Most variants were minor spelling differences, and none affected the meaning of the text.
One of the most respected Old Testament scholars, the late Gleason Archer, examined the two Isaiah scrolls found in Cave 1 and wrote, "Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text.
Scholars were anxious to confirm that these Dead Sea Scrolls were the most ancient of all Old Testament manuscripts in the Hebrew language. Unlike most of the scrolls that were written on leather or parchment, these were written on copper and provided directions to sixty-four sites around Jerusalem that were said to contain hidden treasure.
Three types of dating tools were used: tools from archaeology, from the study of ancient languages, called paleography and orthography, and the carbon-14 dating method. When all the methods arrive at the same conclusion, there is an increased reliability in the dating. Paleographers studied the style of writing and arrived at dates raging from the third century B. So far, no treasure has been found at the sites that have been investigated.
Mar Samuel recognized that the scrolls were written in Hebrew and suspected they may be very ancient and valuable. The majority of the texts were written in the Hebrew language, but there were also manuscripts written in Aramaic and Greek.
He eventually had the scrolls examined by John Trevor at the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR). After the initial discovery, archaeologists searched other nearby caves between 19. Since all the methods came to a similar conclusion, scholars are very confident in their assigned date for the texts. Among the eleven caves, Cave 1, which was excavated in 1949, and Cave 4, excavated in 1952, proved to be the most productive caves.
After much research, scholars found that the two texts were practically identical.
Thinking that his goat may have fallen into the cave, he threw rocks into the opening.
Instead of hearing a startled goat, he heard the shattering of clay pottery.
Lowering himself into the cave, he discovered several sealed jars. To his disappointment, he found them to contain leather scrolls.
He collected seven of the best scrolls and left the other fragments scattered on the ground.
The five percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling." Despite the thousand year gap, scholars found the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls to be nearly identical.