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    If we look at the world without God, it appears what it is-a magnificent, graduated combination of diverse classes of beings, connected causes and effects, well-calculated means and ends. But thus contemplated, the world as a whole remains a mystery. If, with the atheist, we lay aside the idea of God, then, notwithstanding the law of causation, which is grounded in our mental nature, we abandon the question of the origin of the world. If, with the pantheist, we transfer the idea of God to the world itself, then the effect is made to be as one with the cause-not, however, without the conception of God, which is inalienable in man, reacting against it; for one cannot but distinguish between substance and its phenomena. The mysteries of the world which meet man as a moral being remain, under this view of the world, altogether without solution.

    For the moral order of the world presupposes an absolutely good Being, from whom it has proceeded, and who sustains it; it demands a Lawgiver and a Judge. Apart from the reference to this Being, the distinction between good and evil loses its depth and sharpness. Either there is no God, or all that is and happens is a moment in the being and life of God Himself, who is identical with the world: thus must the world-destructive power of sin remain unrecognised. The opinion as to the state of the world will, from a pantheistic point of view, rise to optimism; just as, on the other hand, from an atheistic point of view, it will sink to pessimism. The commanding power of goodness even the atheist may recognise by virtue of the inner law peculiar to man as a moral being, but the divine consecration is wanting to this goodness; and if human life is a journey from nothing to nothing, then this will be the best of all goodness: that man set himself free from the evil reality, and put his confidence in nothing. "Him who views the world," says Buddhism, "as a water-bubble, a phantom, the king of death does not terrify. What pleasure, what joy is in this world? Behold the changing form-it is undone by old age; the diseased body-it dissolves and corrupts! 'I have sons and treasures; here will I dwell in the season of the cold, and there in the time of the heat:' thus thinks the fool; and cares not for, and sees not, the hindrances thereto. Him who is concerned about sons and treasures-the man who has his heart so entangled-death tears away, as the torrent from the forest sweeps away the slumbering village."

    The view taken of the world, and the judgment formed regarding it, in the Book of Ecclesiastes, are wholly different. While in the Book of Esther faith in God remains so much in the background that there is nowhere in it express mention made of God, the name of God occurs in Ecclesiastes no fewer than thirty-seven times, (Note: haa'elohiym , Eccl 2:24,26; 3:11,14 (twice), 15,17,18; Ecclesiastes 4:17; 5:1,5-6,17-18a (5:1,2,6-7,18-19a), 19(20); 6:2 (twice); 7:13-14,26,29; 8:15,17; 9:1,7; 11:5,9; 12:7,13-14. 'elohiym , 3:10,13; 5:3,18b; 7:18; 8:2,13.) and that in such a way that the naming of Him is at the same time the confession of Him as the True God, the Exalted above the world, the Governor and the Ruler over all. And not only that: the book characterizes itself as a genuine product of the Israelitish Chokma by this, that, true to its motto, it places the command, "Fear Thou God," 5:6 7, 12:13, in the foremost rank as a fundamental moral duty; that it makes, 8:12, the happiness of man to be dependent thereon; that it makes, 7:18; 11:9; 12:14, his final destiny to be conditioned by his fearing God; and that it contemplates the world as one that was created by God very good, 3:11; 7:29, and as arranged, 3:14, and directed so that men should fear Him.

    These primary principles, to which the book again and again returns, are of special importance for a correct estimate of it.

    Of like decisive importance for the right estimate of the theistic, and at the same time also the pessimistic, view of the world presented by Koheleth is this, that he knows of no future life compensating for the troubles of the present life, and resolving its mystery. It is true that he says, Eccl 12:7, that the life-spirit of the man who dies returns to God who gave it, as the body returns to the dust of which it is formed; but the question asked in 3:21 shows that this preferring of the life-spirit of man to that of a beast was not, in his regard, raised above all doubt. And what does this return to God mean? By no means such a return unto God as amounts to the annihilation of the separate existence of the spirit of man; for, in the first place, there is the supposition of this separate existence running through the Bible; in the second place, ntnh , 12:7b, does not point to an emanation; and in the third place, the idea of Hades prevailing in the consciousness of the ages before Christ, and which is also that of Koheleth, proves the contrary.

    Man exists also beyond the grave, but without the light and the force of thought and activity characterizing his present life, Eccl 9:5,10. The future life is not better, but is worse than the present, a dense darkness enduring "for ever," 9:6; 11:8; 12:5b. It is true, indeed, that from the justice of God, and the experiences of the present life as standing in contradiction thereto, 8:14, the conclusion is drawn, 12:14; 11:9, that there is a last decisive judgment, bringing all to light; but this great thought, in which the interest of the book in the progress of religious knowledge comes to a climax, is as yet only an abstract postulate of faith, and not powerful enough to brighten the future; and therefore, also, not powerful enough to lift us above the miseries of the present.

    That the author gives utterance to such thoughts of the future as Eccl 12:7 and 11:9; 12:14-to which Wisd. 3:1 ("The souls of the righteous are in God' hand, and no trouble moves them") and Dan 12:2 ("Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt") are related, as being their expansionwarrants the supposition that he disputes as little as Job does in ch. 14 the reality of a better future; but only that the knowledge of such a future was not yet given to him. In general, for the first time in the N.T. era, the hope of a better future becomes a common portion of the church's creed, resting on the basis of faith in the history of redemption warranting it; and is advanced beyond the isolated prophetic gleams of light, the mere postulates of faith that were ventured upon, and the unconfirmed opinions, of the times preceding Christ. The N.T. Scripture shows how altogether different this world of sin and of change appears to be since a world of recompense and of glory has been revealed as its background; since the Lord has pronounced as blessed those who weep, and not those who laugh; and since, with the apostle (Rom 8:18), we may be convinced that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us.

    The goal of human life, with its labour and its sufferings, is now carried beyond the grave. That which is done under the sun appears only as a segment of the universal and everlasting operation, governed by the wisdom of God, the separate portions of which can only be understood in their connection with the whole. The estimate taken of this present world, apart from its connection with the future, must be one-sided. There are two worlds: the future is the solution of the mystery of the present.

    A N.T. believer would not be able to write such a book as that of Job, or even as that of Ecclesiastes, without sinning against revealed truth; without renouncing the better knowledge meanwhile made possible; without falling back to an O.T. standpoint. The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes is related to revealed religion in its O.T. manifestation-he is a believer before the coming of Christ; but not such an one as all, or as most were, but of peculiar character and position. There are some natures that have a tendency to joyfulness, and others to sadness. The author of this book does not belong to the latter class; for if he did, the call to rejoice, Eccl 11:9,8;15, etc., would not as it does pervade his book, as the chai'rete , though in a deeper sense, pervades the Epistle to the Philippians.

    Neither does he belong to those superficial natures which see almost everything in a rosy light, which quickly and easily divest themselves of their own and of others' sorrows, and on which the stern earnestness of life can make no deep and lasting impressions.

    Nor is he a man of feeling, whom his own weakness makes a prophet of evil; not a predominatingly passive man, who, before he could fully know the world, withdrew from it, and now criticises it from his own retired corner in a careless, inattentive mood; but a man of action, with a penetrating understanding and a faculty of keen observation; a man of the world, who, from his own experience, knows the world on all its sides; a restless spirit, who has consumed himself in striving after that which truly satisfies. That this man, who was forced to confess that all science and art, all that table dainties, and the love of women, and riches, and honour yielded him, was at last but vanity and vexation of spirit, and who gained so deep an insight into the transitoriness and vanity of all earthly things, into the sorrows of this world of sin and death, and their perplexing mysteries, does not yet conclude by resigning himself to atheism, putting "Nothing" (Nirvâna), or blind Fate, in the place of God, but firmly holds that the fear of God is the highest duty and the condition of all true prosperity, as it is the highest truth and the surest knowledge-that such is the case with him may well excite our astonishment; as well as this also, that he penetrates the known illusory character of earthly things in no overstrained manner, despising the world in itself, and also the gifts of God in it, but that he places his ultimatum as to the pure enjoyment of life within the limits of the fear of God, and extends it as widely as God permits.

    One might therefore call the Book of Koheleth, "The Song of the Fear of God," rather than, as H. Heine does, "The Song of Scepticism;" for however great the sorrow of the world which is therein expressed, the religious conviction of the author remains in undiminished strength; and in the midst of all the disappointments in the present world, his faith in God, and in the rectitude of God, and in the victory of the good, stands firm as a rock, against which all the waves dash themselves into foam. "This book," says another recent author, (Note: Hartmann's Das Lied vom Ewigen, St. Galle 1859, p. 12.) "which contains almost as many contradictions as verses, may be regarded as the Breviary of the most modern materialism, and of extreme licentiousness." He who can thus speak has not read the book with intelligence. The appearance of materialism arises from this, that the author sees in the death of man an end similar to that of beasts; and that is certainly so far true, but it is not the whole truth. In the knowledge of the reverse side of the matter he does not come beyond the threshold, because His hand was not yet there-viz. the hand of the Arisen One-which could help him over it. And as for the supposed licentiousness, Eccl 9:7-9 shows, by way of example, how greatly the fear of God had guarded him from concluding his search into all earthly things with the disgust of a worn-out libertine.

    But there are certainly self-contradictions in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

    They have a twofold ground. They are, on the one hand, the reflection of the self-contradicting facts which the author affirms. Thus, e.g., Eccl 3:11, he says that God has set eternity in the heart of man, but that man cannot find out from the beginning to the end the work which God maketh; 3:12- 13, that the best thing in this world is for a man to enjoy life; but to be able to do this, is a gift of God; 8;12, 14, that it goes well with them that fear God, but ill with the godless. But there is also the contrary-which is just the ground-tone of the book, that everything has its But; only the fear of God, after all that appertains to the world is found to be as vanitas vanitatum, remains as the kernel without the shell, but the commandment of the fear of God as a categorical imperative, the knowledge that the fear of God is in itself the highest happiness, and fellowship with God the highest good, remain unexpressed; the fear of God is not combined with the love of God, as e.g., in Ps 73 it serves only for warning and not for comfort.

    On the other hand, the book also contains contradictions, which consists in contrasts which the author is not in a condition to explain and adjust.

    Thus, e.g., the question whether the spirit of a dying man, in contrast to that of a beast, takes its way upwards, Eccl 3:21, is proposed as one capable of a double answer; but 12:7 answers it directly in the affirmative; the author has good grounds for the affirmative, but yet no absolute proofs. And while he denies the light of consciousness and the energy of activity to those who have gone down to Hades, 9:10, he maintains that there is a final decisive judgment of a holy and righteous God of all human conduct, 11:9; 12:14, which, since there is frequently not a righteous requital given on earth, 8:14, and since generally the issue here does not bring to light, 9:2, the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, will take place in eternity; but it is difficult to comprehend how he has reconciled the possibility of such a final judgment with the shadowy nature of existence after death.

    The Book of Koheleth is, on the one side, a proof of the power of revealed religion which has grounded faith in God, the One God, the All-wise Creator and Governor of the world, so deeply and firmly in the religious consciousness, that even the most dissonant and confused impressions of the present world are unable to shake it; and, on the other side, it is a proof of the inadequacy of revealed religion in its O.T. form, since the discontent and the grief which the monotony, the confusion, and the misery of this earth occasion, remain thus long without a counterbalance, till the facts of the history of redemption shall have disclosed and unveiled the heavens above the earth. In none of the O.T. books does the Old Covenant appear as it does in the Book of Koheleth, as "that which decayeth and waxeth old, and is ready to vanish away" (Heb 8:13). If the darkness of earth must be enlightened, then a New Covenant must be established; for heavenly love, which is at the same time heavenly wisdom, enters into human nature and overcomes sin, death, and Hades, and removes the turning-point of the existence of man from this to the future life. The finger of prophecy points to this new era. And Koheleth, from amid his heaps of ruins, shows how necessary it is that the heavens should now soon open above the earth.

    It is a view of the world, dark, and only broken by scattered gleams of light, not disowning its sullenness even where it recommends the happy enjoyment of life, which runs through the book in a long series of dissonances, and gives to it a peculiar character. It is thus intentionally a homogeneous whole; but is it also divided into separate parts according to a plan? That we may be able to answer this question, we subject the contents of the book to a searching analysis, step by step, yet steadily keeping the whole in view. This will at the same time also serve as a preparation for the exposition of the book.

    Here below, all things under the sun are vanity. The labour of man effects nothing that is enduring, and all that is done is only a beginning and a vanishing away again, repeating itself in a never-ending circle: these are the thoughts of the book which stand as its motto, Eccl 1:2-11.

    Koheleth-Solomon, who had been king, then begins to set forth the vanity of all earthly things from his own experience. The striving after secular knowledge, Eccl 1:12ff., has proved to him unsatisfactory, as has also the striving after happiness in pleasure and in procuring the means of all imaginable gratifications, 2:1-11; wisdom is vanity, for the wise man falls under the stroke of death as well as the fool, and is forgotten, 2:12-17; the riches are vanity, for they become the inheritance, one knows not whether or a worthy or of an unworthy heir, 2:18-21; and, besides, pure enjoyment, like wisdom and knowledge, depends not merely on the will of man, but both are the gift of God, 2:22ff. Everything has its time appointed by God, but man is unable to survey either backwards or forwards the work of God, which fills eternity, notwithstanding the impulse to search into it which is implanted within him; his dependence in all things, even in pure enjoyment, must become to him a school in which to learn the fear of God, who maintains all things unchangeably, for forms the course of that which is done, 3:1-15. If he sees injustice prevailing in the place of justice, God's time for righteous interference has not yet come, 3:16-17. If God wishes to try men, they shall see that they are dependent like the beasts, and liable to death without any certain distinction from the beasts-there is nothing better than that this fleeting life should be enjoyed as well as may be, 3:18ff.

    Koheleth now further records the evils that are under the sun: oppression, in view of which death is better than life, and not to have been at all is better than both, Eccl 4:1-3; envy, 4:4; the restlessness of labour, from which only the fool sets himself free, 4:5-6; the aimless trouble and parsimony of him who stands alone, 4:7-12; the disappointment of the hopes placed on an upstart who has reached the throne, 4:13-16.

    Up to this point there is connection. There now follow rules, externally unconnected, for the relation of man to Him who is the Disposer of all things; regarding his frequenting the house of God, 4:17 5:1; prayer, 5:2; and praise, 5:3-6.

    Then a catalogue of vanities is set forth: the insatiable covetous plundering of the lowly by those who are above them in despotic states, whereat the author praises, Eccl 5:7-8, the patriarchal state based on agriculture; and the nothingness and uncertainty of riches, which do not make the rich happier than the labourer, 5:9-11; which sometimes are lost without any to inherit them, 5:12-14; and which their possessor, at all events, must leave behind him when he dies, 5:15-16. Riches have only a value when by means of them a purer enjoyment is realized as the gift of God, 5:17ff. For it happens that God gives to a man riches, but to a stranger the enjoyment thereof, 6:1-2. An untimely birth is better than a man who has an hundred children, a long life, and yet who has no enjoyment of life even to his death, 6:3-6. desire stretching on into the future is torment; only so much as a man truly enjoys has he of all his labour, 6:7-9; what man shall be is predestinated, all contendings against it are useless: the knowledge of that which is good for him, and of the future, is in the power of no man, 6:10ff.

    There now follow, without a premeditated plan, rules for the practical conduct of life, loosely connecting themselves with the "what is good," Eccl 6:12, by the catchword "good:" first six (probably originally seven) proverbs of two things each, whereof the one is better than the other, 7:1- 9; then three with the same catch-word, but without comparison, 7:10-14.

    This series of proverbs is connected as a whole, for their ultimatum is a counsel to joy regulated by the fear of God within the narrow limits of this life, constituted by God of good and bad days, and terminating in the darkness of death. But this joy is also itself limited, for the deep seriousness of the memento mori is mingled with it, and sorrow is declared to be morally better than laughter.

    With Eccl 7:15, the I, speaking from personal experience, again comes into the foreground; but counsels and observations also here follow each other aphoristically, without any close connection with each other. Koheleth warns against an extreme tendency to the side of good as well as to that of evil: he who fears God knows how to avoid extremes, 7:15-18. Nothing affords a stronger protection than wisdom, for (?) with all his righteousness a man makes false steps, 7:19-20. Thou shalt not always listen, lest thou hear something about thyself-also thou thyself hast often spoken harshly regarding others, 7:21-22. He has tried everything, but in his strivings after wisdom, and in his observation of the distinction between wisdom and folly, he has found nothing more dangerous than the snares of women; among a thousand men he found one man; but one woman such as she ought to be, he found not; he found in general that God made men upright, but that they have devised many kinds of by-ways, 7:23ff.

    As the wise man considers women and men in general, wisdom teaches him obedience to the king to whom he has sworn fealty, and, under despotic oppression, patient waiting for the time of God's righteous interference, Eccl 8:1-9. In the time of despotic domination, it occurs that the godless are buried with honour, while the righteous are driven away and forgotten, 8:10. God's sentence is to be waited for, the more deliberately men give themselves to evil; God is just, but, in contradiction to His justice, it is with the righteous as with the wicked, and with the wicked as with the righteous, here on earth, 8:11-14. In view of these vanities, then, it is the most desirable thing for a man to eat and drink, and enjoy himself, for that abides with him of his labour during the day of his life God has given him, 8:15. Restless labour here leads to nothing; all the efforts of man to comprehend the government of God are in vain, 8:16ff. For on closer consideration, it appears that the righteous also, with all their actions, are ruled by God, and generally that in nothing, not even in his affections, is man his own master; and, which is the worst thing of all, because it impels men to a wicked, mad abuse of life, to the righteous and the unrighteous, death at last comes alike; it is also the will of God towards man that he should spend this transient life in cheerful enjoyment and in vigorous activity before it sinks down into the night of Hades, 9:1-10. The fruits of one's labour are not to be gained by force, even the best ability warrants it not, an incomprehensible fate finally frustrates all, 9:11-12.

    There now follows, but in loose connection as to thought with the preceding, a section relating to wisdom and folly, and the discordances as to the estimate of both here below, along with diverse kinds of experiences and proverbs, Eccl 9:13-10:15. Only one proverb is out of harmony with the general theme, viz., 10:4, which commends resignation under the abullition of the wrath of the ruler. The following proverb, 10:5-6, returns to the theme, but connecting itself with the preceding; the relation of rulers and the ruled to each other is kept principally in view by Koheleth.

    With a proverb relating to kings and princes, good and bad, a new departure is made. Riotous living leads to slothfulness; and in contrast to this (but not without the intervention of a warning not to curse the king) follow exhortations to provident, and, at the same time, bold, and allattempting activity; for the future is God's, and not to be reckoned on, Eccl 10:16-11:6. The light is sweet; and life, however long it may last, in view of the uncertain dark future, is worthy of being enjoyed, 11:7-8. Thus Koheleth, at the end of this last series of proverbs, has again reached his Ceterum censeo; he formulates it, in an exhortation to a young man to enjoy his life-but without forgetting God, to whom he owes it, and to whom he has to render an account-before grey-haired old age and death overtake him, into a full-toned finale, 11:9-12:7. The last word of the book, 12:8, is parallel with the first (1:1): "O! vanity of vanities; All is vain!"

    An epilogue, from the same hand as the book seals its truth: it is written as from the very soul of Solomon; it issues from the same fountain of wisdom. The reader must not lose himself in reading many books, for the sum of all knowledge that is of value to man is comprehended in one sentence: "Fear God, for He shall bring every work into judgment," Eccl 12:9ff.

    If we look back on this compendious reproduction of the contents and of the course of thought of the book, there appears everywhere the same view of the world, along with the same ultimatum; and as a pictorial overture opens the book, a pictorial finale closes it. But a gradual development, a progressive demonstration, is wanting, and so far the grouping together of the parts is not fully carried out; the connection of the thoughts if more frequently determined by that which is external and accidental, and not unfrequently an incongruous element is introduced into the connected course of kindred matters. The Solomonic stamp impressed on ch. 1 and 2 begins afterwards to be effaced. The connection of the confessions that are made becomes aphoristic in ch. 3; and the proverbs that are introduced do not appropriately fall into their place. The grounds, occasions, and views which determine the author to place confessions and moral proverbs in such an order after one another, for the most part withdraw themselves from observation. All attempts to show, in the whole, not only oneness of spirit, but also a genetic progress, an allembracing plan, and an organic connection, have hitherto failed, and must fail. (Note: "Ajunt Hebraei, quum inter cetera scripta Salomonis, quae antiquata sunt nec in memoria duraverunt, et hic liber obliterandus videretur, et quod vanas assereret Dei creaturas et totum putaret esse pro nihilo, et potum et cibum et delicias transeuntes praeferret omnibus, ex hoc uno capitulo (Eccl 12:13) meruisse auctoritatem, ut in divinorum voluminum numero poneretur."-Jerome.)

    In presenting this view of the spirit and plan of the Book of Koheleth, we have proceeded on the supposition that it is a post-exilian book, that it is one of the most recent of the books of the O.T. It is true, indeed, that tradition regards it as Solomonic. According to Bathra 15a, the Hezekiah- Collegium vid., Del. on Proverbs, p. 5] must have "written"-that is, collected into a written form-the Book of Isaiah, as also the Proverbs, the Song, and Koheleth. The Midrash regards it as Solomon's, and as written in the evening of his days; while the Song was written in his youth, and the Proverbs when he was in middle age (Jalkut, under Prov 1:1). If in Rosch haschana 21b it is said that Koheleth sought to be a second Moses, and to open the one of the fifty gates of knowledge which was unopened by Moses, but that this was denied to him, it is thereby assumed that he was the incomparable king, as Moses was the incomparable prophet.

    And Bloch, in his work on the origin and era of the Book of Koheleth (1872), is right in saying that all objections against the canonicity of the book leave the Solomonic authorship untouched. In the first Christian century, the Book of Koheleth was an antilegomenon. In the Introduction to the Song (p. 505) we have traced to their sources the two collections of legal authorities according to which the question of the canonicity of the Book of Koheleth is decided. The Synod of Jabne (Jamnia), about 90, decided the canonicity of the book against the school of Shammai. The reasons advanced by the latter against the canonicity are seen from Shabbath 30b, and Megilla 7a. From the former we learn that they regarded the words of the book, particularly Eccl 2:2 (where they must have read m|huwlaal , "worthy to be praised"), cf. 7:3, and 8:15, cf. 22, as contradictory (cf. Proverbs, p. 31); and from the latter, that they hence did not recognise its inspiration.

    According to the Midrash Koheleth, under Eccl 11:9, they were stumbled also by the call to the enjoyment of pleasure, and to walk in the way of the desire of the heart, which appeared to stand in contradiction to the Tôra (cf. 11:9 with Num 15:39), and to savour of heresy. But belief in the Solomonic authorship remained, notwithstanding, uninjured; and the admonitions to the fear of God, with reference to the future judgment, carried them over the tendency of these observations. Already, at the time of Herod the Great (Bathra 4a), and afterwards, in the time of R. Gamaliel (Shabbath 30b), the book was cited as Holy Scripture; and when, instead of the book, the author was named, the formula of citation mentioned the name of Solomon; or the book was treated as equally Solomonic with Proverbs and the Song (Erubin 21b).

    Even the doubtfulness of its contents could give rise to no manner of doubt as to the author. Down till the new era beginning with Christianity, and, in the main, even till the Reformation-century, no attention was paid to the inner and historico-literary marks which determine the time of the origin of a book. The Reformation first called into existence, along with the criticism of dogmatic traditions, at the same time also biblical criticism, which it raised to the place of an essential part of the science of Scripture. Luther, in his Tischreden (Table-Talk), is the first who explained the Preacher as one of the most recent books of the O.T.: he supposed that the book had not reached us in its completed form; that it was written by Sirach rather than by Solomon; and that it might be, "as a Talmud, collected from many books, perhaps from the library of King Ptolemy Euergetes, in Egypt." (Note: Tischreden, ed. Förstemann-Bindseil, p. 400f. The expression here almost appears as if Luther had confounded Ecclesiastes (Koheleth) with Ecclesiasticus (Sirach). At a later period he maintained that the book contained a collection of Solomonic sayings, not executed, however, by Solomon himself.)

    These are only passing utterances, which have no scientific value; among his contemporaries, and till the middle of the century following, they found no acceptance. Hugo Grotius (1644) is the first who, like Luther, rejects its Solomonic authorship, erroneously supposing, with him, that it is a collection of diverse sayings of the wise, peri' tee's eudaimoni'as; but on one point he excellently hits the nail on the head: Argumentum ejus rei habeo multa vocabula, quae non alibi quam in Daniele, Esdra et Chaldaeis interpretibus reperias. This observation is warranted. If the Book of Koheleth were of old Solomonic origin, then there is no history of the Hebrew language. But Bernstein (Quaestiones nonnullae Kohelethanae, 1854) is right in saying that the history of the Hebrew language and literature is certainly divided into two epochs by the Babylonish exile, and that the Book of Koheleth bears the stamp of the post-exilian form of the language. (Here see "Words in Koheleth (Ecclesiastes)" in the Keil & Delitzsch Supplement under 'General Books'.)

    This survey of the forms peculiar to the Book of Koheleth, and only found in the most recent books of the O.T., partly only in the Chaldee portions of these, and in general use in the Aramaic, places it beyond all doubt that in this book we have a product of the post-exilian period, and, at the earliest, of the time of Ezra-Nehemiah. All that Wagenmann (Comm. 1856), von Essen (Der Predeger Salomo's, 1856), Böhl (De Aramaismis libri Coheleth, 1860), Hahn (Comm. 1860), Reusch (Tübinger Quartalschr. 1860), Warminski (Verfasser u. Abfassungszeit des B. Koheleth, 1867), Prof. Taylor Lewis (in the American ed. of Lange's Bibelwerk, 1869), Schäfer (Neue Untersuchungen ü d. B. Koheleth, 1870), Vegni (L'Ecclesiaste secondo il testo Ebraico, Florenz 1871) have advanced to the contrary, rests on grounds that are altogether untenable. If we possessed the original work of Sirach, we should then see more distinctly than from fragments (Note: Vid., the collection of the Heb. fragments of the Book of Ben- Sira in my Gesch. der jüd. Poesie, p. 204f.) that the form of the language found in Koheleth, although older, is yet one that does not lie much further back; it is connected, yet loosely, with the old language, but at the same time it is in full accord with that new Heb. which we meet with in the Mishna and the Barajtha-Literature, which groups itself around it. To the modern aspects of the Heb. language the following forms belong:- 1. Verbs Lamed-Aleph, which from the first interchange their forms with those of verbs Lamed-He, are regularly treated in certain forms of inflexion in the Mishna as verbs Lamed-He; e.g., yaats|'aah is not used, but yaats|taah. (Note: Vid., Geiger's Lehrbuch der Mishna-Sprache, p. 46.)

    This interchange of forms found in the later language reveals itself here in yotsaa' , Eccl 10:5, used instead of yotsee't ; and if, according to the Masora, chowTe' (choTe' ) is to be always written like mowtse' at 7:26 (except 7:26b), the traditional text herein discloses a full and accurate knowledge of the linguistic character of the book. The Aram. yshn' for yshnh, at 8:1, is not thus to be accounted for. 2. The richness of the old language in mood-forms is here disappearing.

    The optative of the first person (the cohortative) is only represented by 'ech|k|maah, Eccl 7:23. the form of the subjunctive (jussive) is found in the prohibitive clauses, such as 7:16-18; 10:4; but elsewhere the only certain examples found are sheyoleek| , quod auferat secum, 5:14, and w|yageeyd , 10:10. In 12:7, w|yaashub may also be read, although w|yaashob , under the influence of "ere ever" (12:6), is also admissible. On the contrary, y|huw' , 11:3, is indic. after the Mishn. y|hee', and so also is w|yaanee'ts (derived from naatsats , not nuwts ), 12:5. Yet more characteristic, however, is the circumstance that the historic tense, the so-called fut. consecutivum, which has wholly disappeared from the Mishna-language, also here, notwithstanding the occasions for its frequent use, occurs only three times, twice in the unabbreviated form, 4:1,7, and once in the form lengthened by the intentional ah, 1:17, which before its disappearance was in frequent use. It probably belonged more to the written than to the spoken language of the people (cf. the Song 6:9b). 3. The complexion of the language peculiar to the Book of Koheleth is distinguished also by this, that the designation of the person already contained in the verbal form is yet particularly expressed, and without there being a contrast occasioning this emphasis, by the personal pronoun being added to and placed after it, e.g., Eccl 1:16; 2:1,11-13,15,18,20; 3:17- 18; 4:1,4,7; 5:17; 7:25; 8:15; 9:15. Among the more ancient authors, Hosea has the same peculiarity (cf. the Song 5:5); but there the personal pronoun stands always before the verb, e.g., Eccl 8:13; 12:11. The same thing is found in Ps 39:11; 82:6, etc. The inverse order of the words is found only at Eccl 2:14, after the scheme of Job 1:15, as also 2:15 follows the scheme of Gen 24:27. Mishna-forms of expressions such as mowdeer|niy, Nedarim i. 1, m|qubal|niy, Jebamoth xvi. 7, are not homogeneous with that manner of subordinating the personal pronoun (cf. Eccl 7:26; 4:2). Thus we have here before us a separation of the subject and the predicate, instead of which, in the language of the Mishna, the form 'omeer haayiytiy ('ny ) and the like (e.g., Berachoth i. 5) is used, which found for itself a place in the language of Koheleth, in so far as this book delights in the use of the participle to an extent scarcely met with in any other book of Scripture (vid., e.g., 1:6; 8:12; 10:19). 4. The use of the demonstrative pronoun zeh bears also a Mishnic stamp. We lay no particular stress on the fact that the author uses it, as regularly as the Mishna, always without the article; but it is characteristic that he always, where he does not make use of the masculine form in a neuter sense (as Eccl 7:10,18,29; 8:9; 9:1; 11:6, keeping out of view cases determined by attraction), employs no other feminine form than zoh , Mishnic zow , in this sense, 2:2; 5:15,18; 7:23; 9:13. In other respects also the use of the pronouns approaches the Mishna language. In the use of the pronoun also in 1:10 and 5:18 there is an approach to the Mishnic zehuw, nic est, and zehiy, haec est. And the use of huw' and heemaah for the personal verb reaches in 3:18; 9:4 (vid., Comm.), the extreme.

    The enumeration of linguistic peculiarities betokening a late origin is not yet exhausted; we shall meet with many such in the course of the Exposition. Not only the language, however, but also the style and the artistic form of the book, show that it is the most recent product of the Bibl. Chokma literature, and belongs to a degenerated period of art. From the fact that the so-called metrical accent system of the three books- Psalms, Job, and Proverbs-is not used in Ecclesiastes, it does not follow that it is not a poetical book in the fullest sense of the word; for the Song and Lamentations, these masterpieces of the shyr and qynh, the Minnesong and the Elegy, are also excluded from that more elevated, more richly expressive, and more melodious form of discourse, perhaps to preserve the spiritual character of the one, and not to weaken the elegiac character of the other, to which a certain melancholy monotone andante is suitable.

    So also, to apply that system of accentuation to the Book of Koheleth was not at all possible, for the symmetrical stichs to which it is appropriate is for the most part wanting in Koheleth, which is almost wholly written in eloquent prose: unfolding its instruction in the form of sentences without symmetrical stichs.-It is, so to speak, a philosophical treatise in which "I saw," and the like, as the expression of the result of experience; "I said," as the expression of reflection on what was observed; "I perceived," as the expression of knowledge obtained as a conclusion from a process of reasoning; and "this also," as the expression of the result-repeat themselves nearly terminologically. The reasoning tone prevails, and where the writer passes into gnomic poetry he enters into it suddenly, e.g., Eccl 5:9b, or holds himself ready to leave it quickly again, e.g., 5:12; 7:13f.

    Always, indeed, where the Mashal note is struck, the discourse begins to form itself into members arranged in order; and then the author sometimes rises in language, and in the order of his words, into the true classic form of the proverb set forth in parallel members, e.g., Eccl 7:7,9; 9:8. The symmetry of the members is faultless, 5:5; 8:8; 9:11; but in other places, as 5:1; 7:26; 11:9, it fails, and in the long run the book, altogether peculiar in its stylistic and artistic character, cannot conceal its late origin: in the elevated classical style there quickly again intermingles that which is peculiar to the author, as representing the age in which he lived, e.g., 7:19; 10:2f., 6, 8-10, 16f., 11:3,6. That in the age of the Mishna they knew how to imitate classic masterpieces, is seen from the beautiful enigma, in the form of a heptastich, by Bar-Kappara, jer. Moëd katan iii. 1, and the elegy, in the form of a hexastich on the death of R. Abina, by Kar-Kippuk, b.

    Moëd katan 25b. (Note: Given and translated in Wissenschaft, Kunst, Judenthum (1838), p. 231f.)

    One would thus be in error if he regarded such occasional classical pieces in the Book of Koheleth as borrowed. The book, however fragmentary it may seem to be on a superficial examination, is yet the product of one author. (Note: Renan, in his Histoire des Langues Semitiques, supposes that a work of so bold a scepticism as Ecclesiastes could not have originated in the post-exilian period of the severely legal rabbinical Judaism; it may be an old Solomonic work, but as it now lies before us, revised by a more recent hand-an untenable expedient for establishing an arbitrary supposition.)

    In its oratorical ground-form, and in the proverbs introduced into it, it is a side-piece to Prov 1-9. We have shown, in the introduction to the Book of Proverbs, that in these proverbial discourses which form the introduction to the older Solomonic Book of Proverbs, which was probably published in the time of Jehoshaphat, the Mashal appears already rhetorically decomposed. This decomposition is much further advanced in the Book of Ecclesiastes. To it is applicable in a higher degree what is there (Proverbs, p. 10f.) said of Prov 1-9. The distich is represented in the integral, Eccl 7:13, synonymous, 11:4, and synthetic, 7:1, and also, though rarely, in the antithetic form, 7:4; but of the emblematic form there is only one example, 10:1. The author never attempted the beautiful numerical and priamel forms; the proverbial form also, beyond the limits of the distich, loses the firmness of its outline.

    The tetrastich, Eccl 10:20, is, however, a beautiful exception to this. But splendour of form would not be appropriate to such a sombre work as this is. Its external form is truly in keeping with its spirit. In the checkered and yet uniform manner of the book is reflected the image of the author, who tried everything and yet was satisfied with nothing; who hastened from one thing to another because nothing was able to captivate him. His style is like the view he takes of the world, which in its course turned to him only its dark side. He holds fast to the fear of God, and hopes in a final judgment; but his sceptical world-sorrow remains unmitigated, and his forced eudaemonism remains without the right consecration: these two stars do not turn the night into day; the significance of the book, with reference to the history of redemption, consists in the actual proof that humanity, in order to its being set free from its unhappiness, needs to be illuminated by the sun of a new revelation.

    But although the manner of the author's representation is the reflection of his own inner relation to the things represented, yet here and there he makes his representation, not without consciousness and art, the picture of his own manner of thought. Thus, e.g., the drawling tautologies in Eccl 8:14; 9:9, certainly do not escape from him against his will. And as was rightly remarked under Gen 2:1-3, that the discourse there is extended, and forms itself into a picture of rest after the work of the creation, so Koheleth, in 1:4-11 and 12:2-7, shows himself a master of eloquence; for in the former passage he imitates in his style the everlasting unity of the course of the world, and in the latter he paints the exhausted and finally shattered life of man.

    Not only, however, by the character of its thought and language and manner of representation, but also by other characteristic features, the book openly acknowledges that it was not written by Solomon himself, but by a Jewish thinker of a much later age, who sought to conceive of himself as in Solomon's position, and clothed his own life-experiences in the confessions of Solomon. The very title of the book does not leave us in doubt as to this. It is in these words: The words of Koheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. The apposition, "king in Jerusalem," appertains, like e.g., 2 Chron 35:3, to the name of the speaker who is introduced; for nothing is here said as to the place in life held by David, but to that held by him who is thus figuratively named. The indeterminate "king" of itself would be untenable, as at Prov 31:1.

    As there the words "king of Massa" are to be taken together, so here "king" is determined by "in Jerusalem" added to it, so far that it is said what kind of king Koheleth was. That by this name Solomon is meant, follows, apart from Eccl 1:12ff., from this, that David had only one son who was king, viz., Solomon. The opinion of Krochmal, that a later David, perhaps a governor of Jerusalem during the Persian domination, is meant, (Note: Vid., Kerem chemed v. 89, and his More necobhe ha-seman (Director errnatium nostrae aetatis), edited by Zunz, 1851, 4.) is one of the many superfluities of this learned author. Koheleth is Solomon, but he who calls him "king in Jerusalem" is not Solomon himself.

    Solomon is called "king of Israel," e.g., 2 Kings 23:13; and as in 1:12 he names himself "king over Israel," so, Neh 13:26, he is called "king of Israel," and along with this designation, "king over all Israel;" but the title, "king in Jerusalem," nowhere else occurs.

    We read that Solomon "reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel," 1 Kings 11:42, cf. 14:21; the title, "king in Jerusalem," is quite peculiar to the title of the book before us. Eichhorn supposes that it corresponds to the time subsequent to the division of the kingdom, when there were two different royal residences; but against this view Bloch rightly remarks, that the contrasted "in Samaria" occurs only very rarely (as 2 Kings 14:23). We think that in this expression, "king in Jerusalem," there is revealed a time in which Israel had ceased to be an independent kingdom, in which Jerusalem was no more a royal city.

    That the book was not composed immediately by Solomon, is indicated by the circumstance that he is not called Solomon, nor Jedidiah (2 Sam 12:25), but is designated by a hitherto unheard of name, which, by its form, shows that it belongs, at earliest, to the Ezra-Nehemiah age, in which it was coined. We consider the name, first, without taking into account its feminine termination. In the Arab., kahal (cogn. kahal) signifies to be dry, hard, from the dryness and leather-like toughness of the skin of an old man; and, accordingly, Dindorf (Quomodo nomen Coheleth Salomoni tribuatur, (1791) and others understand Koheleth of an old man whose life is worn out; Coccejus and Schultens, with those of their school, understand it of the penitent who is dead to the world. But both views are opposed by this, that the form qaaheel (qeeheel, cf. keehel) would be more appropriate; but above all by this, that qhl, in this meaning aridum, marcidum esse, is a verbal stem altogether foreign to the northern Semitic.

    The verb qhl signifies, in the Heb., Aram., and Assyr., to call (cf. the Syr. kahlonitho, a quarrelsome woman), and particularly to call together; whence qaahaal , of the same Sanscrit-Semit. root as the words ekklee- si'a and con-cil-ium, (Note: Vid., Friedr. Delitzsch's Indogermanisch-Semitische Studien, p. 90.) -an extension of the root ql, which, on another side, is extended in the Arab. kalah, Aethiop. kaleha, to cry.

    This derivation of the name Koheleth shows that it cannot mean sunathroistee's (Grotius, not Aquila), in the sense of collector sententiarum; the Arab. translation alajam'at (also van Dyk) is faultless, because jam' can signify, to collect men as well as things together; but qhl is not used in that sense of in unum redigere. In close correspondence with the Heb. word, the LXX translates, ho ekkleesiastee's; and the Graec.

    Venet., hee ekkleesia'stria (Eccl 12:9: hee ekkleesia'zousa). But in the nearest signification, "the collector," this would not be a significant name for the king represented as speaking in this book. In Solomon's reign there occurred an epoch-making assembly in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chron 5:2-viz for the purpose of consecrating the temple. The O.T. does not afford any other historical reference for the name; for although, in Prov 5:14; 26:26, b|qaahaal signifies coram populo, publice, yet it does not occur directly of the public appearance of Wisdom; the expressions for this are different, 1:20f., Eccl 8:1-4; 9:3, though cognate.

    But on that great day of the consecration of the temple, Solomon not only called the people together, but he also preached to them-he preached indirectly, for he consecrated the temple by prayer; and directly, for he blessed the people, and exhorted them to faithfulness, 1 Kings 8:55-61.

    Thus Solomon appears not only as the assembler, but also as the preacher to those who were assembled; and in this sense of a teacher of the people (cf. Eccl 12:9), Koheleth is an appropriate name of the king who was famed for his wisdom and for his cultivation of the popular Mashal. It is known that in proper names the Kal is frequently used in the sense of the Hiph. thus Koheleth is not immediately what it may be etymologically = qoree' , caller, proclaimer; but is = maq|helet, from hqhyl, to assemble, and to speak to the assembly, contionari; according to which Jerome, under 1:1, rightly explains: ekkleesiastee's, Graeco sermone appellatur qui coetum, id est ecclesiam congregat, quem nos nuncupare possumus contionatorem, eo quod loquatur ad populum et ejus sermo non specialiter ad unum, sed ad universos generaliter dirigatur. The interpretation: assembly = academy or collectivum, which Döderlein (Salomon's Prediger u. Hoheslied, 1784) and Kaiser (Koheleth, Das Collectivum der Davidischen Könige in Jerusalem, 1823), published, lightly disregards the form of the n. agentis; and Spohn's (Der Prediger Salomo, 1785) "O vanity of vanities, said the philosopher," itself belongs to the vanities.

    Knobel in his Comm. (1836) has spoken excellently regarding the feminine form of the name; but when, at the close, he says: "Thus Koheleth properly signifies preaching, the office and business of the public speaker, but is then = qoheel, maq|hiyl, public speaker before an assembly," he also, in an arbitrary manner, interchanges the n. agentis with the n. actionis. His remark, that "the rule that concreta, if they have a fem. termination, become abstraccta, must also hold for participia," is a statement that cannot be confirmed. As chotemet signifies that which impresses (a seal), and koteret that which twines about (chapiter), so also choberet, Ex 26:10, that which joins together (the coupling); one can translate such fem. particip., when used as substantives, as abstracta, e.g., kaalaah (from kaaleh ), destruction, utter ruin; but they are abstracta in themselves as little as the neutra in to' tauto'n , which may be translated by "identity," or in immensum altitudinis, by immensity (in height).

    Also Arab names of men with fem. forms are concreta. To the participial form Koheleth correspond, for the most part, such names as (Arab.) rawiyaton, narrator of tradition (fem. of rawyn); but essentially cogn. also are such words as 'allamat, greatly learned man; also khalyfaton, which is by no means an inf. noun, like the Heb. chaliypaah, but is the fem. of the verbal adj. khalyf, successor, representative. The Arabic grammarians say that the fem. termination gives to the idea, if possible, a collective signification, e.g., jarrar, the puller, i.e., the drawer of a ship (Helciarius), and jarrarat, the multitude drawing, the company (taife) drawing the boat up the stream; or it also serves "as an exhaustive designation of the properties of the genus;" so that, e.g., 'allamat means one who unites in himself that which is peculiar to the very learned, and represents in his own person a plurality of very learned men. They also say that the fem. termination serves in such cases to strengthen the idea. But how can this strengthening result from a change in the gender? Without doubt the fem. in such cases discharges the function of a neut.; and since doctissimus is heightened to doctissimum, it is thereby implied that such an one is a pattern of a learned man-the reality of the idea, or the realized ideal of such an one.

