any man wish to speak to the Congregation, yet not be in a position to question the Council of the Community, let him rise to his feet and say: ‘I have something to say to the Congregation.’ If they command him to speak, he shall speak.

CR 4:3   Every man, born of Israel, who freely pledges himself to join the Council of the Community shall be examined by the Guardian at the head of the Congregation concerning his understanding and his deeds.  If he is fitted to the discipline, he shall admit him into the Covenant that he may be converted to the truth and depart from all falsehood; and he shall instruct him in all the rules of the Community.  And later, when he comes to stand before the Congregation, they shall all deliberate his case, and according to the decision of the Council of the Congregation he shall either enter or depart.  After he has entered the Council of the Community he shall not touch the pure Meal of the Congregation until one full year is completed, and until he has been examined concerning his spirit and deeds; nor shall he have any share of the property of the Congregation.  Then when he has completed one year within the Community, the Congregation shall deliberate his case with regard to his understanding and observance of the Law.  And if it be his destiny, according to the judgement of the Priests and the multitude of the men of their Covenant, to enter the company of the Community, his property and earnings shall be handed over to the Bursar of the Congregation who shall register it to his account and shall not spend it for the Congregation.  He shall not touch the Drink of the Congregation until he has completed a second year among the men of the Community.  But when the second year has passed, he shall be examined, and if it be his destiny, according to the judgement of the Congregation, to enter the Community, then he shall be inscribed among his brethren in the order of his rank for the Law, and for justice, and for the pure Meal; his property shall be merged and he shall offer his counsel and judgement to the Community.

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