Much has been written about the Beatitudes and I can hardly summarize it all here. However, I thought I’d draw attention to a particular Dead Sea Scroll fragment some scholars think has significance for understanding Jesus’ teaching.
In 4Q525 Frags. 2 col. ii + 3 we read:
1 with a pure heart, and does not slander with his tongue. Blank Blessed are those who adhere to her laws, and do not adhere 2 to perverted paths. Blank Bles[sed] are those who rejoice in her, and do not burst out in paths of folly. Blank Blessed are those who search for her 3 with pure hands, and do not pursue her with a treacherous [heart.]Blank Blessed is the man who attains Wisdom, Blank and walks 4 in the law of the Most High, and directs his heart to her ways, Blank and is constrained by her discipline and alwa[ys] takes pleasure in her punishments; 5 and does not forsake her in the hardship of [his] wrong[s,] and in the time of anguish does not abandon her, and does not forget her [in the days of] terror, 6 and in the distress of his soul does not loathe [her. Blank] For he always thinks of her, and in his distress he meditates [on her, and in all 7 his life [he thinks] of her, [and places her] in front of his eyes in order not to walk on paths […] 8 […] together, and on her account eats away his heart […] 9 […] … and with kings it shall make [him s]it […] 10 [with] his [sc]eptre over … […] brothers … […] 11 […] Blank […] 12 [And] now, sons, lis[ten to … and do] not reject […] 13 […] … the evil of […]What is striking here is that not only do we find Beatitudes, but that we find some that are in many ways similar to the ones pronounced by Jesus. Evans highlights some of the parallels:
“[Blessed is he who walks] with a pure heart” (4Q525 2:1).Moreover, Puech has argued that the fragment originally contained 8 + 1, mirroring what we find in Matthew 5, a view picked up by Evans as well as VanderKam and Flint.
“Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matt 5:8)
“Bles[sed] are those who rejoice in her” (4Q525 2:2)
“Blessed are you when men revile you . . . rejoice and be glad” (Matt 5:11–12)
Blessed is the man who . . . in the distress [or ‘meekness’] of his soul, does not despise her” (4Q525 2:3–6)
“In the meekness [or ‘meekness’] of righteousness bring forth [your] words. . .” (4Q525 4:20)
“Blessed are the meek” (Matt 5:5).
Furthermore, as one continues to read, it seems apparent that 4Q525 is linked with eschatological terminology used in other sectarian texts. This has led some to see the fragment as relating an eschatological vision, something also suggested by the references to affliction, e.g., the eschatological tribulation, a theme my co-blogger Brant Pitre has examined a great deal.
All of this is interesting and leads to a broader backdrop which potentially shines more light on the implications of Jesus’ Beatitudes. As Flint writes, “One contribution of 4Q525 is . . . to show that the structure of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 most likely was familiar to many Jews in the first century b.c.e.”
 Craig Evans, “Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran Cave 4,” in Eschatology, Messianism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature; eds. C. A. Evans and P. W. Flint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 95.
 Craig Evans, Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 142.
 See É. Puech, “4Q525 et les péricopes des Béatitudes en Ben Sira et Matthieu,” Revue biblique 138 (1991): 90-106; James VanderKam and Peter Flint, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus and Christianity (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002), 336-338; Peter Flint, “Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in The Historical Jesus in Context (eds. A.J. Levine, D. C. Allison, and J.D. Crossan; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 124–25.
 Jacqueline C. R. de Roo, “Is 4Q525 a Qumran Sectarian Document?,” in The Scrolls and the Scriptures: Qumran Fifty Years Later (eds. S. Porter and C. A. Evans; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1997), 338–367.
 Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of the Exile (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005).
 Flint, “Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 124.