    From these Arab. analogues respecting the import of the name Koheleth, it follows that the fem. is not to be referred to Chokma in such a way as that Solomon might be thereby designated as the representative, and, as it were, the incarnation of wisdom (Ewald, Hitzig, etc.)-an idea which the book by no means supports; for it the author had designed, in conformity with that signification of the name, to let Wisdom herself speak through Solomon's mouth, he would have let him speak as the author of Prov 1-9 speaks when he addresses the reader by the title, "my son," he would not have put expressions in his mouth such as 1:16-18; 7:23f. One should not appeal to Eccl 7:27; for there, where the subject is the dangers of the love of women, Koheleth, in the sense of Wisdom preaching, is as little appropriate as elsewhere; just here as the masculine gender of the speaker to be accented, and Amrah Koheleth is thus an incorrect reading for Amar Hakkoheleth (Eccl 12:8). The name Koheleth, without Chokma being supplied, is a man's name, of such recent formation as Sophereth, Neh 7:5, for which Ezra 2:55, Hassophereth; cf. also Ezra 2:57, hats|' poke'. The Mishna goes yet further in the coining of such names for men generis fem.

    As it generally prefers to use the part. passivi in an active sense, e.g., caabuwr, thinking; raakuwb, riding; shaatuwy, having drunk; so also it forms fem. plurals with a masculine signification-as Hadruchoth, presstreaders, Terumoth iii. 4; Hammeshuhhoth, surveyors, Erubin iv. 11; Halleuzoth, speakers in a foreign tongue, Megilla ii. 1-and construes these with mas. predicates. (Note: Vid., Geiger, Lehrbuch, xvi. 6, and cf. Weiss' Studien, p. 90, who arbitrarily explains away this linguistic usage. Duke, in his Sprache der Mishna, p. 75, avoids the difficulty by the supposition of inadmissible ellipses.)

    In these there can be nowhere anything said of a heightening of the idea effected by the transition to fem. forms. But the persons acting, although they are men, are thought of as neut.; and they appear, separated from the determination of their gender, as the representatives of the activity spoken of. According to this, Koheleth is, without regard to the gender, a preaching person. The Book of Koheleth thus bears, in its second word, as on its very forehead, the stamp of the Ezra-Nehemiah era to which it belongs.

    As the woman of Endor, when she raised Samuel out of Hades at the request of Saul, sees "gods ascending out of the earth" (1 Sam 28:13), so it is not the veritable Solomon who speaks in this book, but his spirit, for which this neut. name Koheleth is appropriate. When he says, Eccl 1:12, "I, Koheleth, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem," he recognises himself not as the reigning monarch, but as having been king. The Talmudic Aggada has joined to this hyyty , the fable that Solomon was compelled to descend from the throne on account of his transgression of the law, which was then occupied by an angel in his stead, but externally bearing his likeness; and that he now went about begging, saying: "I, Koheleth, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem;" but that they struck him with a stick, and set before him a plate of groats; for they said to him: "How canst thou speak thus? There the king sits in his palace on this throne." (Note: Jer. Sanhedrin ii. 6 goes further into the story; b. Gittin 68b, where the angel is designated by the Persian name Ashmodee, cf.

    Jellinek's Sammlung kleiner Midrashim 2. xxvi.)

    In this fiction there is at least grammatical intelligence. For it is a vain delusion for one to persuade himself that Solomon in his advanced age could say, with reference to the period of his life as ruler, "I have been king," fui rex-he was certainly always so during the forty years of his reign, and on to the last moment of his life. Or can the words mlk hyyty means sum rex? The case is as follows: hyyty is never the expression of the abstract present, or of existence without regard to time; "I am king" is expressed in this sense by the substantival clause ani melek. In every case where one can translate hyyty by "I am," e.g., Ps 88:5, the present being is thought of as the result of an historical past (sum = factus sum). But at the most, hyyty , when it looks from the present back upon the past, out of which it arose, signifies "I have become," Gen 32:11; Ps 30:8; Jer 20:7; or when it looks back into the past as such, "I have been," Josh 1:5; Judg 12:2; Ps 37:25.

    Whether this word, in the former sense, corresponds to the Greek perfect, and in the latter to the Greek aorist, is determined only by the situation and connection. Thus in Ex 2:22 it signifies, "I have become a stranger" (ge'gona = eimi' ); while, on the other hand, in Deut 23:8, "thou hast been a stranger" (ege'nou , fuisti). That where the future is spoken of, hyyty can, by virtue of the consecutio temporum, also acquire the meaning of "I shall become, I shall be," e.g., 1 Kings 1:21, cf. Chron 19:12, is of no importance to us here. In the more modern language the more delicate syntax, as well as that idea of "becoming," primarily inherent in the verb hyh , is disappearing, and hyyty signifies either the past purely, "I have been," Neh 13:6, or, though not so frequently, the past along with the present, "I was," e.g., Neh 1:11.

    Accordingly, Solomon while still living would be able to say mlk hyyty only in the sense of "I have become (and still am) king;" but that does not accord with the following retrospective perfects. (Note: If waa'eteen followed, then hyyty (as Reusch and Hengstenberg interpret) might be a circumstantial perfect; vid., under Gen 1:2.)

    This also does not harmonize with the more modern linguistic usage which is followed by Koheleth, e.g., Eccl 1:9, mh-sh', id quod fuit; 1:10, hyh kbd , pridem fuit. In conformity with this, the LXX translates hyyty by egeno'meen , and the Graec. Venet. by hupee'rxa . But "I have been king," Solomon, yet living, cannot say, only Salomo redivivus here introduced, as the preacher can use such an expression.

    The epilogue, Eccl 12:9ff., also furnishes an argument in favour of the late composition of this book, on the supposition that it is an appendix, not by another hand, but by the author himself. But that it is from the author's own hand, and does not, as Grätz supposes, belong to the period in which the school of Hillel had established the canonicity of the book, follows from this, that it is composed in a style of Hebrew approaching that used in the Mishna, yet of an earlier date than the Mishna; for in the Talmuds it is, clause by clause, a subject of uncertain interpretation-the language used is plainly, for the Talmudic authorities, one that is antiquated, the expressions of which, because not immediately and unambiguously clear, need, in order to their explanation, to be translated into the language then in use.

    The author of the book makes it thus manifest that here in the epilogue, as in the book itself, Solomon is intentionally called Koheleth; and that the manner of expression, as well as of the formation of the sentences in this epilogue, can in all particulars be supported from the book itself. In "fear God," Eccl 12:13a, the saying in 5:6, which is similarly formed, is repeated; and "this is the whole of man," 12:13b, a thought written as it were more in cipher than in extenso, is in the same style as 6:10. The word ywtr ("moreover"), frequently used by the author and b`l , used in the formation of attributive names, 10:11,20; 5:10,12; 8:8, we meet with also here. And as at 12:9-11 a third idea connected asunde'toos follows two ideas connected by vav, so also at 1:7; 6:5.

    But if this epilogue is the product of the author's own hand, then, in meaning and aim, it presents itself as its sequel. The author says that the Koheleth who appears in this book as "wise" is the same who composed the beautiful people's-book Mishle; that he sought out not only words of a pleasing form, but also all words of truth; that the words of the wise are like goads and nails which stand in collected rows and numbers-they are given from one Shepherd. The author of the book thereby denotes that the sentences therein collected, even though they are not wholly, as they lie before us, the words of Solomon, yet that, with the Proverbs of Solomon, and of the wise men generally, they go back to one giver and original author. The epilogue thus, by its historic reference to Solomon, recognises the fiction, and gives the reader to understand that the book loses nothing in its value from its not having been immediately composed by Solomon.

    Of untruthfulness, of a so-called pia fraus, we cannot therefore speak.

    From early times, within the sphere of the most ancient Israelitish authorship, it was regarded as a justifiable undertaking for an author to reproduce in a rhetorical or poetical form the thoughts and feelings of memorable personages on special occasions. The Psalter contains not a few psalms bearing the superscription le-David, which were composed not by David himself, but by unknown poets, placing themselves, as it were, in David's position, and representing him, such e.g., as 144, which in the LXX excellently bears the superscription pro's to'n Golia'd. The chronicler, when he seeks to give the reader an idea of the music at the festival of the consecration of the tabernacle and then of the completed temple, allows himself so great freedom, that he puts into the mouth of David the Beracha of the fourth book of the Psalms (Ps 106:48), along with the preceding verse of Ps 106 (1 Chron 16:35f.), and into Solomon's mouth verses of Ps 132 (2 Chron 6:41f.).

    And the prophetical discourses communicated in the O.T. historical books are certainly partly of this sort, that they either may be regarded as original, as e.g., 1 Sam 2:27ff., or must be so regarded, as 2 Kings 18-20; but not merely where the utterances of the prophets are in general terms reproduced, as at Judg 6:8-10; 2 Kings 17:13; 21:10-15, but also elsewhere in most of the prophetic discourses which we read in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, the style of the historian makes itself perceptible.

    Consequently (as also Caspari in his work on the Syro-Ephraimite War, 1849, finds) the discourses in the Chronicles, apart from those which are common to them, bear an altogether different homogeneous character from those of the Book of Kings. It is the same as with the speeches, for instance, which are recorded in Thucydides, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Livy, and other Greek and Roman historians.

    Classen may be right in the opinion, that the speeches in Thucydides are not mere inventions, but that, nevertheless, as they lie before us, they are the work of the historian; even the letters that passed between Pausanias and Xerxes bear his stamp, although he composed them on the ground of the verbal reports of the Spartans. It is thus also in the speeches found in Tacitus. They are more Ciceronian than his own style is, and the discourses of Germans have less elaborated periods than those of the Romans; but so greatly was the writing of history by the ancients influenced by this custom of free reproduction, that even a speech of the Emperor Claudius, which is found engraven on brass, is given by Tacitus not in this its original, but in another and freer form, assimilated to his own manner of representation.

    So also sacred history, which in this respect follows the general ancient custom, depends not on the identity of the words, but of the spirit: it does not feign what it represents the historical person as saying, it follows traditions; but yet it is the power of its own subjectivity which thus recalls the past in all that was essential to it in actual life. The aim is not artistically to represent the imitation which is made as if it were genuine.

    The arts by which it is sought to impart to that which is introduced into a more recent period the appearance of genuineness, were unknown to antiquity. No pseudonymous work of antiquity shows any such imitation of an ancient style as, e.g., does Meinhold's Bernsteinhexe, or such a forgery as Wagenfeld's Sanchuniathon. The historians reproduce always in their own individual way, without impressing on the speeches of different persons any distinct individual character.

    They abstain from every art aimed at the concealment of the actual facts of the case. It is thus also with the author of the Book of Koheleth. As the author of the "Wisdom of Solomon" openly gives himself out to be an Alexandrian, who makes Solomon his organ, so the author of the Book of Koheleth is so little concerned purposely to veil the fiction of the Solomon-discourse, in which he clothes his own peculiar life-experiences, that he rather in diverse ways discovers himself as one and the same person with the Salomo redivivus here presenting himself.

    We do not reckon along with these such proverbs as have for their object the mutual relationship between the king and his subjects, Eccl 8:3-5; 10:4,16f., 20, cf. 5:8; these do not betray in the speaker one who is an observer of rulers and not a ruler himself; for the two collections of "Proverbs of Solomon" in the Book of Proverbs contain a multitude of proverbs of the king, Prov 16:10,12-15; 19:12; 20:2,8,26,28; 25:2-4f., 6f., which, although objectively speaking of the king, may quite well be looked on as old Solomonic-for is there not a whole princely literature regarding princely government, as e.g., Friedrich II's Anti-Machiavel? But in the complaints against unrighteous judgment, Eccl 3:16; 4:1; 5:7, one is to be seen who suffers under it, or who is compelled to witness it without the power to change it; they are not appropriate in the mouth of the ruler, who should prevent injustice.

    It is the author himself who here puts his complaints into the mouth of Solomon; it is he who has to record life-experiences such as Eccl 10:5-7.

    The time in which he lived was one of public misgovernment and of dynastic oppression, in contrast with which the past shone out in a light so much the rosier, 7:10, and it threw long dark shadows across his mind when he looked out into the world, and mediately also upon the confessions of his Koheleth. This Koheleth is not the historical Solomon, but an abstraction of the historical; he is not the theocratic king, but the king among the wise men; the actual Solomon could not speak, 2:18, of the heir to his throne as of "the man that shall be after him,"-and he who has led astray by his wives into idolatry, and thus became an apostate (1 Kings 11:4), must have sounded an altogether different note of penitential contrition from that which we read at 7:26-28.

    This Solomon who tasted all, and in the midst of his enjoyment maintained the position of a wise man (Eccl 2:9), is described by the author of this book from history and from sayings, just as he needs him, so as to make him an organ of himself; and so little does he think of making the fiction an illusion difficult to be seen through, that he represents Koheleth, 1:16; 2:7,9, as speaking as if he had behind him a long line of kings over the whole of Israel and Judah, while yet not he, but the author of the book, who conceals himself behind Salomo redivivus, could look back on such a series of kings in Jerusalem.

    When did this anonymous author, who speaks instead of his Solomon, live and write? Let us first of all see what conclusion may be gathered regarding the book from the literary references it contains. In its thoughts, and in the form of its thoughts, it is an extremely original work. It even borrows nothing from the Solomonic Book of Proverbs, which in itself contains so many repetitions; proverbs such as Prov 7:16-18 and Prov 3:7 are somewhat like, but only accidentally. On the contrary, between Eccl 5:14 and Job 1:21, as well as between 7:14 and Job 2:10, there undoubtedly exists some kind of connection; here there lie before us thoughts which the author of the Book of Koheleth may have read in the Book of Job, and have quoted them from thence-also the mention of an untimely birth, Eccl 6:3, cf. Job 3:16, and the expression "one among a thousand," 7:28, cf.

    Job 9:3; 33:23, may perhaps be reminiscences from the Book of Job occurring unconsciously to the author. This is not of any consequence as to the determination of the time of the composition of the Book of Koheleth, for the Book of Job is in any case much older. Dependence on the Book of Jeremiah would be of greater importance, but references such as Jer 7:2, cf. Jer 16:8; 9:11, cf. Jer 9:22, are doubtful, and guide to no definite conclusion. And who might venture, with Hitzig, to derive the golden lamp, Eccl 12:10, from the vision of Zech; 4:2, especially since the figure in the one place has an altogether different signification from what it has in the other? But we gain a more certain terminus a quo by comparing 5:5 with Mal 2:7. Malachi there designates the priests as messengers (delegated) of Jahve of hosts, along with which also there is the designation of the prophets as God's messengers, Eccl 3:1; Hag 1:13. With the author of the Book of Koheleth "the messenger" is already, without any name of God being added, a priestly title not to be misunderstood; ml'k (Note: Vid., my dissertation: Die Discussion der Amtsfrage im Mishna u. Gemara, in the Luth. Zeitschrift 1854, pp. 446-449.) (messenger) denotes the priest as vicarius Dei, the delegate of God, drchmn' shlwch, according to the later title (Kiddushin 23b). And a terminus ad quem, beyond which the reckoning of the time of its composition cannot extend, is furnished by the "Wisdom of Solomon," which is not a translation, but a work written originally in Alexandrine Greek; for that this book is older than the Book of Koheleth, as Hitzig maintains, is not only in itself improbable, since the latter shows not a trace of Greek influence, but in the light of the history of doctrine is altogether impossible, since it represents, in the history of the development of the doctrine of wisdom and the last things, the stage immediately preceding the last B.C., as Philo does the last; it is not earlier than the beginning of the persecution of the Jews by the Egyptians under Ptolemy VII, Physkon (Joseph. c. Ap. ii. 5), and at all events was written before Philo, since the combination of the Sophia and the Logos is here as yet incomplete.

    This Book of Wisdom must stand in some kind of historical relation to the Book of Koheleth. The fact that both authors make King Solomon the organ of their own peculiar view of the world, shows a connection that is not accidental. Accident is altogether excluded by the circumstance that the Alexandrian author stands in the same relation to the Palestinian that James stands in to the Pauline letters. As James directs himself not so much against Paul as against a Paulinism misleading to fatal consequences, so that Book of Wisdom is certainly not directly a work in opposition to the Book of Koheleth, as is assumed by J. E. Ch. Schmidt (Salomo's Prediger, 1794), Kelle (Die salom. Schriften, 1815), and others; but, as Knobel and Grimm assert, against a one-sided extreme interpretation of views and principles as set forth by Koheleth, not without an acquaintance with this book.

    The lovers of pleasure, who speak in Wisd. 2:1-9, could support that saying by expressions from the Book of Koheleth, and the concluding words there sound like an appropriation of the words of Koheleth Eccl 3:22; 5:17 (cf. LXX); it is true they break off the point of the Book of Koheleth, for the exhortation to the fear of God, the Judge of the world, is not echoed; but to break off this point did not lie remote, since the old Chokma watchword, "fear God," hovered over the contents of the book rather than penetrated them. It is as if the author of the Book of Wisdom, 1-5, wished to show to what danger of abuse in the sense of a pure materialistic eudaemonism the wisdom presented in the Book of Koheleth is exposed. But he also opposes the pessimistic thoughts of Koheleth in the decided assertions of the contrary: (1) Koheleth says: "There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked," Eccl 9:2; but he says: there is a difference between them wide as the heavens, Wisd. 3:2f., 4:7; 5:15f.; (2) Koheleth says: "He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow," 1:18; but he says: wisdom bringeth not sorrow, but pure joy with it, Wisd. 8:16; (3) Koheleth says that wisdom bringeth neither respect nor favour, Eccl 9:11; but he says: it brings fame and honour, Wisd. 8:10; (4) Koheleth says: "There is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever," Eccl 2:16; but he says of wisdom in contrast to folly: "I shall obtain by it a deathless name, and shall leave to my descendants an everlasting remembrance," Wisd. 8:13.

    The main distinction between the two books lies in this, that the comfortless view of Hades running through the Book of Koheleth is thoroughly surmounted by a wonderful rising above the O.T. standpoint by the author of the Book of Wisdom, and that hence there is in it an incomparably more satisfying Theodicee (cf. Wisd. 12:2-18 with Eccl 7:15; 8:14), and a more spiritual relation to this present time (cf. Wisd. 8:21; 9:17, with Eccl 2:24; 3:13, etc.). The "Wisdom of Solomon" has indeed the appearance of an anti-Ecclesiastes, a side-piece to the Book of Koheleth, which aims partly at confuting it, partly at going beyond it; for it represents, in opposition to Koheleth not rising above earthly enjoyment with the But of the fear of God, a more ideal, more spiritual Solomon. If Koheleth says that God "hath made everything beautiful in his time," 3:11, and hath made mad upright, 7:29; so, on the other hand, Solomon says that He hath made all things eis to' ei'nai , Wisd. 1:14, and hath made man ep' aftharsi'a , 2:23.

    There are many such parallels, e.g., Eccl 5:9, cf. Koh. 8:13,5, cf. Koh. 7:12; 9:13-16, cf. Koh. 3:10f., but particularly Solomon's confession, 7:1-21, with that of Koheleth, 1:12-18. Here, wisdom appears as a human acquisition; there (which agrees with 1 Kings 3:11-13), as a gracious gift obtained in answer to prayer, which brings with it all that can make happy. If one keeps in his eye this mutual relation between the two books, there can be no doubt as to which is the older and which the younger. In the Book of Koheleth the Old Covenant digs for itself its own grave. It is also a "school-master to Christ," in so far as it awakens a longing after a better Covenant than the first. (Note: Vid., Oehler's Theol. des A.T., II, p. 324.)

    But the Book of Wisdom is a precursor of this better covenant. The composition of the Book of Koheleth falls between the time of Malachi, who lived in the time of Nehemiah's second arrival at Jerusalem, probably under Darius Nothus (423-405 B.C.), and the Book of Wisdom, which at the earliest was written under Ptolemy Physkon (145-117), when the O.T. was already for the most part translated into the Greek language. (Note: Cf. 2:12a with Isa. 3:10, LXX, and 15:10a with Isa. 44:20, LXX.)

    Hitzig does not venture to place the Book of Koheleth so far back into the period of the Ptolemies; he reaches with his chain of evidence only the year 204, that in which Ptolemy Epiphanes (204-181), gained, under the guardianship of the Romans, the throne of his father-he must be the minor whom the author has in his eye, Rom 10:16. But the first link of his chain of proof is a falsum. For it is not true that Ptolemy Lagus was the first ruler who exacted from the Jews the "oath of God," Eccl 8:2, i.e., the oath of fidelity; for Josephus (Antt. xii. 1. 1) says directly, that Ptolemy Lagus did this with reference to the fidelity with which the Jews had kept to Alexander the Macedonian the oath of allegiance they had sworn to Darius, which he particularly describes, Antt. xi. 8. 3; besides, the covenant, e.g., Sam 5:3, concluded in the presence of Jahve with their own native kings included in it the oath of allegiance, and the oath of vassalage which, e.g., Zedekiah swore to Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Chron 36:13, cf.

    Ezek 17:13-19, had at the same time binding force on the citizens of the state that was in subjection. Also that "the oath of God" must mean the oath of allegiance sworn to a foreign ruler, and not that sworn to a native ruler, which would rather be called "the oath of Jahve," does not stand the test: the author of the Book of Koheleth drives the cosmopolitism of the Chokma so far, that he does not at all make use of the national name of God connected with the history of redemption, and Nehemiah also, Neh 13:25, uses an oath "of God" where one would have expected an oath "of Jahve." The first link of Hitzig's chain of proof, then, shows itself on all sides to be worthless. The author says, Eccl 8:2, substantially the same as Paul, Rom 13:5, that one ought to be subject to the king, not only from fear of punishment, but for conscience' sake.

    Thus, then, Eccl 8:10 will also stand without reference to the carrying away of the Jews captive by Ptolemy Lagus, especially since the subject there is by no means that of a mass-deportation; and, besides, those who were carried into Egypt by Lagus were partly from the regions round about Jerusalem, and partly from the holy city itself (Joseph. Antt. 12. 1. 1). And the old better times, 7:10, were not those of the first three Ptolemies, especially since there are always men, and even in the best and most prosperous times, who praise the old times at the expense of the new. And also women who were a misfortune to their husbands or lovers there have always been, so that in 7:26 one does not need to think of that Agathoclea who ruled over Ptolemy Philopator, and even had in her hands the power of life and death.

    Passages such as Eccl 7:10 and 7:26 afford no help in reference to the chronology. On the other hand, the author in 9:13-16 relates, to all appearance, what he himself experienced. But the little city is certainly not the fortified town of Dora, on the sea-coast to the west of Carmel, which was besieged by Antiochus the Great (Polybius, v. 66) in the year 218, as at a later period, in the year 138, it was by Antiochus VII, Sidetes (Joseph.

    Bell. i. 2. 2); for this Dora was not then saved by a poor wise man within it-of whom Polybius knows nothing-but "by the strength of the place, and the help of those with Nicholaus." A definite historical event is also certainly found in 4:13-16. Hitzig sees in the old foolish king the spiritually contracted, but so much the more covetous, high priest Onias, under Ptolemy Euergetes; and in the poor but wise youth, Joseph (the son of Tobias), who robbed Onias of his place in the state, and raised himself to the office of general farmer of taxes.

    But here nothing agrees but that Onias was old and foolish, and that Joseph was then a young wise man (Joseph. Antt. xii. 4. 2); of the poverty of the latter nothing is heard-he was the nephew of Onias. And besides, he did not come out of the house "of prisoners" (haacuwriym ); this word is pointed by Hitzig so as to mean, out of the house "of fugitives" (hacuwriym ), perhaps, as he supposes, an allusion to the district Ficho'la, which the author thus interprets as if it were derived from feu'gein . Historical investigation has here degenerated into the boldest subjectivism. The Heb. tongue has never called "fugitives" hcwrym; and to whom could the Heb. word pyqwlh (cf. Berachoth 28b) suggest-as Fu'gela did to Pliny and Mela-the Greek feu'gein !

    We have thus, in determining the time of the authorship of this book, to confine ourselves to the period subsequent to the Diadochs. It may be regarded as beyond a doubt that it was written under the Persian domination. Kleinert (Der Prediger Salomo, 1864) is in general right in saying that the political condition of the people which the book presupposes, is that in which they are placed under Satraps; the unrighteous judgment, Eccl 3:16; and the despotic oppression, 4:1; 8:9; 5:7; the riotous court-life, 10:16-19; the raising of mean men to the highest places of honour, 10:5-7; the inexorable severity of the law of war-service, 8:8; (Note: Vid., Herod. iv. 84, vii. 38f.) the prudence required by the organized system of espionage (Note: Vid., Duncker's Gesch. des Alterthums, Bd. 2 (1867), p. 894.) existing at such a time-all these things were characteristic of this period.

    But if the Book of Koheleth is not at all older than Malachi, then it was written somewhere within the last century of the Persian kingdom, between Artaxerxes I, Longimanus (464-424), and Darius Codomannus (335-332): the better days for the Jewish people, of the Persian supremacy under the first five Achaemenides, were past (Eccl 7:10).

    Indeed, in 6:3 there appear to be reminiscences of Artaxerxes II, Mnemon (died about 360), who was 94 years old, and, according to Justin (x. 1), had 115 sons, and of Artaxerxes III, Ochus his successor, who was poisoned by the chief eunuch Bagoas, who, according to Aelian, Var. Hist. vi. 8, threw his (Ochus') body to the cats, and caused sword-handles to be made from his bones. The book altogether contains many examples to which concrete instances in the Persian history correspond, from which they might be abstracted, in which strict harmony on all sides with historical fact is not to be required, since it did not concern the author. The event recorded 4:13ff. refers to Cyrus rising to the supremacy of world-ruler (after dispossessing the old Median King Astyages), who left (Note: According to Nicolaus of Damascus (Müller's Fragm. hist.

    Graec. III 398), Cyrus was the child of poor parents; by "prisonhouse" (Eccl 4:14), reference is made to his confinement in Persia, where access to him was prevented by guards (Herod. i. 123). Justin, i. 5: "A letter could not be openly brought to him, since the guards appointed by the king kept possession of all approaches to him.") nothing but misery to posterity. Such a rich man as is described in 6:2, who had to leave all his treasures to a stranger, was Croesus, to whom Solon, as 7:8a (cf. Herod. i. 32, 86), said that no one ought to be praised before his end. A case analogous at least to 9:14-16, was the deliverance of Athens by the counsel of Themistocles (Justin, ii. 12), who finally, driven from Athens, was compelled to seek the protection of the Persian king, and ended his life in despair. (Note: Vid., Spiegel's Erânische Alterthumskunde, II pp. 409, 413.

    Bernstein suggests the deliverance of Potidea (Herod. viii. 128) or Tripolis (Diodor. xvi. 41); but neither of these cities owed its deliverance to the counsel of a wise man. Burger (Comm. in Ecclesiasten, 1864) thinks, with greater probability, of Themistocles, who was celebrated among the Persians (Thucyd. i. 138), which Ewald also finds most suitable, provided the author had a definite fact before his eye.)

    If we were not confined, for the history of the Persian kingdom and its provinces, from Artaxerxes I to the appearance of Alexander of Macedon, to only a few and scanty sources of information (we know no Jewish events of this period, except the desecration of the temple by Bagoses, described by Josephus, Antt. xi. 7), we might probably be better able to understand many of the historical references of the Book of Koheleth. We should then be able to say to whom the author refers by the expression, "Woe to thy land when thy king is a child," Eccl 10:16; for Artaxerxes I, who, although only as yet a boy at the time of the murder of his father Xerxes (Justin, iii. 1), soon thereafter appeared manly enough, cannot be thought of. We should then, perhaps, be also in possession of the historical key to 8:10; for with the reference to the deportation of many thousands of Jewish prisoners (Josephus, c. Ap. i. 22)-which, according to Syncellus and Orosius, must have occurred under Artaxerxes III, Ochusthe interpretation of that passage does not accord. (Note: Vid., Bernstein's Quaestiones Kohelethanae, p. 66.)

    We should then also, perhaps, know to what political arrangement the author points when he says, Eccl 7:19, that wisdom is a stronger protection to a city than "ten mighty men;" Grätz refers this to the decuriones of the Roman municipal cities and colonies; but probably it refers to the dynasties (Note: Vid., Duncker's Gesch. des Alterthums, II p. 910.) (cf. Assyr. salat, governor) placed by the Persian kings over the cities of conquered countries. And generally, the oppressed spirit pervading the book would be so much clearer if we knew more of the sacrifices which the Jewish people in the later time of the Persians had to make, than merely that the Phoenicians, at the same time with "The Syrians in Palestine," had to contribute (Herod. vii. 87) to Xerxes for his Grecian expedition three hundred triremes; and also that the people who "dwelt in the Solymean mountains" had to render him assistance in his expedition against Greece (Joseph. c. Ap. i. 22).

    The author was without doubt a Palestinian. In 4:17 he speaks of himself as dwelling where the temple was, and also in the holy city, Eccl 8:10; he lived, if not actually in it, at least in its near neighbourhood, 10:15; although, as Kleinert remarks, he appears, 11:1, to make use of a similitude taken from the corn trade of a seaport town. From 4:8 the supposition is natural that he was alone in the land, without children or brothers or sisters; but from the contents and spirit of the whole book, it appears more certain that, like his Koheleth, he was advanced in years, and had behind him a long checkered life. The symptoms of approaching death presenting themselves in old age, which he describes to the young, 12:2ff., he probably borrowed from his own experience. The whole book bears the marks of age-a production of the Old Covenant which was stricken in age, and fading away.

    The literature, down to 1860, of commentaries and monographs on the Book of Koheleth is very fully set forth in the English Commentary of Ginsburg, and from that time to 1867, in Zöckler's Commentary, which forms a part of Lange's Bibelwerk. Keil's Einleitung, 3rd ed. 1873, contains a supplement to these, among which, however, the Bonner Theolog.

    Literaturblatt, 1874, Nr. 7, misses Pusey's and Reusch's (cf. the Tübingen Theol. Quartalschrift, 1860, pp. 430-469). It is not possible for any man to compass this literature. Aedner's Catalogue of the Hebrew books in the Library of the British Museum, 1867, contains a number of Jewish commentaries omitted by Ginsburg and Zöckler, but far from all. For example, the Commentary of Ahron B. Josef (for the first time printed at Eupatoria, 1834) now lies before me, with those of Moses Frankel (Dessau, 1809), and of Samuel David Luzzatto, in the journal, Ozar Nechmad 1864. Regarding the literature of English interpretation, see the American translation, by Tayler Lewis (1870), of Zöckler's Commentary.

    The catalogue there also is incomplete, for in 1873 a Commentary by Thomas Pelham Dale appeared; and a Monograph on ch. 12, under the title of The Dirge of Coheleth, by the Orientalist C. Taylor, appeared in 1874.

    The fourth volume of the Speaker's Commentary contains a Commentary on the Song by Kingsbury, and on Ecclesiastes by W. T. Bullock, who strenuously maintains its Solomonic authorship. The opinion that the book represents the conflict of two voices, the voice of true wisdom and that of pretended wisdom, has lately found advocates not only in a Hebrew Commentary by Ephraim Hirsch (Warsaw, 1871), but also in the article "Koheleth" by Schenkel in his Bibellexikon (vol. III, 1871). For the history and refutation of this attempt to represent the book in the form of a dialogue, we might refer to Zöckler's Introd. to his Commentary.

    The old translations have been referred to at length by Ginsburg. Frederick Field, in his Hexapla (Poet. vol. 1867), has collected together the fragments of the Greek translations. Ge. Janichs, in his Animadversiones criticae (Breslau, 1871), has examined the Peshito of Koheleth and Ruth; vid., with reference thereto, Nöldeke's Anzeige in the Liter. Centralblatt 1871, Nr. 49, and cf. Middeldorpf's Symbolae exegetico-criticae ad librum Ecclesiastis, 1811. The text of the Graecus Venetus lies before us now in a more accurate form than that by Villoison (1784), in Gebhardt's careful edition of certain Venetian manuscripts (Leipzig, Brockhaus 1874), containing this translation of the O.T. books. "Ostendit omnia esse vanitati subjecta: in his quae propter homines facta sunt vanitas est mutabilitatis; in his quae ab hominibus facta sunt vanitas est curiositatis; in his quae in hominibus facta sunt vanitas mortalitatis." — Hugo of St. Victor (†1140).


    The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

    Verse 1. The title, 1:1, The words of Koheleth, son of David, king in Jerusalem, has been already explained in the Introduction. The verse, which does not admit of being properly halved, is rightly divided by "son of David" by the accent Zakef; for the apposition, "king in Jerusalem," does not belong to "David," but to "Koheleth." In several similar cases, such as Ezek 1:3, the accentuation leaves the designation of the oppositional genitive undefined; in Gen 10:21b it proceeds on an erroneous supposition; it is rightly defined in Amos 1:1b, for example, as in the passage before us. That "king" is without the article, is explained from this, that it is determined by "in Jerusalem," as elsewhere by "of Israel" ("Judah"). The expression (cf. 2 Kings 14:23) is singular.


    ECCLESIASTES 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

    The book begins artistically with an opening section of the nature of a preamble. The ground-tone of the whole book at once sounds in v. 2, which commences this section, "O vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth, O vanity of vanities! All is vain." As at Isa 40:1 (vid., l.c.) it is a question whether by "saith" is meant a future or a present utterance of God, so here and at Eccl 12:8 whether "saith" designates the expression of Koheleth as belonging to history or as presently given forth. The language admits both interpretations, as e.g., "saith," with God as the subject, 2 Sam 23:3, is meant historically, and in Isa 49:5 of the present time. We understand "saith" here, as e.g., Isa 36:4, "Thus saith...the king of Assyria," of something said now, not of something said previously, since it is those presently living to whom the Solomon redivivus, and through him the author of this book, preaches the vanity of all earthly things.

    The old translators take "vanity of vanities" in the nominative, as if it were the predicate; but the repetition of the expression shows that it is an exclamation = O vanitatem vanitatum. The abbreviated connecting form of hebel is here not punctuated habal, after the form chadar (cheder ) and the like, but habeel , after the manner of the Aram. ground-form `abeed; cf. Ewald, §32b. Jerome read differently: In Hebraeo pro vanitate vanitatum ABAL ABALIM scriptum est, quod exceptis LXX interpretibus omnes similiter transtulerunt atmo's atmi'doon sive atmoo'n.

    Hevel primarily signifies a breath, and still bears this meaning in post-bibl.

    Heb., e.g., Schabbath 119b: "The world exists merely for the sake of the breath of school-children" (who are the hope of the future). Breath, as the contrast of that which is firm and enduring, is the figure of that which has no support, no continuance. Regarding the superlative expression, "Vanity of vanities," vid., the Song 1:1. "Vanity of vanities" is the non plus ultra of vanity-vanity in the highest degree. The double exclamation is followed by a statement which shows it to be the result of experience. "All is vain"-the whole (of the things, namely, which present themselves to us here below for our consideration and use) is vanity.


    What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

    With this verse commences the proof for this exclamation and statement: "What profit hath a man of all his labour which he laboureth in under the sun?!" An interrogative exclamation, which leads to the conclusion that never anything right, i.e., real, enduring, satisfying, comes of it. yit|rown , profit, synon. with Mothar, Eccl 3:19, is peculiar to this book (= Aram. yuwt|raan). A primary form, yitaarown, is unknown. The punctator Simson (Cod. 102a of the Leipzig University Lib.f. 5a) rightly blames those who use w|yitaarown , in a liturgical hymn, of the Day of Atonement. The word signifies that which remains over, either, as here, clear gain, profit, or that which has the pre-eminence, i.e., superiority, precedence, or is the foremost. "Under the sun" is the designation of the earth peculiar to this book-the world of men, which we are wont to call the sublunary world. sh has not the force of an accusative of manner, but of the obj. The author uses the expression, "Labour wherein I have laboured," 2:19-20; 5:17, as Euripides, similarly, mochthei'n mo'chthon. He now proceeds to justify the negative contained in the question, "What profit?"


    One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: and the earth remaineth for ever." The meaning is not that the earth remains standing, and thus (Hitz.) approaches no limit (for what limit for it could be had in view?); it is by this very immoveable condition that it fulfils, according to the ancient notion, its destiny, Ps 119:90. The author rather intends to say that in this sphere nothing remains permanent as the fixed point around which all circles; generations pass away, others appear, and the earth is only the firm territory, the standing scene, of this ceaseless change. In reality, both things may be said of the earth: that it stands for ever without losing its place in the universe, and that it does not stand for ever, for it will be changed and become something else. But the latter thought, which appertains to the history of redemption, Ps 102:26f., is remote from the Preacher; the stability of the earth appears to him only as the foil of the growth and decay everlastingly repeating themselves. Elster, in this fact, that the generations of men pass away, and that, on the contrary, the insensate earth under their feet remains, rightly sees something tragic, as Jerome had already done: Quid hac vanius vanitate, quam terram manere, quae hominum causa facta est, et hominem ipsum, terrae dominum, tam repente in pulverem dissolvi? The sun supplies the author with another figure. This, which he thinks of in contrast with the earth, is to him a second example of ceaseless change with perpetual sameness. As the generations of men come and go, so also does the sun.


    The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. "And the sun ariseth, the sun goeth down, and it hasteth (back) to its place, there to rise again." It rises and sets again, but its setting is not a coming to rest; for from its place of resting in the west it must rise again in the morning in the east, hastening to fulfil its course. Thus Hitzig rightly, for he takes "there to rise again" as a relative clause; the words may be thus translated, but strictly taken, both participles stand on the same level; show'eep (panting, hastening) is like baa' in v. 4, the expression of the present, and zow' that of the fut. instans: ibi (rursus) oriturus; the accentuation also treats the two partic. as co-ordinate, for Tiphcha separates more than Tebir; but it is inappropriate that it gives to w|'el-m|' the greater disjunctive Zakef Quaton (with Kadma going before). Ewald adopts this sequence of the accents, for he explains: the sun goes down, and that to its own place, viz., hastening back to it just by its going down, where, panting, it again ascends. But that the sun goes down to the place of its ascending, is a distorted thought. If "to its place" belongs to "goeth," then it can refer only to the place of the going down, as e.g., Benjamin el-Nahawendi (Neubauer, Aus der Petersb. Bibl. p. 108) explains: "and that to its place," viz., the place of the going down appointed for it by the Creator, with reference to Ps 104:19, "the sun knoweth his going down."

    But the shm , which refers back to "its place," opposes this interpretation; and the phrase show' cannot mean "panting, rising," since s'p in itself does not signify to pant, but to snatch at, to long eagerly after anything, thus to strive, panting after it (cf. Job 7:2; Ps 119:131), which accords with the words "to its place," but not with the act of rising.

    And how unnatural to think of the rising sun, which gives the impression of renewed youth, as panting! No, the panting is said of the sun that has set, which, during the night, and thus without rest by day and night, must turn itself back again to the east (Ps 19:7), there anew to commence its daily course. Thus also Rashi, the LXX, Syr., Targ., Jerome, Venet., and Luther. Instead of show' , Grätz would read 'p shb , redit (atque) etiam; but show' is as characteristic of the Preacher's manner of viewing the world as wgw' cwbb, 6b, and yn', 8a. Thus much regarding the sun. Many old interpreters, recently Grätz, and among translators certainly the LXX, refer also 6a to the sun. The Targ. paraphrases the whole verse of the state of the sun by day and night, and at the spring and autumn equinox, according to which Rashi translates haaruwach , la volonte (du soleil). But along with the sun, the wind is also referred to as a third example of restless motion always renewing itself. The division of the verses is correct; 6a used of the sun would overload the figure, and the whole of v. 6 therefore refers to the wind.


    The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. "It goeth to the south, and turneth to the north; the wind goeth ever circling, and the wind returneth again on its circuits." Thus designedly the verse is long-drawn and monotonous. It gives the impression of weariness. shaab may be 3rd pret. with the force of an abstract present, but the relation is here different from that in 5a, where the rising, setting, and returning stand together, and the two former lie backwards indeed against the latter; here, on the contrary, the circling motion and the return to a new beginning stand together on the same line; shb is thus a part., as the Syr. translates it. The participles represent continuance in motion. In v. the subjects stand foremost, because the ever anew beginning motion belongs to the subject; in vv. 5 and 6, on the contrary, the pred. stands foremost, and the subject in v. 6 is therefore placed thus far back, because the first two pred. were not sufficient, but required a third for their completion.

    That the wind goes from the south (daarowm , R. dr, the region of the most intense light) to the north (tsaapown , R. tsaapan , the region of darkness), is not so exclusively true of it as it is of the sun that it goes from the east to the west; this expression requires the generalization "circling, circling goes the wind," i.e., turning in all directions here and there; for the repetition denotes that the circling movement exhausts all possibilities. The near defining part. which is subordinated to "goeth," elsewhere is annexed by "and," e.g., Jonah 1:11; cf. 2 Sam 15:30; here cobeeb cowbeeb , in the sense of caabiyb caabiyb , Ezek 37:2 (both times with Pasek between the words), precedes. c|biybaah is here the n. actionis of cbb. And "on its circuits" is not to be taken adverbially: it turns back on its circuits, i.e., it turns back on the same paths (Knobel and others), but `l and shb are connected, as Prov 26:11; cf. Mal. 3:24; Ps. 19:7: the wind returns back to its circling movements to begin them anew (Hitzig). "The wind" is repeated (cf. Eccl 2:10; 4:1) according to the figure Epanaphora or Palindrome (vid., the Introd. to Isaiah, c. 40-66). To all regions of the heavens, to all directions of the compass, its movement is ceaseless, ever repeating itself anew; there is nothing permanent but the fluctuation, and nothing new but that the old always repeats itself. The examples are thoughtfully chosen and arranged. From the currents of air, the author now passes to streams of water.


    All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. "All rivers run into the sea, and the sea becomes not full; to the place whence the rivers came, thither they always return again." Instead of nehhárim, nehhalim was preferred, because it is the more general name for flowing waters, brooks, and rivers; nachal (from nchl , cavare), 'aapiyq (from 'pq, continere), and (Arab.) wadin (from the root-idea of stretching, extending), all three denote the channel or bed, and then the water flowing in it. The sentence, "all rivers run into the sea," is consistent with fact. Manifestly the author does not mean that they all immediately flow thither; and by "the sea" he does not mean this or that sea; nor does he think, as the Targ. explains, of the earth as a ring (guwsh|pan|qaa', Pers. angusht-bâne, properly "finger-guard") surrounding the ocean: but the sea in general is meant, perhaps including also the ocean that is hidden.

    If we include this internal ocean, then the rivers which lose themselves in hollows, deserts, or inland lakes, which have no visible outlet, form no exception. But the expression refers first of all to the visible sea-basins, which gain no apparent increase by these masses of water being emptied into them: "the sea, it becomes not full;" 'eeynenuw (Mishn. 'eeynow ) has the reflex. pron., as at Ex 3:2; Lev 13:34, and elsewhere. If the sea became full, then there would be a real change; but this sea, which, as Aristophanes says (Clouds, 1294f.), oude'n gi'gnetai epirrheo'ntoon too'n potamoo'n plei'oon, represents also the eternal sameness. In v. 7b, Symm., Jer., Luther, and also Zöckler, translate sh in the sense of "from whence;" others, as Ginsburg, venture to take shaam in the sense of mishaam ; both interpretations are linguistically inadmissible.

    Generally the author does not mean to say that the rivers return to their sources, since the sea replenishes the fountains, but that where they once flow, they always for ever flow without changing their course, viz., into the all-devouring sea (Elst.); for the water rising out of the sea in vapour, and collecting itself in rain-clouds, fills the course anew, and the rivers flow on anew, for the old repeats itself in the same direction to the same end. m|qowm is followed by what is a virtual genitive (Ps 104:8); the accentuation rightly extends this only to hol|kiym ; for 'shr , according to its relation, signifies in itself ubi, Gen 39:20, and quo, Num 13:27; 1 Kings 12:2 (never unde). shaam , however, has after verbs of motion, as e.g., Jer 22:27 after shwb , and 1 Sam 9:6 after hlk , frequently the sense of shaamaah . And shuwb with l and the infin. signifies to do something again, Hos 11:9; Job 7:7, thus: to the place whither the rivers flow, thither they flow again, eo rursus eunt.

    The author here purposely uses only participles, because although there is constant change, yet that which renews itself is ever the same. He now proceeds, after this brief but comprehensive induction of particulars, to that which is general.


    All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. "All things are in activity; no man can utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, and the ear is not full with hearing." All translators and interpreters who understand devarim here of words (LXX, Syr., and Targ.) go astray; for if the author meant to say that no words can describe this everlasting sameness with perpetual change, then he would have expressed himself otherwise than by "all words weary" (Ew., Elst., Hengst., and others); he ought at least to have said yg' laariyq . But also "all things are wearisome" (Knob., Hitz.), or "full of labour" (Zöck.), i.e., it is wearisome to relate them all, cannot be the meaning of the sentence; for yaageea` does not denote that which causes weariness, but that which suffers weariness (Deut 25:18; 2 Sam 7:2); and to refer the affection, instead of to the narrator, to that which is to be narrated, would be even for a poet too affected a quid pro quo. Rosenmüller essentially correctly: omnes res fatigantur h. e. in perpetua versantur vicissitudine, qua fatigantur quasi.

    But y|gee`iym is not appropriately rendered by fatigantur; the word means, becoming wearied, or perfectly feeble, or also: wearying oneself (cf.

    Eccl 10:15; 12:12), working with a strain on one's strength, fatiguing oneself (cf. y|giya` , that which is gained by labour, work).

    This is just what these four examples are meant to show, viz., that a restless activity reaching no visible conclusion and end, always beginning again anew, pervades the whole world-all things, he says, summarizing, are in labour, i.e., are restless, hastening on, giving the impression of fatigue.

    Thus also in strict sequence of thought that which follows: this unrest in the outer world reflects itself in man, when he contemplates that which is done around him; human language cannot exhaust this coming and going, this growth and decay in constant circle, and the quodlibet is so great, that the eye cannot be satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing; to the unrest of things without corresponds the unrest of the mind, which through this course, in these ever repeated variations, always bringing back the old again to view, is kept in ceaseless activity. The object to dabbeer is the totality of things.

    No words can comprehend this, no sensible perception exhaust it. That which is properly aimed at here is not the unsatisfiedness of the eyes (Prov 27:20), and generally of the mind, thus not the ever-new attractive power which appertains to the eye and the ear of him who observes, but the force with which the restless activity which surrounds us lays hold of and communicates itself to us, so that we also find no rest and contentment. With saaba` , to be satisfied, of the eye, there is appropriately interchanged nim|laa', used of the funnel-shaped ear, to be filled, i.e., to be satisfied (as at Eccl 6:7). The min connected with this latter word is explained by Zöck. after Hitz., "away from hearing," i.e., so that it may hear no more. This is not necessary. As saava' with its min may signify to be satisfied with anything, e.g., 6:3, Job 19:22; Ps 104:13; cf. Kal, Isa 2:6, Pih. Jer 51:34; Ps 127:5. Thus mishshemoa' is understood by all the old translators (e.g., Targ. mil|mish|ma`), and thus also, perhaps, the author meant it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, and the ear is not filled (satisfied) with hearing; or yet more in accordance with the Heb. expression: there is not an eye, i.e., no eye is satisfied, etc., restlessly hastening, giving him who looks no rest, the world goes on in its circling course without revealing anything that is in reality new.


    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. "That which hath been is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun."-The older form of the language uses only 'shr instead of mh-sh, in the sense of id quod, and in the sense of quid-quid, 'shr kl (Eccl 6:10; 7:24); but mah is also used by it with the extinct force of an interrogative, in the sense of quodcunque, Job 13:13, aliquid (quidquam), Gen 39:8; Prov 9:13; and mi or mi asher, in the sense of quisquis, Ex 24:14; 32:33. In sh hw' (cf. Gen 42:14) are combined the meanings id (est) quod and idem (est) quod; hu is often the expression of the equality of two things, Job 3:19, or of self-sameness, Ps 102:28. The double clause, quod fuit...quod factum est, comprehends that which is done in the world of nature and of men-the natural and the historical. The bold clause, neque est quidquam novi sub sole, challenges contradiction; the author feels this, as the next verse shows.


    Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. "Is there anything whereof it may be said: See, this is new?-it was long ago through the ages (aeons) which have been before us." The Semit. substantive verb yeesh (Assyr. isu) has here the force of a hypothetical antecedent: supposing that there is a thing of which one might say, etc. The zeh , with Makkeph, belongs as subject, as at Eccl 7:27,29 as object, to that which follows. k|baar (vid., List, p. 193) properly denotes length or greatness of time (as kib|raah , length of way). The l of l|`o' is that of measure: this "long ago" measured (Hitz.) after infinitely long periods of time. mil|', ante nos, follows the usage of mil|paa', Isa 41:26, and l|paa', Judg 1:10, etc.; the past time is spoken of as that which was before, for it is thought of as the beginning of the succession of time (vid., Orelli, Synon. der Zeit u. Ewigkeit, p. 14f.).

    The singular haayaah may also be viewed as pred. of a plur. inhumanus in order; but in connection, Eccl 2:7,9 (Gesen. §147, An. 2), it is more probable that it is taken as a neut. verb. That which newly appears has already been, but had been forgotten; for generations come and generations go, and the one forgets the other.


    There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. "There is no remembrance of ancestors; and also of the later ones who shall come into existence, there will be no remembrance for them with those who shall come into existence after them." With zikaarown (with Kametz) there is also zik|rown , the more common form by our author, in accordance with the usage of his age; Gesen., Elst., and others regard it here and at Eccl 2:16 as constr., and thus laari'' as virtually objectgen. (Jerome, non est priorum memoria); but such refinements of the old syntaxis ornata are not to be expected in our author: he changes (according to the traditional punctuation) here the initial sound, as at 1:17 the final sound, to oth and uth. l| 'eeyn is the contrast of l| haayaah : to attribute to one, to become partaker of. The use of the expression, "for them," gives emphasis to the statement. "With those who shall come after," points from the generation that is future to a remoter future, cf. Gen 33:2. The Kametz of the prep. is that of the recompens. art.; cf. Num 2:31, where it denotes "the last" among the four hosts; for there haa'' is meant of the last in order, as here it is meant of the remotely future time.

    KOHELETH'S EXPERIENCES AND THEIR RESULTS 1:12-4:16 The Unsatisfactoriness of Striving After Wisdom, 1:12-18 After this prelude regarding the everlasting sameness of all that is done under the sun, Koheleth-Solomon unfolds the treasure of his lifeexperience as king.


    I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. "I, Koheleth, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem." That of the two possible interpretations of haayiytiy , "I have become" and "I have been," not the former (Grätz), but the latter, is to be here adopted, has been already shown (p. 647). We translate better by "I have been"-for the verb here used is a pure perfect-than by "I was" (Ew., Elst., Hengst., Zöck.), with which Bullock (Speaker's Comm., vol. IV, 1873) compares the expression Quand j'etois roi! which was often used by Louis XIV towards the end of his life. But here the expression is not a cry of complaint, like the "fuimus Troes," but a simple historical statement, by which the Preacher of the vanity of all earthly things here introduces himself-it is Solomon, resuscitated by the author of the book, who here looks back on his life as king. "Israel" is the whole of Israel, and points to a period before the division of the kingdom; a king over Judah alone would not so describe himself. Instead of "king `al (over) Israel," the old form of the language uses frequently simply "king of Israel," although also the former expression is sometimes found; cf. 1 Sam 15:26; 2 Sam 19:23; Kings 11:37. He has been king-king over a great, peaceful, united people; king in Jerusalem, the celebrated, populous, highly-cultivated city-and thus placed on an elevation having the widest survey, and having at his disposal whatever can make a man happy; endowed, in particular, with all the means of gaining knowledge, which accorded with the disposition of his heart searching after wisdom (cf. 1 Kings 3:9-11; 5:9).

    But in his search after worldly knowledge he found no satisfaction.


    And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. "And I gave my heart to seek and to hold survey with wisdom over all that is done under the sun: a sore trouble it is which God has given to the children of men to be exercised therewith." The synonyms daarash (to seek) and tuwr (to hold survey over) do not represent a lower and a higher degree of search (Zöck.), but two kinds of searching: one penetrating in depth, the other going out in extent; for the former of these verbs (from the root-idea of grinding, testing) signifies to investigate an object which one already has in hand, to penetrate into it, to search into it thoroughly; and the latter verb (from the root-idea of moving round about) (Note: Vid., the investigation of these roots (Assyr. utîr, he brought back) in Ethe's Schlafgemach der Phantasie, pp. 86-89.) signifies to hold a survey-look round in order to bring that which is unknown, or not comprehensively known, within the sphere of knowledge, and thus has the meaning of bakkeesh, one going the rounds.

    It is the usual word for the exploring of a country, i.e., the acquiring personal knowledge of its as yet unknown condition; the passing over to an intellectual search is peculiar to the Book of Koheleth, as it has the phrase l| leeb naatan , animum advertere, or applicare ad aliquid, in common only with Dan 10:12. The beth of bahhochemah is that of the instrument; wisdom must be the means (organon) of knowledge in this searching and inquiry. With `al is introduced the sphere into which it extends. Grotius paraphrases: Historiam animalium et satorum diligentissime inquisivi. But na`asaah does not refer to the world of nature, but to the world of men; only within this can anything be said of actions, only this has a proper history. But that which offers itself for research and observation there, brings neither joy nor contentment.

    Hitzig refers huw' to human activity; but it relates to the research which has this activity as its object, and is here, on that account, called "a sore trouble," because the attainment and result gained by the laborious effort are of so unsatisfactory a nature. Regarding `in|yaan , which here goes back to b| `nh, to fatigue oneself, to trouble oneself with anything, and then to be engaged with it, vid., p. 194. The words r` `nyan would mean trouble of an evil nature (vid., at Ps 78:49; Prov 6:24); but better attested is the reading r` `naayn "a sore trouble." huw' is the subj., as at Eccl 2:1 and elsewhere; the author uses it also in expressions where it is pred. And as frequently as he uses asher and sh , so also, when form and matter commend it, he u\es the scheme of the attributive clause (elliptical relative clause), as here (cf. 3:16), where certainly, in conformity with the old style, n|taanow was to be used.


    I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

    He adduces proof of the wearisomeness of this work of research: "I saw all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and striving after the wind." The point of the sentence lies in w|hineeh = w|hi' waa'eere', so that thus raïthi is the expression of the parallel fact (circumst. perfect). The result of his seeing, and that, as he has said v. 13, of a by no means superficial and limited seeing, was a discovery of the fleeting, unsubstantial, fruitless nature of all human actions and endeavours. They had, as hevel expresses, not reality in them; and also, as denoted by reuth ruahh (the LXX render well by proai'resis pneu'matos), they had no actual consequences, no real issue. Hos. 12:21 also says: "Ephraim feedeth on wind," i.e., follows after, as the result of effort obtains, the wind, roeh ruahh; but only in the Book of Koheleth is this sentence transformed into an abstract terminus technicus (vid., under Reth, p. 640).


    That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

    The judgment contained in the words, "vanity and a striving after the wind," is confirmed: "That which is crooked cannot become straight; and a deficit cannot be numerable," i.e., cannot be taken into account (thus Theod., after the Syro-Hex.), as if as much were present as is actually wanting; for, according to the proverb, "Where there is nothing, nothing further is to be counted." Hitzig thinks, by that which is crooked and wanting, according to Eccl 7:13, of the divine order of the world: that which is unjust in it, man cannot alter; its wants he cannot complete. But the preceding statement refers only to labour under the sun, and to philosophical research and observation directed thereto. This places before the eyes of the observer irregularities and wants, brings such irregularities and wants to his consciousness-which are certainly partly brought about and destined by God, but for the most part are due to the transgressions of man himself-and what avails the observer the discovery and investigation?- he has only lamentation over it, for with all his wisdom he can bring no help. Instead of lit|qon (vid., under tqn, p. 641), lit|qan was to be expected. However, the old language also formed intransitive infinitives with transitive modification of the final vowels, e.g., y|bosh, etc. (cf. y|shown , 5:11).

    Having now gained such a result in his investigation and research by means of wisdom, he reaches the conclusion that wisdom itself is nothing.

    ECCLESIASTES. 1:16-18

    I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. "I have communed with mine own heart, saying: Lo, I have gained great and always greater wisdom above all who were before me over Jerusalem; and my heart hath seen wisdom and knowledge in fulness. And I gave my heart to know what was in wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly-I have perceived that this also is a grasping after the wind." The evidence in which he bears witness to himself that striving after wisdom and knowledge brings with it no true satisfaction, reaches down to the close of v. 17; yaada`|tiy is the conclusion which is aimed at. The manner of expression is certainly so far involved, as he speaks of his heart to his heart what it had experienced, and to what he had purposely directed it.

    The 'aniy leads us to think that a king speaks, for whom it is appropriate to write a capital I, or to multiply it into we; vid., regarding this "I," more pleonastic than emphatic, subordinated to its verb, §3, p. 642.

    It is a question whether `im-libiy, after the phrase ('eet ) `im diber , is meant of speaking with any one, colloqui, or of the place of speaking, as in "thou shalt consider in thine heart," Deut 8:5, it is used of the place of consciousness; cf. Job 15:9, (`imaadiy ) `imiy hyh = su'noida emautoo' , and what is said in my Psychol. p. 134, regarding sunei'deesis , consciousness, and summarturei'n. b|libiy , interchanging with `im-libiy, Eccl 2:1,15, cf. 15:1, commends the latter meaning: in my heart (LXX, Targ., Jerome, Luther); but the cogn. expressions, medabbereth al-libbah, 1 Sam 1:13, and ledabbeer el-libbi, Gen 24:45, suggest as more natural the former rendering, viz., as of a dialogue, which is expressed by the Gr. Venet. (more distinctly than by Aquila, Symm., and Syr.): diei'legmai egoo' xu'n tee' kardi'a mou.

    Also lee'mor , occurring only here in the Book of Koheleth, brings it near that the following oratio directa is directed to the heart, as it also directly assumes the form of an address, Eccl 2:1, after blby. The expression, hk' hig|', "to make one's wisdom great," i.e., "to gain great wisdom," is without a parallel; for the words, tw' hg', Isa 28:29, quoted by Hitzig, signify to show and attest truly useful (beneficial) knowledge in a noble way. The annexed w|how' refers to the continued increase made to the great treasure already possessed (cf. Eccl 2:9 and 1 Kings 10:7). The al connected therewith signifies, "above" (Gen 49:26) all those who were over Jerusalem before me. This is like the sarrâni âlik mahrija, "the kings who were my predecessors," which was frequently used by the Assyrian kings. The Targumist seeks to accommodate the words to the actual Solomon by thus distorting them: "above all the wise men who have been in Jerusalem before me," as if the word in the text were byrwslm, (Note: In F. the following note is added: "Several Codd. have, erroneously, birushalam instead of al-jerushalam." Kennicott counts about 60 such Codd. It stands thus also in J; and at first it thus stood in H, but was afterwards corrected to al-yerushalam. Cf. Elias Levita's Masoreth hamasoreth, II 8, at the end.) as it is indeed found in several Codd., and according to which also the LXX, Syr., Jerome, and the Venet. translate. Rather than think of the wise (chakiymayaa' ), we are led to think of all those who from of old stood at the head of the Israelitish community. But there must have been well-known great men with whom Solomon measures himself, and these could not be such dissimilarly great men as the Canaanitish kings to the time of Melchizedek; and since the Jebusites, even under Saul, were in possession of Zion, and Jerusalem was for the first time completely subdued by David (2 Sam 5:7, cf. Josh 15:63), it is evident that only one predecessor of Solomon in the office of ruler over Jerusalem can be spoken of, and that here an anachronism lies before us, occasioned by the circumstance that the Salomo revivivus, who has behind him the long list of kings whom in truth he had before him, here speaks.

    Regarding hyh 'shr , qu'il y uet, for hyw 'shr , qui furent, vid., at Eccl 1:10b. The seeing here ascribed to the heart (here = nou's , Psychol. p. 249) is meant of intellectual observation and apprehension; for "all perception, whether it be mediated by the organs of sense or not (as prophetic observing and contemplating), comprehends all, from mental discernment down to suffering, which veils itself in unconsciousness, and the Scripture designates it as a seeing" (Psychol. 234); the Book of Koheleth also uses the word r'h of every kind of human experience, bodily or mental, 2:24; 5:17; 6:6; 9:9. It is commonly translated: "My heart saw much wisdom and knowledge" (thus e.g., Ewald); but that is contrary to the gram. structure of the sentence (Ew. §287c). The adject. harbeeh (Note: Regarding the form hrbeh , which occurs once (Jer 42:2), vid., Ew. §240c.) is always, and by Koheleth also, Eccl 2:7; 5:6,16; 6:11; 9:18; 11:8; 12:9,12, placed after its subst.; thus it is here adv., as at 5:19; 7:16f.

    Rightly the Venet.: hee kardi'a mou tethe'atai kata' polu' sofi'an kai' gnoo'sin Chokma signifies, properly, solidity, compactness; and then, like pukno'tees , mental ability, secular wisdom; and, generally, solid knowledge of the true and the right. Daath is connected with chokma here and at Isa 33:6, as at Rom 11:33, gnoo'sis is with sofi'a . Baumggarten-Crusius there remarks that sofi'a refers to the general ordering of things, gnoo'sis to the determination of individual things; and Harless, that sofi'a is knowledge which proposes the right aim, and gnoo'sis that which finds the right means thereto. In general, we may say that chokma is the fact of a powerful knowledge of the true and the right, and the property which arises out of this intellectual possession; but daath is knowledge penetrating into the depth of the essence of things, by which wisdom is acquired and in which wisdom establishes itself.

    Verse 17. By the consecutive modus waa'et|naah (aor. with ah, like Gen 32:6; 41:11, and particularly in more modern writings; vid., p. 198, regarding the rare occurrence of the aorist form in the Book of Koheleth) he bears evidence to himself as to the end which, thus equipped with wisdom and knowledge, he gave his heart to attain unto (cf. 13a), i.e., toward which he directed the concentration of his intellectual strength. He wished to be clear regarding the real worth of wisdom and knowledge in their contrasts; he wished to become conscious of this, and to have joy in knowing what he had in wisdom and knowledge as distinguished from madness and folly.

    After the statement of the object laadaath, stands vedaath, briefly for wld`t. Ginsburg wishes to get rid of the words holeeloth vesikluth, or at least would read in their stead w|sik|luwt t|buwnyot (rendering them "intelligence and prudence"); Grätz, after the LXX parabola's kai' epistee'meen, reads wsklwt m|shaalowt. But the text can remain as it is: the object of Koheleth is, on the one hand, to become acquainted with wisdom and knowledge; and, on the other, with their contraries, and to hold these opposite to each other in their operations and consequences. The LXX, Targ., Venet., and Luther err when they render sikluth here by epistee'mee , etc. As sikluth, insight, intelligence, is in the Aram. written with the letter samek (instead of sin), so here, according to the Masora cklwt, madness is for once written with s, being everywhere else in the book written with c; the word is an enantio'foonon, (Note: Vid., Th. M. Redslob's Die Arab. Wörter, u.s.w. (1873).) and has, whether written in the one way or in the other, a verb, sakal (skl , ckl), which signifies "to twist together," as its root, and is referred partly to a complication and partly to a confusion of ideas. holeelowt, from haalal , in the sense of "to cry out," "to rage," always in this book terminates in ôth, and only at Eccl 10:13 in ûth (vid., p. 637); the termination ûth is that of the abstr. sing.; but ôth, as we think we have shown at Prov 1:20, is that of a fem. plur., meant intensively, like bogdoth, Zeph 2:4; binoth, chokmoth, cf. bogdim, Prov 23:28; hhovlim, Zech 11:7,14; toqim, Prov 11:15 (Böttch. §700g E). Twice vesikluth presents what, speaking to his own heart, he bears testimony to before himself. By yaada'ti, which is connected with dibbarti (v. 16) in the same rank, he shows the facit. zeh refers to the striving to become conscious of the superiority of secular wisdom and science to the love of pleasure and to ignorance. He perceived that this striving also was a grasping after the wind; with r|`uwt , 14b, is here interchanged ra`|yown (vid., p. 640). He proves to himself that nothing showed itself to be real, i.e., firm and enduring, unimpeachable and imperishable. And why not?

    Verse 18. "For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." The German proverb: "Much wisdom causeth headache," is compared, Eccl 12:12b, but not here, where ka`ac and mak|'owb express not merely bodily suffering, but also mental grief. Spinoza hits one side of the matter in his Ethics, IV 17, where he remarks: "Veram boni et mali cognitionem saepe non satis valere ad cupiditates coercendas, quo facto homo imbecillitatem suam animadvertens cogitur exclamare: Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor." In every reference, not merely in that which is moral, there is connected with knowledge the shadow of a sorrowful consciousness, in spite of every effort to drive it away. The wise man gains an insight into the thousandfold woes of the natural world, and of the world of human beings, and this reflects itself in him without his being able to change it; hence the more numerous the observed forms of evil, suffering, and discord, so much greater the sadness (ka`ac , R. kc, cogn. hc, perstringere) and the heart-sorrow (mak|'owb , crève-cour) which the inutility of knowledge occasions.

    The form of 18a is like Eccl 5:6, and that of 18b like e.g., Prov 18:22a. We change the clause veyosiph daath into an antecedent, but in reality the two clauses stand together as the two members of a comparison: if one increaseth knowledge, he increaseth (at the same time) sorrow. "yowciyp , Isa 29:14; 38:5; Eccl 2:18," says Ewald, §169a, "stands alone as a part. act., from the stem reverting from Hiph. to Kal with i-y instead of ee- ." But this is not unparalleled; in yowcip hn' the verb ywcp is fin., in the same manner as yicad , Isa 28:16; towmiyk| , Ps 16:5, is Hiph., in the sense of amplificas, from yaamak|; yaapiyach , Prov 6:19 (vid., l.c.), is an attribut. clause, qui efflat, used as an adj.; and, at least, we need to suppose in the passage before us the confusion that the ee of kaateel (from kaatil, originally kaatal), which is only long, has somehow passed over into î. Böttcher's remark to the contrary, "An impersonal fiens thus repeated is elsewhere altogether without a parallel," is set aside by the proverb formed exactly thus: "He that breathes the love of truth says what is right," Prov 12:17.


    After having proved that secular wisdom has no superiority to folly in bringing true happiness to man, he seeks his happiness in a different way, and gives himself up to cheerful enjoyment.


    I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. "I have said in mine heart: Up then, I will prove thee with mirth, and enjoy thou the good! And, lo, this also is vain." Speaking in the heart is not here merely, as at Eccl 1:16-17a, speaking to the heart, but the words are formed into a direct address of the heart. The Targ. and Midrash obliterate this by interpreting as if the word were 'anacenaah, "I will try it" (7:23).

    Jerome also, in rendering by vadam et affluam deliciis et fruar bonis, proceeds contrary to the usual reading of 'enaa' Niph. of nck|, vid., at Ps 2:6), as if this could mean, "I will pour over myself." It is an address of the heart, and b is, as at 1 Kings 10:1, that of the means: I will try thee with mirth, to see whether thy hunger after satisfaction can be appeased with mirth. uwr|'eeh also is an address; Grätz sees here, contrary to the Gramm., an infin. continuing the b|si'; uureeh, Job 10:15, is the connect. form of the particip. adj. raaeh; and if reeeh could be the inf. after the forms naqqeeh, hinnaaqqeeh, it would be the inf. absol., instead of which uwr|'owt was to be expected. It is the imper.: See good, sinking thyself therein, i.e., enjoy a cheerful life. Elsewhere the author connects r'h less significantly with the accus.-obj., Eccl 5:17; 6:6; 2:24.

    This was his intention; but this experiment also to find out the summum bonum proves itself a failure: he found a life of pleasure to be a hollow life; that also, viz., devotedness to mirth, was to him manifestly vanity.


    I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? "To laughter I said: It is mad; and to mirth: What doth it issue in?"

    Laughter and mirth are personified; meholaal is thus not neut. (Hitz., a foolish matter), but mas. The judgment which is pronounced regarding both has not the form of an address; we do not need to supply 'ataah and 'at| , it is objectively like an oratio obliqua: that it is mad; cf. Ps 49:12. In the midst of the laughter and revelling in sensual delight, the feeling came over him that this was not the way to true happiness, and he was compelled to say to laughter, It has become mad (part. Poal, as at Ps 102:9), it is like one who is raving mad, who finds his pleasure in selfdestruction; and to joy (mirth), which disregards the earnestness of life and all due bounds, he is constrained to say, What does it result in? = that it produces nothing, i.e., that it brings forth no real fruit; that it produces only the opposite of true satisfaction; that instead of filling, it only enlarges the inner void. Others, e.g., Luther, "What doest thou?" i.e., How foolish is thy undertaking! Even if we thus explain, the point in any case lies in the inability of mirth to make man truly and lastingly happy-in the inappropriateness of the means for the end aimed at. Therefore `osaah is thus meant just as in p|riy `aasaah (Hitz.), and m`sh, effect, Isa 32:17. Thus Mendelssohn: What profit does thou bring to me? Regarding zoh , vid., p. 642; mah-zoh = mah-zoth, Gen 3:13, where it is shown that the demonstrative pronoun serves here to sharpen the interrogative: What then, what in all the world!

    After this revelling in sensual enjoyment has been proved to be a fruitless experiment, he searches whether wisdom and folly cannot be bound together in a way leading to the object aimed at.


    I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. "I searched in my heart, (henceforth) to nourish my body with wine, while my heart had the direction by means of wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the children of men that they should do, all the number of the days of their life." After he became conscious that unbridled sensual intoxication does not lead to the wished-for end, he looked around him farther, and examined into the following reception for happiness. Inappropriately, Zöckl., with Hengst.: "I essayed in my heart to nourish...." tuwr does not mean probare, but explorare, to spy out, Num 10:33, and frequently in the Book of Koheleth (here and at Eccl 1:13; 7:25) of mental searching and discovery (Targ. 'aleel ). With lim|showk| there then follows the new thing that is contrived. If we read mshk and nhg in connection, then the idea of drawing a carriage, Isa 5:18, cf. Deut 21:3, and of driving a carriage, 2 Sam 6:3, lies near; according to which Hitzig explains: "Wine is compared to a draught beast such as a horse, and he places wisdom as the driver on the box, that his horse may not throw him into a ditch or a morass." But mosheek is not the wine, but the person himself who makes the trial; and noheeg is not the wisdom, but the heart-the former thus only the means of guidance; no man expresses himself thus: I draw the carriage by means of a horse, and I guide it by means of a driver. Rightly the Syr.: "To delight (lmbcmn, from baceem, oblectare) my flesh with wine." Thus also the Targ. and the Venet., by "drawing the flesh." The metaphor does not accord with the Germ. ziehen = to nourish by caring for (for which ribaah is used); it is more natural, with Gesen., to compare the passing of trahere into tractare, e.g., in the expression se benignius tractare (Horace, Ep. Eccl 1:17); but apart from the fact that trahere is a word of doubtful etymology, (Note: Vid., Crossen's Nachtr. zur lat. Formenlehre, pp. 107-109.) tractare perhaps attains the meaning of attending to, using, managing, through the intermediate idea of moving hither and thither, which is foreign to the Heb. mshk, which means only to draw-to draw to oneself, and hold fast (attractum sive prehensum tenere). As the Talm. mshk occurs in the sense of "to refresh," e.g., Chagiga 14a: "The Haggadists (in contradistinction to the Halachists) refresh the heart of a man as with water" (vid., p. 193); so here, "to draw the flesh" = to bring it into willing obedience by means of pleasant attractions. (Note: Grätz translates: to embrocate my body with wine, and remarks that in this lies a raffinement. But why does he not rather say, "to bathe in wine"? If mshch can mean "to embrocate," it may also mean "to bathe," and for byyn may be read bywny: in Grecian, i.e., Falernian, Chian, wine.)

    The phrase which follows: velibbi noheeg bahhochmaah, is conditioning:

    While my heart had the direction by means of wisdom; or, perhaps in accordance with the more modern usus loq. (vid., p. 639): While my heart guided, demeaned, behaved itself with wisdom. Then the inf. limshok, depending on tarti as its obj., is carried forward with veleehhoz besichluth.

    Plainly the subject treated of is an intermediate thing (Bardach: m|mutsa`at). He wished to have enjoyment, but in measure, without losing himself in enjoyment, and thereby destroying himself. He wished to give himself over to sweet desipere, but yet with wise self-possession (because it is sadly true that ubi mel ibi fel) to lick the honey and avoid the gall.

    There are drinkers who know how to guide themselves so that they do not end in drunken madness; and there are habitual pleasure-seekers who yet know how so far to control themselves, that they do not at length become roues. Koheleth thus gave himself to a foolish life, yet tempered by wisdom, till there dawned upon him a better light upon the way to true happiness.

    The expression of the donec viderem is old Heb. Instead of Eowb 'eey-zeh, quidnam sit bonum in indirect interrog. (as Eccl 11:6, cf. Jer 6:16), the old form mah-Towb (6:12) would lie at least nearer. Asher yaasu may be rendered: quod faciant or ut faciant; after Eccl 2:24; 3:22; 5:4; 7:18, the latter is to be assumed. The accus. designation of time, "through the number of days of their life," is like 5:17; 6:12. We have not, indeed, to translate with Knobel: "the few days of their life," but yet there certainly lies in mic|par the idea that the days of man's life are numbered, and that thus even if they are not few but many (6:3), they do not endure for ever.

    The king now, in the verse following, relates his undertakings for the purpose of gaining the joys of life in fellowship with wisdom, and first, how he made architecture and gardening serviceable to this new style of life.


    I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: "I undertook great works, built me houses, planted me vineyards. I made me gardens and parks, and planted therein all kinds of fruit-trees. I made me water-pools to water therewith a forest bringing forth trees." The expression, "I made great my works," is like Eccl 1:16; the verb contains the adj. as its obj. The love of wisdom, a sense of the beautiful in nature and art, a striving after splendour and dignity, are fundamental traits in Solomon's character. His reign was a period of undisturbed and assured peace. The nations far and near stood in manifold friendly relations with him. Solomon was "the man of rest," 1 Chron 22:9; his whole appearance was as it were the embodied glory itself that had blossomed from out of the evils and wars of the reign of David. The Israelitish commonwealth hovered on a pinnacle of worldly glory till then unattained, but with the danger of falling and being lost in the world.

    The whole tendency of the time followed, as it were, a secular course, and it was Solomon first of all whom the danger of the love of the world, and of worldly conformity to which he was exposed, brought to ruin, and who, like so many of the O.T. worthies, began in the spirit and ended in the flesh. Regarding his buildings-the house of the forest of Lebanon, the pillared hall (porch), the hall of judgment, the palace intended for himself and the daughter of Pharaoh-vid. the description in 1 Kings 7:1-12, gathered from the annals of the kingdom; 1 Kings 9:15-22 = 2 Chron 8:3-6, gives an account of Solomon's separate buildings (to which also the city of Millo belongs), and of the cities which he built; the temple, store-cities, treasure-cities, etc., are naturally not in view in the passage before us, where it is not so much useful buildings, as rather buildings for pleasure (1 Kings 9:19), that are referred to.

    Vineyards, according to 1 Chron 27:27, belonged to David's royal domain; a vineyard in Baal-hamon which Solomon possessed, but appears at a later period to have given up, is mentioned at the close of the Song. That he was fond of gardening, appears from manifold expressions in the Song; delight in the life and movements of the natural world, and particularly in plants, is a prominent feature in Solomon's character, in which he agrees with Shulamith. The Song; 6:2, represents him in the garden at the palace. We have spoken under the Song; 6:11f., of the gardens and parks at Etam, on the south-west of Bethlehem. Regarding the originally Persian word pardees (plur. pardesim, Mishnic pardesoth), vid., under Song 4:13; regarding the primary meaning of bereechah (plur. const. bereechoth, in contradistinction to birchoth, blessings), the necessary information is found under Song 7:5. These Solomonic pools are at the present day to be seen near old Etam, and the clause here denoting a purpose, "to water from them a forest which sprouted trees, i.e., brought forth sprouting trees," is suitable to these; for verbs of flowing and swarming, also verbs of growing, thought of transitively, may be connected with obj.-accus., Ewald, §281b; cf. under Isa 5:6. Thus, as he gave himself to the building of houses, the care of gardens, and the erection of pools, so also to the cultivation of forests, with the raising of new trees.

    Another means, wisely considered as productive of happiness, was a large household and great flocks of cattle, which he procured for himself.


    I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: "I procured servants and maidens, and also I obtained servants born in the house; also the possession of flocks; I obtained many horned and small cattle before all who were in Jerusalem before me." The obtaining of these possessions is, according to Gen 17:12ff., to be understood of purchase.

    There is a distinction between the slaves, male and female (mancipia), obtained by purchase, and those who were home-born (vernae), the bayit (y|liydeey ) b|neey , who were regarded as the chief support of the house (Gen 14:14), on account of their attachment to it, and to this day are called (Arab.) fada wayyt, as those who offer themselves a sacrifice for it, if need be. Regarding ly () hyh , in the sense of increasing possession, vid., Song, p. 155; and regarding haayaah for haayuw , vid., at Eccl 1:10,16; at all events, the sing. of the pred. may be explained from this, that the persons and things named are thought of in the mass, as at Zech 11:5; Joel 1:20 (although the idea there may be also individualizing); but in the use of the pass., as at Gen 35:26; Dan 9:24, the Semite custom is different, inasmuch as for it the passive has the force of an active without a definite subject, and thus with the most general subject; and as to the case lying before us in v. 7, we see from Ex 12:49, cf.

    Gen 15:17, that hyh (yhyh) in such instances is thought of as neut.

    According to Gen 26:14 and the passage before us, miq|neeh lay nearer than miq|neh , but the primary form instead of the connecting form is here the traditional reading; we have thus apposition (Nebenordnung) instead of subordination (Annexion), as in zevahim shelamim, Ex 24:5, and in habbaqar hannehhosheth, 2 Kings 16:17, although vaqar vatson may also be interpreted as the accus. of the more accurate definition: the possession of flocks consisting in cattle and sheep.

    But this manner of construction is, for a book of so late an origin, too artificial. What it represents Solomon as saying is consistent with historical fact; at the consecration of the temple he sacrificed hecatombs, Kings 8:63; and the daily supply for the royal kitchen, which will at the same time serve to show the extent of the royal household, was, according to 1 Kings 5:2f., enormous.

    There now follows the enumeration of riches and jewels which were a delight to the eye; and finally, the large provision made for revelling in the pleasures of music and of sensual love.


    I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. "I heaped up for myself also silver and gold, and the peculiar property of kings and of countries; I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the children of men: mistress and mistresses." The verb kaanac k|nash, suna'gein , is common to all Semitic dialects (also the to Assyr.), and especially peculiar to the more recent Heb., which forms from it the name of the religious community sunagoogee' , k|neecet; it is used here of that which is brought together merely for the purpose of possession. Seguullah (from sagal, Targ., to make oneself possess), properly possession, and that something which specially and peculiarly belongs to one as his property; the word is here meant collect., as at Chron 29:3: that which only kings and individual countries possess. The interchange of melachim, which is without the article, with the determ. hammedinoth, is arbitrary: something special, such as that which a king possesses, the specialities which countries possess-one country this, and another that. The hammedinoth are certainly not exclusively the regions embraced within the dominion of Solomon (Zöckl.), as, according to Est 1:1, the Persian kingdom was divided into 127 medinoth. Solomon had a fleet which went to Ophir, was in a friendly relation with the royal house of Tyre, the metropolis of many colonies, and ruled over a widelyextended kingdom, bound by commerce with Central Asia and Africa.-His desires had thus ample opportunity to stretch beyond the limits of his own kingdom, and facilities enough for procuring the peculiar natural and artistic productions which other lands could boast of. Medinah is, first of all, a country, not as a territory, but as under one government (cf. Eccl 5:7); in the later philosophical language it is the Heb. word for the Greek politei'a ; in the passage before us, medinoth is, however, not different from 'araatsowt .

    From the singing men and singing women who come into view here, not as appertaining to the temple service (vid., the Targ.), with which no singing women were connected, but as connected with the festivities of the court (2 Sam 19:36; cf. Isa 5:12), advance is made to shiddah veshiddoth; and since these are designated by the preceding w|ta`anugowt (not wt`nugwt) bene haaaadam, especially as objects and means of earthly pleasure, and since, according to 7:7, sexual love is the fairest and the most pleasant, in a word, the most attractive of all earthly delights (Solomon's luxus, also here contradicting the law of the king, Deut 17:17, came to a height, according to 1 Kings 11:3, after the example of Oriental rulers, in a harem of not fewer than one thousand women, princesses and concubines), of necessity, the expression shiddah veshiddoth must denote a multitude of women whom the king possessed for his own pleasure. Cup-bearers, male and female (Syr., LXX), cannot at all be understood, for although it may be said that the enumeration thus connects itself with the beforenamed bayayin , yet this class of female attendants are not numbered among the highest human pleasures; besides, with such an explanation one must read w|shodowt shodaah , and, in addition, sh|daa' (to throw, to pour to, or pour out), to which this Heb. shdh may correspond, is nowhere used of the pouring out of wine.

    Rather might shdh, like sd', hydria, be the name of a vessel from which one pours out anything, according to which Aq. translates by kuli'kion kai' kuli'kia, Symmachus, after Jerome, by mensurarum (read mensarum (Note: Thus, according to Vallarsi, a Cod. Vat. and Cod. Palat. of the first hand.)) species et appositioines, and Jerome, scyphos et urceos in ministerio ad vina fundenda; but this word for kelee mashkeeh, 1 Kings 10:21 (= Chron 9:20), is not found. Also the Targ., which translates by dimasaya uvee venavan, public baths (deemo'sia ), and balneae, vindicates this translation by referring the word to the verb sh|daa' , "with pipes which pour out (d|shaad|yaan) tepid water, and pipes which pour out hot water." But this explanation is imaginary; shidaah occurs in the Mishna, Mikwaoth (of plunge-baths) Eccl 6:5, but there it denotes a chest which, when it swims in the water, makes the plunge-bath unsuitable. Such an untenable conceit also is the translation suggested by Kimchi, zmr kly, according to which the Event. su'steema kai' sustee'mata (in a musical sense: concentus), and Luther: "all kinds of musical instruments;" the word has not this meaning; Orelli, Sanchuniathon, p. 33, combines therewith Sidoo'n , according to the Phoenician myth, the inventress of the artistic song.

    The explanation by Kimchi is headed, "Splendour of every kind;" Ewald, Elster, and Zöckler find therein a general expression, following taanugoth: great heap and heaps = in great abundance \die Hülle und Fülle. But the synon. of kbwd , "splendour," is not shod , but `oz ; and that shdd, like `tsm , is referred to a great number, is without proof. Thus shiddah veshiddoth will denote something definite; besides, "a large number" finds its expression in the climactic union of words. In the Jerus. Talm. Taanith Eccl 4:5, shiddah must, according to the gloss, be the name of a chariot, although the subject there is not that of motion forward, or moving quickly; it is there announced that Sîchîn, not far from Sepphoris, a place famed also for its pottery, formerly possessed 80 such shiddoth wholly of metal. The very same word is explained by Rashi, Baba kamma ix. 3, Shabbath 120a, Erubin 30b, Gittin 8b, 68a, Chagiga 25a, and elsewhere, of a carriage of wood, and especially of a chariot for women and distinguished persons. The combination of the synonyms, shiddah uthivah umigdal, does not in itself mean more than a chest; and Rashi himself explains, Kethuboth 65a, quolphi dashidah of the lock of a chest (argaz); and the author of Aruch knows no other meaning than that of a repository such as a chest. But in passages such as Gittin 8b, the shiddah is mentioned as a means of transport; it is to all appearance a chest going on wheels, moved forward by means of wheels, but on that very account not a state-chariot. Rashi's tradition cannot be verified.

    Böttcher, in the Neue Aehrenlese, adduces for comparison the Syr. Shydlo, which, according to Castelli, signifies navis magna, corbita, arca; but from a merchant ship and a portable chest, it is a great way to a lady's palanquin.

    He translates: palanquin and palinquins = one consignment to the harem after another. Gesen., according to Rödiger, Thes. 1365b, thinks that women are to be understood; for he compares the Arab. z'ynat, which signifies a women's carriage, and then the woman herself (cf. our Frauenzimmer, women's apartment, women, like Odaliske, from the Turk. oda, apartment). But this all stands or falls with that gloss of Rashi's: 'agalah lemerkavoth nashim usarim. Meanwhile, of all the explanations as yet advanced, this last of splendid coaches, palanquins is the best; for it may certainly be supposed that the words shiddah veshiddoth are meant of women. Aben Ezra explains on this supposition, shiddoth = shevuyoth, females captured in war; but unwarrantably, because as yet Solomon had not been engaged in war; others (vid., Pinsker's Zur Gesch. des Karaismus, p. 296), recently Bullock, connect it with shadäim, in the sense of (Arab.) nahidah (a maiden with swelling breast); Knobel explains after shadad, to barricade, to shut up, occlusa, the female held in custody (cf. bethulah, the separated one, virgin, from bathal, cogn. badal); Hitzig, "cushions," "bolsters," from shanad, which, like (Arab.) firash, le'chos, is then transferred to the juncta toro. Nothing of all that is satisfactory. The Babyl. Gemara, Gittin 68a, glosses wgw' w|ta`anu' by "reservoirs and baths," and then further says that in the west (Palestine) they say shidaataa', chests (according to Rashi: chariots); but that here in this country (i.e., in Babylon) they translate shiddah veshiddoth by sheedah vesheedathin, which is then explained, "demons and demonesses," which Solomon had made subservient to him. (Note: A demon, and generally a superhuman being, is called, as in Heb. sheed , so in the Babyl.-Assyr. sîdu, vid., Norris' Assyrian Dictionary, II p. 668; cf. Schrader, in the Jena. Lit. Zeit. 1874, p. 218f., according to which sîdu, with alap, is the usual name of Adar formed like an ox.)

    This haggadic-mytholog. interpretation is, linguistically at least, on the right track. A demon is not so named from fluttering or moving to and fro (Levy, Schönhak), for there is no evidence in the Semitic langauge of the existence of a verb swd, to flee; also not from a verb sadad, which must correspond to the Heb. hshtchwh, in the sense of to adore (Oppert's Inscription du palais de Khorsabad, 1863, p. 96); for this meaning is more than doubtful, and, besides, sheed is an active, and not a passive idea-much rather sheed , Assyr. sîd, Arab. sayyid, signifies the mighty, from shuwd , to force, Ps 91:6. (Note: Vid., Friedrich Delitzsch's Assyr. Theirnamen, p. 37.)

    In the Arab. (cf. the Spanish Cid) it is uniformly the name of a lord, as subduing, ruling, mastering (sabid), and the fem. sayyidat, of a lady, whence the vulgar Arab. sitti = my lady, and sîdi = my lord. Since shaadad means the same as shwd, and in Heb. is more commonly used than it, so also the fem. form shidaah is possible, so much the more as it may have originated from shiydaah , 5 shiyd = sheed , by a sharpening contraction, like cigiym , from ciygiym (Olsh. §83c), perhaps intentionally to make sheedaah, a demoness, and the name of a lady (donna = domina) unlike. Accordingly we translate, with Gesen. and Meyer in their Handwört.: "lady and ladies;" for we take shiddoth as a name of the ladies of the harem, like sheeglath (Assyr. saklâti) and lehhenath in the book of Daniel, on which Ahron b. Joseph the Karaite remarks: shedah hinqaroth shagal.

    The connection expressing an innumerable quantity, and at the same time the greatest diversity, is different from the genitival dor dorim, generation of generations, i.e., lasting through all generations, Ps 72:5, from the permutative heightening the idea: rahham rahhamathaim, one damsel, two damsels, Judg 5:30, and from that formed by placing together the two gram. genders, comprehending every species of the generic conception: mash'een umash'enah, Isa 3:3 (vid., comm. l.c., and Ewald, §172b). Also the words cited by Ewald (Syr.), rogo urógo, "all possible pleasures" (Cureton's Spicil. p. 10), do not altogether accord with this passage for they heighten, like meod meod, by the repetition of the same expression.

    But similar is the Arab. scheme, mal wamwal, "possession and possessions," i.e., exceeding great riches, where the collective idea, in itself according by its indetermination free scope to the imagination, is multiplied by the plur. being further added.

    After Koheleth has enumerated all that he had provided for the purpose of gratifying his lusts, but without losing himself therein, he draws the conclusion, which on this occasion also shows a perceptible deficit.

    ECCLESIASTES. 2:9-11

    So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. "And I became great, and was always greater than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And all that mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I refused not any kind of joy to my heart; for my heart had joy of all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. And I turned myself to all the works which my hands had done, and to the labour which I had laboured to accomplish: and, behold, all was vain, and windy effort, and there was no true profit under the sun." In vehosaphti there is here no obj. as at Eccl 1:16; the obj. is the gedullah, the greatness, to be concluded and thought of from vegadalti, "and I became great." To the impers. haayaah for haayuw , 7b, cf. 7a, 1:16,10. He became great, and always greater, viz., in the possession of all the good things, the possession of which seemed to make a man happy on this earth. And what he resolved upon, in the midst of this dulcis insania, viz., to deport himself as a wise man, he succeeded in doing: his wisdom forsook him not, viz., the means adapted to the end, and ruling over this colossal apparatus of sensual lust; 'ap , as e.g., at Ps 16:6, belongs to the whole clause; and `md , with l, does not mean here to stand by, sustain (Herzfeld, Ewald, Elster), which it might mean as well as `al `md , Dan 12:1, but to continue (vid., p. 639), as Jerome, and after him, Luther, translates: sapientia quoquo perseveravit mecum; the Targ. connects the ideas of continuance (LXX, Syr., Venet.) and of help; but the idea intended is that of continuance, for nhg, e.g., does not refer to helping, but self-maintaining.

    Verse 10. Thus become great and also continuing wise, he was not only in a condition to procure for himself every enjoyment, but he also indulged himself in everything; all that his eyes desired, i.e., all that they saw, and after which they made him lust (Deut 14:26) (cf. 1 John 2:16), that he did not refuse to them ('aatsal , subtrahere), and he kept not back his heart from any kind of joy (maana` , with min of the thing refused, as at Num 24:11, etc., oftener with min, of him to whom it is refused, e.g., Gen 30:2), for (here, after the foregoing negations, coinciding with immo) his heart had joy of all his work; and this, viz., this enjoyment in full measure, was his part of all his work. The palindromic form is like Eccl 1:6; 4:1; cf. Isa. p. 411. We say in Heb. as well as in German: to have joy in (an, b), anything, joy over (über, `l ) anything, or joy of (von, mn ) anything; Koheleth here purposely uses min, for he wishes to express not that the work itself was to him an object and reason of joy, but that it became to him a well of joy (cf. Prov 5:18; 2 Chron 20:27). Falsely, Hahn and others: after my work (min, as e.g., Ps 73:20), for thereby the causative connection is obliterated: min is the expression of the mediate cause, as the concluding sentence says: Joy was that which he had of all his work-this itself brought care and toil to him; joy, made possible to him thereby, was the share which came to him from it.

    Verse 11. But was this cheeleq a yit|rown -was this gain that fell to him a true, satisfying, pure gain? With the words uphanithi ani (vid., p. 198) he proposes this question, and answers it. paanaah (to turn to) is elsewhere followed by expressions of motion to an end; here, as at Job 6:28, by b|, by virtue of a constructio praegnans: I turned myself, fixing my attention on all my works which my hands accomplished.

    La'asoth is, as at Gen 2:3 (vid., l.c.), equivalent to perficiendo, carrying out, viz., such works of art and of all his labour. The exclamation "behold" introduces the summa summarum. Regarding yit|rown , vid., Eccl 1:3. Also this way of finding out that which was truly good showed itself to be false. Of all this enjoyment, there remained nothing but the feeling of emptiness. What he strove after appeared to him as the wind; the satisfaction he sought to obtain at such an expense was nothing else than a momentary delusion. And since in this search after the true happiness of life he was in a position more favourable for such a purpose than almost any other man, he is constrained to draw the conclusion that there is no ytrwn, i.e., no real enduring and true happiness, from all labour under the sun.


    After Koheleth has shown, Eccl 1:12ff., that the striving after wisdom does not satisfy, inasmuch as, far from making men happy, its possession only increases their inward conflicts, he proposes to himself the question whether or not there is a difference between wisdom and folly, whether the former does not far excel the latter. He proceeds to consider this question, for it is more appropriate to him, the old much-experienced king, than to others.


    And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. "And I turned myself to examine wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what is the man who could come after the king, him whom they have made so long ago!" Mendelssohn's translation, 12a: "I abandoned my design of seeking to connect wisdom with folly and madness," is impossible, because for such a rendering we should have had at least milir|'owt instead of lir|'owt . Hitzig, otherwise followed by Stuart: "I turned myself to examine me wisdom, and, lo, it was madness as well as folly." This rendering is impossible also, for in such a case w|hineeh ought to have stood as the result, after chkmh. The pasage, Zech 14:6, cited by Hitz., does not prove the possibility of such a brachyology, for there we read not veqaroth veqeppayon, but eqaroth iqeppauun (the splendid ones, i.e., the stars, will draw themselves together, i.e., will become dark bodies).

    The two vavs are not correlative, which is without example in the usage of this book, but copulative: he wishes to contemplate (Zöckler and others) wisdom on the one side, and madness and folly on the other, in their relation to each other, viz., in their relative worth. Hitzig's ingenuity goes yet further astray in 12b: "For what will the man do who comes after the king? (He shall do) what was long ago his (own) doing, i.e., inheriting from the king the throne, he will not also inherit his wisdom." Instead of aasuuhuu, he reads asoohuu, after Ex 18:18; but the more modern author, whose work we have here before us, would, instead of this anomalous form, use the regular form `asowtow; but, besides, the expression eeth asher-kevar 'asotho, "(he will do) what long ago was his doing," is not Heb.; the words ought to have been keasotho kevar khen i'sah, or at least 'asaahuu. If we compare 12b with 18b, the man who comes after the king appears certainly to be his successor. (Note: The LXX and Symm. by hammelêk think of melak, counsel, boulee' , instead of melek, king; and as Jerome, so also Bardach understands by the king the rex factor, i.e., God the Creator.)

    But by this supposition it is impossible to give just effect to the relation (assigning a reason or motive) of 12b to 12a expressed by kiy .

    When I considered, Knobel regards Koheleth as saying, that a fool would be heir to me a wise man, it appeared strange to me, and I was led to compare wisdom and folly to see whether or not the wise man has a superiority to the fool, or whether his labour and his fate are vanity, like those of the fool. This is in point of style absurd, but it is much more absurd logically. And who then gave the interpreter the right to stamp as a fool the man who comes after the king? In the answer: "That which has long ago been done," must lie its justification; for this that was done long ago naturally consists, as Zöckler remarks, in foolish and perverse undertakings, certainly in the destruction of that which was done by the wise predecessor, in the lavish squandering of the treasures and goods collected by him.

    More briefly, but in the same sense, Burger: Nihil quod a solita hominum agendi ratione recedit. But in v. 19, Koheleth places it as a question whether his successor will be a wise man or a fool, while here he would presuppose that "naturally," or as a matter of course, he will be a fool. In the matter of style, we have nothing to object to the translation on which Zöckler, with Rabm., Rosenm., Knobel, Hengst., and others, proceeds; the supplying of the verb ya`aseh to meh haaaadaam = what can the man do? is possible (cf. Mal 2:15), and the neut. interpret. of the suffix of `aasuwhuw is, after Eccl 7:13; Amos 1:3; Job 31:11, admissible; but the reference to a successor is not connected with the course of the thoughts, even although one attaches to the plain words a meaning which is foreign to them. The words `aasuwhuw ...'et are accordingly not the answer to the question proposed, but a component part of the question itself. Thus Ewald, and with him Elster, Heiligst., construes: "How will the man be who will follow the king, compared with him whom they made (a king) long ago, i.e., with his predecessor?" But 'eet , in this pregnant sense, "compared with," is without example, at least in the Book of Koheleth, which generally does not use it as a prep.; and, besides, this rendering, by introducing the successor on the throne, offends against the logic of the relation of 12b to 12a.

    The motive of Koheleth's purpose, to weigh wisdom and folly against each other as to their worth, consists in this, that a king, especially such an one as Solomon was, has in the means at his disposal and in the extent of his observation so much more than everyother, that no one who comes after him will reach a different experience. This motive would be satisfactorily expressed on the supposition that the answer begins with 't , if one should read `aasaahuw for `aasuwhuw : he will be able to do (accomplish) nothing but what he (the king) has long ago done, i.e., he will only repeat, only be able to confirm, the king's report. But if we take the text as it here stands, the meaning is the same; and, besides, we get rid of the harsh ellipsis meh haaaadaam for meh yaaseh haaaadaam. We translate: for what is the man who might come after the king, him whom they have made so long ago! The king whom they made so long ago is Solomon, who has a richer experience, a more comprehensive knowledge, the longer the time (viz., from the present time backwards) since he occupied the throne.

    Regarding the expression eth asher = quem, instead of the asher simply, vid., Köhler under Zech 12:10. `aasuwhuw , with the most general subj., is not different from na`asaah , which, particularly in the Book of Daniel (e.g., 4:28f.), has frequently an active construction, with the subject unnamed, instead of the passive (Gesen. §137, margin). The author of the Book of Koheleth, alienated from the theocratic side of the kingdom of Israel, makes use of it perhaps not unintentionally; besides, Solomon's elevation to the throne was, according to 1 Kings 1, brought about very much by human agency; and one may, if he will, think of the people in the word 'asuhu also, according to 1 Kings 1:39, who at last decided the matter. Meh before the letters hheth and ayin commonly occurs: according to the Masora, twenty-four times; before other initial letters than these, eight times, and three of these in the Book of Koheleth before the letter he, Eccl 2:12,22; 7:10. The words are more an exclamation than a question; the exclamation means: What kind of a man is that who could come after the king! cf. "What wickedness is this!" etc., Judg 20:12; Josh 22:16; Ex 18:14; 1 Kings 9:13, i.e., as standing behind with reference to me-the same figure of extenuatio, as mah adam, Ps 144:3; cf. Eccl 8:5.

    There now follows an account of what, on the one side, happened to him thus placed on a lofty watch-tower, such as no other occupied. 13,14a. "And I saw that wisdom has the advantage over folly, as light has the advantage over darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness." In the sacred Scriptures, "light" is generally the symbol of grace, Ps 43:3, but also the contrast of an intellectually and morally darkened state, Isa 51:4. To know a thing is equivalent to having light on it, and seeing it in its true light (Ps 36:10); wisdom is thus compared to light; folly is once, Job 38:19, directly called "darkness."

    Thus wisdom stands so much higher than folly, as light stands above darkness. yit|rown , which hitherto denoted actual result, enduring gain, signifies here preference (vid., p. 638); along with kiytarown (Note: Thus written, according to J and other authorities.) there is also found the form k|yit|rown (Note: Thus Ven. 1515, 1521; vid., Comm. under Gen 27:28-29; Ps 45:10.) (vid., Prov 30:17). The fool walks in darkness: he is blind although he has eyes (Isa 43:8), and thus has as good as none-he wants the spiritual eye of understanding (10:3); the wise man, on the other hand, his eyes are in his head, or, as we also say: he has eyes in his head-eyes truly seeing, looking at and examining persons and things. That is the one side of the relation of wisdom to folly as put to the test.

    The other side of the relation is the sameness of the result in which the elevation of wisdom above folly terminates. 14b,15. "And I myself perceived that one experience happeneth to them all. And I said in my heart, As it will happen to the fool, it will happen also to me; and why have I then been specially wise? Thus I spake then in my heart, that this also is vain." Zöckler gives to gam an adversative sense; but this gam (= ho'moos , similiter) stands always at the beginning of the clause, Ewald, §354a. Gam-ani corresponds to the Lat. ego idem, which gives two predicates to one subject; while et ipse predicates the same of the one of two subjects as it does of the other (Zumpt, §697).

    The second gam-ani serves for the giving of prominence to the object, and here precedes, after the manner of a substantival clause (cf. Isa 45:12; Ezek 33:17; 2 Chron 28:10), as at Gen 24:27; cf. Gesen. §121. 3. Miqreh (from qaaraah , to happen, to befall) is quiquid alicui accidit (in the later philosoph. terminol. accidens; Venet. sumbebeeko's ); but here, as the connection shows, that which finally puts an end to life, the final event of death.

    By the word yaada' the author expresses what he had observed on reflection; by b|li'...'aama' , what he said inwardly to himself regarding it; and by b|li' diba', what sentence he passed thereon with himself. Lammah asks for the design, as maddu'a for the reason. 'aaz is either understood temporally: then when it is finally not better with me than with the fool (Hitz. from the standpoint of the dying hour), or logically: if yet one and the same event happeneth to the wise man and to the fool (Eslt.); in the consciousness of the author both are taken together.

    The zeh of the conclusion refers, not, as at Eccl 1:17, to the endeavouring after and the possession of wisdom, but to this final result making no difference between wise men and fools. This fate, happening to all alike, is hebel , a vanity rendering all vain, a nullity levelling down all to nothing, something full of contradictions, irrational. Paul also (Rom 8:20) speaks of this destruction, which at last comes upon all, as a mataio'tees .

    The author now assigns the reason for this discouraging result.


    For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. "For no remembrance of the wise, as of the fool, remains for ever; since in the days that are to come they are all forgotten. And how dieth the wise man: as the fool!" As in Eccl 1:11, so here zik|rown is the principal form, not different from zikaarown . Having no remembrance forever, is equivalent to having no eternal endurance, having simply no onward existence (9:6). `im is both times the comparat. combin., as at 7:11; Job 9:26; 37:18; cf. yachad , Ps 49:11. There are, indeed, individual historically great men, the memory of whom is perpetuated from generation to generation in words and in monuments; but these are exceptions, which do not always show that posterity is able to distinguish between wise men and fools. As a rule, men have a long appreciating recollection of the wise as little as they have of the fools, for long ago (vid., beshekvar, p. 640) in the coming days (habaa' hayaa' , accus. of the time, like the ellipt. hb' , Isa 27:6) all are forgotten; hakol is, as at Ps 14:3, meant personally: the one as the other; and nish|kaach is rendered by the Masora, like 9:6, 'aabaa' k|baa', as the pausal form of the finite; but is perhaps thought of as part., denoting that which only in the coming days will become too soon a completed fact, since those who survive go from the burial of the one, as well as from that of the other, to the ordinary duties of the day.

    Death thus sinks the wise man, as it does the fool, in eternal oblivion; it comes to both, and brings the same to both, which extorted from the author the cry: How dieth the wise man? as the fool! Why is the fate which awaits both thus the same! This is the pointed, sarcastic 'eeyk| (how!) of the satirical Mashal, e.g., Isa 14:4; Ezek 26:17; and yaamuwt is = moriendum est, as at 2 Sam 3:3, moriendum erat.

    Rambach well: 'yk est h. l. particula admirationis super rei indignitate.

    What happened to the author from this sorrowful discovery he now states.


    Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. "The life became hateful to me; for the work which man accomplsihes under the sun was grievous to me: because all is vain and windy effort." He hated life; and the labour which is done under the sun, i.e., the efforts of men, including the fate that befalls men, appeared to him to be evil (repugnant). The LXX translate: poneero'n ep' eme' ; the Venet.: kako'n ep' emoi' ; and thus Hitzig: as a woeful burden lying on me. But `aalay ra` is to be understood after tov al, Est 3:9, etc., cf. Ps 16:6, and as synon. with b|`eeynay or l|paanay (cf. Dan. 3:32), according to which Symmachus: kako'n ga'r moi efa'nee . This al belongs to the more modern usus loq., cf. Ewald, §217i. The end of the song was also again the grievous ceterum censeo: Vanity, and a labour which has wind as its goal, wind as its fruit.


    In view of death, which snatches away the wise man equally with the fool, and of the night of death, which comes to the one as to the other, deep dejection came upon him from another side.


    Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. "And I hated all my labour with which I laboured under the sun, that I should leave it to the man who shall be after me;" i.e., not: who shall come into existence after me, but: who shall occupy my place after me. The fiction discovers itself here in the expression: "The king," who would not thus express himself indefinitely and unsympathetically regarding his son and successor on the throne, is stripped of his historical individuality. The first and third sh are relat. pron. (quem, after the schema egymologicum `aamaal `aamal , v. 11, Eccl 9:9, and qui), the second is relat. conj. (eo) quod. The suffix of she'ani' refers to the labour in the sense of that which is obtained by wearisome labour, accomplished or collected with labour; cf. koach , product, fruit, Gen 4:12; `abowdaah, effect, Isa 32:17.

    How this man will be circumstanced who will have at his disposal that for which he has not laboured, is uncertain.


    And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. "And who knoweth whether he shall be wise or foolish? and he will have power over all my labour with which had wearied myself, and had acted wisely, under the sun: this also is vain." 'ow ...ha, instead of 'im ...ha, in the double question, as at Job 16:3. What kind of a man he will be no one can previously know, and yet this person will have free control (cf. shaalaT , p.641) over all the labour that the testator has wisely gained by labour-a hendiadys, for chaakam with the obj. accus. is only in such a connection possible: "my labour which I, acting wisely, gained by labour."

    In view of this doubtful future of that which was with pains and wisely gained by him, his spirit sank within him.


    Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. "Then I turned to give up my heart on account of = to despair of all the labour with which I wearied myself under the sun." As at 1 Sam 22:17f., Song 2:17; Jer 41:14, cbb has here the intrans. meaning, to turn about (LXX epe'strepsa = epestrepsa'meen). Hitzig remarks that pnh and swb signify, "to turn round in order to see," and cbb, on the contrary, "to turn round in order to do." But pnh can also mean, "to turn round in order to do," e.g., Lev 26:9; and cbb, "to turn in order to examine more narrowly," 7:25. The distinction lies in this, that pnh signifies a clear turning round; cbb, a turning away from one thing to another, a turning in the direction of something new that presents itself (Eccl 4:1,7; 9:11). The phrase, 'et-blibow yi'eesh, (Note: With Pathach under the yod in the text in Biblia Rabb. and the note lo Thus also in the ms. Parva Masora, and e.g., Cod. P.) closely corresponds to the Lat. despondet animum, he gives up his spirits, lets them sink, i.e., he despairs. The old language knows only now'ash, to give oneself up, i.e., to give up hope in regard to anything; and now'aash , given up, having no prospect, in despair. The Talm., however, uses along with nithyaaeesh (vid., p. 638) not only noash, but also yi'eesh , in the sense of despair, or the giving up of all hope (subst. yi'uwsh), Mezîa 21b, from which it is at once evident that ya'eesh . is not to be thought of as causative (like the Arab. ajjasa and aiasa), but as simply transitive, with which, after the passage before us, lbw is to be thought of as connected. He turned round to give up all heart. He had no more any heart to labour.


    For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. "For there is a man who labours with wisdom, and knowledge, and ability; and to a man who has not laboured for it, must he leave it as his portion: also that is vain, and a great evil." Ewald renders: whose labour aims after wisdom. But wTw' b|cha' do not denote obj. (for the obj. of `ml is certainly the portion which is to be inherited), but are particular designations of the way and manner of the labour. Instead of she`aamal, there is used the more emphatic form of the noun: she`amaalow , who had his labour, and performed it; 1 Sam 7:17, cf. Jer. Eccl 9:56, "Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit," and Hitz. under Job 9:27. Kishron is not andrei'a (LXX), manliness, moral energy (Elster), but aptness, ability, and (as a consequence connecting itself therewith) success, good fortune, thus skilfulness conducting to the end (vid., p. 638). bow refers to the object, and yit|nenuw to the result of the work; chel|qow is the second obj.-accus., or, as we rather say, pred.-accus.: as his portion, viz., inheritance.

    That what one has gained by skill and good fortune thus falls to the lot of another who perhaps recklessly squanders it, is an evil all the greater in proportion to the labour and care bestowed on its acquisition.

    ECCLESIASTES. 2:22-23

    For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? "For what has man of all his labour, and the endeavours of his heart with which he wearies himself under the sun? All his days are certainly in sorrows, and his activity in grief; his heart resteth not even in the night: also this is vain." The question literally is: What is (comes forth, results) to a man from all his labour; for "to become, to be, to fall to, happen to," is the fundamental idea of hwh (whence here howeh , gino'menon , as at Neh 6:6, geneeso'menos ) or hyh , the root signification of which is deorsum ferri, cadere, and then accidere, fieri, whence hauwaah , eagerness precipitating itself upon anything (vid., under Prov 10:3), or object.: fall, catastrophe, destruction. Instead of shehuw' , there is here to be written sh|huw' , (Note: Thus according to tradition, in H, J, P, vid., Michlol 47b, 215b, 216a; vid., also Norzi.) as at Eccl 3:18 sh|hem . The question looks forward to a negative answer. What comes out of his labour for man? Nothing comes of it, nothing but disagreeableness. This negative contained in the question is established by kiy , 23a. The form of the clause, "all his days are sorrows," viz., as to their condition, follows the scheme, "the porch was 20 cubits," 2 Chron 3:4, viz., in measurement; or, "their feast is music and wine," Isa 5:12, viz., in its combination (vid., Philippi's Stat. Const. p. 90ff.). The parallel clause is `in|yaanow waaka`am, not w|k'; for the final syllable, or that having the accent on the penult, immediately preceding the Athnach-word, takes Kametz, as e.g., Lev 18:5; Prov 25:3; Isa 65:17 (cf.

    Olsh. §224, p. 440). (Note: But cf. also waal' with Zakeph Katan, 2 Kings 5:17; wgw' w'r' with Tiphcha, Isa 26:19; and w|riyb under Ps 45:10.)

    Many interpreters falsely explain: at aegritudo est velut quotidiana occupatio ejus. For the sake of the parallelism, `nynw (from `nh, to weary oneself with labour, or also to strive, aim; vid., Psalmen, ii. 390) is subj. not pred.: his endeavour is grief, i.e., brings only grief or vexation with it.

    Even in the night he has no rest; for even then, though he is not labouring, yet he is inwardly engaged about his labour and his plans. And this possession, acquired with such labour and restlessness, he must leave to others; for equally with the fool he fails under the stroke of death: he himself has no enjoyment, others have it; dying, he must leave all behind him-threefold hbl , vv. 17, 21, 23, and thus hblym hbl.


    Is it not then foolish thus restlessly and with so much self-torment to labour for nothing? In view of the night of darkness which awaits man, and the uncertain destiny of our possessions, it is better to make use of the present in a way as pleasant to ourselves as possible.


    There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. "There is nothing better among men, than that one eat and drink, and that he should pamper his soul by his labour: this also have I seen, that it is in the hand of God." The LXX, as well as the other Greek transl., and Jerome, had before them the words sy'kl b'dm. The former translates: "Man has not the good which he shall eat and drink," i.e., also this that he for him no true good; but the direct contrary of this is what Koheleth says. Jerome seeks to bring the thought which the text presents into the right track, by using the form of a question: nonne melius est comedere...; against this Eccl 3:12,22; 8:15, are not to be cited where Twb 'yn stands in the dependent sentence; the thought is not thus to be improved; its form is not this, for Twb , beginning a sentence, is never interrog., but affirm.; thus Twb 'yn is not = Ewb hl', but is a negative statement.

    It is above all doubt, that instead of shey' b'dm we must read mishey' b'dm, after Eccl 3:12,22; 8:15; for, as at Job 33:17, the initial letter mem after the terminal mem has dropped out. Codd. of the LXX have accordingly corrected ho' into plee'n ho' or ei mee' ho' (thus the Compl. Ald.), and the Syr. and Targ. render s here by d| 'l' and d| 'lhn unless that he eat; Jerome also has non est bonum homini nisi quod in his Comm.; only the Venet. seeks to accommodate itself to the traditional text. Besides, only m is to be inserted, not 'm ky ; for the phrase le'ekol 'm ky is used, but not s 'm ky. Instead of ba-a-da-m, the form la-a-da-m would be more agreeable, as at Eccl 6:12; 8:15. Hitzig remarks, without proof, that baaaadaam is in accordance with later grammatical forms, which admit b = "for" before the object. b, 10:17, is neither prep. of the object, nor is en , Sir. 3:7, the exponent of the dative (vid., Grimm). Baaaadaam signifies, as at 2 Sam 23:3, and as en anth , Sir. 11:14, inter homines; also 3:12 designates by baam (OT:871a ) Twb what among them (men) has to be regarded as good.

    It is interesting to see how here the ancient and the modern forms of the language run together, without the former wholly passing over into the latter; eimeshy', quam ut edat, is followed by norm. perfects, in accordance with that comprehensive peculiarity of the old syntax which Ewald, by an excellent figure, calls the dissolution of that which is coloured into grey.

    Towb ...hir|' is equivalent to low () heey' , Ps 49:19, the causative rendering of the phrase Towb raa'aah , 3:13, or Eowbaah r', 5:17; 6:6. It is well to attend to ba`amaalow by his labour, which forms an essential component part of that which is approved of as good. Not a useless sluggard-life, but a life which connects together enjoyment and labour, is that which Koheleth thinks the best in the world. But this enjoyment, lightening, embellishing, seasoning labour, has also its But: etiam hoc vidi e manu Dei esse (pendere). The order of the words harmonizes with this Lat.; it follows the scheme referred to at Gen 1:4; cf. on the contrary, Eccl 3:6. Instead of gam-zeh, neut. by attraction, there is here the immediately neut. gam-zoh; the book uniformly makes use of this fem. form instead of zo't (vid., p. 642). This or that is "in the hand of God," i.e., it is His gift, 3:13, v. 18, and it is thus conditioned by Him, since man cannot give it to himself; cf. minni, Isa 30:1; mimmenni, Hos 8:4; mimmennu, 1 Kings 20:33.

    This dependence of the enjoyment of life on God is established.


    For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? "For who can eat, and who can have enjoyment, without = except from Him?" Also here the traditional text is tenable: we have to read mmnw chwts , after the LXX (which Jerome follows in his Comm.) and the Syr. If we adopt the text as it lies before us, then the meaning would be, as given by Gumpel, (Note: Vid., regarding his noteworthy Comm. on Koheleth, my Jesurun, pp. 183 and 195. The author bears the name among Christians of Professor Levisohn.) and thus translated by Jerome: Quis ita devorabit et deliciis effluet ut ego?

    But (1) the question thus understood would require mimeniy yowteer , which Gumpel and others silently substitute in place of m' chwts ; (2) this question, in which the king adjudicates to himself an unparalleled right to eat and to enjoy himself, would stand out of connection with that which precedes and follows.

    Even though with Ginsburg, after Rashi, Aben Ezra, and Rashbam, we find in ver. 25 the thought that the labourer has the first and nearest title to the enjoyment of the fruit of his labour (m' chwts thus exemplif. as Eccl 4:8, `'...lmy), the continuation with kiy , ver. 26, is unsuitable; for the natural sequence of the thoughts would then be this: But the enjoyment, far from being connected with the labour as its selfconsequence and fruit, is a gift of God, which He gives to one and withholds from another. If we read mimenuw , then the sequence of the thoughts wants nothing in syllogistic exactness. chuwsh here has nothing in common with chuwsh = Arab. hât, to proceed with a violent, impetuous motion, but, as at Job 20:2, is = Arab. hss, stringere (whence hiss, a sensible impression); the experience (vid., p. 637) here meant is one mediated by means of a pleasant external enjoyment.

    The LXX, Theod., and Syr. translate: (and who can) drink, which Ewald approves of, for he compares (Arab.) hasa (inf. hasy), to drink, to sip. But this Arab. verb is unheard of in Heb.; with right, Heiligst. adheres to the Arab., and at the same time the modern Heb. hass, chwsh, sentire, according to which Schultens, quis sensibus indulserit. mmnw chuwts is not = m' wl', "except from him" (Hitz., Zöckl.), but mn chwts together mean "except;" cf. e.g., the Mishnic lm' wchwts l'mnh chwts, beyond the time and place suitable for the thankoffering, mhm m'chd chwts, excepting one of the same, Menachoth vii. 3, for which the old Heb. would in the first case use bl', and in the second zwl' or min l|bad (= Aram. min bar ) (vid., p. 637). Accordingly mmnw chwts means practer cum (Deum), i.e., unless he will it and make it possible, Old Heb. miba', Gen 41:44.

    In enjoyment man is not free, it depends not on his own will: labour and the enjoyment of it do not stand in a necessary connection; but enjoyment is a gift which God imparts, according as He regards man as good, or as a sinner.


    For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God.

    This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. "For to a man who appears to Him as good, He gave wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner He gave the work of gathering and heaping up, in order to give it to him who appears to Him as good: this also is vain, and grasping after the wind;" viz., this striving after enjoyment in and of the labour-it is "vain," for the purpose and the issue lie far apart; and "striving after the wind," because that which is striven for, when one thinks that he has it, only too often cannot be grasped, but vanishes into nothing. If we refer this sentence to a collecting and heaping up (Hengst., Grätz, and others), then the author would here come back to what has already been said, and that too in the foregoing section; the reference also to the arbitrary distribution of the good things of life on the part of God (Knobel) is inadmissible, because "this, although it might be called hbl , could not also be called rwch r`wt " (Hitz.); and perfectly inadmissible the reference to the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and joy (Bullock), for referred to these the sentence gains a meaning only by introducing all kinds of things into the text which here lie out of the connection.

    Besides, what is here said has indeed a deterministic character, and lpnyw, especially if it is thought of in connection with wlch', (Note: Written with segol under E in P, Biblia Rabb., and elsewhere.

    Thus correctly after the Masora, according to which this form of the word has throughout the book segol under E, with the single exception of Eccl 7:26. Cf. Michol 124b, 140b.) sounds as if to the good and the bad their objective worth and distinction should be adjudicated; but this is not the meaning of the author; the unreasonable thought that good or bad is what God's arbitrary ordinance and judgment stamp it to be, is wholly foreign to him. The "good before Him" is he who appears as good before God, and thus pleases Him, because he is truly good; and the chwT', placed in contrast, as at 7:26, is the sinner, not merely such before God, but really such; here lpnyw has a different signification than when joined with Twb : one who sins in the sight of God, i.e., without regarding Him (Luke 15:18, enoo'pion ), serves sin.

    Regarding `in|yaan , vid., under 23a: it denotes a business, negotium; but here such as one fatigues himself with, quod negotium facessit. Among the three charismata, joy stands last, because it is the turning-point of the series of thoughts: joy connected with wise, intelligent activity, is, like wisdom and intelligence themselves, a gift of God. The obj. of laateet (that He may give it) is the store gathered together by the sinner; the thought is the same as that at Prov 13:22; 28:8; Job 27:16f. The perfect we have so translated, for that which is constantly repeating itself is here designated by the general expression of a thing thus once for all ordained, and thus always continued.

    THE SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS AND IMPOTENCE OF MAN OVER AGAINST GOD THE ALLCONDITIONING, 3:1-15 As pure enjoyment stands not in the power of man, much rather is a gift of God which He bestows or denies to man according to His own will, so in general all happens when and how God wills, according to a world-plan, comprehending all things which man can neither wholly understand, nor in any respect change-feeling himself in all things dependent on God, he ought to learn to fear Him.

    All that is done here below is ordered by God at a time appointed, and is done without any dependence on man's approbation, according to God's ordinance, arrangement, and providence.


    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: "Everything has its time, and every purpose under the heavens its hour."

    The Germ. language is poor in synonyms of time. Zöckler translates:

    Everything has its Frist..., but by Frist we think only of a fixed term of duration, not of a period of beginning, which, though not exclusively, is yet here primarily meant; we have therefore adopted Luther's excellent translation. Certainly z|maan (from zaaman , cogn. caaman , signare), belonging to the more modern Heb. (vid., p. 637), means a Frist (e.g., Dan 2:16) as well as a Zeitpunkt, point of time; in the Semit. (also Assyr. simmu, simanu, with c) it is the most common designation of the idea of time. `eet is abbreviated either from `eedet (waa`ad, to determine) or from `eenet (from `aanaah , cogn. 'nh , to go towards, to meet). In the first case it stands connected with mow`eed on the one side, and with `idaan (from `aadad, to count) on the other; in the latter case, with `ownaah , Ex 21:10 (perhaps also `an and `enet in k|`an , k|`enet ). It is difficult to decide this point; proportionally more, however, can be said for the original `eenet (Palest.-Aram. `in|taa'), as also the prep. of participation 'eet is derived from 'eenet (Note: Vid., Orelli's work on the Heb. Synon. der Zeit u. Ewigkeit, 1871. He decides for the derivation from w`d; Fleischer (Levy's Chald.

    W.B. II. 572) for the derivation from `aanaah , the higher power of 'aanaah , whence (Arab.) inan, right time. We have, under Job 24:1, maintained the former derivation.) (meeting, coming together). The author means to say, if we have regard to the root signification of the second conception of time-(1) that everything has its fore-determined time, in which there lies both a determined point of time when it happens, and a determined period of time during which it shall continue; and (2) that every matter has a time appointed for it, or one appropriate, suitable for it. The Greeks were guided by the right feeling when they rendered zmn by chro'nos , and `t by kairo's .

    Olympiodorus distinguishes too sharply when he understands the former of duration of time, and the latter of a point of time; while the state of the matter is this, that by chro'nos the idea comprehends the termini a quo and ad quem, while by kairo's it is limited to the terminus a quo.

    Regarding cheepets , which proceeds from the ground-idea of being inclined to, and intention, and thus, like pra'gma and chree'ma , to the general signification of design, undertaking, res gesta, res, vid., p. 638.

    The illustration commences with the beginning and the ending of the life of man and (in near-lying connection of thought) of plants.


    A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; (Note: These seven verses, 2-8, are in Codd and Edd., like Josh 12:9ff., and Est 9:7ff., arranged in the form of a song, so that one `eet (time) always stands under another, after the scheme described in Megilla 16b, Massecheth Sofrim xiii. 3, but without any express reference to this passage in Koheleth. J has a different manner of arranging the words, the first four lines of which we here adduce:- 'eeth laamoth veeth laledeth 'eeth 'eeth nathu'a la'aqor veeth latha'ath 'eeth lirpoo veeth laharog 'eeth livnoth veeth liphrots) "To be born has its time, and to die has its time; to plant has its time, and to root up that which is planted has its time." The inf. laaledet signifies nothing else than to bring forth; but when that which is brought forth comes more into view than she who brings forth, it is used in the sense of being born (cf. Jer 25:34, lit|' = l|hiTaabeeach); ledah, Hos 9:11, is the birth; and in the Assyr., li-id-tu, li-i-tu, li-da-a-tu, designates posterity, progenies. Since now laaladeth has here laamuth as contrast, and thus does not denote the birth-throes of the mother, but the child's beginning of life, the translation, "to be born has its time," is more appropriate to what is designed than "to bring forth has its time." What Zöckler, after Hitzig, objects that by ledeth a hpts an undertaking, and thus a conscious, intended act must be named, is not applicable; for lakol standing at the beginning comprehends doing and suffering, and death also (apart from suicide) is certainly not an intended act, frequently even an unconscious suffering. Instead of laaTa`at (for which the form laTa`at (Note: This Abulwalid found in a correct Damascus ms., Michlol 81b.) is found, cf. lamowT , Ps 66:9), the older language uses lin|Toa` , Jer 1:10. In still more modern Heb. the expression used would be lyT`, i.e., laTa` (Shebîith ii. 1). `aaqar has here its nearest signification: to root up (denom. of `iqaar, root), like `aqar , 2 Kings 3:25, where it is the Targ. word for hipiyl (to fell trees).

    From out-rooting, which puts an end to the life of plants, the transition is now made to putting to death.


    A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; "To put to death has its time, and to heal has its time; to pull down has its time, and to build has its time." That harog (to kill) is placed over against "to heal," Hitzig explains by the remark that harog does not here include the full consequences of the act, and is fitly rendered by "to wound." But "to put to death" is nowhere = "nearly to put to death,"-one who is harug is not otherwise to be healed than by resurrection from the dead, Ezek 37:6. The contrast has no need for such ingenuity to justify it. The striking down of a sound life stands in contrast to the salvation of an endangered life by healing, and this in many situations of life, particularly in war, in the administration of justice, and in the defence of innocence against murder or injury, may be fitting. Since the author does not present these details from a moral point of view, the time here is not that which is morally right, but that which, be it morally right or not, has been determined by God, the Governor of the world and Former of history, who makes even that which is evil subservient to His plan. With the two pairs of ge'nesis kai' fthora' there are two others associated in ver. 3; with that, having reference, 2b, to the vegetable world, there here corresponds one referring to buildings; to p|rowts (synon. harowc, Jer 1:10) stands opposed b|nowt (which is more than g|dowr ), as at 2 Chron 32:5.

    These contrasts between existence and non-existence are followed by contrasts within the limits of existence itself:- ECCLESIASTES 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; "To weep has its time, and to laugh has its time; to mourn has its time, and to dance has its time." It is possible that the author was led by the consonance from livnoth to livkoth, which immediately follows it; but the sequence of the thoughts is at the same time inwardly mediated, for sorrow kills and joy enlivens, Sir. 32:21-24. c|powd is particularly lamentation for the dead, Zech 12:10; and r|qowd , dancing (in the more modern language the usual word for hholeel, kirkeer, hhaagag) at a marriage festival and on other festal occasions.

    It is more difficult to say what leads the author to the two following pairs of contrasts:- ECCLESIASTES 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; "To throw stones has its time, and to gather together stones has its time; to embrace has its time, and to refrain from embracing has its time." Did the old Jewish custom exist at the time of the author, of throwing three shovelfuls of earth into the grave, and did this lead him to use the phrase 'abaa' hash|'? But we do not need so incidental a connection of the thought, for the first pair accords with the specific idea of life and death; by the throwing of stones a field is destroyed, 2 Kings 3:35, or as expressed at ver. 19 is marred; and by gathering the stones together and removing them (which is called ciqeel), it is brought under cultivation. Does lacha', to embrace, now follow because it is done with the arms and hands? Scarcely; but the loving action of embracing stands beside the hostile, purposely injurious throwing of stones into a field, not exclusively (2 Kings 4:16), but yet chiefly (as e.g., at Prov 5:20) as referring to love for women; the intensive in the second member is introduced perhaps only for the purpose of avoiding the paronomasia lirhhoq mahhavoq.

    The following pair of contrasts is connected with the avoiding or refraining from the embrace of love:- ECCLESIASTES 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; "To seek has its time, and to lose has its time; to lay up has its time, and to throw away has its time." Vaihinger and others translate l|'abeed , to give up as lost, which the Pih. signifies first as the expression of a conscious act. The older language knows it only in the stronger sense of bringing to ruin, making to perish, wasting (Prov 29:3). But in the more modern language, 'ibeed, like the Lat. perdere, in the sense of "to lose," is the trans. to the intrans. 'aabad , e.g., Tahoroth; viii. 3, "if one loses (ham|'abeed) anything," etc.; Sifri, at Deut 24:19, "he who has lost (m|'abeed) a shekel," etc. In this sense the Palest.-Aram. uses the Aphel ei'eowbeed, e.g., Jer. Mezîa ii. 5, "the queen had lost ('wbdt) her ornament." The intentional giving up, throwing away from oneself, finds its expression in l|hash|'.

    The following pair of contrasts refers the abandoning and preserving to articles of clothing:- 7a. "To rend has its time, and to sew has its time." When evil tidings come, when the tidings of death come, then is the time for rending the garments (2 Sam 13:31), whether as a spontaneous outbreak of sorrow, or merely as a traditionary custom.-The tempest of the affections, however, passes by, and that which was torn is again sewed together.

    Perhaps it is the recollection of great calamities which leads to the following contrasts:- 7b. "To keep silence has its time, and to speak has its time." Severe strokes of adversity turn the mind in quietness back upon itself; and the demeanour most befitting such adversity is silent resignation (cf. 2 Kings 2:3,5). This mediation of the thought is so much the more probable, as in all these contrasts it is not so much the spontaneity of man that comes into view, as the pre-determination and providence of God.

    The following contrasts proceed on the view that God has placed us in relations in which it is permitted to us to love, or in which our hatred is stirred up:- ECCLESIASTES 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. "To love has its time, and to hate has its time; war has its time, and peace has its time." In the two pairs of contrasts here, the contents of the first are, not exclusively indeed (Ps 120:7), but yet chiefly referred to the mutual relations of peoples. It is the result of thoughtful intention that the quodlibet of 2 x 7 pairs terminates this for and against in "peace;" and, besides, the author has made the termination emphatic by this, that here "instead of infinitives, he introduces proper nouns" (Hitz.).


    What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

    Since, then, everything has its time depending not on human influence, but on the determination and providence of God, the question arises: "What gain hath he that worketh in that wherewith he wearieth himself?" It is the complaint of Eccl 1:3 which is here repeated. From all the labour there comes forth nothing which carries in it the security of its continuance; but in all he does man is conditioned by the change of times and circumstances and relations over which he has no control. And the converse of this his weakness is short-sightedness.

    ECCLESIASTES. 3:10-11

    I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. "I saw the travail, which God gave to the children of men to fatigue themselves with it-: He hath well arranged everything beautiful in its appointed time; He hath also put eternity in their heart, so that man cannot indeed wholly search through from beginning to end the work which God accomplisheth." As at Eccl 1:14, raa'iytiy is here seeing in the way of research, as elsewhere, e.g., at 2:24, it is as the result of research. In ver. 10 the author says that he closely considered the labour of men, and in ver. 11 he states the result. It is impossible to render the word `nyn everywhere by the same German (or English) word: 1:13, wearisome trouble; 2:26, business; here: Geschäftigkeit, the idea is in all the three places the same, viz., an occupation which causes trouble, costs effort.

    What presented itself to the beholder was (1) that He (viz., God, cf. ver. 10 and ver. 11) has made everything beautiful in its time.

    The author uses yaapeh as synon. of Twb (v. 17); also in other languages the idea of the beautiful is gradually more and more generalized. The suffix in b|`itow does not refer to God, but to that which is in the time; this word is = en kairoo' idi'oo (Symm.), at its proper time (vid., Ps 1:3; 104:27; Jer 5:24, etc.), since, as with yach|daaw (together with) and kulow (every one), the suffix is no longer thought of as such. Like yph , b`tw as pred. conception belongs to the verb: He has made everything beautiful; He has made everything (falling out) at its appointed time.-The beauty consists in this, that what is done is not done sooner or later than it ought to be, so as to connect itself as a constituent part to the whole of God's work. The pret. `aasaah is to be also interpreted as such: He "has made," viz., in His world-plan, all things beautiful, falling out at the appointed time; for that which acquires an actual form in the course of history has a previous ideal existence in the knowledge and will of God (vid., under Isa 22:11; 37:26).

    That which presented itself to the beholder was-(2) the fact that He (God) had put 'et-haa`olaam in their hearts (i.e., the hearts of men). Gaab and Spohn interpret 'olam in the sense of the Arab. 'ilam, knowledge, understanding; and Hitz., pointing the word accordingly `eelem, translates: "He has also placed understanding in their heart, without which man," etc.

    The translation of 'asher mib|liy is not to be objected to; mib|' is, however, only seldom a conjunction, and is then to be translated by eo quod, Ex 14:11; 2 Kings 1:3,6,16, which is not appropriate here; it will thus be here also a prep., and with asher following may mean "without which," as well as "without this, that" = "besides that" (Venet. a'neu tou' ho'ti , "except that"), as frequently kiy 'epec , e.g., at Amos 9:8. But that Arab. 'ilam is quite foreign to the Heb., which has no word `aalam in the sense of "to rise up, to be visible, knowable," which is now also referred (Note: Vid., Fried. Delitzsch's Assyr. Stud. (1874), p. 39. Otherwise Fleischer, who connects 'alima, "to know," with 'alam, "to conceal," so that to know = to be concealed, sunk deep, initiated in something (with ba of the obj., as sh'ar, whence shâ'ir, the poet as "one who marks").) to for the Assyr. as the stem-word of `eeylaam = highland.

    It is true Hitzig believes that he has found the Heb. `eelem = wisdom, in Sir. 6:21, where there is a play on the word with n`lm, "concealed:" sofi'a ga'r kata' to' o'noma autee's esti' kai' ou polloi's esti' fanera' . Drusius and Eichhorn have here already taken notice of the Arab. 'ilam; but Fritzsche with right asks, "Shall this word as Heb. be regarded as traceable only here and falsely pointed only at Eccl 3:11, and shall no trace of it whatever be found in the Chald., Syr., and Rabbin.?" We have also no need of it. That Ben- Sira has etymologically investigated the word chkmh as going back to chkm, R. ch, "to be firm, shut up, dark" (vid., at Ps 10:8), is certainly very improbable, but so much the more probable (as already suggested by Drusius) that he has introduced (Note: Grätz translates eth-ha'olam by "ignorance" (vid., Orelli, p. 83). R. Achwa in the Midrash has added here the scriptio defectiva with the remark, wgw' shw`lm, "for the mysterious name of God is concealed from them.") into chkmh, after the Aram. 'akam, nigrescere, the idea of making dark.

    Does eth-ha'olam in this passage before us then mean "the world" (Jerome, Luther, Ewald), or "desire after the knowledge of the world" (Rashi), or "worldly-mindedness" (Gesen., Knobel)? The answer to this has been already given in my Psychol. p. 406 (2nd ed.): "In post-bibl. Heb. 'olam denotes not only 'eternity' backwards and forwards as infinite duration, but also 'the world' as that which endures for ever (aioo'n , seculum); the world in this latter sense is, however, not yet known (Note: In the Phoen. also, 'olam, down to a late period, denotes not the world, but eternity: melek 'olam, basileu's aioo'nos (aioo'nios ), seculo frugifero on a coin = the fruit-bringing 'olam (Aioo'n ).) to the bibl. language, and we will thus not be able to interpret the words of Koheleth of the impulse of man to reflect on the whole world." In itself, the thought that God has placed the whole world in man's heart is not untrue: man is, indeed, a micro-cosmos, in which the macrocosmos mirrors itself (Elster), but the connection does not favour it; for the discussion does not proceed from this, that man is only a member in the great universe, and that God has given to each being its appointed place, but that in all his experience he is conditioned by time, and that in the course of history all that comes to him, according to God's world-plan, happens at its appointed time. But the idea by which that of time, 'eet (z|maan ), is surpassed is not the world, but eternity, to which time is related as part is to the whole (Cicero, Inv. i. 26. 39, tempus est pars quaedam aeternitatis). The Mishna language contains, along with the meaning of world, also this older meaning of 'olam, and has formed from it an adv. `wlmyt, aeterne. The author means to say that God has not only assigned to each individually his appointed place in history, thereby bringing to the consciousness of man the fact of his being conditioned, but that He has also established in man an impulse leading him beyond that which is temporal toward the eternal: it lies in his nature not to be contented with the temporal, but to break through the limits which it draws around him, to escape from the bondage and the disquietude within which he is held, and amid the ceaseless changes of time to console himself by directing his thoughts to eternity.

    This saying regarding the desiderium aeternitatis being planted in the heart of man, is one of the profoundest utterances of Koheleth. In fact, the impulse of man shows that his innermost wants cannot be satisfied by that which is temporal. He is a being limited by time, but as to his innermost nature he is related to eternity. That which is transient yields him no support, it carries him on like a rushing stream, and constrains him to save himself by laying hold on eternity. But it is not so much the practical as the intellectual side of this endowment and this peculiar dignity of human nature which Koheleth brings her to view.

    It is not enough for man to know that everything that happens has its divinely- ordained time. There is an instinct peculiar to his nature impelling him to pass beyond this fragmentary knowledge and to comprehend eternity; but his effort is in vain, for (3) "man is unable to reach unto the work which God accomplisheth from the beginning to the end." The work of God is that which is completing itself in the history of the world, of which the life of individual men is a fragment. Of this work he says, that God has wrought it `aasaah ; because, before it is wrought out in its separate "time," it is already completed in God's plan. Eternity and this work are related to each other as the accomplished and the being accomplished, they are interchangeably the plee'rooma to each other. yim|tsaa' is potential, and the same in conception as at Eccl 8:17; Job 11:7; 37:23; a knowledge is meant which reaches to the object, and lays hold of it. A laying hold of this work is an impossibility, because eternity, as its name 'olam denotes, is the concealed, i.e., is both forwards and backwards immeasurable. The desiderium aeternitatis inherent in man thus remains under the sun unappeased. He would raise himself above the limits within which he is confined, and instead of being under the necessity of limiting his attention to isolated matters, gain a view of the whole of God's work which becomes manifest in time; but this all-embracing view is for him unattainable.

    If Koheleth had known of a future life-which proves that as no instinct in the natural world is an allusion, so also the impulse toward the eternal, which is natural to man, is no illusion-he would have reached a better ultimatum than the following:- ECCLESIASTES 3:12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. "Thus I then perceived that among them (men) there is nothing better than to enjoy themselves, and indulge themselves in their life." The resignation would acquire a reality if Eowb la`a' meant "to do good," i.e., right (LXX, Targ., Syr., Jer., Venet.); and this appears of necessity to be its meaning according to Eccl 7:20. But, with right, Ginsburg remarks that nowhere else-neither at 2:24, nor 3:22; 5:17; 8:15; 9:7-is this moral rendering given to the ultimatum; also Towb w|raa' , 13a, presupposes for Eowb la`a' a eudemonistic sense. On the other hand, Zöckler is right in saying that for the meaning of twb `swt, in the sense of "to be of good cheer" (Luth.), there is no example. Zirkel compares eu' pra'ttein, and regards it as a Graecism. But it either stands ellipt. for Ewb low l`' (= lw lhyTyb), or, with Grätz, we have to read Twb lir|'owt ; in any case, an ethical signification is here excluded by the nearest connection, as well as by the parallels; it is not contrary to the view of Koheleth, but this is not the place to express it. Bam is to be understood after baadam, 2:24. The plur., comprehending men, here, as at v. 11, wholly passes over into the individualizing sing.

    But this enjoyment of life also, Koheleth continues, this advisedly the best portion in the limited and restrained condition of man, is placed beyond his control:- ECCLESIASTES 3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. "But also that he should eat and drink, and see good in all his labour, is for every man a gift of God." The inverted and yet anacoluthistic formation of the sentence is quite like that at Eccl 5:18. kaal-haa'aa' signifies, properly, the totality of men = all men, e.g., Ps 116:11; but here and at 5:18; 12:13, the author uses the two words so that the determ. second member of the st. constr. does not determine the first (which elsewhere sometimes occurs, as bethulath Israel, a virgin of Israel, Deut 22:19): every one of men (cf. pa's tis brotoo'n). The subst. clause col-haadam is subject: every one of men, in this that he dependent on God. Instead of miyad the word matat (abbrev. from mat|nat) is here used, as at Eccl 5:18.

    The connection by vegam is related to the preceding adversat.: and (= but) also (= notwithstanding that), as at 6:7, Neh 5:8, cf. Jer 3:10, where gam is strengthened by becol-zoth. As for the rest, it follows from v. 13, in connection with Eccl 2:24-26, that for Koheleth eupoi'a and euthumi'a reciprocally condition each other, without, however, a conclusion following therefrom justifying the translation "to do good," 12b. Men's being conditioned in the enjoyment of life, and, generally, their being conditioned by God the Absolute, has certainly an ethical end in view, as is expressed in the conclusion which Koheleth now reaches:- ECCLESIASTES 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. "Thus I discerned it then, that all that God will do exists for ever; nothing is to be added to it, and nothing taken from it: God has thus directed it, that men should fear before Him." This is a conclusion derived from the facts of experience, a truth that is valid for the present and for the time to come. We may with equal correctness render by quidquid facit and quidquid faciet. But the pred. shows that the fut. expression is also thought of as fut.; for l|`' yih|' huw' does not mean: that is for ever (Hitz.), which would be expressed by the subst. clause l`wlm huw'; but: that shall be for ever (Zöck.), i.e., will always assert its validity. That which is affirmed here is true of God's directing and guiding events in the natural world, as well as of the announcements of His will and His controlling and directing providence in the history of human affairs. All this is removed beyond the power of the creature to alter it. The meaning is not that one ought not to add to or to take from it (Deut 13:1; Prov 30:6), but that such a thing cannot be done (vid., Sir. 18:5). And this unchangeableness characterizing the arrangements of God has this as its aim, that men should fear Him who is the All-conditioning and is Himself unconditioned: he has done it that they (men) should fear before Him, sh 'sh , fecit ut; cf. Ezek 36:27. poiei'n hi'na , Rev 13:15; and "fear before Him," as at 8:12f.; cf. 1 Chron 16:30 with Ps 96:9. The unchangeableness of God's action shows itself in this, that in the course of history similar phenomena repeat themselves; for the fundamental principles, the causal connections, the norms of God's government, remain always the same.


    That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. "That which is now hath been long ago; and that which will be hath already been: God seeketh after that which was crowded out." The words: "hath been long ago" (huw' k|baar ), are used of that which the present represents as something that hath been, as the fruit of a development; the words: "hath already been" (haayaah k|baar ), are used of the future (li' 'asher , to' me'llon , vid., Gesen. §132. 1), as denying to it the right of being regarded as something new. The government of God is not to be changed, and does not change; His creative as well as His moral ordering of the world produces with the same laws the same phenomena (the w| corresponds to this line of thought here, as at 14b)-God seeks 'eet-ni' (cf. Eccl 7:7; Ewald, §277d).

    Hengstenberg renders: God seeks the persecuted (LXX, Symm., Targ., Syr.), i.e., visits them with consolation and comfort.

    Nirdaph here denotes that which is followed, hunted, pressed, by which we may think of that which is already driven into the past; that God seeks, seeks it purposely, and brings it back again into the present; for His government remains always, and brings thus always up again that which hath been. Thus Jerome: Deut instaurat quod abiit; the Venet.: ho theo's zeetee'sei to' apeleelame'non; and thus Geier, among the post-Reform. interpreters: praestat ut quae propulsa sunt ac praeterierunt iterum innoventur ac redeant; and this is now the prevailing exposition, after Knobel, Ewald, and Hitzig. The thought is the same as if we were to translate: God seeks after the analogue. In the Arab., one word in relation to another is called muradif, if it is cogn. to it; and mutaradifat is the technical expression for a synonym. In Heb. the expression used is nir|daapiym shmwt, they who are followed the one by another-one of which, as it were, treads on the heels of another. But this designation is mediated through the Arab. In evidence of the contrary, ancient examples are wanting.


    ECCLESIASTES 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. "And, moreover, I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there." The structure of the verse is palindromic, like Eccl 1:6; 2:10; 4:1.

    We might also render m|qowm as the so-called casus absol., so that shaamaa'' is an emphatic bim|qowm (Hitz.), and the construction like Jer 46:5; but the accentuation does not require this (cf.

    Gen 1:1); and why should it not be at once the object to r'yty , which in any case it virtually is? These two words hrsh` shmh might be attribut. clauses: where wickedness (prevails), for the old scheme of the attributive clause (the tsfat) is not foreign to the style of this book (vid., Eccl 1:13, nathan = nethano; and 5:12, raithi = reithiha); but why not rather virtual pred. accus.: vidi locum juris (quod) ibi impietas? Cf. Neh 13:23 with Ps 37:25. The place of "judgment" is the place where justice should be ascertained and executed; and the place of "righteousness," that where righteousness should ascertain and administer justice; for mishpat is the rule (of right), and the objective matter of fact; tsedek, a subjective property and manner of acting. rsh` is in both cases the same: wickedness (see under Ps 1:1), which bends justice, and is the contrary of tsedek, i.e., upright and moral sternness. resha` elsewhere, like melek, tsedek, preserves in p. its e, but here it takes rank along with checed , which in like manner fluctuates (cf. Ps 130:7 with Prov 21:21). shaamaah is here = shaam , as at Ps 122:5, etc.; the locative ah suits the question Where? as well as in the question Whither?-He now expresses how, in such a state of things, he arrived at satisfaction of mind.


    I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. "I said in mine heart: God shall judge the righteous as well as the wicked: for there is there a time for every purpose and for every work." Since "the righteous" stands first, the word yish|pot has here the double sense of judging \richtens = setting upright] = acting uprightly, justly by one, as in the shofteni of Ps 7:9; 26:1, etc., and of judging = inflicting punishment.

    To the righteous, as well as to the wicked, (Note: The LXX (in Aquila's manner): su'n to'n di'kaion kai' su'n to'n asebee' -according to the Talm. hermeneut. rule, that where the obj. is designated by 't , with that which is expressly named, something else is associated, and is to be thought of along with it.)

    God will administer that which of right belongs to them. But this does not immediately happen, and has to be waited for a long time, for there is a definite time for every undertaking (Eccl 3:1), and for (`al , in the more modern form of the language, interchanges promiscue with 'el and l|, e.g., Jer 19:15; Ezek 22:3; Ewald, §217i) every work there is a "time." This shaam , defended by all the old interpreters, cannot have a temporal sense: tunc = in die judicii (Jerome, Targ.), cf. Ps. 14:5; 36:13, for "a time of judgment there is for all one day" is not intended, since certainly the shm (day of judgment) is this time itself, and not the time of this time. Ewald renders shm as pointing to the past, for he thus construes: the righteous and the unrighteous God will judge (for there is a time for everything), and judge (vav thus explicat., "and that too," "and indeed") every act there, i.e., everything done before.

    But this shm is not only heavy, but also ambiguous and purposeless; and besides, by this parenthesizing of the words wgw' `eet kiy for there is a time for everything, the principal thought, that with God everything, even His act of judgment, has its time, is robbed of its independence and of the place in the principal clause appropriate to it. But if shm is understood adverbially, it certainly has a local meaning connected with it: there, viz., with God, apud Deum; true, for this use of the word Gen 49:24 affords the only example, and it stands there in the midst of a very solemn and earnest address. Therefore it lies near to read, with Houbig., Döderl., Palm., and Hitz., shaam , "a definite time...has He (God) ordained;" swm (sym ) is the usual word for the ordinances of God in the natural world and in human history (Prov 8:29; Ex 21:13; Num 24:23; Hab 1:12, etc.), and, as in the Assyr. simtuv, so the Heb. siymaah (suwmaah ), 2 Sam 13:32, signifies lot or fate, decree. (Note: Vid., Schrader's Keilsch. u. A. T. p. 105, simtu ubilsu, i.e., fate snatched him away (Heb. simah hovilathhu), cf. Fried. Delitzsch's Assyr. Stud. p. 66f.)

    With this reading, Elster takes exception to the position of the words; but at Judg 6:19 also the object goes before sm , and "unto every purpose and for every work" is certainly the complement of the objectconception, so that the position of the words is in reality no other than at 10:20a; Dan 2:17b. Quite untenable is Herzfeld's supposition (Fürst, Vaih.), that shaam has here the Talm. signification: aestimat, taxat, for (1) this shuwm = Arab. sham, has not `l , but the accus. after it; (2) the thought referring to the tie on which v. 18 rests is thereby interrupted. Whether we read saam , or take shaam in the sense of `imow (Job 25:2; 23:14, etc.), the thought is the same, and equally congruous: God will judge the innocent and the guilty; it shall be done some time, although not so soon as one might wish it, and think necessary, for God has for every undertaking and for every work its fixed time, also its judicial decision (vid., at Ps 74:3); He permits wickedness, lets it develope itself, waits long before He interposes (vid., under Isa 18:4f.).

    Reflecting on God's delay to a time hidden from men, and known only to Himself, Koheleth explains the matter to himself in the following verse:- ECCLESIASTES 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. "Thus I said then in mine heart: (it happeneth) for the sake of the children of men that God might sift them, and that they might see that they are like the cattle, they in themselves." Regarding `al-dib|' for the sake of = on account of as at Eccl 8:2, vid., under Ps 110:4, where it signifies after (kata' ) the state of the matter, and above at p. 640. The infin. l|baa' is not derived from buwr .-laabuwr , Eccl 9:1, is only the metaplastic form of laabor or lib|ror-but only from baarar , whose infin. may take the form bar , after the form rad , to tread down, Isa 45:1, shak|, to bow, Jer 5:26; but nowhere else is this infin. form found connected with a suff.; qaachaam , Hos 11:3, would be in some measure to be compared, if it could be supposed that this = b|qach|taam, sumendo eos. The root br proceeds, from the primary idea of cutting, on the one side to the idea of separating, winnowing, choosing out; and, on the other, to that of smoothing, polishing, purifying (vid., under Isa 49:2). Here, by the connection, the meaning of winnowing, i.e., of separating the good from the bad, is intended, with which, however, as in l|baareer, Dan 11:35, the meaning of making clear, making light, bringing forward into the light, easily connects itself (cf. Shabbath 138a, 74a), of which the meaning to winnow (cf. l|haabar , Jer 4:11) is only a particular form; (Note: Not "to sift," for not baarar but riqeed, means "to sift" (properly, "to make to keep up," "to agitate"); cf. Shebîith v. 9.) cf. Sanhedrin 7b: "when a matter is clear, brwr, to thee (free from ambiguity) as the morning, speak it out; and if not, do not speak it."

    In the expression haa'elo' l|baa', the word h'l' is, without doubt, the subject, according to Gesen. §133. 2. 3; Hitz. regards h'l' as genit., which, judged according to the Arab., is correct; it is true that for li-imti-hânihim allahi (with genit. of the subj.), also allahu (with nominat. of the subj.) may be used; but the former expression is the more regular and more common (vid., Ewald's Gramm. Arab. §649), but not always equally decisive with reference to the Heb. usus loq. That God delays His righteous interference till the time appointed beforehand, is for the sake of the children of men, with the intention, viz., that God may sift them, i.e., that, without breaking in upon the free development of their characters before the time, He may permit the distinction between the good and the bad to become manifest. Men, who are the obj. to lb' , are the subject to w|lir|'owt to be supplied: et ut videant; it is unnecessary, with the LXX, Syr., and Jerome, to read w|lar|'owt (= uwl|har|'): ut ostenderet. It is a question whether heemaah (Note: heemaah b|heemaah sh|heem thus accented rightly in F. Cf. Michlol 216a.) is the expression of the copula: sunt (sint), or whether heemmah lahem is a closer definition, co-ordinate with shehem beheemah. The remark of Hitzig, that lahem throws back the action on the subject, is not clear.

    Does he suppose that lahem belongs to liroth? That is here impossible. If we look away from lahem, the needlessly circumstantial expression hm'' can still be easily understood: hemmah takes up, as an echo, behemah, and completes the comparison (compare the battology in Hos 13:2). This play upon words musically accompanying the thought remains also, when, according to the accentuation lh' h' bhm' shhee', we take hemmah along with lahem, and the former as well as the latter of these two words is then better understood. The l in lhm is not that of the pure dat. (Aben Ezra: They are like beasts to themselves, i.e., in their own estimation), but that of reference, as at Gen 17:20, "as for Ishmael;" cf. Ps 3:3; 2 Kings 5:7; cf. 'el , 1 Sam 1:27, etc. Men shall see that they are cattle (beasts), they in reference to themselves, i.e., either they in reference to themselves mutually (Luther: among themselves), or: they in reference to themselves.

    To interpret the reference as that of mutual relation, would, in looking back to v. 16, commend itself, for the condemnation and oppression of the innocent under the appearance of justice is an act of human brutishness.

    But the reason assigned in v. 19 does not accord with this reciprocal rendering of lahem. Thus lahem will be meant reflexively, but it is not on that account pleonastic (Knobel), nor does it ironically form a climax: ipsissimi = höchstselbst (Ewald, §315a); but "they in reference to themselves" is = they in and of themselves, i.e., viewed as men (viewed naturally). If one disregards the idea of God's interfering at a future time with the discordant human history, and, in general, if one loses sight of God, the distinction between the life of man and of beast disappears.


    For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. "For the children of men are a chance, and the beast a chance, and they both have once chance: as the death of the one, so that death of the other, and they have all one breath; and there is no advantage to a man over a beast, for all is vain." If in both instances the word is pointed miq|reeh (LXX), the three-membered sentence would then have the form of an emblematical proverb (as e.g., Prov 25:25): "For as the chance of men, so (vav of comparison) the chance of the beast; they have both one chance." mqreh with segol cannot possibly be the connecting form (Luzz.), for in cases such as m' m`se' , Isa 3:24, the relation of the words is appositional, not genitival. This form mqre' , thus found three times, is vindicated by the Targ. (also the Venet.) and by Mss.; Joseph Kimchi remarks that "all three have segol, and are thus forms of the absolutus." The author means that men, like beasts, are in their existence and in their death influenced accidentally, i.e., not of necessity, and are wholly conditioned, not by their own individual energy, but by a power from without-are dependent beings, as Solon (Herod. i. 32) says to Croesus: "Man is altogether sumforee'," i.e., the sport of accident.

    The first two sentences mean exclusively neither that men (apart from God) are, like beasts, the birth of a blind accident (Hitz.), nor that they are placed under the same law of transitoriness (Elst.); but of men, in the totality of their being, and doing, and suffering, it is first said that they are accidental beings; then, that which separates them from this, that they all, men like beasts, are finally exposed to one, i.e., to the same fate. As is the death of one, so is the death of the other; and they all have one breath, i.e., men and beasts alike die, for this breath of life (chayiym ruwach , which constitutes a beast-as well as a man a chayaah nepesh ) departs from the body (Ps 104:29). In zeh ...zeh (as at Eccl 6:5; Ex 14:20, and frequently), laahem (mas. as genus potius) is separately referred to men and beasts.

    With the Mishnic b|mowt = bibl. k|mow (cf. Maaser Sheni, v. 2), the k|mowt here used has manifestly nothing to do. The noun mowtaar , which in the Book of Proverbs (Prov 14:23; 21:5, not elsewhere) occurs in the sense of profit, gain, is here in the Book of Koheleth found as a synon. of yit|rown , "preference," advantage which is exclusively peculiar to it. From this, that men and beasts fall under the same law of death, the author concludes that there is no preference of a man to a beast; he doubtless means that in respect of the end man has no superiority; but he expresses himself thus generally because, as the matter presented itself to him, all-absorbing death annulled every distinction. He looks only to the present time, without encumbering himself with the historical account of the matter found in the beginning of the Tôra; and he adheres to the external phenomenon, without thinking, with the Psalmist in Ps 49, that although death is common to man with the beast, yet all men do not therefore die as the beast does. That the beast dies because it must, but that in the midst of this necessity of nature man can maintain his freedom, is for him out of view. haabel hakol , the mataio'tees , which at last falls to man as well as to the beast, throws its long dark shadows across his mind, and wholly shrouds it.


    All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. "All goes hence to one place; all has sprung out of the dust, and all returns to the dust again." The "one place" is (as at Eccl 6:6) the earth, the great graveyard which finally receives all the living when dead. The art. of the first he`aapaar is that denoting species; the art. of the second is retrospective: to the dust whence he sprang (cf. Ps 104:29; 146:4); otherwise, Gen 3:19 (cf. Job 34:15), "to dust shalt thou return," shalt become dust again. From dust to dust (Sir. 40:11; 41:10) is true of every living corporeal thing. It is true there exists the possibility that with the spirit of the dying man it may be different from what it is with the spirit of the dying beast, but yet that is open to question.


    Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? "Who knoweth with regard to the spirit of the children of men, whether it mounteth upward; and with regard to the spirit of a beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth?" The interrogative meaning of h`lh and hyrdt is recognised by all the old translators: LXX, Targ., Syr., Jerome, Venet., Luther. Among the moderns, Heyder (vid., Psychol. p. 410), Hengst., Hahn, Dale, and Bullock take the h in both cases as the article: "Who knoweth the spirit of the children of men, that which goeth upward...?" But (1) thus rendered the question does not accord with the connection, which requires a sceptical question; (2) following "who knoweth," after Eccl 2:19; 6:12, cf. Josh 2:14, an interrogative continuance of the sentence was to be expected; and (3) in both cases hiy' stands as designation of the subject only for the purpose of marking the interrogative clause (cf. Jer 2:14), and of making it observable that ha'olah and hayoredeth are not appos. belonging as objects to rwch and wrwch. It is questionable, indeed, whether the punctuation of these words, haa`olaah and hayoredet , as they lie before us, proceeds from an interrogative rendering. Saadia in Emunoth c. vi., and Juda Halevi in the Kuzri ii. 80, deny this; and so also do Aben Ezra and Kimchi. And they may be right. For instead of haa`olaah , the pointing ought to have been ha`olaah (cf. he`aaleh , Job 13:25) when used as interrog. an ascendens; even before ' the compens. lengthening of the interrog. ha is nowhere certainly found (Note: For h is to be read with a Pattach in Judg 6:31; 12:5; Neh 6:11; cf. under Gen 19:9; 27:21. In Num 16:22 the h of h'ysh is the art., the question is not formally designated. Cf. also ha`a' with h interrog., Jer 12:9; and haa`a' with h as the art., Gen 15:11.) instead of the virtual reduplication; and thus also the parallel hayore' is not to be judged after hayiy' , Lev 10:19, had|', Ezek 18:29-we must allow that the punctation seeks, by the removal of the two interrog. ha (h), to place that which is here said in accord with Eccl 12:7. But there is no need for this. For yowdeea` miy does not quite fall in with that which Lucretius says (Lib. I): "Ignoratur enim quae sit natura animai, Nata sit an contra nascentibus insinuetur?

    An simul intereat nobiscum morte diremta?" It may certainly be said of mi yode'a, as of ignoratur, that it does not exclude every kind of knowledge, but only a sure and certain knowledge resting on sufficient grounds; interire and l|ma' yrd are also scarcely different, for neither of the two necessarily signifies annihilation, but both the discontinuance of independent individual existence. But the putting of the question by Koheleth is different, for it discloses more definitely than this by Lucretius, the possibility of a different end for the spirit of a man from that which awaits the spirit of a beast, and thus of a specific distinction between these two principles of life. In the formation even of the dilemma: Whether upwards or downwards, there lies an inquiring knowledge; and it cannot surprise us if Koheleth finally decides that the way of the spirit of a man is upwards, although it is not said that he rested this on the ground of demonstrative certainty.

    It is enough that, with the moral necessity of a final judgment beyond the sphere of this present life, at the same time also the continued existence of the spirit of man presented itself to him as a postulate of faith. One may conclude from the desiderium aeternitatis (Eccl 3:11) implanted in man by the Creator, that, like the instincts implanted in the beasts, it will be calculated not for deception, but for satisfaction; and from the l|ma`|laah , Prov 15:24-i.e., the striving of a wise man rising above earthly, temporary, common things-that death will not put an end to this striving, but will help it to reach its goal. But this is an indirect proof, which, however, is always inferior to the direct in force of argument. He presupposes that the Omnipotence and Wisdom which formed the world is also at the same time Love. Thus, though at last, it is faith which solves the dilemma, and we see from Eccl 12:7 that this faith held sway over Koheleth. In the Book of Sirach, also, the old conception of Hades shows itself as yet dominant; but after the ouk atha'natos uhio's anthroo'pou, 17:25, we read towards the end, where he speaks of Elias: kai' ta'r heemei's zooee' zeeso'metha, 48:11.

    In the passage before us, Koheleth remains in doubt, without getting over it by the hand of faith. In a certain reference the question he here proposes is to the present day unanswered; for the soul, or, more correctly, according to the biblical mode of conception the spirit from which the soul-life of all corporeal beings proceeds, is a monas, and as such is indestructible. Do the future of the beast's soul and of man's soul not then stand in a solidaric mutual relation to each other? In fact, the future life presents to us mysteries the solution of which is beyond the power of human thought, and we need not wonder that Koheleth, this sober-minded, intelligent man, who was inaccessible to fantastic self-deception, arrives, by the line of thought commenced at v. 16, also again at the ultimatum.


    Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? "Thus I then saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works, for that is his portion; for who can bring him to this, that he gains an insight into that which shall be after him?" Hengstenberg, who has decided against the interrog. signification of the twice-repeated h in v. 21, now also explains 'acharaayw ...b|meh , not: What shall become of him after it (his death)? but: What further shall be done after the state in which he now finds himself? Zöckler, although rightly understanding both h as well as 'chryw (after him = when he will be separated, or separates from this life, Eccl 7:14; 9:3; cf. Gen 24:67), yet proceeds on that explanation of Hengstenberg's, and gives it the rendering: how things shall be on the earth after his departure. But (1) for this thought, as Eccl 6:12 shows, the author had a more suitable form of expression; (2) this thought, after the author has, v. 21, explained it as uncertain whether the spirit of a man in the act of death takes a different path from that of a beast, is altogether aside from the subject, and it is only an apologetic tendency not yet fully vanquished which here constrains him.

    The chain of thought is however this: How it will be with the spirit of a man when he dies, who knows? What will be after death is thus withdrawn from human knowledge. Thus it is best to enjoy the present, since we connect together (Eccl 2:24) labour and enjoyment mediated thereby. This joy of a man in his work-i.e., as 5:18: which flows from his work as a fountain, and accompanies him in it (8:15)-is his portion, i.e., the best which he has of life in this world. Instead of b|mah-sh, the punctuation is b|meh , because 'chryw shyhyh is a kindred idea; vid.' regarding meh under 2:22. And b| lr'wt is sued, because it is not so much to be said of the living, that he cannot foresee how it shall be with him when he dies, as that he can gain no glimpse into that world because it is an object that has for him no fixity.


    From unjust decisions a transition is now made to the subject of the haughty, unmerciful cruelty of the wide-extended oppressions inflicted by men.


    So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. "And again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold there the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter; and from the hand of their oppressors goeth forth violence; and they have no comforter." Incorrectly Hahn: And anew I saw-the observation is different from that of Eccl 3:16, though cognate. Thus: And again I saw-the expression follows the syntactic scheme of Gen 26:18; regarding the fut. consec. brought into view here and at v. 7, vid., above, p. 641, 2. The second haa`ash' is part. pass.; the first, as at Job 35:9, and also at Amos 3:9, is abstract (i.e., bringing the many separate instances under one general idea) pluraletantum (cf. p|duwyeey , redemti, Isa 35:10; and redemtio, pretium redemtionis, Num 3:46); the plur. n`' 'shr need not appear strange, since even chayiym is connected with the plur. of the pred., e.g., Ps 31:11; 88:4. dim|`at has, as at Isa 25:8 (cf. Rev. 24:4, pa'n da'kruon ), a collective sense. The expression koach ...uwmiyad is singular. According to the most natural impression, it seems to signify: "and from the hand of their oppressors no power of deliverance" (carrying forward 'yin); but the parallelism of the palindromically constructed verse (as at Eccl 1:6; 2:10; 3:16) excludes this meaning. Thus koach is here once-nowhere else-used, like the Greek bi'a , in the sense of violence; Luzzatto prefers the reading uwb|yad , by which the expression would be in conformity with the linguistic usage; but also myd is explained: the force which they have in their hands is, in going forth from their hands, thought of as abused, and, as taking the form of shod or chaaz|qaah . In view of this sorrow which men bring upon their fellow-men, life for Koheleth lost all its worth and attraction.


    Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. "And I praised the dead who were long ago dead, more than the living who are yet in life; and as happier than both, him who has not yet come into existence, who hath not seen the evil work which is done under the sun." w|shabeeach is hardly thought of as part., like yuwqaashiym = m|yuqaashiym , Eccl 9:12; the m of the part. Pih. is not usually thrown away, only maheer , Zeph 1:14, is perhaps = m|maheer , but for the same reason as beeyt-'eel , 2 Kings 2:3, is = b|beeyt-'l. Thus w|shabeeach , like w|naatown , Eccl 8:9, is inf. absol., which is used to continue, in an adverbially subord. manner, the preceding finite with the same subject, (Note: Also 1 Chron 5:20, the subject remains virtually the same: et ita quidem ut exaudirentur.)

    Gen 41:43; Lev 25:14; Judg 7:19, etc.; cf. especially Ex 8:11: "Pharaoh saw...and hardened (w|hak|beed ) his heart;" just in the same manner as w|shabeeach here connects itself with waa'e' 'ny wsh'. Only the annexed designation of the subject is peculiar; the syntactic possibility of this connection is established by Num. 19:35, Ps. 15:5, Job 40:2, and, in the second rank, by Gen 17:10; Ezek 5:14. Yet 'ny might well enough have been omitted had w'' 'ny ws' not stood too remote. Regarding `adenaah (Note: Thus punctuated with Segol under Daleth, and n, raphatum, in F. H. J. P. Thus also Kimchi in W.B. under `d .) and `aden , adhuc, vid., p. 639. The circumstantial form of the expression: prae vivis qui vivi sunt adhuc, is intentional: they who are as yet living must be witnesses of the manifold and comfortless human miseries.

    It is a question whether v. 3 begins a new clause (LXX, Syr., and Venet.) or not. That 'eet , like the Arab. aiya, sometimes serves to give prominence to the subject, cannot be denied (vid., Böttcher, §516, and Mühlau's remarks thereto). The Mishnic expressions hayowm 'owtow , that day, haa'aarets 'owtaah , that land, and the like (Geiger, §14. 2), presuppose a certain preparation in the older language; and we might, with Weiss (Stud. ueber d. Spr. der Mishna, p. 112), interpret 'asher 'eet in the sense of 'sr 'wty, is qui. But the accus. rendering is more natural. Certainly the expression Towb shabeeach , "to praise," "to pronounce happy," is not used; but to Twb it is natural to suppose w|qaaraa'tiy added. Jerome accordingly translates: et feliciorem utroque judicavi qui necdum natus est. haaraa` has the double Kametz, as is generally the case, except at Ps 54:7 and Mic 7:3. (Note: Vid., Heidenheim, Meor Enajim, under Deut 17:7.)

    Better than he who is born is the unborn, who does not become conscious of the wicked actions that are done under the sun. A similar thought, with many variations in its expression, is found in Greek writers; see regarding these shrill discordances, which run through all the joy of the beauty and splendour of Hellenic life, my Apologetick, p. 116. Buddhism accordingly gives to nirvâna the place of the highest good. That we find Koheleth on the same path (cf. Eccl 6:3; 7:1), has its reason in this, that so long as the central point of man's existence lies in the present life, and this is not viewed as the fore-court of eternity, there is no enduring consolation to lift us above the miseries of this present world.


    There follow two other observations, mutually related and issuing in "windy effort:"- ECCLESIASTES 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit. "And I saw all the labour and all the skill of business, that it is an envious surpassing of the one by the other: also this is vain and windy effort." The hiy' refers to this exertion of vigorous effort and skill. The Graec.

    Venet., by rendering here and at Eccl 2:24 kish|rown , by katharo'tees , betrays himself as a Jew. With kiy , quod, that which forms the pred. follows the object. the min in mere'ehu is as in amatz min, Ps 18:18, and the like-the same as the compar.: aemulatio qua unus prae altero eminere studet. All this expenditure of strength and art has covetousness and envy, with which one seeks to surpass another, as its poisoned sting.


    The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

    There ought certainly to be activity according to our calling; indolence is self-destruction: "The fool foldeth his hands, and eateth his own flesh." He layeth his hands together (Prov 6:10-24:33)-placeth them in his bosom, instead of using them in working-and thereby he eateth himself up, i.e., bringeth ruin upon himself (Ps 27:2; Mic 3:3; Isa 49:26); for instead of nourishing himself by the labour of his hands, he feeds on his own flesh, and thus wasteth away. The emphasis does not lie on the subject (the fool, and only the fool), but on the pred.


    Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

    The fifth verse stands in a relation of contrast to this which follows: "Better is one hand full of quietness, than both fists full of labour and windy effort." Mendelssohn and others interpret v. 5 as the objection of the industrious, and v. 6 as the reply of the slothful. Zöckler agrees with Hitz., and lapses into the hypothesis of a dialogue otherwise rejected by him (vid., above, p. 656). As everywhere, so also here it preserves the unity of the combination of thoughts. nachat signifies here, as little as it does anywhere else, the rest of sloth; but rest, in contrast to such activity in labour as robs a man of himself, to the hunting after gain and honour which never has enough, to the rivalry which places its goal always higher and higher, and seeks to be before others-it is rest connected with well-being (Eccl 6:5), gentle quietness (9:17), resting from self-activity (Isa 30:15); cf. the post-bibl. ruwach nachat , satisfaction, contentment, comfort. In a word, nahath has not here the sense of being idle or lazy. The sequence of the thoughts is this: The fool in idleness consumes his own life-strength; but, on the other hand, a little of true rest is better than the labour of windy effort, urged on by rivalry yielding no rest. kap is the open hollow hand, and chopen (Assyr. hupunnu) the hand closed like a ball, the first. "Rest" and "labour and windy effort" are the accusatives of that to which the designation of measure refers (Gesen. §118. 3); the accus. connection lay here so much the nearer, as maalee' is connected with the accus. of that with which anything is full. In "and windy effort" lies the reason for the judgment pronounced.

    The striving of a man who laboriously seeks only himself and loses himself in restlessness, is truly a striving which has wind for its object, and has the property of wind.


    Another sorrowful spectacle is the endless labour and the insatiable covetousness of the isolated man, which does good neither to himself nor to any other:


    Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. "There is one without a second, also son and brother he has not; and there is no end of his labour; his eyes nevertheless are not satisfied with riches:

    For whom do I labour, then, and deny all good to my soul? Also this is vain, and it is a sore trouble." That w|'eeyn , as in Ps 104:25; 105:34, has the meaning of b|'eeyn , absque, Nolde has already observed in his Partik.-Concordanz: a solitarius, without one standing by his side, a second standing near him, i.e., without wife and without friend; also, as the words following show, without son and brother. Regarding waa'aach , for which, with the connect. accus., w|'aach might be expected (cf. also Eccl 2:7, waatso'n with Mahpach; and, on the other hand, 2:23, waaka`ac with Pashta), vid., under Ps 55:10. Gam may be interpreted in the sense of "also" as well as of "nevertheless" (Ewald, 354a); the latter is to be preferred, since the endless labour includes in itself a restless striving after an increase of possession.

    The Kerî, in an awkward way, changes `ynyw into `eeynow ; the taking together the two eyes as one would here be unnatural, since the avaricious man devours gold, silver, and precious things really with both his eyes, and yet, however great be his wealth, still more does he wish to see in his possession; the sing. of the pred. is as at 1 Sam 4:15; Mic 4:11.

    With ulmi ani, Koheleth puts himself in the place of such a friendless, childless man; yet this change of the description into a self-confession may be occasioned by this, that the author in his old age was really thus isolated, and stood alone. Regarding chiceer with the accus. of the person, to whom, and min of the matter, in respect of which there is want, vid., under Ps 8:6. That the author stands in sympathy with the sorrowful condition here exposed, may also be remarked from the fact that he now proceeds to show the value of companionship and the miseries of isolation:


    Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. "Better are two together than one, seeing they have a good reward in their labour." By hashshenäim, the author refers to such a pair; häehhad is one such as is just described. The good reward consists in this, that each one of the two has the pleasant consciousness of doing good to the other by his labour, and especially of being helpful to him. In this latter general sense is grounded the idea of the reward of faithful fellowship:


    For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. "For if they fall, the one can raise up his fellow: but woe to the one who falleth, and there is not a second there to lift him up." Only the Targ., which Grätz follows, confounds 'iylow (Note: With Munach and Rebia in one word, which, according to the masora, occurs in only four other places. Vid., Mas. magna under this passage, and Mishpete hateamin 26a.) with 'iluw (vid., above, p. 637); it is equivalent to lw () 'owy , Isa 3:9, or lw () howy , Ezek 13:18. Häehhad is appos. connecting itself to the pronominal suff., as, e.g., in a far more inappropriate manner, Ps 86:2; the prep. is not in appos. usually repeated, Gen 2:19; 9:4 (exceptions: Ps. 18:51; 74:14). Whether we translate sheyipol by qui ceciderit (Eccl 11:3), or by quum ceciderit (Jerome), is all one. yaaqiym is potential: it is possible and probable that it will be done, provided he is a Towb chaabeer , i.e., a true friend (Pirke aboth, ii. 13).


    Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? "Moreover, if two lie together, then there is heat to them: but how can it be warm with one who is alone?" The marriage relation is not excluded, but it remains in the background; the author has two friends in his eye, who, lying in a cold night under one covering (Ex 22:26; Isa 28:20), cherish one another, and impart mutual warmth. Also in Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan, c. 8, the sleeping of two together is spoken of as an evidence of friendship. The vav in vehham is that of the consequent; it is wanting 10a, according to rule, in häehhad, because it commonly comes into use with the verb, seldom (e.g., Gen 22:1) with the preceding subj.


    And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. "And if one shall violently assail him who is alone, two shall withstand him; and (finally) a threefold cord is not quickly broken asunder." The form yithqepho for yithqephehu, Job 15:24, is like hirdepho, Hos 8:3 = hirdephehu, Judg 9:40. If we take tqp in the sense of to overpower, then the meaning is: If one can overpower him who is alone, then, on the contrary, two can maintain their ground against him (Herzf.); but the two 'im , vv. 10, 11, which are equivalent to ea'n , exclude such a pure logical ei . And why should tqp, if it can mean overpowering, not also mean doing violence to by means of a sudden attack? In the Mishnic and Arab. it signifies to seize, to lay hold of; in the Aram. 'at|qeep = hecheziyq , and also at Job 14:20; 15:24 (vid., Comm.), it may be understood of a violent assault, as well as of a completed subjugation; as ns' means to lift up and carry; `md , to tread and to stand.

    But whether it be understood inchoat. or not, in any case h'chd is not the assailant, who is much rather the unnamed subj. in ytqpy, but the one (the solitarius) who, if he is alone, must succumb; the construction of hithqepho häehhad follows the scheme of Ex 2:6, "she saw it, the child."

    To the assault expressed by tqp, there stands opposed the expression ngd `md , which means to withstand any one with success; as lpny `md , 2 Kings 10:4; Ps 147:17; Dan 8:7, means to maintain one's ground. Of three who hold together, 12a says nothing; the advance from two to three is thus made in the manner of a numerical proverb (vid., Proverbs, vol. I p. 13). If two hold together, that is seen to be good; but if there be three, this threefold bond is likened to a cord formed of three threads, which cannot easily be broken. Instead of the definite specific art. ham|' hach', we make use of the indefinite. Funiculus triplex difficile rumpitur is one of the winged expressions used by Koheleth.


    A political observation follows in an aphoristic manner the observations relating to social life, viz., how popularity vanishes away and passes even into its opposite. The author, who here plainly quotes from actual events, begins with a general statement:


    Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. "Better is a youth poor and wise, than a king old and foolish, who no longer understands how to be warned,"-i.e., who increases his folly by this, that he is "wise in his own eyes," Prov 26:12; earlier, as `owd denotes, he was, in some measure, accessible to the instruction of others in respect of what was wanting to him; but now in his advanced age he is hardened in his folly, bids defiance to all warning counsel, and undermines his throne. The connection of the verb yd` with l and the inf. (for which elsewhere only the inf. is used) is a favourite form with the author; it means to know anything well, Eccl 5:1; 6:8; 10:15; here is meant an understanding resting on the knowledge of oneself and on the knowledge of men. niz|har is here and at 12:12, Ps 19:12, a Niph. tolerativum, such as the synon. nowcar, Ps 2:10: to let oneself be cleared up, made wiser, enlightened, warned. After this contrast, the idea connected with chkm also defines itself. A young man (yeled , as at Dan 1:4, but also Gen 4:23) is meant who (vid., above, p. 639, under misken) yet excels the old imbecile and childish king, in that he perceives the necessity of a fundamental change in the present state of public matters, and knows how to master the situation to such a degree that he raises himself to the place of ruler over the neglected community.


    For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor. "For out of the prison-house he goeth forth to reign as king, although he was born as a poor man in his kingdom." With kiy the properties of poverty and wisdom attributed to the young man are verified-wisdom in this, that he knew how to find the way from a prison to a throne. As harammim, 2 Chron 22:5 = haarammim, 2 Kings 8:28, so hasurim = haasurim (cf. masoreth = maasoreth, Ezek 20:37); beth haasirim (Kerî; haasurim), Judg 16:21,25, and beth haesur, Jer 38:15, designate the prison; cf. Moëd katan, Eccl 3:1. The modern form of the language prefers this elision of the ' , e.g., 'apiluw = 'iluw 'ap , 'al|tar = 'al- 'atar, baatar post = ba'atar contra, etc. The perf. yaatsaa' is also thought of as having reached the throne, and having pre-eminence assigned to him as such. He has come forth from the prison to become king, raash ...kiy .

    Zöckler translates: "Whereas also he that was born in his kingdom was poor," and adds the remark: "gm ky , after the ky of the preceding clause, does not so much introduce a verification of it, as much rather an intensification; by which is expressed, that the prisoner has not merely transitorily fallen into such misery, but that he was born in poor and lowly circumstances, and that in his own kingdom b|ma', i.e., in the same land which he should afterwards rule as king." But gm ky is nowhere used by Koheleth in the sense of "ja auch" (= whereas also); and also where it is thus to be translated, as at Jer 14:18; 23:11, it is used in the sense of "denn auch" (= for also), assigning proof. The fact is, that this group of particles, according as ky is thought of as demonst. or relat., means either "denn auch," Eccl 4:16; 7:22; 8:16, or "wenn auch" = ea'n kai' , as here and at 8:12. In the latter case, it is related to kiy gam (sometimes also merely gam , Ps 95:9; Mal 3:15), as ea'n (ei ) kai' , although, notwithstanding, is to kai' ea'n (ei ), even although. (Note: That the accentuation separates the two words gm- ky is to be judged from this, that it almost everywhere prefers 'm- ky (vid., under Comm. to Ps 1:2).)

    Thus 14b, connecting itself with lim|lok| , is to be translated: "although he was born (nowlad ,not nowlaad ) in his kingdom as a poor man." (Note: rs nwld cannot mean "to become poor." Grätz appeals to the Mishnic language; but no intelligent linguist will use rsh nwld of a man in any other sense than that he is originally poor.)

    We cannot also concur with Zöckler in the view that the suff. of bm' refers to the young upstart: in the kingdom which should afterwards become his; for this reason, that the suff. of tch', v. 16b, refers to the old king, and thus also that this designation may be mediated, bm' must refer to him. mlkwt signifies kingdom, reign, realm; here, the realm, as at Neh. 9:35, Dan. 5:11; 6:29. Grätz thinks vv. 13-16 ought to drive expositors to despair. But hitherto we have found no room for despair in obtaining a meaning from them. What follows also does not perplex us. The author describes how all the world hails the entrance of the new youthful king on his government, and gathers together under his sceptre. 15,16a. "I saw all the living which walk under the sun on the side of the youth, the second who shall enter upon the place of the former: no end of all the people, all those at whose head he stands." The author, by the expression "I saw," places himself back in the time of the change of government. If we suppose that he represents this to himself in a lively manner, then the words are to be translated: of the second who shall be his successor; but if we suppose that he seeks to express from the standpoint of the past that which, lying farther back in the past, was now for the first time future, then the future represents the time to come in the past, as at Kings 3:27; Ps 78:6; Job 15:28 (Hitz.): of the second who should enter on his place (`aamad , to step to, to step forth, of the new king, Dan 8:23; 11:2f.; cf. quwm , 1 Kings 8:20). The designation of the crowd which, as the pregnant `im expresses, gathered by the side of the young successor to the old king, by "all the living, those walking under the sun (ham|ha', perhaps intentionally the pathetic word for hol|kiym , Isa 42; 5)," would remain a hyperbole, even although the throne of the Asiatic world-ruler had been intended; still the expression, so absolute in its universality, would in that case be more natural (vid., the conjectural reference to Cyrus and Astygates, above, at p. 654). hasheeniy , Ewald refers to the successor to the king, the second after the king, and translates: "to the second man who should reign in his stead;" but the second man in this sense has certainly never been the child of fortune; one must then think of Joseph, who, however, remains the second man.

    Hitzig rightly: "The youth is the second shny , not 'acheer , in contrast to the king, who, as his predecessor, is the first." "Yet," he continues, "hyld should be the appos. and hshny the principal word," i.e., instead of: with the second youth, was to be expected: with the second, the youth. It is true, we may either translate: with the second youth, or: with the second, the youth-the_ form of expression has in its something incorrect, for it has the appearance as if it treated of two youths. But similar are the expressions, Matt 8:21, he'teros k.t.l., "another, and that, too, one of His disciples;" and Luke 23:32, ee'gonto k.t.l All the world ranks itself by the side (thus we may also express it) of the second youthful king, so that he comes to stand at the head of an endless multitude. The LXX, Jerome, and the Venet. render incorrectly the all (the multitude) as the subject of the relative clause, which Luther, after the Syr., corrects by reading lpnyw for lpnyhm : of the people that went for him there was no end. Rightly the Targ.: at whose head (= b|reeysheeyhown) he had the direction, lip|neey , as with wb' yts' , 1 Sam 18:16; 2 Chron 1:10; Ps 68:8, etc. All the world congregates about him, follows his leadership; but his history thus splendidly begun, viewed backwards, is a history of hopes falsified. 16b. "And yet they who come after do not rejoice in him: for that also is vain, and a grasping after the wind." For all that, and in spite of that (gam has here this meaning, as at Eccl 6:7; Jer 6:15; Ps 129:2; Ewald, §354a), posterity (haa'a' , as at 1:11; cf. Isa 41:4) has no joy in this king-the hopes which his contemporaries placed in the young king, who had seized the throne and conquered their hearts, afterwards proved to be delusions; and also this history, at first so beautiful, and afterwards so hateful, contributed finally to the confirmation of the truth, that all under the sun is vain. As to the historical reminiscence from the time of the Ptolemies, in conformity with which Hitzig (in his Comm.) thinks this figure is constructed, vid., above, p. 652; Grätz here, as always, rocks himself in Herodian dreams. In his Comm., Hitz. guesses first of Jeroboam, along with Rehoboam the sheeniy yeled , who rebelled against King Solomon, who in his old age had become foolish.

    In an essay, "Zur Exeg. u. Kritik des B. Koheleth," in Hilgenfeld's Zeitschr.

    XIV 566ff., Saul, on the contrary, appears to him to be the old and foolish king, and David the poor wise youth who rose to the throne, and took possession of the whole kingdom, but in his latter days experienced desertion and adversities; for those who came after (the younger men) had no delight in him, but rebelled against him. But in relation to Saul, who came from the plough to be king, David, who was called from being a shepherd, is not rsh nwld; and to Jewish history this Saul, whose nobler self is darkened by melancholy, but again brightens forth, and who to his death maintained the dignity of a king of Israel, never at any time appears as wkcyl ...mlk . Moreover, by both combinations of that which is related with the haacuwriym byt (for which hac' is written) of the history of the old Israelitish kings, a meaning contrary to the usage of the language must be extracted.

    It is true that cuwr , as the so-called particip. perfecti, may mean "gone aside (to a distance)," Isa 49:21; Jer 17:13; and we may, at any rate, by cwrym, think on that poor rabble which at first gathered around David,1 Sam 22:2, regarded as outcasts from honourable society. But byt will not accord therewith. That David came forth from the house (home) of the estranged or separated, is and remains historically an awkward expression, linguistically obscure, and not in accordance with the style of Koheleth. In order to avoid this incongruity, Böttcher regards Antiochus the Great as the original of the yld . He was the second son of his father, who died 225. When a hopeful youth of fifteen years of age, he was recalled to the throne from a voluntary banishment into Farther Asia, very soon gained against his old cousin and rival Achaeus, who was supported by Egypt, a large party, and remained for several years esteemed as a prince and captain; he disappointed, however, at a later time, the confidence which was reposed in him.

    But granting that the voluntary exile of Antiochus might be designated as h'c' byt , he was yet not a poor man, born poor, but was the son of King Seleucus Callincus; and his older relative and rival Achaeus wished indeed to become king, but never attained unto it. Hence hshny is not the youth as second son of his father, but as second on the throne, in relation to the dethroned king reckoned as the first. Thus, far from making it probable that the Book of Koheleth originated in the time of the Diadochs, this combination of Böttcher's also stands on a feeble foundation, and falls in ruins when assailed.

    The section Eccl 1:12-4:16, to which we have prefixed the superscription, "Koheleth's Experiences and their Results," has now reached its termination, and here for the first time we meet with a characteristic peculiarity in the composition of the book: the narrative sections, in which Koheleth, on the ground of his own experiences and observations, registers the vanities of earthly life, terminate in series of proverbs in which the I of the preacher retires behind the objectivity of the exhortations, rules, and principles obtained from experience, here recorded. The first of these series of proverbs which here follows is the briefest, but also the most complete in internal connection.

    FIRST CONCLUDING SECTION Proverbs Regarding the Worship of God 4:17-5:6 (5:1-5:7) As an appendix and interlude, these proverbs directly follow the personal section preceding. The first rule here laid down refers to the going to the house of God.


    Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and to go to hear is better than that fools give a sacrifice; for the want of knowledge leads them to do evil." The "house of God" is like the "house of Jahve," 2 Sam 12:20; Isa 37:1, the temple; 'el , altogether like 'el-mi'-'eel, Ps 73:17. The Chethîb rag|leykaa is admissible, for elsewhere also this plur. ("thy feet") occurs in a moral connection and with a spiritual reference, e.g., Ps 119:59; but more frequently, however, the comprehensive sing. occurs. Ps 119:105; Prov 1:15; 4:26f., and the Kerî thus follows the right note. The correct understanding of what follows depends on raa` ...kiy- . Interpreters have here adopted all manner of impossible views.

    Hitzig's translation: "for they know not how to be sorrowful," has even found in Stuart at least one imitator; but r` `swt would, as the contrast of 'asoth tov, Eccl 3:12, mean nothing else than, "to do that which is unpleasant, disagreeable, bad," like 'asah ra'ah, 2 Sam 12:18.

    Gesen., Ewald (§336b), Elster, Heiligst., Burger, Zöckl., Dale, and Bullock translate: "they know not that they do evil;" but for such a rendering the words ought to have been raa` `asowtaam (cf. Jer 15:15); the only example for the translation of l`swt after the manner of the acc. c. inf. = se facere malum-viz. at 1 Kings 19:4-is incongruous, for lmwt does not here mean se mori, but ut moreretur. Yet more incorrect is the translation of Jerome, which is followed by Luther: nesciunt quid faciant mali. It lies near, as at Eccl 2:24 so also here, to suppose an injury done to the text.

    Aben Ezra introduced raq before l`s', but Koheleth never uses this limiting particle; we would have to write 'm-l`swt ky, after Ezra 3:12; 8:15.

    Anything thus attained, however, is not worth the violent means thus used; for the ratifying clause is not ratifying, and also in itself, affirmed of the kcylym, who, however, are not the same as the resha'im and the hattäim, is inappropriate.

    Rather it might be said: they know not to do good (thus the Syr.); or: they know not whether it be good or bad to do, i.e., they have no moral feeling, and act not from moral motives (so the Targ.). Not less violent than this remodelling of the text is the expedient of Herzberg, Philippson, and Ginsburg, who from lish|moa` derive the subject-conception of the obedient (has|m|`iym): "For those understand not at all to do evil;" the subj. ought to have been expressed if it must be something different from the immediately preceding kcylym. We may thus render enam yod'im, after Ps 82:5; Isa 56:10, as complete in itself: they (the fools) are devoid of knowledge to do evil = so that they do evil; i.e., want of knowledge brings them to this, that they do evil. Similarly also Knobel: they concern themselves not-are unconcerned (viz., about the right mode of worshipping God)-so that they do evil, with the correct remark that the consequence of their perverse conduct is here represented as their intention. But yd` l' , absol., does not mean to be unconcerned (wanton), but to be without knowledge. Rashbam, in substance correctly: they are predisposed by their ignorance to do evil; and thus also Hahn; Mendelssohn translates directly: "they sin because they are ignorant." If this interpretation is correct, then for lish|moa` it follows that it does not mean "to obey" (thus e.g., Zöckler), which in general it never means without some words being added to it (cf. on the contrary, 1 Sam 15:22), but "to hear,"-viz. the word of God, which is to be heard in the house of God-whereby, it is true, a hearing is meant which leads to obedience.

    In the word howrowt, priests are not perhaps thought of, although the comparison of v. 5 (hml'k) with Mal 2:7 makes it certainly natural; priestly instruction limited itself to information regarding the performance of the law already given in Scripture, Lev 10:11; Deut 33:9f., and to deciding on questions arising in the region of legal praxis, Deut 24:8; Hag 2:11. The priesthood did not belong to the teaching class in the sense of preaching. Preaching was never a part of the temple cultus, but, for the first time, after the exile became a part of the synagogue worship. The preachers under the O.T. were the prophets-preachers by a supernatural divine call, and by the immediate impulse of the Spirit; we know from the Book of Jeremiah that they sometimes went into the temple, or there caused their books of prophecy to be read; yet the author, by the word lish|moa` of the foregoing proverb, scarcely thinks of them.

    But apart from the teaching of the priests, which referred to the realization of the letter of the law, and the teaching of the prophets to the realization of the spirit of the law, the word formed an essential part of the sacred worship of the temple: the Tefilla, the Beracha, the singing of psalms, and certainly, at the time of Koheleth, the reading of certain sections of the Bible. When thou goest to the house of God, says Koheleth, take heed to thy step, well reflecting whither thou goest and how thou hast there to appear; and (with this w| he connects with this first nota bene a second) drawing near to hear exceeds the sacrifice-offering of fools, for they are ignorant (just because they hear not), which leads to this result, that they do evil. min , prae, expresses also, without an adj., precedence in number, Isa 10:10, or activity, 9:17, or worth, Ezek 15:2. qaarowb is inf. absol. Böttcher seeks to subordinate it as such to sh|mor : take heed to thy foot...and to the coming near to hear more than to.... But these obj. to smr would be incongruous, and wgw' mtt clumsy and even distorted in expression; it ought rather to be zbch kik|ciyliym mitit|kaa.

    As the inf. absol. can take the place of the obj., Isa 7:15; 42:24; Lam 3:45, so also the place of the subj. (Ewald, §240a), although Prov 25:27 is a doubtful example of this. That the use of the inf. absol. has a wide application with the author of this book, we have already seen under Eccl 4:2. Regarding the sequence of ideas in zaabach ...miteet (first the subj., then the obj.), vid., Gesen. §133. 3, and cf. above at 3:18. zebach (z|baachiym ), along with its general signification comprehending all animal sacrifices, according to which the altar bears the name miz|beeach , early acquired also a more special signification: it denotes, in contradistinction to `wlh , such sacrifices as are only partly laid on the altar, and for the most part are devoted to a sacrificial festival, Ex 18:12 (cf. Ex 12:27), the so-called shelamim, or also zivhhe shelamim, Prov 7:14.

    The expression zbch ntn makes it probable that here, particularly, is intended the festival (1 Kings 1:41) connected with this kind of sacrifice, and easily degenerating to worldly merriment (vid., under Prov 7:14); for the more common word for teet would have been haq|riyb or sh|chowT; in teet it seems to be indicated that it means not only to present something to God, but also to give at the same time something to man. The most recent canonical Chokma-book agrees with Prov 21:3 in this depreciation of sacrifice. But the Chokma does not in this stand alone. The great word of Samuel, 1 Sam 15:22f., that self-denying obedience to God is better than all sacrifices, echoes through the whole of the Psalms. And the prophets go to the utmost in depreciating the sacrificial cultus.

    The second rule relates to prayer.


    Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. "Be not hasty with thy mouth, and let not thy heart hasten to speak a word before God: for God is in heaven, and thou art upon earth; therefore let thy words be few. For by much business cometh dreaming, and by much talk the noise of fools." As we say in German: auf Flügeln fliegen to flee on wings, auf Einem Auge nicht sehen not to see with one eye, auf der Flöte blasen to blow on the flute, so in Heb. we say that one slandereth with (auf) his tongue (Ps 15:3), or, as here, that he hasteth with his mouth, i.e., is forward with his mouth, inasmuch as the word goes before the thought. It is the same usage as when the post-bibl. Heb., in contradistinction to shebik|taab htwrh, the law given in the Scripture, calls the oral law sheb|`al-peh ht', i.e., the law mediated `l-ph, oraliter = oralis traditio (Shabbath 31a; cf. Gittin 60b). The instrument and means is here regarded as the substratum of the action-as that which this lays as a foundation.

    The phrase: "to take on the lips," Ps 16:4, which needs no explanation, is different. Regarding biheel, festinare, which is, like miheer, the intens. of Kal, vid., above, p. 637; once it occurs quite like our "sich beeilen" to hasten, with reflex. accus. suff., 2 Chron 35:21. Man, when he prays, should not give the reins to his tongue, and multiply words as one begins and repeats over a form which he has learnt, knowing certainly that it is God of whom and to whom he speaks, but without being conscious that God is an infinitely exalted Being, to whom one may not carelessly approach without collecting his thoughts, and irreverently, without lifting up his soul. As the heavens, God's throne, are exalted above the earth, the dwelling-place of man, so exalted is the heavenly God above earthly man, standing far beneath him; therefore ought the words of a man before God to be few-few, well-chosen reverential words, in which one expresses his whole soul.

    The older language forms no plur. from the subst. m|`at (fewness) used as an adv.; but the more recent treats it as an adj., and forms from it the plur. m|`aTiym (here and in Ps 109:8, which bears the superscription le-david, but has the marks of Jeremiah's style); the postbibl. places in the room of the apparent adj. the particip. adj. mow`eeT with the plur. mow`aTiym (muw`aTiyn), e.g., Berachoth 61a: "always let the words of a man before the Holy One (blessed be His name!) be few" (mw`'). Few ought the words to be; for where they are many, it is not without folly. This is what is to be understood, v. 2, by the comparison; the two parts of the verse stand here in closer mutual relation than Eccl 7:1-the proverb is not merely synthetical, but, like Job 5:7, parabolical.

    The b is both times that of the cause. The dream happens, or, as we say, dreams happen `in|yaan b|rob ; not: by much labour; for labour in itself, as the expenditure of strength making one weary, has as its consequence, Eccl 5:11, sweet sleep undisturbed by dreams; but: by much self-vexation in a man's striving after high and remote ends beyond what is possible (Targ., in manifold project-making); the care of such a man transplants itself from the waking to the sleeping life, it if does not wholly deprive him of sleep, 5:11b, 8:16-all kinds of images of the labours of the day, and fleeting phantoms and terrifying pictures hover before his mind.

    And as dreams of such a nature appear when a man wearies himself inwardly as well as outwardly by the labours of the day, so, with the same inward necessity, where many words are spoken folly makes its appearance. Hitzig renders kcyl, in the connection k|' qowl , as adj.; but, like 'ewiyl (which forms an adj. eviilii), kcyl is always a subst., or, more correctly, it is a name occurring always only of a living being, never of a thing. There is sound without any solid content, mere blustering bawling without sense and intelligence. The talking of a fool is in itself of this kind (Eccl 10:14); but if one who is not just a fool falls into much talk, it is scarcely possible but that in this flow of words empty bombast should appear.

    Another rule regarding the worship of God refers to vowing.


    When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. "When thou hast made a vow to God, delay not to fulfil it; for there is no pleasure in fools: that which thou hast vowed fulfil. Better that thou vowest not, than that thou vowest and fulfillest not. Let not thy mouth bring thy body into punishment; and say not before the messenger of God that it was precipitation: why shall God be angry at thy talk, and destroy the work of thy hands? For in many dreams and words there are also many vanities: much rather fear God!" If they abstained, after Shabbath 30b, from treating the Book of Koheleth as apocryphal, because it begins with twrh dbry (cf. at Eccl 1:3) and closes in the same way, and hence warrants the conclusion that that which lies between will also be twrh dbry, this is in a special manner true of the passage before us regarding the vow which, in thought and expression, is the echo of Deut 23:22-24. Instead of kaasher tiddor, we find there the words ki tiddor; instead of lelohim (= leelohim, always only of the one true God), there we have lahovah elohecha; and instead of al-teahher, there lo teahher. There the reason is: "for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee;" here: for there is no pleasure in fools, i.e., it is not possible that any one, not to speak of God, could have a particular inclination toward fools, who speak in vain, and make promises in which their heart is not, and which they do not keep.

    Whatever thou vowest, continues Koheleth, fulfil it; it is better (Ewald, §336a) that thou vowest not, than to vow and not to pay; for which the Tôra says: "If thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee" (Deut 23:22). neder , which, according to the stem-word, denotes first the vow of consecration of setting apart (cogn. Arab. nadar, to separate, nzr, whence naaziyr ), the so-called 'ecaar \vid. Num 30:3, is here a vow in its widest sense; the author, however, may have had, as there, the law (cf. v. 24), especially shalme neder, in view, i.e., such peace-offerings as the law does not enjoin, but which the offerer promises (cogn. with the shalme nedavah, i.e., such as rest on free-will, but not on any obligation arising from a previous promise) from his own inclination, for the event that God may do this or that for him. The verb shileem is not, however, related to this name for sacrifices, as chiTee' is to chaTaa't , but denotes the fulfilling or discharge as a performance fully accordant with duty.

    To the expression cheeT|' ...hyh (twice occurring in the passage of Deut. referred to above) there is added the warning: let not thy mouth bring thy body into sin. The verb nathan, with Lamed and the inf. following, signifies to allow, to permit, Gen 20:6; Judg 1:34; Job 31:30.

    The inf. is with equal right translated: not to bring into punishment; for chaaTaa' -the syncop. Hiph. of which, according to an old, and, in the Pentateuch, favourite form, is lachaTy' -signifies to sin, and also (e.g., Gen 39:9; cf. the play on the word, Hos 8:11) to expiate sin; sinburdened and guilty, or liable to punishment, mean the same thing.

    Incorrectly, Ginsburg, Zöck., and others: "Do not suffer thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin;" for (1) the formula: "the flesh sins," is not in accordance with the formation of O.T. ideas; the N.T., it is true, uses the expression sa'rx hamarti'as , Rom 8:3, but not hamarta'nousa , that which sins is not the flesh, but the will determined by the flesh, or by fleshly lust; (2) the mouth here is not merely that which leads to sin, but the person who sins through thoughtless haste-who, by his haste, brings sin upon his flesh, for this suffers, for the breach of vow, by penalties inflicted by God; the mouth is, like the eye and the hand, a member of the ho'lon to' soo'ma (Matt 5:24f.), which is here called bsr ; the whole man in its sensitive nature (opp. leeb , Eccl 2:3; 11:10; Prov 14:30) has to suffer chastisement on account of that which the mouth hath spoken. Gesen. compares this passage, correctly, with Deut 24:4, for the meaning peccati reum facere; Isa 29:21 is also similar.

    The further warning refers to the lessening of the sin of a rash vow unfulfilled as an unintentional, easily expiable offence: "and say not before the messenger of God that it was a sh|gaagaah , a sin of weakness."

    Without doubt hammalaach is an official byname of a priest (vid., above, p. 639), and that such as was in common use at the time of the author (vid., p. 650). But as for the rest, it is not easy to make the matter of the warning clear. That it is not easy, may be concluded from this, that with Jewish interpreters it lies remote to think of a priest in the word hammalaach. By this word the Targ. understands the angel to whom the execution of the sentence of punishment shall be committed on the day of judgment; Aben Ezra: the angel who writes down all the words of a man; similarly Jerome, after his Jewish teacher. Under this passage Ginsburg has an entire excursus regarding the angels.

    The LXX and Syr. translate "before God," as if the words of the text were 'l' neged , Ps 138:1, or as if hammalach could of itself mean God, as presenting Himself in history. Supposing that hammalach is the official name of a man, and that of a priest, we appear to be under the necessity of imagining that he who is charged with the obligation of a vow turns to the priest with the desire that he would release him from it, and thus dissolve (bibl. heepiyr , Mishnic hitiyr) the vow. But there is no evidence that the priests had the power of releasing from vows. Individual cases in which a husband can dissolve the vow of his wife, and a father the vow of his daughter, are enumerated in Num 30; besides, in the traditional law, we find the sentence: "A vow, which one who makes it repents of, can be dissolved by a learned man (chkm), or, where none is present, by three laymen," Bechoroth 36b; the matter cannot be settled by any middle person (shlych), but he who has taken the vow (hnwdr) must appear personally, Jore deah c. 228, §16.

    Of the priest as such nothing is said here. Therefore the passage cannot at all be traditionally understood of an official dissolution of an oath. Where the Talm. applies it juristically, Shabbath 32b, etc., Rashi explains hammalach by gizbar shel-haqdesh, i.e., treasurer of the revenues of the sanctuary; and in the Comm. to Koheleth he supposes that some one has publicly resolved on an act of charity (tsdqh), i.e., has determined it with himself, and that now the representative of the congregation (shlych) comes to demand it. But that is altogether fanciful. If we proceed on the idea that liphne hammalach is of the same meaning as liphne hakkohen, Lev 27:8,11; Num 9:6; 27:2, etc., we have then to derive the figure from such passages relating to the law of sacrifice as Num 15:22-26, from which the words ki shegagah hi (Num 15:25b) originate. We have to suppose that he who has made a vow, and has not kept it, comes to terms with God with an easier and less costly offering, since in the confession (widuwy) which he makes before the priest he explains that the vow was a shegagah, a declaration that inconsiderately escaped him.

    The author, in giving it to be understood that under these circumstances the offering of the sacrifice is just the direct contrary of a good work, calls to the conscience of the inconsiderate nwdr: why should God be angry on account of thy voice with which thou dost excuse thy sins of omission, and destroy (vid., regarding chibeel under Isa 10:27) the work of thy hands (vid., under Ps 90:17), for He destroys what thou hast done, and causes to fail what thou purposest? The question with lammah resembles those in Ezra 4:22; 7:23, and is of the same kind as at 7:16f.; it leads us to consider what a mad self-destruction that would be (Jer 44:7, cf. under Isa 1:5).

    The reason for the foregoing admonition now following places the inconsiderate vow under the general rubric of inconsiderate words. We cannot succeed in interpreting v. 67 (in so far as we do not supply, after the LXX and Syr. with the Targ.: ne credas; or better, with Ginsburg, hy' = it is) without taking one of the vavs in the sense of "also." That the Heb. vav, like the Greek kai' , the Lat. et, may have this comparative or intensifying sense rising above that which is purely copulative, is seen from e.g., Num 9:14, cf. also Josh 14:11. In many cases, it is true, we are not under the necessity of translating vav by "also;" but since the "and" here does not merely externally connect, but expresses correlation of things homogeneous, an "also" or a similar particle involuntarily substitutes itself for the "and," e.g., Gen 17:20 (Jerome): super Ismael quoque; Ex 29:8: filios quoque; Deut 1:32: et nec sic quidem credidistis; 9:8: nam et in Horeb; cf.

    Josh 15:19; 1 Sam 25:43; 2 Sam 19:25; 1 Kings 2:22; 11:26; Isa 49:6, "I have also given to thee." But there are also passages in which it cannot be otherwise translated than by "also." We do not reckon among these Ps 31:12, where we do not translate "also my neighbours," and Amos 4:10, where the words are to be translated, "and that in your nostrils." On the contrary, Isa 32:7 is scarcely otherwise to be translated than "also when the poor maketh good his right," like 2 Sam 1:23, "also in their death they are not divided." In 2 Chron 27:5, in like manner, the two vavs are scarcely correlative, but we have, with Keil, to translate, "also in the second and third year." And in Hos 8:6, w|huw' , at least according to the punctuation, signifies "also it," as Jerome translates: ex Israele et ipse est.

    According to the interpunction of the passage before us, har|' uwd|' is the pred., and thus, with the Venet., is to be translated: "For in many dreams and vanities there are also many words."

    We could at all events render the vav, as also at Eccl 10:11; Ex 16:6, as vav apod.; but wgw' b|rob has not the character of a virtual antecedentthe meaning of the expression remains as for the rest the same; but Hitzig's objection is of force against it (as also against Ewald's disposition of the words, like the of Symmachus, Jerome, and Luther: "for where there are many dreams, there are also vanities, and many words"), that it does not accord with the connection, which certainly in the first place requires a reason referable to inconsiderate talk, and that the second half is, in fact, erroneous, for between dreams and many words there exists no necessary inward mutual relation. Hitzig, as Knobel before him, seeks to help this, for he explains: "for in many dreams are also vanities, i.e., things from which nothing comes, and (the like) in many words." But not only is this assumed carrying forward of the b doubtful, but the principal thing would be made a secondary matter, and would drag heavily.

    The relation in v. 2 is different where vav is that of comparison, and that which is compared follows the comparison. Apparently the text (although the LXX had it before them, as it is before us) has undergone dislocation, and is thus to be arranged: whblym hrbh wdbrym chlmwt brb ky: for in many dreams and many words there are also vanities, i.e., illusions by which one deceives himself and others. Thus also Bullock renders, but without assigning a reason for it. That dreams are named first, arises from a reference back to v. 2, according to which they are the images of what a man is externally and mentally busied and engaged with. But the principal stress lies on hrbh wdbrym , to which also the too rash, inconsiderate vows belong. The pred. whblym, however, connects itself with "vanity of vanities," which is Koheleth's final judgment regarding all that is earthly. The ky following connects itself with the thought lying in 6a, that much talk, like being much given to dreams, ought to be avoided: it ought not to be; much rather (imo, Symm. alla' ) fear God, Him before whom one should say nothing, but that which contains in it the whole heart.

    CONTINUATION OF THE CATALOGUE OF VANITIES The Gradations of Oppression in Despotic States 5:7,8 (5:8,9) "Fear God," says the proverb (Prov 24:21), "and the king." The whole Book of Koheleth shows how full its author is of this fundamental thought. Thus the transition to the theme now following was at least inwardly mediated. The state-government, however, although one should be subject to it for conscience' sake, corresponds very little to his idea: and ascending scale of the powers is an ascending scale of violence and oppression.


    If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. "If thou seest the oppression of the poor and the robbery of right and of justice in the state, marvel not at the matter: for one higher watches over him who is high; and others are high above both." Like rash, mishpat vatsedeq are also the gen. of the obj.; "robbery of the right and of justice" is an expression not found elsewhere, but not on that account, as Grätz supposes, impossible: mishpat is right, rectitude, and conformity to law; and tsedeq, judicial administration, or also social deportment according to these norms; geezel , a wicked, shameless depriving of a just claim, and withholding of the showing of right which is due. If one gets a sight of such things as these in a medinah, i.e., in a territorial district under a common government, he ought not to wonder at the matter. taamah means to be startled, astonished, and, in the sense of "to wonder," is the word commonly used in modern Heb. But cheepets has here the colourless general signification of res, according to which the Syr. translates it (vid., under Eccl 3:1); every attempt in passages such as this to retain the unweakened primary meaning of the word runs out into groundless and fruitless subtlety. Cf. Berachoth 5a, lch' chpts ...'dm , "a man who buys a thing from another." On the other hand, there is doubt about the meaning of the clause assigning the reason. It seems to be intended, that over him who is high, who oppresses those under him, there stands one who is higher, who in turn oppresses him, and thereby becomes the executor of punishment upon him; and that these, the high and the higher, have over them a Most High, viz., God, who will bring them to an account (Knobel, Ew., Elst., Vaih., Hengst., Zöckl.). None of the old translators and expositors rises, it is true, to the knowledge that g|bohiym may be pl. majestatis, (Note: That is surprising, since the Talm. interpretation, Menachoth 110a, even brings it about that lb' , 5:10, is to be understood of God.) but the first gaaboha the Targ. renders by 'adiyr 'eel .

    This was natural to the Jewish usus loq., for gbwh in the post-bibl. Heb. is a favourite name for God, e.g., Beza 20b, Jebamoth 87a, Kamma 13a: "from the table of God" (gbwh mslchn), i.e., the altar (cf. Heb 13:10; 1 Cor 10:21). (Note: gbwh chlq is also a common Rabbin. name for the tithes and offerings (cf. e.g., Nachmani under Gen 14:20). Along with hgbwh chlq, the sacrifices are also called (in Hurwitz' work on the Heb. rites, known by the abbreviated title s''lh) lgbwh hmwrm; vid., 85b of the ed. 1764, and 23b of the Amsterdam ed. 1707 of the abridgment.)

    The interpretation of gb', however, as the pl. majest., has in the Book of Koheleth itself a support in bowr'eykaa , Eccl 12:1; and the thought in which 7b climactically terminates accords essentially with 3:17. This explanation, however, of 7b does not stand the test. For if an unrighteous administration of justice, if violence is in vogue instead of right, that is an actual proof that over him who is high no human higher one watches who may put a check upon him, and to whom he feels that he is responsible.

    And that above them both one who is Most High stands, who will punish injustice and avenge it, is a consolatory argument against vexation, but is no explanatory reason of the phenomenon, such as we expect after the noli mirari; for 'l-ttmh does not signify "be not offended" (John 16:1), or, "think it not strange" (1 Peter 4:12), which would be otherwise expressed (cf. under Ps 37:1), but mee' thauma'sees (LXX).

    Also the contrast, v. 8, warrants the conclusion that in v. 7 the author seeks to explain the want of legal order from the constitution of a despotic state as distinguished from patriarchal government. For this reason shomeer will not be meant of over-watching, which has its aim in the execution of legal justice and official duty, but of egoistic watching-not, however, as Hitzig understands it: "they mutually protect each other's advantage; one crow does not peck out the eyes of another,"-but, on the contrary, in the sense of hostile watching, as at 1 Sam 19:11; 2 Sam 11:16, as B. Bardach understands it: "he watches for the time when he may gain the advantage over him who is high, who is yet lower than himself, and may strengthen and enrich himself with his flesh or his goods." Over the one who is high, who oppresses the poor and is a robber in respect of right and justice, there stands a higher, who on his part watches how he can plunder him to his own aggrandisement; and over both there are again other high ones, who in their own interest oppress these, as these do such as are under them.

    This was the state of matters in the Persian Empire in the time of the author. The satrap stood at the head of state officers. In many cases he fleeced the province to fatten himself. But over the satrap stood inspectors, who often enough built up their own fortunes by fatal denunciations; and over all stood the king, or rather the court, with its rivalry of intrigues among courtiers and royal women. The cruel deathpunishments to which disagreeable officials were subjected were fearful.

    There was a gradation of bad government and arbitrary domination from high to low and from low to high, and no word is more fitting for this state of things in Persia than shmr ; for watching, artfully lurking as spies for an opportunity to accomplish the downfall of each other, was prevalent in the Persian Empire, especially when falling into decay.


    Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.

    The author, on the other hand, now praises the patriarchal form of government based on agriculture, whose king takes pride, not in bloody conquests and tyrannical caprice, but in the peaceful promotion of the welfare of his people: "But the advantage of a country consists always in a king given to the arable land." What impossibilities have been found here, even by the most recent expositors! Ewald, Heiligst., Elster, Zöckl. translate: rex agro factus = terrae praefectus; but, in the language of this book, not `bd but mlk `sh is the expression used for "to make a king." Gesen., Win., de Wette, Knobel, Vaih. translate: rex qui colitur a terra (civibus). But could a country, in the sense of its population in subjection to the king, be more inappropriately designated than by saadeh ? Besides, `bd certainly gains the meaning of colere where God is the object; but with a human ruler as the object it means servire and nothing more, and ne`|baad (Note: Thus pointed rightly in J., with Sheva quiesc. and Dagesh in Beth; vid., Kimchi in Michlol 63a, and under `bd .) can mean nothing else than "dienstbar gemacht" made subject to, not "honoured."

    Along with this signification, related denom. to `ebed , n`bd, referred from its primary signification to saadeh , the open fields (from saadaah , to go out in length and breadth), may also, after the phrase h'dmh `bd, signify cultivated, wrought, tilled; and while the phrase "made subject to" must be certainly held as possible (Rashi, Aben Ezra, and others assume it without hesitation), but is without example, the Niph. occurs, e.g., at Ezek 36:9, in the latter signification, of the mountains of Israel: "ye shall be tilled." Under 8a, Hitzig, and with him Stuart and Zöckler, makes the misleading remark that the Chethîb is b|kaal-hiy', and that it is = b|kaal-zo't, according to which the explanation is then given: the protection and security which an earthly ruler secures is, notwithstanding this, not to be disparaged. But hy' is Chethîb, for which the Kerî substitutes huw' ; bakol is Chethîb without Kerî; and that b|kl is thus a modification of the text, and that, too, an objectionable one, since bkl-hy', in the sense of "in all this," is unheard of. The Kerî seeks, without any necessity, to make the pred. and subj. like one another in gender; without necessity, for hy' may also be neut.: the advantage of a land is this, viz., what follows. And how bakol is to be understood is seen from Ezra 10:17, where it is to be explained: And they prepared (Note: That b| klh may mean "to be ready with anything," Keil erroneously points to Gen 44:12; and Philippi, St. Const. p. 49, thinks that vakol anaashim can be taken together in the sense of vakol haanashim.) the sum of the men, i.e., the list of the men, of such as had married strange wives; cf. 1 Chron 7:5. Accordingly bkl here means, as the author generally uses hkl mostly in the impersonal sense of omnia: in omnibus, in all things = by all means; or: in universum, in general. Were the words accentuated n`bd lsdh mlk, the adject. connection of n`' ls' would thereby be shown; according to which the LXX and Theod. translate tou' agrou' eirgasme'nou ; Symm., with the Syr., tee' choo'ra eirgasme'nee : "a king for the cultivated land," i.e., one who regards this as a chief object. Luzz. thus indeed accentuates; but the best established accentuation is n`bd lsdh mlk. This separation of n`bd from ls' can only be intended to denote that n`bd is to be referred not to it, but to mlk , according to which the Targ. paraphrases. The meaning remains the same: a king subject (who has become a servus) to the cultivated land, rex agro addictus, as Dathe, Rosenm., and others translate, is a still more distinct expression of that which "a king for the wellcultivated field" would denote: an agriculture-king-one who is addicted, not to wars, lawsuits, and sovereign stubbornness in his opinions, but who delights in the peaceful advancement of the prosperity of his country, and especially takes a lively interest in husbandry and the cultivation of the land. The order of the words in 8b is like that at Eccl 9:2; cf. Isa 8:22; 22:2.

    The author thus praises, in contrast to a despotic state, a patriarchal kingdom based on agriculture.

    THE UNCERTAINTY OF RICHES, AND THE CHEERFUL ENJOYMENT OF LIFE WHICH ALONE IS PRAISEWORTHY 5:9-6:6 (5:10-6:6) If we fix our attention on the word t|buw'aah , 9a, which properly denotes that which comes into the barn from without (e.g., Prov 14:4), v. seems to continue the praise of husbandry, as Rashi, Aben Ezra, Luzzatto, Bardach, and others have already concluded. But the thought that one cannot eat money is certainly not that which is intended in 9a; and in 9b the thought would be awkwardly and insufficiently expressed, that it is vain to love riches, and not, on the contrary, the fruit of agriculture.

    Therefore we are decidedly of opinion that here (cf. above, p. 631), with v. 9 the foregoing series of proverbs does not come to a close, but makes a new departure.


    He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. "He who loveth silver is not satisfied with silver; and he whose love cleaveth to abundance, hath nothing of it: also this is vain." The transition in this series of proverbs is not unmediated; for the injustice which, according to v. 7, prevails in the state as it now is becomes subservient to covetousness, in the very nature of which there lies insatiableness: semper avarus eget, hunc nulla pecunia replet. That the author speaks of the "sacra fames argenti" (not auri) arises from this, that not zhb , but kcp , is the specific word for coin. (Note: A Jewish fancy supposes that kcp is chosen because it consists of letters rising in value (20, 60, 80); while, on the contrary, zhb consists of letters decreasing in value (7, 5, 2).)

    Mendelssohn-Friedländer also explains: "He who loveth silver is not satisfied with silver," i.e., it does not make him full; that might perhaps be linguistically possible (cf. e.g., Prov 12:11), although the author would in that case probably have written the words min-hakecep, after 6:3; but "to be not full of money" is, after 1:8, and especially 4:8, Hab 2:5, cf. Prov 27:20 = never to have enough of money, but always to desire more.

    That which follows, 9ab, is, according to Hitz., a question: And who hath joy in abundance, which bringeth nothing in? But such questions, with the answer to be supplied, are not in Koheleth's style; and what would then be understood by capital without interest? Others, as Zöckler, supply yis|ba` : and he that loveth abundance of possessions (is) not (full) of income; but that which is gained by these hard ellipses is only a tautology.

    With right, the Targ., Syr., Jerome, the Venet., and Luther take lo tevuah as the answer or conclusion; and who clings to abundance of possessions with his love?-he has no fruit thereof; or, with a weakening of the interrog. pronoun into the relative (as at Eccl 1:9; cf. under Ps 34:13): he who...clings has nothing of it. Hamon signifies a tumult, a noisy multitude, particularly of earthly goods, as at Ps 37:16; 1 Chron 29:16; Isa 60:5. The connection of 'hb with b, occurring only here, follows the analogy of b| chaapeets and the like. The conclusion is synon. with levilti ho'il; e.g., Isa 44:10; Jer 7:8. All the Codd. read l' ; lw (OT:3807a) in this sense would be meaningless. (Note: In Maccoth 10a, lw is read three times in succession; the Midrash Wajikra, c. 22, reads l' , and thus it is always found without Kerî and without variation.)

    The designation of advantage by tevuah, the farmer enjoys the fruit of his labour; but he who hangs his heart on the continual tumult, noise, pomp of more numerous and greater possessions is possible, to him all real profiti. e., all pleasant, peaceful enjoyment-is lost. With the increase of the possessions there is an increase also of unrest, and the possessor has in reality nothing but the sight of them.


    When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? "When property and goods increase, they become many who consume them; and what advantage hath the owner thereof but the sight of them with his eyes?" The verb raabaah signifies to increase, the raabab , to be many; but also (which Böttch. denies) inchoatively: to become many, Gen 6:1; rightly, the LXX, epleethu'ntheesan. The author has not a miser in view, who shuts up his money in chests, and only feeds himself in looking at it with closed doors; but a covetous man, of the sort spoken of in Ps 49:12; Isa 5:8. If the hattovah, the possession of such an one, increases, in like manner the number of people whom he must maintain increases also, and thus the number of those who eat of it along with him, and at the same time also his disquiet and care, increase; and what advantage, what useful result (vid., regarding Kishron, above, p. 638, and under Eccl 2:21) has the owner of these good things from them but the beholding of them (reith; Kerî, reuth; cf. the reverse case, Ps 126:4)?-the possession does not in itself bring happiness, for it is never great enough to satisfy him, but is yet great enough to fill him with great care as to whether he may be able to support the demands of so great a household: the fortune which it brings to him consists finally only in this, that he can look on all he has accumulated with proud self-complacency.


    The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

    He can also eat that which is good, and can eat much; but he does not on that account sleep more quietly than the labourer who lives from hand to mouth: "Sweet is the sleep of the labourer, whether he eats little or much; but, on the contrary, the abundance of the rich does not permit him to sleep." The LXX, instead of "labourer," uses the word "slave" (dou'lou ), as if the original were haa`ebed . But, as a rule, sound sleep is the reward of earnest labour; and since there are idle servants as well as active masters, there is no privilege to servants. The Venet. renders rightly by "of the husbandman" (erga'tou ), the haa'adaamaah `obeed ; the "labourer" in general is called `aameel , Eccl 4:8 and Judg 5:26, post-bibl. po`eel . The labourer enjoys sweet, i.e., refreshing, sound sleep, whether his fare be abundant of scanty-the labour rewards him by sweet sleep, notwithstanding his poverty; while, on the contrary, the sleep of the rich is hindered and disturbed by his abundance, not: by his satiety, viz., repletion, as Jerome remarks: incocto cibo in stomachi angustiis aestuante; for the labourer also, if he eats much, eats his fill; and why should sufficiency have a different result in the one from what is has in the other?

    As saabaa` means satiety, not over-satiety; so, on the other hand, it means, objectively, sufficient and plentifully existing fulness to meet the wants of man, Prov 3:10, and the word is meant thus objectively here: the fulness of possession which the rich has at his disposal does not permit him to sleep, for all kinds of projects, cares, anxieties regarding it rise within him, which follow him into the night, and do not suffer his mind to be at rest, which is a condition of sleep. The expression le`aa' hasaa' is the circumlocutio of the genit. relation, like lb' ...chl', Ruth 2:3; n`'...'m' (LXX Amnoo'n tee's Achino'am), 2 Sam 3:2. Heiligstedt remarks that it stands for h`shyr s|ba`; but the nouns tsaamaa' , raa`ab, saabaa` form no const., for which reason the circumloc. was necessary; s|ba` is the constr. of saabeea`. Falsely, Ginsburg: "aber der Ueberfluss den Reichen-er lässt ihn nicht schlafen" but superabundance the rich-it doth not suffer him to sleep; but this construction is neither in accordance with the genius of the German nor of the Heb. language. Only the subject is resumed in 'eeynenuw (as in Eccl 1:7); the construction of higiyach is as at 1 Chron 16:21; cf. Ps 105:14. Of the two Hiphil forms, the properly Heb. heeniyach and the Aramaizing hiniyach , the latter is used in the weakened meaning of ea'n , sinere.

    After showing that riches bring to their possessor no real gain, but, instead of that, dispeace, care, and unrest, the author records as a great evil the loss, sometimes suddenly, of wealth carefully amassed.

    ECCLESIASTES. 5:13-14

    There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. "There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, riches kept by their possessor to his hurt: the same riches perish by an evil event; and he hath begotten a son, thus this one hath nothing in his hand." There is a gradation of evils. chowlaah raa`aah (cf. raa` chaaliy , Eccl 6:2) is not an ordinary, but a morbid evil, i.e., a deep hurtful evil; as a wound, not a common one, but one particularly severe and scarcely curable, is called nach|laah , e.g., Nah 3:19. hsh'...raa'i' is, as at Eccl 10:5, an ellipt. relat. clause; cf. on the other hand, 6:1; the author elsewhere uses the scheme of the relat. clause without relat. pron. (vid., under 1:13; 3:16); the old language would use r|'iytiyhaa, instead of r'yty , with the reflex. pron. The great evil consists in this, that riches are not seldom kept by their owner to his own hurt.

    Certainly l| shaamuwr can also mean that which is kept for another, 1 Sam 9:24; but how involved and constrained is Ginsburg's explanation: "hoarded up (by the rich man) for their (future) owner," viz., the heir to whom he intends to leave them! That l can be used with the passive as a designation of the subj., vid., Ewald, §295c; certainly it corresponds as little as min , with the Greek hupo' , but in Greek we say also plou'tos fulachthei's too' kekteeme'noo, vid., Rost's Syntax, §112. 4. The suff. of lera'atho refers to be'alav, the plur. form of which can so far remain out of view, that we even say adonim qosheh, Isa 19:4, etc. "To his hurt," i.e., at the last suddenly to lose that which has been carefully guarded. The narrative explanation of this, "to his hurt," begins with vav explic.

    Regarding 'inyan ra', vid., above, p. 640. It is a casus adversus that is meant, such a stroke upon stroke as destroyed Job's possessions. The perf. w|how' supposes the case that the man thus suddenly made poor is the father of a son; the clause is logically related to that which follows as hypothet. antecedent, after the scheme. Gen 33:13b. The loss of riches would of itself make one who is alone unhappy, for the misfortune to be poor is less than the misfortunes to be rich and then to become poor; but still more unfortunate is the father who thought that by well-guarded wealth he had secured the future of his son, and who now leaves him with an empty hand.

    What now follows is true of this rich man, but is generalized into a reference to every rich man, and then is recorded as a second great evil. As a man comes naked into the world, so also he departs from it again without being able to take with him any of the earthly wealth he has acquired.


    As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. "As he came forth from his mother's womb, naked shall he again depart as he came, and not the least will he carry away for his labour, which he could take with him in his hand." In 13a the author has the case of Job in his mind; this verse before us is a reminiscence from Job 1:21, with the setting aside of the difficult word shaamaah found there, which Sirach 40:1 exhibits. With "naked" begins emphatically the main subject; k|shebaa' = b' ka'asher is the intensifying resumption of the comparison; the contrast of leket , going away, excedere vitâ, is boy' of the entrance on life, coming into the world. m|'uwmaah (according to the root meaning and use, corresponding to the French point, Olsh. §205a) emphatically precedes the negation, as at Judg 14:6 (cf. the emphasis reached in a different way, Ps 49:18). ns' signifies here, as at v. 18, Ps 24:5, to take hence, to take forth, to carry away. The b of ba`a' is not partitive (Aben Ezra compares Lev 8:32), according to which Jerome and Luther translate de labore suo, but is the Beth pretii, as e.g., at 1 Kings 16:34, as the Chald. understands it; Nolde cites for this Beth pretii passages such as Eccl 2:24, but incorrectly. Regarding the subjunctive sheyoleek| , quod auferat, vid., above, No. 2, p. 641. We might also with the LXX and Symm. punctuate sheyeelek| : which might accompany him in his hand, but which could by no means denote, as Hitzig thinks: (for his trouble), which goes through his hand. Such an expression is not used; and Hitzig's supposition, that here the rich man who has lost his wealth is the subject, does not approve itself.


    And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?

    A transition is now made to rich men as such, and the registering formula which should go before v. 14 here follows: "And this also is a sore evil: altogether exactly as he came, thus shall he depart: and what gain hath he that laboureth in the wind?" Regarding zoh , vid., above, No. 4, p. 642; and regarding sh kaal-`u', (Note: I n H. written as one word: kal|`umat. Parchon (Lex. under `mt) had this form before him. In his Lex. Kimchi bears evidence in favour of the correct writing as two words.) vid., p. 640. The writing of these first two as one word \vid. note below] accords with Ibn-Giat's view, accidentally quoted by Kimchi, that the word is compounded of k of comparison, and the frequently occurring l|`umat always retaining its l, and ought properly to be pointed kil|`u' (cf. mil|', 1 Kings 7:20). `umaah signifies combination, society, one thing along with or parallel to another; and thus l`mt bears no k, since it is itself a word of comparison, kaal-`umat "altogether parallel," "altogether the same." The question: what kind of advantage (vid., Eccl 1:3) is to him (has he) of this that..., carries its answer in itself. Labouring for the wind or in the wind, his labour is ruwach (ra`|yown ) r|`uwt , and thus fruitless. And, moreover, how miserable an existence is this life of labour leading to nothing!


    All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness. "Also all his life long he eateth in darkness and grieveth himself much, and oh for his sorrow and hatred!" We might place v. 16 under the regimen of the sh of shy`' of v. 15b; but the Heb. style prefers the selfdependent form of sentences to that which is governed. The expression 16a has something strange. This strangeness disappears if, with Ewald and Heiligst., after the LXX and Jerome, for y'okeel we read w|'eekel: kai' en pe'nthei ; Böttch. prefers waa'opel, "and in darkness." Or also, if we read yeeleek| for y'kl ; thus the Midrash here, and several codd. by Kennicott; but the Targ., Syr., and Masora read y'kl . Hitzig gets rid of that which is strange in this passage by taking kaal-yaamaayw as accus. of the obj., not of the time: all his days, his whole life he consumes in darkness; but in Heb. as in Lat. we say: consumere dies vitae, Job 21:13; 36:11, but not comedere; and why should the expression, "to eat in darkness," not be a figurative expression for a faithless, gloomy life, as elsewhere "to sit in darkness" (Mic 7:8), and "to walk in darkness"? It is meant that all his life long he ate 'owniym lechem , the bread of sorrow, or lachats lechem , prison fare; he did not allow himself pleasant table comforts in a room comfortably or splendidly lighted, for it is unnecessary to understand choshek| subjectively and figuratively (Hitz., Zöck.).

    In 16b the traditional punctuation is w|kaaa`c . (Note: Thus in correct texts, in H. with the note: mlr` b', viz., here and at Ps 112:10, only there ` has, according to tradition, the Kametz. Cf. Mas. fin. 52b, and Baer's Ed. of Psalter, under Ps 112:10.)

    The perf. ruled by the preceding fut. is syntactically correct, and the verb kaa`ac is common with the author, Eccl 7:9. Hitzig regards the text as corrupt, and reads b|chaalyow and ka`ac , and explains: and (he consumes or swallows) much grief in his, etc.; the phrase, "to eat sorrow," may be allowed (cf. Prov 26:6, cf. Job 15:16); but y'kl , as the representative of two so bold and essentially different metaphors, would be in point of style in bad taste. If the text is corrupt, it may be more easily rectified by reading wq' low () waachaaliy hrbh w|ka`ac : and grief in abundance, and sorrow has he, and wrath. We merely suggest this. Ewald, Burger, and Böttch. read only waachaaliy hrbh wka`c; but lw is not to be dispensed with, and can easily be reduced to a mere vav. Elster retains wkaa`c , and reads, like Hitzig, bchlyw: he grieves himself much in his sorrow and wrath; but in that case the word wqtspw was to be expected; also in this way the ideas do not psychologically accord with each other. However the text is taken, we must interpret wqtsp wchlyw as an exclamation, like haap|', Isa 29:16; tip|', Jer 49:16; Ewald, §328a, as we have done above. That w|chaa' of itself is a subst. clause = lw wchly is untenable; the rendering of the noun as forming a clause, spoken of under Eccl 2:21, is of a different character. (Note: Rashi regards wchlyw as a form like chay|tow . This o everywhere appears only in a gen. connection.)

    He who by his labour and care aims at becoming rich, will not only lay upon himself unnecessary privations, but also have many sorrows; for many of his plans fail, and the greater success of others awakens his envy, and neither he himself nor others satisfy him; he is morbidly disposed, and as he is diseased in mind, so also in body, and his constantly increasing dissatisfaction becomes at last qtsp , he grumbles at himself, at God, and all the world. From observing such persons, Paul says of them (1 Tim 6:6f.): "They have pierced themselves through (transfoderunt) with many sorrows."

    In view of these great evils, with which the possession of riches also is connected: of their deceitful instability, and their merely belonging to this present life, Koheleth returns to his ceterum censeo.


    Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. "Behold then what I have seen as good, what as beautiful (is this): that one eat and drink and see good in all his labour with which he wearieth himself, under the sun, throughout the number of the days of his life which God hath given him; for that is his portion." Toward this seeing, i.e., knowing from his own experience, his effort went forth, according to Eccl 2:3; and what he here, vv. 17, 18, expresses as his resultat, he has already acknowledged at 2:24 and 3:12f. With "behold" he here returns to it; for he says, that from the observations just spoken of, as from others, no other resultat befell him. Instead of Eowbaah r' (here and at 6:6), he as often uses the words Towb r'h , 3:13; 2:24, or b|Towb , 2:1. In raa'i', the seeing is meant of that of mental apperception; in lr'', of immediate perception, experience. Our translation above does not correspond with the accentuation of the verse, which belongs to the class of disproportionably long verses without Athnach; cf.

    Gen 21:9; Num 9:1; Isa 36:1; Jer 13:13; 51:37; Ezek 42:10; Amos 5:1; Chron 26:26; 28:1; 2 Chron 23:1. The sentence 'aaniy ...hnh (with pausal aani with Rebîa) constitutes the beginning of the verse, in the form, as it were, of a superscription; and then its second part, the main proposition, is divided by the disjunctives following each other: Telisha Gedhola, Geresh, Legarmeh, Rebîa, Tebir, Tifcha, Silluk (cf. Jer 8:1, where Pazer instead of Telisha Bedhola; but as for the rest, the sequence of the accents is the same). Among the moderns, Hengst. holds to the accents, for he translates in strict accordance therewith, as Tremmelius does: "Behold what I have seen: that it is fine and good (Trem. bonum pulchrum) to eat...." The asher in the phrase, tov asher-yapheh, then connects it together: good which is at the same time beautiful; Grätz sees here the Greek kalo'n ka'gatho'n.

    But the only passage to which, since Kimchi, reference is made for this use of asher, viz., Hos 12:8, does not prove it; for we are not, with Drusius, to translate there by: iniquitas quae sit peccatum, but by quae poenam mereat. The accentuation here is not correct. The second asher is without doubt the resumption of the first; and the translation-as already Dachselt in his Biblia Accentuata indicated: ecce itaque quod vidi bonum, quod pulchrum (hoc est ut quis edat)-presents the true relation of the component parts of the sentence. The suffix of `amaalow refers to the general subj. contained in the inf.; cf. Eccl 8:15. The period of time denoted by mic|par is as at 2:3; 6:12. Also we read cheel|'...kiy- , 3:22, in the same connection.


    Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.

    This verse, expressing the same, is constructed anakolouthistically, altogether like Eccl 3:13: "Also for every man to whom God hath given riches and treasures, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; just this is a gift of God." The anakolouthon can be rendered into English here as little as it can at 3:13; for if we allow the phrase, "also every man," the "also" remains fixed to the nearest conception, while in the Heb it governs the whole long sentence, and, at the nearest, belongs to zoh . Cheerful enjoyment is in this life that which is most advisable; but also it is not made possible in itself by the possession of earthly treasures-it is yet a special gift of God added thereto. Nechasim, besides here, occurs also in Josh 22:8; 2 Chron 1:11f.; and in the Chald. of the Book of Ezra; 6:8; 7:26. Also hishlit, to empower, to make possible, is Aram., Dan 2:38,48, as well as Heb., Ps 119:133; the prevalence of the verbal stem slT is characteristic of the Book of Koheleth. Helqo, "his portion," is just the cheerful enjoyment as that which man has here below of life, if he has any of it at all.


    For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

    Over this enjoyment he forgets the frailty and the darkened side of this life. It proves itself to be a gift of God, a gift from above: "For he doth not (then) think much of the days of his life; because God answereth the joy of his heart." Such an one, permitted by God to enjoy this happiness of life, is thereby prevented from tormenting himself by reflections regarding its transitoriness. Incorrectly, Hengst.: Remembrance and enjoyment of this life do not indeed last long, according to Ewald, who now, however, rightly explains: He will not, by constant reflection on the brevity of his life, too much embitter this enjoyment; because God, indeed, grants to him true heart-joy as the fairest gift. The meaning of 19b is also, in general, hit upon. The LXX translates: "because God occupies him with the joy of his heart;" but for that we ought to have had the word ma`aneehuw; Jerome helps it, for he reads bsmhh instead of bsmcht : eo quod Deus occupet deliciis cor ejus. But also, in this form, this explanation of m`nh is untenable; for b| `aanaah , the causat. of which would be m`nh, signifies, in the style of Koheleth, not in general to busy oneself with something, but to weary oneself with something; hence bs' `nh cannot mean: to be occupied with joy, and thereby to be drawn away from some other thing.

    And since the explanation: "he makes him sing," needs to argument to dispose of it, m`nh thus remains only as the Hiph. of `nh, to meet, to respond to, grant a request. Accordingly, Hitz., like Aben Ezra and Kimchi, comparing Hos 2:23f.: God makes to answer, i.e., so works that all things which have in or of themselves that which can make him glad, must respond to his wish. But the omission of the obj.-of which Hitz. remarks, that because indefinite it is left indefinite-is insufferably hard, and the explanation thus ambiguous. Most interpreters translate: for God answers (Gesen. He. Wört. B., incorrectly: answered) him with joy of his heart, i.e., grants this to him in the way of answer. Ewald compares Ps 65:6; but that affords no voucher for the expression: to answer one with something = to grant it to him; for `nh is there connected with a double accus., and b|tsedeq is the adv. statement of the way and manner.

    But above all, against this interpretation is the fact of the want of the personal obj. The author behoved to have written m`neehuw or 'otow m`nh. We take the Hiph. as in the sense of the Kal, but give it its nearest signification: to answer, and explain, as in a similar manner Seb. Schmid, Rambam, and others have already done: God answers to the joy of his heart, i.e., He assents to it, or (using an expression which is an exact equivalent), He corresponds to it. This makes the joy a heart-joy, i.e., a joy which a man feels not merely externally, but in the deepest recess of his heart, for the joy penetrates his heart and satisfies it (Song 3:11; Isa 30:29; Jer 15:16). A similar expression, elsewhere not found, we had at v. 9 in b| 'hb . Why should not b| `nh (h`nh ) be possible with `aanaahuw , just as amei'besthai pro's ti is with amei'besthai' tina?

    For the rest, lb' bs' is not needed as obj.; we can take it also as an expression of the state or condition: God gives answer in the heart-joy of such an one. In `nh, to answer, to hear the answer, is thought of as granting a request; here, as giving assent to. Job 35:9 affords a twofold suitable example, that the Hiph. can have an enlarged Kal signification.

    After the author has taken the opportunity of once more expressing his ultimatum, he continues to register the sad evils that cling to wealth.

    ECCLESIASTES 6:1,2 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and in great weight it lies upon man: a man to whom God giveth riches, and treasures, and honour, and he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he may wish, but God giveth him not power to have enjoyment of it, for a strange man hath the enjoyment: that is vanity and an evil disease." The author presents the result of personal observation; but inasmuch as he relates it in the second tense, he generalizes the matter, and places it scenically before the eyes of the reader. A similar introduction with yeesh , but without the unnecessary asher, is found at Eccl 5:12; 10:5. Regarding rabaah , vid., under 8:6; `al does not denote the subj., as at 2:17: it appears great to a man, but it has its nearest lying local meaning; it is a great (2:21) evil, pressing in its greatness heavily upon man. The evil is not the man himself, but the condition in which he is placed, as when, e.g., the kingdom of heaven is compared to a merchant (Matt 13:45f.)-not the merchant in himself, but his conduct and life is a figure of the kingdom of heaven.

    Verse 2. To uwn|kaa' `sher, as at 2 Chron 1:11, w|kaa' and honour is added as a third thing. What follows we do not translate: "and there is nothing wanting...;" for that 'eeynenuw with the pleonastic suff. may mean: "there is not," is not to be proved from Gen 39:9, thus: and he spares not for his soul (LXX kai' ouk k.t.l) what he always desires. chaaceer is adj. in the sense of wanting, lacking, as at 1 Sam. 21:16; 1 Kings 11:22; Prov. 12:9. l|nap|show , "for his soul," i.e., his person, is = the synon. l|`ats|mow found in the later usage of the language; min (different from the min, Eccl 4:8) is, as at Gen 6:2, partitive. The naak|riy , to whom this considerable estate, satisfying every wish, finally comes, is certainly not the legal heir (for that he enters into possession, in spite of the uncertainty of his moral character, Eccl 2:19, would be in itself nothing less than a misfortune, yet perfectly in order, 5:1314), but some stranger without any just claim, not directly a foreigner (Heiligst.), but, as Burger explains: talis qui proprie nullum habet jus in bona ejus cui nkry dicitur (cf. naakir|yaah of the unmarried wife in the Book of Proverbs).

    That wealth without enjoyment is nothing but vanity and an evil disease, the author now shows by introducing another historical figure, and thereby showing that life without enjoyment is worse than never to have come into existence at all:


    If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. "If a man begat an hundred, and lived many years, and the amount of the days of his years was great, and his soul satisfied not itself in good, and also he had no grave, then I say: Better than he is the untimely birth." The accentuation of 3a is like that of 2a. The disjunctives follow the Athnach, as at 2 Kings 23:13, only that there Telisha Gedhola stands for Pazer.

    Hitzig finds difficulty with the clause lw ...wgm-, and regards it as a marginal gloss to 5a, taken up into the text at a wrong place. But just the unexpected form and the accidental nature, more than the inward necessity of this feature in the figure, leads us to conclude that the author here connects together historical facts, as conjecturally noted above at pp. 653, 654, into one fanciful picture. mee'aah is obviously to be supplemented by (wbnwt ) bnym ; the Targ. and Midrash make this man to be Cain, Ahab, Haman, and show at least in this that they extend down into the time of the Persian kingdom a spark of historical intelligence. rab' shaani' interchanges with har|' shaani', Eccl 11:8, as at Neh 11:30. In order to designate the long life emphatically, the author expresses the years particularly in days: "and if it is much which (Heiligst.: multum est quod) the days of his years amount to;" cf. y|meey wayih|yuw , in Gen 5. With venaphsho there follows the reverse side of this long life with many children: (1) his soul satisfies not itself, i.e., has no self-satisfying enjoyment of the good (min, as at Ps 104:13, etc.), i.e., of all the good things which he possesses-in a word, he is not happy in his life; and (2) an honourable burial is not granted to him, but cham' q|b', Jer 22:19, which is the contrary of a burial such as becomes a man (the body of Artaxerxes Ochus was thrown to the cats); whereupon Elster rightly remarks that in an honourable burial and an honourable remembrance, good fortune, albeit shaded with sadness, might be seen. But when now, to one so rich in children and so long-lived, neither enjoyment of his good fortune nor even this shaded glory of an honourable burial is allowed, the author cannot otherwise judge than that the untimely birth is better than he. In this section regarding the uncertainty of riches, we have already, Eccl 5:14, fallen on a reminiscence from the Book of Job; it is so much the more probable that here also Job 3:16 has an influence on the formation of the thought. neepel is the foetus which comes lifeless from the mother's womb.


    For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.

    The comparison of an untimely birth with such a man is in favour of the former: "For it cometh in nothingness and departeth in darkness; and with darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it hath not seen the sun, and hath not known: it is better with it than with that other." It has entered into existence, bahebel , because it was a lifeless existence into which it entered when its independent life should have begun; and bahoshek|, it departeth, for it is carried away in all quietness, without noise or ceremony, and "with darkness" its name is covered, for it receives no name and remains a nameless existence, and is forgotten as if it had never been.

    Not having entered into a living existence, it is also (gam) thus happy to have neither seen the sun nor known and named it, and thus it is spared the sight and the knowledge of all the vanities and evils, the deceptions and sorrows, that are under the sun.

    When we compare its fate with the long joyless life of that man, the conclusion is apparent: mi'...nachat , plus quietis est huic quam illi, which, with the generalization of the idea of rest (Job 3:13) in a wider sense (vid., above, p. 639), is = melius est huic quam illi (zh ...zh , as at Eccl 3:19). The generalization of the idea proceeds yet further in the Mishn. lw nwch, e.g.: "It is better (l'dm lw nwch) for a man that he throw himself into a lime-kiln than that (w'l), etc." From this usage Symm. renders mi'...nachat as obj. to yd` l' , and translates: oude' epeira'thee diafora's hete'rou pra'gmatos pro's he'teron ; and Jerome: neque cognovit distantiam boni et mali,-a rendering which is to be rejected, because thus the point of the comparison in which it terminates is broken, for 5b draws the facit. It is true that this contains a thought to which it is not easy to reconcile oneself.

    For supposing that life were not in itself, as over against non-existence, a good, there is yet scarcely any life that is absolutely joyless; and a man who has become the father of an hundred children, has, as it appears, sought the enjoyment of life principally in sexual love, and then also has found it richly. But also, if we consider his life less as relating to sense: his children, though not all, yet partly, will have been a joy to him; and has a family life, so lengthened and rich in blessings, only thorns, and no roses at all? And, moreover, how can anything be said of the rest of an untimely birth, which has been without motion and without life, as of a rest excelling the termination of the life of him who has lived long, since rest without a subjective reflection, a rest not felt, certainly does not fall under the point of view of more or less, good or evil? The saying of the author on no side bears the probe of exact thinking. In the main he designs to say: Better, certainly, is no life than a joyless life, and, moreover, one ending dishonourably. And this is only a speciality of the general clause, Eccl 4:2f., that death is better than life, and not being born is better than both.

    The author misunderstands the fact that the earthly life has its chief end beyond itself; and his false eudaemonism, failing to penetrate to the inward fountain of true happiness, which is independent of the outward lot, makes exaggerated and ungrateful demands on the earthly life.


    Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?

    A life extending to more than even a thousand years without enjoyment appears to him worthless: "And if he has lived twice a thousand years long, and not seen good-Do not all go hence to one place?" This long period of life, as well as the shortest, sinks into the night of Sheol, and has advantage over the shortest if it wants the E' r|'owt , i.e., the enjoyment of that which can make man happy. That would be correct if "good" were understood inwardly, ethically, spiritually; but although, according to Koheleth's view, the fear of God presides over the enjoyment of life, regulating and hallowing it, yet it remains unknown to him that life deepened into fellowship with God is in itself a most real and blessed, and thus the highest good. Regarding 'iluw (here, as at Est 7:4, with perf. foll.: etsi vixisset, tamen interrogarem: nonne, etc.), vid., above, p. 637; it occurs also in the oldest liturgical Tefilla, as well as in the prayer Nishmath (vid., Baer's Siddur, Abodath Jisrael, p. 207). pa'...'elep , a thousand years twice, and thus an Adam's life once and yet again.

    Otherwise Aben Ezra: 1000 years multiplied by itself, thus a million, like pa`amayim `es|riym , 20 x 20 = 400; cf. Targ. Isa 30:26, which translates shib|`aatayim by 343 = 7 x 7 x 7. Perhaps that is right; for why was not the expression shaanaah 'al|payim directly used? The "one place" is, as at Eccl 3:20, the grave and Hades, into which all the living fall. A life extending even to a million of years is worthless, for it terminates at last in nothing. Life has only as much value as it yields of enjoyment.


    All labour aims at enjoyment, and present actual enjoyment is always better than that which is sought for in the future.


    All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. "All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet his soul has never enough;" or, properly, it is not filled, so that it desires nothing further and nothing more; nim|laa' used as appropriately of the soul as of the ear, Eccl 1:8; for that the mouth and the soul are here placed opposite to one another as "organs of the purely sensual and therefore transitory enjoyment, and of the deeper and more spiritual and therefore more lasting kind of joys" (Zöck.), is an assertion which brings out of the text what it wishes to be in it-nepesh and peh stand here so little in contrast, that, as at Prov 16:26; Isa 5:14; 29:8, instead of the soul the stomach could also be named; for it is the soul longing, and that after the means from without of self-preservation, that is here meant; hyph npsh, "beautiful soul," Chullin iv. 7, is an appetite which is not fastidious, but is contented. w|gam , kai' ho'moos ho'moos de' , as at Eccl 3:13; Ps 129:2. All labour, the author means to say, is in the service of the impulse after self-preservation; and yet, although it concentrates all its efforts after this end, it does not bring full satisfaction to the longing soul. This is grounded in the fact that, however in other respects most unlike, men are the same in their unsatisfied longing.


    For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? "For what hath the wise more than the fool; what the poor who knoweth to walk before the living?" The old translators present nothing for the interpretation, but defend the traditional text; for Jerome, like the Syr., which translates freely, follows the Midrash (fixed in the Targ.), which understands hchyym , contrary to the spirit of the book, of the blessed future. The question would be easier if we could, with Bernst. and Ginsburg, introduce a comparat. min before yowdeea` ; we would then require to understand by him who knows to walk before the living, some one who acts a part in public life; but how strange a designation of distinguished persons would that be! Thus, as the text stands, ywd` is attrib. to le`aaniy , what preference hath the poor, such an one, viz., as understands (vid., regarding ywd` instead of hywd`, under Ps 143:10); not: who is intelligent (Aben Ezra); ywd` is not, as at 9:11, an idea contained in itself, but by the foll. hacha' ...laha' (cf.

    Eccl 4:13,17; and the inf. form, Ex 3:19; Num 22:13; Job 34:23) obtains the supplement and colouring required: the sequence of the accents (Zakeph, Tifcha, Silluk, as e.g., at Gen 7:4) is not against this.

    How the LXX understood its poreuthee'nai kate'nanti tee's zoo'ees , and the Venet. its apie'nai antikru' tee's zooee's, is not clear; scarcely as Grätz, with Mendelss.: who, to go against (ngd , as at Eccl 4:12) life, to fight against it, has to exercise himself in self-denial and patience; for "to fight with life" is an expression of modern coinage. hacha' signifies here, without doubt, not life, but the living. But we explain now, not as Ewald, who separates ywd` from the foll. inf. lhlk:

    What profit has then the wise man, the intelligent, patient man, above the fool, that he walks before the living?-by which is meant (but how does this interrog. form agree thereto?), that the wise, patient man has thereby an advantage which makes life endurable by him, in this, that he does not suffer destroying eagerness of desire so to rule over him, but is satisfied to live in quietness.

    Also this meaning of a quiet life does not lie in the words hch'...hlk . "To know to walk before the living" is, as is now generally acknowledged = to understand the right rule of life (Elst.), to possess the savoir vivre (Heiligst.), to be experienced in the right art of living. the question accordingly is: What advantage has the wise above the fool; and what the poor, who, although poor, yet knows how to maintain his social position?

    The matter treated of is the insatiable nature of sensual desire. The wise seeks to control his desire; and he who is more closely designated poor, knows how to conceal it; for he lays upon himself restraints, that he may be able to appear and make something of himself. But desire is present in both; and they have in this nothing above the fool, who follows the bent of his desire and lives for the day. He is a fool because he acts as one not free, and without consideration; but, in itself, it is and remains true, that enjoyment and satisfaction stand higher than striving and longing for a thing.


    Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit. "Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the soul: also this is vain and windy effort." We see from the fin. halaa'-ne' interchanging with mar|' that the latter is not meant of the object (Eccl 11:9), but of the action, viz., the "rejoicing in that which one has" (Targ.); but this does not signify grassatio,-i.e., impetus animae appetentis, hormee' tee's psuchee's (cf. Marcus Aurelius, iii. 16), which Knobel, Heiligst., and Ginsburg compare (for hlk means grassari only with certain subjects, as fire, contagion, and the life; and in certain forms, as yahalok| for yeeleek| , to which halok| = leket does not belong)-but erratio, a going out in extent, roving to a distance (cf. heelek| , wanderer), rhembasmo's epithumi'as, Wisd. 4:12.-Going is the contrast of rest; the soul which does not become full or satisfied goes out, and seeks and reaches not its aim. This insatiableness, characteristic of the soul, this endless unrest, belongs also to the miseries of this present life; for to have and to enjoy is better than this constant Hungern und Lungern hungering and longing. More must not be put into 9a than already lies in it, as Elster does: "the only enduring enjoyment of life consists in the quiet contemplation of that which, as pleasant and beautiful, it affords, without this mental joy mingling with the desire for the possession of sensual enjoyment." The conception of "the sight of the eyes" is certainly very beautifully idealized, but in opposition to the text. If 9a must be a moral proverb, then Luther's rendering is the best: "It is better to enjoy the present good, than to think about other good."

    THE WEAKNESS AND SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS OF MAN OVER AGAINST HIS DESTINY 6:10-12 The future, toward which the soul stretches itself out to find what may satisfy it, is not man's: a power against which man is helpless fashions it.


    That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he. "That which hath been, its name hath long ago been named; and it is determined what a man shall be: and he cannot dispute with Him who is stronger than he." According to the usage of the tense, it would be more correct to translate: That which (at any time) has made its appearance, the name of which was long ago named, i.e., of which the What? and the How? were long ago determined, and, so to speak, formulated. This sh|'...k|baar does not stand parallel to haayaah kbr, Eccl 1:10; for the expression here does not refer to the sphere of that which is done, but of the predetermination. Accordingly, 'aadaam ...w|now' is also to be understood. Against the accents, inconsistently periodizing and losing sight of the comprehensiveness of 'dm ...'shr , Hitzig renders: "and it is known that, if one is a man, he cannot contend," etc., which is impossible for this reason, that 'dm hw' cannot be a conditional clause enclosed within the sentence ywkl ...'shr .

    Obviously w|nowdaa` , which in the sense of constat would be a useless waste of words, stands parallel to shmw nqr' , and signifies known, viz., previously known, as passive of yd` , in the sense of Zech 14:7; cf. Ps 139:1f. Bullock rightly compares Acts 15:18.

    After yd` , asher, like ki, which is more common, may signify "that," Eccl 8:12; Ezek 20:26; but neither "that he is a man" (Knobel, Vaih., Luzz., Hengst., Ginsb.), nor "that he is the man" (Ewald, Elst., Zöckler), affords a consistent meaning. As mah after yada' means quid, so asher after it may mean quod = that which (cf. Dan 8:19, although it does not at all stand in need of proof); and id quod homo est (we cannot render huw' without the expression of a definite conception of time) is intended to mean that the whole being of a man, whether of this one or that one, at all times and on all sides, is previously known; cf. to this pregnant substantival sentence, Eccl 12:13. Against this formation of his nature and of his fate by a higher hand, man cannot utter a word.

    The thought in 10b is the same as that at Isa 45:9; Rom 9:20f. The Chethîb shehtaqiyp (Note: With He unpointed, because it is omitted in the Kerî, as in like manner in k|sheh', Eccl 10:3, shh', Lam 5:18. In the bibl. Rabb., the h is noted as superfluous.) is not inadmissible, for the stronger than man is mineeh ...maareey . Also hit|qiyp might in any case be read: with one who overcomes him, has and manifests the ascendency over him. There is indeed no Hiph. hit|' found in the language of the Bible (Herzf. and Fürst compare hig|', Ps 12:5); but in the Targ., 'at|qeep is common; and in the school- language of the Talm., hit|' is used of the raising of weighty objections, e.g., Kamma 71a. The verb, however, especially in the perf., is in the passage before us less appropriate. In lo'-yuwkal lie together the ideas of physical (cf. Gen 43:32; Deut 12:17; 16:5, etc.) and moral inability.


    Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? "For there are many words which increase vanity: What cometh forth therefrom for man?" The dispute (objection), diyn , takes place in words; d|baariym here will thus not mean "things" (Hengst., Ginsb., Zöckl., Bullock, etc.), but "words." As that wrestling or contending against God's decision and providence is vain and worthless, nothing else remains for man but to be submissive, and to acknowledge his limitation by the fear of God; thus there are also many words which only increase yet more the multitude of vanities already existing in this world, for, because they are resultless, they bring no advantage for man. Rightly, Elster finds herein a hint pointing to the influence of the learning of the Jewish schools already existing in Koheleth's time. We know from Josephus that the problem of human freedom and of God's absoluteness was a point of controversy between opposing parties: the Sadducees so emphasized human freedom, that they not only excluded (Antt. xiii. 5. 9; Bell. ii. 8. 14) all divine predetermination, but also co-operation; the Pharisees, on the contrary supposed an interconnection between divine predetermination (ehimarme'nee) and human freedom (Antt. xiii. 5. 9, xviii. 1. 3; Bell. ii. 8. 14). The Talm. affords us a glance at this controversy; but the statement in the Talm. (in Berachoth 33a, and elsewhere), which conditions all by the power of God manifesting itself in history, but defends the freedom of the religious-moral self-determination of man, may be regarded as a Pharisaic maxim. In Rom 9, Paul places himself on this side; and the author of the Book of Koheleth would subscribe this passage as his testimony, for the "fear God" is the "kern und stern" kernel and star of his pessimistic book.


    For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

    Man ought to fear God, and also, without dispute and murmuring, submit to His sway: "For who knoweth what is good for man in life during the number of the days of his vain life, and which he spendeth like a shadow?

    No one can certainly show a man what shall be after him under the sun."

    We translate 'asher only by "ja" ("certainly"), because in Germ. no interrogative can follow "dieweil" ("because"). The clause with asher (as at Eccl 4:9; 8:11; 10:15; cf. Song, under Song 5:2), according to its meaning not different from ki, is related in the way of proof to that beginning with ki. Man is placed in our presence. To be able to say to him what is good for him-i.e., what position he must take in life, what direction he must give to his activity, what decision he must adopt in difficult and important cases-we ought not only to be able to penetrate his future, but, generally, the future; but, as Tropfen drops in the stream of history, we are poor Tröpfe simpletons, who are hedged up within the present.

    Regarding the accus. of duration, wgw' mic|par , pointing to the brevity of human life, vid., at Eccl 2:3. With heb|low , the attribute of breath-like transitiveness is assigned to life (as at 7:15; 9:9) (as already in the name given to Abel, the second son of Adam), which is continued by ka' w|ya`a' with the force of a relative clause, which is frequently the case after preceding part. attrib., e.g., Isa 5:23. We translate: which he spendeth like the (1) shadow in the nom. (after Eccl 8:13; Job 14:2); not: like a shadow in the accus.; for although the days of life are also likened to a shadow, Ps 144:4, etc., yet this use of `sh does not accord therewith, which, without being a Graecism (Zirkel, Grätz), harmonises with the Greek phrase, poiei'n chro'non , Acts 15:33; cf. Prov 13:23, LXX (also with the Lat. facere dies of Cicero, etc.). Thus also in the Syr. and Palest.-Aram. lacad is used of time, in the sense of transigere.

    Aharav does not mean: after his present condition (Zöckl.); but, as at Eccl 3:22; 7:14: after he has passed away from this scene. Luzz. explains it correctly: Whether his children will remain in life? Whether the wealth he has wearied himself in acquiring will remain and be useful to them? But these are only illustrations. The author means to say, that a man can say, neither to himself nor to another, what in definite cases is the real advantage; because, in order to say this, he must be able to look far into the future beyond the limits of the individual life of man, which is only a small member of a great whole.

    SECOND CONCLUDING SECTION Proverbs of Better Things, Things Supposed to Be Better, Good Things, Good and Bad Days 7:1-14 We find ourselves here in the middle of the book. Of its 220 verses, Eccl 6:10 is that which stands in the middle, and with 7:1 begins the third of the four Sedarim (Note: Of three books the Masora gives only the number of verses:

    Ruth, 85 verses; Shir (the Song), 117 verses; and Kinoth (Lamentations), 154; but no sections (Sedarim).) into which the Masora divides the book. The series of proverbs here first following, 7:1-10, has, as we remarked above, p. 636, the word tov as their common catchword, and mah-tov, 6:12, as the hook on which they hang.

    But at least the first three proverbs do not stand merely in this external connection with the preceding; they continue the lowly and dark estimate of the earthly life contained in 6:3ff.

    The first proverb is a synthetic distich. The thought aimed at is that of the second half of the distich.


    A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. "Better is a name than precious ointment; and better is the day of death than the day when one is born." Like raa'aah and yaaree' , so sheem and shemen stand to each other in the relation of a paronomasia (vid., Song under Song 1:3). Luther translates: "Ein gut Gerücht ist besser denn gute Salbe" "a good odour (= reputation) is better than good ointment. If we substitute the expression denn Wolgeruch than sweet scent, that would be the best possible rendering of the paronomasia.

    In the arrangement Twb ...Twb shm , tov would be adj. to shem (a good reputation goes beyond sweet scent); but tov standing first in the sentence is pred., and shem thus in itself alone, as in the cogn. prov., Prov 22:1, signifies a good, well-sounding, honourable, if not venerable name; cf. anshee hashshem, Gen 6:4; veli-shem, nameless, Job 30:8. The author gives the dark reverse to this bright side of the distich: the day of death better than the day in which one (a man), or he (the man), is born; cf. for this reference of the pronoun, Eccl 4:12; 5:17. It is the same lamentation as at 4:2f., which sounds less strange from the mouth of a Greek than from that of an Israelite; a Thracian tribe, the Trausi, actually celebrated their birthdays as days of sadness, and the day of death as a day of rejoicing (vid., Bähr's Germ. translat. of Herodotus, v. 4).-Among the people of the Old Covenant this was not possible; also a saying such as 1b is not in the spirit of the O.T. revelation of religion; yet it is significant that it was possible (Note: "The reflections of the Preacher," says Hitzig (Süd. deut. ev. protest. Woch. Blatt, 1864, No. 2), "present the picture of a time in which men, participating in the recollection of a mighty religious past, and become sceptical by reason of the sadness of the present time, grasping here and there in uncertainty, were in danger of abandoning that stedfastness of faith which was the first mark of the religion of the prophets.") within it, without apostasy from it; within the N.T. revelation of religion, except in such references as Matt 26:24, it is absolutely impossible without apostasy from it, or without rejection of its fundamental meaning.


    It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

    Still more in the spirit of the N.T. (cf. e.g., Luke 6:25) are these words of this singular book which stands on the border of both Testaments: "It is better to go into a house of mourning than to go into a house of carousal (drinking): for that is the end of every man; and the living layeth it to heart." A house is meant in which there is sorrow on account of a death; the lamentation continued for seven days (Sirach 22:10), and extended sometimes, as in the case of the death of Aaron and Moses, to thirty days; the later practice distinguished the lamentations ('aniynuwt) for the dead till the time of burial, and the mournings for the dead ('abeeluwt), which were divided into seven and twenty-three days of greater and lesser mourning; on the return from carrying away the corpse, there was a Trostmahl (a comforting repast), to which, according as it appears to an ancient custom, those who were to be partakers of it contributed (Jer 16:7; Hos 9:4; Job 4:17, funde vinum tuum et panem tuum super sepulchra justorum). (Note: Cf. Hamb. Real Encyc. für Bibel u. Talmud (1870), article "Trauer.") This feast of sorrow the above proverb leaves out of view, although also in reference to it the contrast between the "house of carousal" and "house of mourning" remains, that in the latter the drinking must be in moderation, and not to drunkenness. (Note: Maimuni's Hilchoth Ebel, iv. 7, xiii. 8.)

    The going into the house of mourning is certainly thought of as a visit for the purpose of showing sympathy and of imparting consolation during the first seven days of mourning (John 11:31). (Note: Ibid. xiii. 2.)

    Thus to go into the house of sorrow, and to show one's sympathy with the mourners there, is better than to go into a house of drinking, where all is festivity and merriment; viz., because the former (that he is mourned over as dead) is the end of every man, and the survivor takes it to heart, viz., this, that he too must die. huw' follows attractionally the gender of cowp (cf. Job 31:11, Kerî). What is said at Eccl 3:13 regarding kaal-haa' is appropriate to the passage before us. hachay is rightly vocalised; regarding the form haachay , vid., Baer in the critical remarks of our ed. of Isaiah under 3:22. The phrase 'el-leeb naatan here and at 9:1 is synon. with 'l-lb siym, `al-lb siym (e.g., Isa 57:1) and b|lb siym. How this saying agrees with Koheleth's ultimatum: There is nothing better than to eat and drink, etc. (Eccl 2:24, etc.), the Talmudists have been utterly perplexed to discover; Manasse ben-Israel in his Conciliador (1632) loses himself in much useless discussion. (Note: Vid., the English translation by Lindo (London 1842), vol. ii. pp. 306-309.)

    The solution of the difficulty is easy. The ultimatum does not relate to an unconditional enjoyment of life, but to an enjoyment conditioned by the fear of God. When man looks death in the face, the two things occur to him, that he should make use of his brief life, but make use of it in view of the end, thus in a manner for which he is responsible before God.


    Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

    The joy of life must thus be not riot and tumult, but a joy tempered with seriousness: "Better is sorrow than laughter: for with a sad countenance it is well with the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, and the heart of fools in the house of mirth." Grief and sorrow, ka`ac , whether for ourselves or occasioned by others, is better, viz., morally better, than extravagant merriment; the heart is with paa' roa` (inf. as ra` , Jer 7:6; cf. raa' pn', Gen 40:7; Neh 2:2), a sorrowful countenance, better than with laughter, which only masks the feeling of disquiet peculiar to man, Prov 14:13. Elsewhere leeb yiyTab = "the heart is (may be) of good cheer," e.g., Ruth 3:7; Judg 19:6; here also joyful experience is meant, but well becoming man as a religious moral being. With a sad countenance it may be far better as regards the heart than with a merry countenance in boisterous company.

    Luther, in the main correct, after Jerome, who on his part follows Symmachus: "The heart is made better by sorrow." The well-being is here meant as the reflex of a moral: bene se habere.

    Sorrow penetrates the heart, draws the thought upwards, purifies, transforms. Therefore is the heart of the wise in the house of sorrow; and, on the other hand, the heart of fools is in the house of joy, i.e., the impulse of their heart goes thither, there they feel themselves at home; a house of joy is one where there are continual feasts, or where there is at the time a revelling in joy. That v. 4 is divided not by Athnach, but by Zakef, has its reason in this, that of the words following 'eebel , none consists of three syllables; cf. on the contrary, Eccl 7:7, chaakaam . From this point forward the internal relation of the contents is broken up, according to which this series of sayings as a concluding section hangs together with that containing the observations going before in ch. 6.


    It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

    A fourth proverb of that which is better (mn Twb ) presents, like the third, the fools and the wise over against each other: "Better to hear the reproof of a wise man, than that one should hear the song of fools.

    For like the crackling of Nesseln (nettles) under the Kessel (kettle), so the laughter of the fool: also this is vain." As at Prov 13:1; 17:10, g|`aaraah is the earnest and severe words of the wise, which impressively reprove, emphatically warn, and salutarily alarm. shiyr in itself means only song, to the exclusion, however, of the plaintive song; the song of fools is, if not immoral, yet morally and spiritually hollow, senseless, and unbridled madness. Instead of mish|moa` , the words sho' mee'i' are used, for the twofold act of hearing is divided between different subjects. A fire of thorn-twigs flickers up quickly and crackles merrily, but also exhausts itself quickly (Ps 118:12), without sufficiently boiling the flesh in the pot; whilst a log of wood, without making any noise, accomplishes this quietly and surely.

    We agree with Knobel and Vaihinger in copying the paronomasia \Nessel- Kessel. When, on the other hand, Zöckler remarks that a fire of nettles could scarcely crackle, we advise our friend to try it for once in the end of summer with a bundle of stalks of tall dry nettles. They yield a clear blaze, a quickly expiring fire, to which here, as he well remarks, the empty laughter of foolish men is compared, who are devoid of all earnestness, and of all deep moral principles of life. This laughter is vain, like that crackling.

    There is a hiatus between vv. 6 and 7. For how v. 7 can be related to v. as furnishing evidence, no interpreter has as yet been able to say. Hitzig regards 6a as assigning a reason for v. 5, but 6b as a reply (as v. containing its motive shows) to the assertion of v. 5-a piece of ingenious thinking which no one imitates. Elster translates: "Yet injustice befools a wise man," being prudently silent about this "yet."

    Zöckler finds, as Knobel and Ewald do, the mediating thought in this, that the vanity of fools infects and also easily befools the wise. But the subject spoken of is not the folly of fools in general, but of their singing and laughter, to which v. 7 has not the most remote reference. Otherwise Hengst.: "In v. 7, the reason is given why the happiness of fools is so brief; first, the mens sana is lost, and then destruction follows." But in that case the words ought to have been kcyl yhwll; the remark, that chkm here denotes one who ought to be and might be such, is a pure volte. Ginsburg thinks that the two verses are co-ordinated by ky ; that v. 6 gives the reason for 5b, and v. 7 that for 5a, since here, by way of example, one accessible to bribery is introduced, who would act prudently in letting himself therefore be directed by a wise man. But if he had wished to be thus understood, the author would have used another word instead of chkm, 7a, and not designated both him who reproves and him who merits reproof by the one word-the former directly, the latter at least indirectly.

    We do not further continue the account of the many vain attempts that have been made to bring v. 7 into connection with vv. 6 and 5. Our opinion is, that v. 7 is the second half of a tetrastich, the first half of which is lost, which began, as is to be supposed, with tov. The first half was almost the same as Ps 37:16, or better still, as Prov 16:8, and the whole proverb stood thus: Towb m|`at bits|daaqaah meerob t|buw'owt b|lo' mish|paaT (and then follows v. 7 as it lies before us in the text, formed into a distich, the first line of which terminates with chaakaam ). We go still further, and suppose that after the first half of the tetrastich was lost, that expression, "also this is vain," added to v. 6 by the punctuation, was inserted for the purpose of forming a connection for `sq ky: Also this is vain, that, etc. (ky , like asher, Eccl 8:14).


    Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

    Without further trying to explain the mystery of the ky , we translate this verse: "...For oppression maketh wise men mad, and corruption destroyeth the understanding." From the lost first half of the verse, it appears that the subject here treated of is the duties of a judge, including those of a ruler into whose hands his subjects, with their property and life, are given. The second half is like an echo of Ex 23:8; Deut 16:19. That which shochad there means is here, as at Prov 15:27, denoted by mataanaah ; and `osheq is accordingly oppression as it is exercised by one who constrains others who need legal aid and help generally to purchase it by means of presents. Such oppression for the sake of gain, even if it does not proceed to the perversion of justice, but only aims at courting and paying for favour, makes a wise man mad (howleel , as at Job 12:17; Isa 44:25), i.e., it hurries him forth, since the greed of gold increases more and more, to the most blinding immorality and regardlessness; and such presents for the purpose of swaying the judgment, and of bribery, destroys the heart, i.e., the understanding (cf. Hos 4:11, Bereschith rabba, ch. lvi.), for they obscure the judgment, blunt the conscience, and make a man the slave of his passion. The conjecture haa`osher (riches) instead of the word haa`osheq (Burger, as earlier Ewald) is accordingly unnecessary; it has the parallelism against it, and thus generally used gives an untrue thought. The word hwll does not mean "gives lustre" (Desvoeux), or "makes shine forth = makes manifest" (Tyler); thus also nothing is gained for a better connection of v. 7 and v.6. The Venet. excellently: ekstee'sei.

    Aben Ezra supposes that mtnh is here = mt' d|bar ; Mendelssohn repeats it, although otherwise the consciousness of the syntactical rule, Gesen. §147a, does not fail him.

    ECCLESIASTES 7:8,9 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

    There now follows a fourth, or, taking into account the mutilated one, a fifth proverb of that which is better: "Better the end of a thing than its beginning; better one who forbears than one who is haughty. Hasten thyself not in thy spirit to become angry: for anger lieth down in the bosom of fools." The clause 8a is first thus to be objectively understood as it stands. It is not without limitation true; for of a matter in itself evil, the very contrary is true, Prov 5:4; 23:32. But if a thing is not in itself evil, the end of its progress, the reaching to its goal, the completion of its destination, is always better than its beginning, which leaves it uncertain whether it will lead to a prosperous issue. An example of this is Solon's saying to Croesus, that only he is to be pronounced happy whose good fortune it is to end his life well in the possession of his wealth (Herod. i. 32).

    The proverb 8b will stand in some kind of connection with 8a, since what it says is further continued in v. 9. In itself, the frequently long and tedious development between the beginning and the end of a thing requires expectant patience. But if it is in the interest of a man to see the matter brought to an issue, an 'apa' 'erek| will, notwithstanding, wait with selfcontrol in all quietness for the end; while it lies in the nature of the ruwach g|bah , the haughty, to fret at the delay, and to seek to reach the end by violent means; for the haughty man thinks that everything must at once be subservient to his wish, and he measures what others should do by his own measureless self- complacency. We may with Hitzig translate: "Better is patience ('erek| = 'orek| ) than haughtiness" (g|bah , inf., as sh|pal , Eccl 12:4; Prov 16:19). But there exists no reason for this; g|bah is not to be held, as at Prov 16:5, and elsewhere generally, as the connecting form of gaaboha , and so 'erek| for that of 'aareek| ; it amounts to the same thing whether the two properties (characters) or the persons possessing them are compared.

    Verse 9. In this verse the author warns against this pride which, when everything does not go according to its mind, falls into passionate excitement, and thoughtlessly judges, or with a violent rude hand anticipates the end. 'al-t|ba': do not overturn, hasten not, rush not, as at Eccl 5:1. Why the word b|ruwchakaa , and not bnpsk or blbk, is used, vid., Psychol. pp. 197-199: passionate excitements overcome a man according to the biblical representation of his spirit, Prov 25:28, and in the proving of the spirit that which is in the heart comes forth in the mood and disposition, Prov 15:13. k|`owc is an infin., like y|shown , Eccl 5:11. The warning has its reason in this, that anger or (k`c , taken more potentially than actually) fretfulness rests in the bosom of fools, i.e., is cherished and nourished, and thus is at home, and, as it were (thought of personally, as if it were a wicked demon), feels itself at home (yaanuwach , as at Prov 14:33). The haughty impetuous person, and one speaking out rashly, thus acts like a fool. In fact, it is folly to let oneself be impelled by contradictions to anger, which disturbs the brightness of the soul, takes away the considerateness of judgment, and undermines the health, instead of maintaining oneself with equanimity, i.e., without stormy excitement, and losing the equilibrium of the soul under every opposition to our wish.

    From this point the proverb loses the form "better than," but tov still remains the catchword of the following proverbs. The proverb here first following is so far cogn., as it is directed against a particular kind of ka'as (anger), viz., discontentment with the present.


    Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. "Say not: How comes it that the former times were better than these now? for thou dost not, from wisdom, ask after this." Cf. these lines from Horace (Poet. 173, 4): "Difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti Se puero, censor castigatorque minorum." Such an one finds the earlier days-not only the old days described in history (Deut 4:32), but also those he lived in before the present time (cf. e.g., 2 Chron 9:29)-thus by contrast to much better than the present tones, that in astonishment he asks: "What is it = how comes it that?" etc. The author designates this question as one not proceeding from wisdom: meechaa' , like the Mishnic chkmh mitowk|, and `al shaa'al , as at Neh 1:2; 'al-zeh refers to that question, after the ground of the contrast, which is at the same time an exclamation of wonder. The ky , assigning a reason for the dissuasion, does not mean that the cause of the difference between the present and the good old times is easily seen; but it denotes that the supposition of this difference is foolish, because in truth every age has its bright and its dark sides; and this division of light and shadow between the past and the present betrays a want of understanding of the signs of the times and of the ways of God. This proverb does not furnish any point of support for the determination of the date of the authorship of the Book of Koheleth (vid., above, p. 653). But if it was composed in the last century of the Persian domination, this dissatisfaction with the present times is explained, over against which Koheleth leads us to consider that it is self-deception and one-sidedness to regard the present as all dark and the past as all bright and rosy.

    ECCLESIASTES 7:11,12 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

    Externally connecting itself with "from wisdom," there now follows another proverb, which declares that wisdom along with an inheritance is good, but that wisdom is nevertheless of itself better than money and possessions: "Wisdom is good with family possessions, and an advantage for those who see the sun. For wisdom affordeth a shadow, money affordeth a shadow; yet the advantage of knowledge is this, that wisdom preserveth life to its possessor." Most of the English interpreters, from Desvoeux to Tyler, translate: "Wisdom is as good as an inheritance;" and Bullock, who translates: "with an inheritance," says of this and the other translations: "The difference is not material." But the thought is different, and thus the distinction is not merely a formal one. Zöckl. explains it as undoubted that `im here, as at Eccl 2:16 (vid., l.c.), means aeque ac; (but (1) that aeque ac has occurred to no ancient translator, till the Venet. and Luther, nor to the Syr., which translates: "better is wisdom than weapons (zyn' m'n')," in a singular way making 11a a duplette of 9:18a; (2) instead of "wisdom is better than wealth," as e.g., Prov 8:11; (3) the proverb is formed like Aboth ii. 2, "good is study connected with a citizenlike occupation," and similar proverbs; (4) one may indeed say: "the wise man dieth with (together with) the fool" = just as well as the fool; but "good is wisdom with wealth" can neither be equivalent to "as well as wealth," nor: "in comparison with wealth" (Ewald, Elster), but only: "in connection with wealth (possessions);" aeque ac may be translated for una cum where the subject is common action and suffering, but not in a substantival clause consisting of a subst. as subject and an adj. as pred., having the form of a categorical judgment. nachalaah denotes a possession inherited and hereditary (cf. Prov 20:21); and this is evidence in favour of the view that `m is meant not of comparison, but of connection; the expression would otherwise be `im-`osher. w|yoteer is now also explained.

    It is not to be rendered: "and better still" (than wealth), as Herzf., Hitz., and Hengst. render it; but in spite of Hengst., who decides in his own way, "ywtr never means advantage, gain," it denotes a prevailing good, avantage (vid., above, p. 638); and it is explained also why men are here named "those who see the sun"-certainly not merely thus describing them poetically, as in Homer zoo'ein is described and coloured by hora'n fa'os eeeli'oio. To see the sun, is = to have entered upon this earthly life, in which along with wisdom, also no inheritance is to be despised. For wisdom affords protection as well as money, but the former still more than the latter. So far, the general meaning of v. 12 is undisputed. Buthow is 12a to be construed? Knobel, Hitz., and others regard b as the so-called beth essentiae: a shadow (protection) is wisdom, a shadow is money-very expressive, yet out of harmony, if not with the language of that period, yet with the style of Koheleth; and how useless and misleading would this doubled b| be here! Hengstenberg translates: in the shadow of wisdom, at least according to our understanding of v. 11, is not likened to the shadow of silver; but in conformity with that `m , it must be said that wisdom, and also that money, affords a shadow; (2) but that interpretation goes quite beyond the limits of gnomic brachyology. We explain: for in the shadow (b|tseel , like batseel , Jonah 4:5) is wisdom, in the shadow, money; by which, without any particularly bold poetic licence, is meant that he who possesses wisdom, he who possesses money, finds himself in a shadow, i.e., of pleasant security; to be in the shadow, spoken of wisdom and money, is = to sit in the shadow of the persons who possess both.

    ECCLESIASTES. 7:12-13

    For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

    The exposition of this clause is agreed upon. It is to be construed according to the accentuation: and the advantage of knowledge is this, that "wisdom preserveth life to its possessors." The Targ. regards hchkmh d`t as connected genit.; that might be possible (cf. Eccl 1:17; 8:16), but yet is improbable. Wherever the author uses d`t as subst., it is an independent conception placed beside chk', 1:16; 2:26, etc. We now translate, not: wisdom gives life (LXX, Jerome, Venet., Luther) to its possessors; for chiyaah always means only either to revive (thus Hengst., after Ps 119:25; cf. 71:20) or to keep in life; and this latter meaning is more appropriate to this book than the former-thus (cf. Prov 3:18): wisdom preserves in life-since, after Hitzig, it accomplishes this, not by rash utterances of denunciation-a thought lying far behind v. 10, and altogether too mean-but since it secures it against self-destruction by vice and passions and emotions, e.g., anger (v. 9), which consume life. The shadow in which wisdom (the wise man) sits keeps it fresh and sound-a result which the shadow in which money (the capitalist) sits does not afford: it has frequently the directly contrary effect.

    Vv, 13, 14. There now follows a proverb of devout submission to the providence of God, connecting itself with the contents of v. 10: "Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which He hath made crooked! In the good day be of good cheer, and in the day of misfortune observe: God hath also made this equal to that, to the end that man need not experience anything (further) after his death." While r|'eeh , Eccl 1:10; 7:27,29, is not different from hineeh , and in 9:9 has the meaning of "enjoy," here the meaning of contemplative observation, mental seeing, connects itself both times with it. kiy before miy can as little mean quod, as asher, 6:12, before mi can mean quoniam. "Consider God's work" means: recognise in all that is done the government of God, which has its motive in this, that, as the question leads us to suppose, no creature is able (cf. 6:10 and 1:15) to put right God's work in cases where it seems to contradict that which is right (Job 8:3; 34:12), or to make straight that which He has made crooked (Ps 146:9). 14a. The call here expressed is parallel to Sir. 14:14 (Fritz.): "Withdraw not thyself from a good day, and let not thyself lose participation in a right enjoyment." The b of b|Towb is, as little as that of b|tseel , the beth essentiae-it is not a designation of quality, but of condition: in good, i.e., cheerful mood. He who is, Jer 44:17, personally tov, cheerful (= tov lev), is betov (cf. Ps 25:13, also Job 21:13). The reverse side of the call, 14ab, is of course not to be translated: and suffer or bear the bad day (Ewald, Heiligst.), for in this sense we use the expression raa`aah raa'aah , Jer 44:17, but not b|raa`aah raa'aah , which much rather, Obad 13, means a malicious contemplation of the misfortune of a stranger, although once, Gen 21:16, b| r'h also occurs in the sense of a compassionate, sympathizing look, and, moreover, the parall. shows that r`h bywm is not the obj., but the adv. designation of time. Also not: look to = be attentive to (Salomon), or bear it patiently (Burger), for r|'eeh cannot of itself have that meaning. (Note: Similarly also Sohar (Par. mtswr`): wgw' hwy, i.e., cave et circumspice, viz., that thou mayest not incur the judgment which is pronounced.)

    But: in the day of misfortune observe, i.e., perceive and reflect: God has also made (cf. Job 2:10) the latter l|`umat corresponding, parallel, like to (cf. under Eccl 5:15) the former.

    So much the more difficult is the statement of the object of this mingling by God of good and evil in the life of man. It is translated: that man may find nothing behind him; this is literal, but it is meaningless. The meaning, according to most interpreters, is this: that man may investigate nothing that lies behind his present time-thus, that belongs to the future; in other words: that man may never know what is before him. But aharav is never (not at Eccl 6:12) = in the future, lying out from the present of a man; but always = after his present life. Accordingly, Ewald explains, and Heiligst. with him: that he may find nothing which, dying, he could take with him.

    But this rendering (cf. 5:14) is here unsuitable. Better, Hitzig: because God wills it that man shall be rid of all things after his death, He puts evil into the period of his life, and lets it alternate with good, instead of visiting him therewith after his death. This explanation proceeds from a right interpretation of the words: idcirco ut (cf. 3:18) non inveniat homo post se quidquam, scil. quod non expertus sit, but gives a meaning to the expression which the author would reject as unworthy of his conception of God. What is meant is much more this, that God causes man to experience good and evil that he may pass through the whole school of life, and when he departs hence that nothing may be outstanding (in arrears) which he has not experienced.

    CONTINUATION OF EXPERIENCES AND THEIR RESULTS 7:15-9:12 The Injuriousness of Excesses, 7:15-18 The concluding section, Eccl 7:1-14, is now followed by I-sections, i.e., advices in the form of actually experienced facts, in which again the I of the author comes into the foreground.

    ECCLESIASTES. 7:15-16

    All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

    The first of these counsels warns against extremes, on the side of good as well as on that of evil: "All have I seen in the days of my vanity: there are righteous men who perish by their righteousness, and there are wicked men who continue long by their wickedness. Be not righteous over-much, and show not thyself wise beyond measure: why wilt thou ruin thyself? Be not wicked overmuch, and be no fool: why wilt thou die before thy time is? It is good that thou holdest thyself to the one, and also from the other withdrawest not thine hand: for he that feareth God accomplisheth it all."

    One of the most original English interpreters of the Book of Koheleth, T.

    Tyler (1874), finds in the thoughts of the book-composed, according to his view, about 200 B.C.-and in their expression, references to the post- Aristotelian philosophy, particularly to the Stoic, variously interwoven with orientalism. But here, in vv. 15-18, we perceive, not so much the principle of the Stoical ethics-tee' fu'sei homologoume'noos zee'n -as that of the Aristotelian, according to which virtue consists in the art me'soos e'chein , the art of holding the middle between extremes. (Note: Cf. Luthardt's Lectures on the Moral Truths of Christianity, 2nd ed. Edin., T. and T. Clark.)

    Also, we do not find here a reference to the contrasts between Pharisaism and Sadduceeism (Zöckl.), viz., those already in growth in the time of the author; for if it should be also true, as Tyler conjectures, that the Sadducees had such a predilection for Epicurism-as, according to Josephus (Vit. c. 2), "the doctrine of the Pharisees is of kin to that of the Stoics,"- yet tsdqh and rish|`aah are not apportioned between these two parties, especially since the overstraining of conformity to the law by the Pharisees related not to the moral, but to the ceremonial law. We derive nothing for the right understanding of the passage from referring the wisdom of life here recommended to the tendencies of the time. The author proceeds from observation, over against which the O.T. saints knew not how to place any satisfying theodicee. heb|liy y|meey (vid., Eccl 6:12) he so designates the long, but for the most part uselessly spent life lying behind him. 'et-hakol is not "everything possible" (Zöckl.), but "all, of all kinds" (Luth.), which is defined by 15b as of two kinds; for 15a is the introduction of the following experience relative to the righteous and the unrighteous, and thus to the two classes into which all men are divided.

    We do not translate: there are the righteous, who by their righteousness, etc. (Umbr., Hitzig, and others); for if the author should thus commence, it would appear as if he wished to give unrighteousness the preference to righteousness, which, however, was far from him. To perish in or by his righteousness, to live long in or by his wickedness (ma'ariyk| , scil. yaamiym , Eccl 8:13, as at Prov 28:2), is = to die in spite of righteousness, to live in spite of wickedness, as e.g., Deut 1:32: "in this thing" = in spite of, etc. Righteousness has the promise of long life as its reward; but if this is the rule, it has yet its exceptions, and the author thence deduces the doctrine that one should not exaggerate righteousness; for if it occurs that a righteous man, in spite of his righteousness, perishes, this happens, at earliest, in the case in which, in the practice of righteousness, he goes beyond the right measure and limit.

    The relative conceptions har|beeh and yowteer have here, since they are referred to the idea of the right measure, the meaning of nimis. chit|chakeem could mean, "to play the wise man;" but that, whether more or less done, is objectionable. It means, as at Ex 1:10, to act wisely (cf. Ps 105:25, hit|', to act cunningly). And hosh|', which is elsewhere used of being inwardly torpid, i.e., being astonished, obstupescere, has here the meaning of placing oneself in a benumbed, disordered state, or also, passively, of becoming disconcerted; not of becoming desolate or being deserted (Hitz., Ginsburg, and others), which it could only mean in highly poetic discourse (Isa 54:1). The form tishowmeem is syncop., like tik', Num 21:27; and the question, with laamaah , here and at 17b, is of the same kind as 5:5; Luther, weakening it: "that thou mayest not destroy thyself."


    Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

    Up to this point all is clear: righteousness and wisdom are good and wholesome, and worth striving for; but even in these a transgressing of the right measure is possible (Luther remembers the summum just summa injuria), which has as a consequence, that they become destructive to man, because he thereby becomes a caricature, and either perishes rushing from one extreme into another, or is removed out of the way by others whose hatred he provokes. But it is strange that the author now warns against an excess in wickedness, so that he seems to find wickedness, up to a certain degree, praiseworthy and advisable. So much the stranger, since "be no fool" stands as contrast to "show not thyself wise," etc.; so that "but also be no wicked person" was much rather to be expected as contrast to "be not righteous over-much." Zöckler seeks to get over this difficulty with the remark: "Koheleth does not recommend a certain moderation in wickedness as if he considered it allowable, but only because he recognises the fact as established, that every man is by nature somewhat wicked."

    The meaning would then be: man's life is not free from wickedness, but be only not too wicked! The offensiveness of the advice is not thus removed; and besides, 18a demands in a certain sense, an intentional wickednessindeed, as 18b shows, a wickedness in union with the fear of God. The correct meaning of "be not wicked over-much" may be found if for trsh` we substitute techeTaa' ; in this form the good counsel at once appears as impossible, for it would be immoral, since "sinning," in all circumstances, is an act which carries in itself its own sentence of condemnation. Thus rsh` must here be a setting oneself free from the severity of the law, which, although sin in the eyes of the overrighteous, is yet no sin in itself; and the author here thinks, in accordance with the spirit of his book, principally of that fresh, free, joyous life to which he called the young, that joy of life in its fulness which appeared to him as the best and fairest reality in this present time; but along with that, perhaps also of transgressions of the letter of the law, of shaking off the scruples of conscience which conformity to God-ordained circumstances brings along with it. He means to say: be not a narrow rigorist-enjoy life, accommodate thyself to life; but let not the reins be too loose; and be no fool who wantonly places himself above law and discipline: Why wilt thou destroy thy life before the time by suffering vice to kill thee (Ps 34:22), and by want of understanding ruin thyself (Prov 10:21)? (Note: An old proverb, Sota 3a, says: "A man commits no transgression unless there rules in him previously the spirit of folly.") ECCLESIASTES 7:18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all. "It is good that thou holdest fast to the one,"-viz. righteousness and wisdom-and withdrawest not thy hand from the other-viz. a wickedness which renounces over-righteousness and over-wisdom, or an unrestrained life;-for he who fears God accomplishes all, i.e., both, the one as well as the other. Luther, against the Vulg.: "for he who fears God escapes all."

    But what "all"? Tyler, Bullock, and others reply: "All the perplexities of life;" but no such thing is found in the text here, however many perplexities may be in the book. Better, Zöckler: the evil results of the extreme of false righteousness as of bold wickedness. But that he does not destroy himself and does not die before his time, is yet only essentially one thing which he escapes; also, from v. 15, only one thing, 'abod , is taken. Thus either: the extremes (Umbr.), or: the extremes together with their consequences.

    The thought presents a connected, worthy conclusion. But if eth-kullam, with its retrospective suffix, can be referred to that which immediately precedes, this ought to have the preference. Ginsburg, with Hitzig: "Whoso feareth God will make his way with both;" but what an improbable phrase! Jerome, with his vague nihil negligit, is right as to the meaning. In the Bible, the phrase haa'...yaatsaa' , egressus est urbem, Gen 44:4, cf. Jer 10:20, is used; and in the Mishna, chowbaatow 'et-y|deey yaatsaa', i.e., he has discharged his duty, he is quit of it by fulfilling it. For the most part, yts' merely is used: he has satisfied his duty; and yts' l' , he has not satisfied it, e.g., Berachoth Eccl 2:1.

    Accordingly yeetsee' -since eth-kullam relates to, "these ought he to have done, and not to leave the other undone," Matt 23:23-here means: he who fears God will set himself free from all, will acquit himself of the one as well as of the other, will perform both, and thus preserve the golden via media.


    The thought with which the following sentence is introduced is not incongruous to that going before. But each one of these moral proverbs and aphorisms is in itself a little whole, and the deeper connections, in the discovery of which interpreters vie with each other, are destitute of exegetical value. One must not seek to be overwise; but the possession of wisdom deserves to be highly valued.


    Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. "Wisdom affords strong protection to the wise man more than ten mighty men who are in the city." We have to distinguish, as is shown under Ps 31:3, the verbs `aazaz , to be strong, and `uwz , to flee for refuge; taa`oz is the fut. of the former, whence maa`oz, stronghold, safe retreat, protection, and with l|, since `zz means not only to be strong, but also to show oneself strong, as at 9:20, to feel and act as one strong; it has also the trans. meaning, to strengthen, as shown in Ps 68:29, but here the intrans. suffices: wisdom proves itself strong for the wise man. The ten shallithim are not, with Ginsburg, to be multiplied indefinitely into "many mighty men." And it is not necessary, with Desvoeux, Hitz., Zöckl., and others, to think of ten chiefs (commanders of forces), including the portions of the city garrison which they commanded. The author probably in this refers to some definite political arrangement (vid., above, p. 654), perhaps to the ten archons, like those Assyrian salat, vice-regents, after whom as eponyms the year was named by the Greeks. shaliyT , in the Asiatic kingdom, was not properly a military title. And did a town then need protection only in the time of war, and not also at other times, against injury threatening its trade, against encroachments on its order, against the spread of infectious diseases, against the force of the elements?

    As the Deutero-Isaiah (60:17) says of Jerusalem: "I will make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness," so Koheleth says here that wisdom affords a wise man as strong a protection as a powerful decemvirate a city; cf. Prov 24:5a: "A wise man is ba'oz," i.e., mighty.


    For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. "For among men there is not a righteous man on the earth, who doeth good, and sinneth not." The original passage, found in Solomon's prayer at the consecration of the temple, is briefer, 1 Kings 8:46: "There is no man who sinneth not." Here the words might be wgw' tsadiyq 'aadaam 'eeyn , there is no righteous man.... Adam stands here as representing the species, as when we say in Germ.: Menschen gibt es keine gerechten auf Erden men, there are none righteous on earth; cf. Ex 5:16: "Straw, none was given." The verification of v. 19 by reference to the fact of the common sinfulness from which even the most righteous cannot free himself, does not contradict all expectation to the same degree as the ki in Eccl 7:7; but yet it surprises us, so that Mercer and Grätz, with Aben Ezra, take v. 20 as the verification of v. 16, here first adduced, and Knobel and Heiligst. and others connect it with vv. 21, 22, translating: "Because there is not a just man..., therefore it is also the part of wisdom to take no heed unto all words," etc.

    But these are all forced interpretations; instead of the latter, we would rather suppose that v. 20 originally stood after v. 22, and is separated from its correct place. But yet the sequence of thought lying before us may be conceived, and that not merely as of necessity, but as that which was intended by the author. On the whole, Hitzig is correct: "For every one, even the wise man, sins; in which case virtue, which has forsaken him, does not protect him, but wisdom proves itself as his means of defence."

    Zöckler adds: "against the judicial justice of God;" but one escapes from this by a penitent appeal to grace, for which there is no need for the personal property of wisdom; there is thus reason rather for thinking on the dangerous consequences which often a single false step has for a man in other respects moral; in the threatening complications in which he is thereby involved, it is wisdom which then protects him and delivers him.

    Otherwise Tyler, who by the `oz , which the wise has in wisdom, understands power over evil, which is always moving itself even in the righteous. But the sinning spoken of in v. 20 is that which is unavoidable, which even wisdom cannot prevent or make inefficacious. On the contrary, it knows how to prevent the destruction which threatens man from his transgressions, and to remove the difficulties and derangements which thence arise. The good counsel following is connected by gam with the foregoing. The exhortation to strive after wisdom, contained in v. 19, which affords protection against the evil effects of the failures which run through the life of the righteous, is followed by the exhortation, that one conscious that he himself is not free from transgression, should take heed to avoid that tale-bearing which finds pleasure in exposing to view the shortcomings of others.

    ECCLESIASTES. 7:21-22

    Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: "Also give not thy heart to all the words which one speaketh, lest thou shouldest hear thy servant curse thee. For thy heart knoweth in many cases that thou also hast cursed others." The talk of the people, who are the indef. subj. of y|labeeruw (LXX, Targ., Syr. supply asebei's ), is not about "thee who givest heed to the counsels just given" (Hitz., Zöckl.), for the restrictive `aaleykaa is wanting; and why should a servant be zealous to utter imprecations on the conduct of his master, which rests on the best maxims? It is the babbling of the people in general that is meant.

    To this one ought not to turn his heart (l|...naatan , as at Eccl 1:13,17; 8:9,16), i.e., gives wilful attention, ne (lo' 'asher = pen , which does not occur in the Book of Koheleth) audias servum tuum tibi maledicere; the particip. expression of the pred. obj. follows the analogy of Gen 21:9, Ewald, §284b, and is not a Graecism; for since in this place hearing is meant, not immediately, but mediated through others, the expression would not in good Greek be with the LXX ...tou' dou'lou sou kataroome'nou se but to'n dou'lo'n sou katara'sthai se.

    The warning has its motive in this, that by such roundabout hearing one generally hears most unpleasant things; and on hearsay no reliance can be placed. Such gossiping one should ignore, should not listen to it at all; and if, nevertheless, something so bad is reported as that our own servant has spoken words of imprecation against us, yet we ought to pass that by unheeded, well knowing that we ourselves have often spoken harsh words against others. The expression wgw' yaada` , "thou art conscious to thyself that," is like ra' p|`aa', 1 Kings 2:44, not the obj. accus. dependent on yd` (Hitz.), "many cases where also thou...," but the adv. accus. of time to qilal|taa ; the words are inverted (Ewald, §336b), the style of Koheleth being fond of thus giving prominence to the chief conception (v. 20, Eccl 5:18; 3:13). The first gam, although it belongs to "thine, thy," as at 22b it is also connected with "thou," (Note: gam-'ataa, on account of the half pause, accented on the penult. according to the Masora.) stands at the beginning of the sentence, after such syntactical examples as Hos 6:11; Zech 9:11; and even with a two-membered sentence, Job 2:10.

    THE NOT-FOUND, AND THE FOUND THE BITTEREST A WOMAN, 7:23-29 The author makes here a pause, looks back at the teaching regarding prudence, already given particularly from v. 15, and acknowledges wisdom as the goal of his effort, especially, however, that for him this goal does not lie behind him, but before him in the remote distance.


    All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. "All this have I proved by wisdom: I thought, Wise I will become; but it remained far from me." The b in bachaak|maah is, as at Eccl 1:13, that designating the organon, the means of knowledge. Thus he possessed wisdom up to a certain degree, and in part; but his purpose, comprehended in the one word 'ech|k|maah (vid., above, p. 641, §2), was to possess it fully and completely; i.e., not merely to be able to record observations and communicate advices, but to adjust the contradictions of life, to expound the mysteries of time and eternity, and generally to solve the most weighty and important questions which perplex men. But this wisdom was for him still in the remote distance. It is the wisdom after which Job, ch. 28, made inquiry in all regions of the world and at all creatures, at last to discover that God has appointed to man only a limited share of wisdom. Koheleth briefly condenses Job 28:12-22 in the words following:


    That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? "For that which is, is far off, and deep-yes, deep; who can reach it?"

    Knobel, Hitz., Vaih., and Bullock translate: for what is remote and deep, deep, who can find it? i.e., investigate it; but mah-shehayah is everywhere an idea by itself, and means either id quod fuit, or id quod exstitit, Eccl 1:9; 3:15; 6:10; in the former sense it is the contrast of mah-sheihyeh, 8:7; 10:14, cf. 3:22; in the latter, it is the contrast of that which does not exist, because it has not come into existence. In this way it is also not to be translated: For it is far off what it (wisdom) is (Zöckl.) = what wisdom is lies far off from human knowledge, or: what it is (the essence of wisdom), is far off (Elst.)-which would be expressed by the words mah-shehiy'. And if mh-shhyh is an idea complete in itself, it is evidently not that which is past that is meant (thus e.g., Rosenm. quod ante aderat), for that is a limitation of the obj. of knowledge, which is unsuitable here, but that which has come into existence. Rightly, Hengst.: that which has being, for wisdom is too'n o'ntoon gnoo'sis apseudee's , Wisd. 7:17. He compares Judg 3:11, "the work which God does," and 8:17, "the work which is done under the sun." What Koheleth there says of the totality of the historical, he here says of the world of things: this (in its essence and its grounds) remains far off from man; it is for him, and also in itself and for all creatures, far too deep (`aamoq `aamoq , the ancient expression for the superlative): Who can intelligibly reach (yam|tsaa' , from maatsaa' , assequi, in an intellectual sense, as at Eccl 3:11; 8:17; cf. Job 11:7) it (this all of being)? The author appears in the book as a teacher of wisdom, and emphatically here makes confession of the limitation of his wisdom; for the consciousness of this limitation comes over him in the midst of his teaching.


    I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

    But, on the other side, he can bear testimony to himself that he has honestly exercised himself in seeking to go to the foundation of things: "I turned myself, and my heart was there to discern, and to explore, and to seek wisdom, and the account, and to perceive wickedness as folly, and folly as madness." Regarding sabbothi, vid., under Eccl 2:20: a turning is meant to the theme as given in what follows, which, as we have to suppose, was connected with a turning away form superficiality and frivolity. Almost all interpreters-as also the accentuation does-connect the two words w|libiy 'aniy ; but "I and my heart" is so unpsychological an expression, without example, that many Codd. (28 of Kennicott, 44 of de Rossi) read b|libiy with my heart. The erasure of the vav (as e.g., Luther: "I applied my heart") would at the same time require the change of cbwty into hacibowtiy.

    The Targ., Jerome, and the Venet. render the word blby; the LXX and Syr., on the contrary, wlby; and this also is allowable, if we place the disjunctive on 'ny and take wlby as consequent: my heart, i.e., my striving and effort, was to discern (Aben Ezra, Herzf., Stuart)-a substantival clause instead of the verbal 'et-libiy w|naatatiy, Eccl 1:13,17.

    Regarding tur in an intellectual sense, vid., 1:13. Hheshbon (vid., above, p. 638), with hhochmah, we have translated by "Rechenschaft" account, ratio; for we understand by it a knowledge well grounded and exact, and able to be established-the facit of a calculation of all the facts and circumstances relating thereto; chshbyn ntn is Mishnic, and = the N.T. lo'gon apodido'nai . Of the two accus. 25b following laada`at , the first, as may be supposed, and as the determination in the second member shows, is that of the obj., the second that of the pred. (Ewald, §284b): that resha` , i.e., conduct separating from God and from the law of that which is good, is kesel, Thorheit, folly (since, as Socrates also taught, all sinning rests on a false calculation, to the sinner's own injury); and that hassichluth, Narrheit, foolishness, stultitia (vid., sachal, p. 639, and 1:17), is to be thus translated (in contradistinction to kecel ), i.e., an intellectual and moral obtuseness, living for the day, rising up into foolery, not different from holeloth, fury, madness, and thus like a physical malady, under which men are out of themselves, rage, and are mad.

    Koheleth's striving after wisdom thus, at least is the second instance (wld`t), with a renunciation of the transcendental, went towards a practical end. And now he expresses by wmwts' one of the experiences he had reached in this way of research. How much value he attaches to this experience is evident from the long preface, by means of which it is as it were distilled. We see him there on the way to wisdom, to metaphysical wisdom, if we may so speak-it remains as far off from him as he seeks to come near to it. We then see him, yet not renouncing the effort after wisdom, on the way toward practical wisdom, which exercises itself in searching into the good and the bad; and that which has presented itself to him as the bitterest of the bitter is-a woman.


    And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. "And I found woman more bitter than death; she is like hunting-nets. and like snares is her heart, her hands are bands: he who pleaseth God will escape from her; but the sinner is caught by them." As 'a' w|sha' , Eccl 4:2, so here 'a' uwm' (vid., above, p. 641, 1, and 642, 3) gains by the preceding 'ny w|cibowtiy a past sense; (Note: With reference to this passage and Prov 18:22, it was common in Palestine when one was married to ask mwts' 'w mts' = happy or unhappy? Jebamoth 63b.) the particip. clause stands frequently thus, not only as a circumstantial clause, Gen 14:12f., but also as principal clause, Gen 2:10, in an historical connection. The preceding pred. mar , in the mas. ground-form, follows the rule, Gesen. §147. Regarding the construction of the relative clause, Hitzig judges quite correctly: "hiy' is copula between subj. and pred., and precedes for the sake of the contrast, giving emphasis to the pred. It cannot be a nomin., which would be taken up by the suff. in libaah , since if this latter were subject also to mts' , hy' would not certainly be found. Also asher here is not a conj."

    This huw' (hiy' ), which in relative substantival clauses represents the copula, for the most part stands separated from asher, e.g., Gen 7:2; 17:12; Num 17:5; Deut 17:15; less frequently immediately with it, Num 35:31; 1 Sam 10:19; 2 Kings 25:19; Lev 11:26; Deut 20:20. But this asher hu (hi) never represents the subj., placed foremost and again resumed by the reflex. pronoun, so as to be construed as the accentuation requires: quae quidem retia et laquei cor ejus = cajus quidem cor sunt retia et laquei (Heiligst.). maatsowd is the means of searching, i.e., either of hunting: hunting-net (mitsodah, Eccl 9:12), or of blockading: siege-work, bulwarks, 9:14; here it is the plur. of the word in the former meaning. cheerem , Hab 1:14, plur. Ezek 26:5, etc. (perhaps from chrm , to pierce, bore through), is one of the many synon. for fishing-net. 'acuwriym , fetters, the hands (arms) of voluptuous embrace (cf. above, p. 637). The primary form, after Jer 37:15, is 'eecuwr , 'ecuwr ; cf. 'eebuwc , 'ab', Job 39:9. Of the three clauses following asher, vav is found in the second and is wanting to the third, as at Deut 29:22; Job 42:9; Ps 45:9; Isa 1:13; cf. on the other hand, Isa 33:6.

    Similar in their import are these Leonine verses: Femina praeclara facie quasi pestis amara, Et quasi fermentum corrumpit cor sapientum." That the author is in full earnest in this harsh judgment regarding woman, is shown by 26b: he who appears to God as good (cf. Eccl 2:26) escapes from her (the fut. of the consequence of this his relation to God); but the sinner (w|chowTee' , cf. above, p. 682, note) is caught by her, or, properly, in her, viz., the net-like woman, or the net to which she is compared (Ps 9:16; Isa 24:18). The harsh judgment is, however, not applicable to woman as such, but to woman as she is, with only rare exceptions; among a thousand women he has not found one corresponding to the idea of a woman.

    ECCLESIASTES. 7:27-28

    Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: "Behold what I have found, saith Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account: What my soul hath still sought, and I have not found, (is this): one man among a thousand have I found; and a woman among all these have I not found." It is the ascertained result, "one man, etc.," which is solemnly introduced by the words preceding. Instead of qohe' 'aam|', the words haqohe' 'aamar are to be read, after Eccl 12:8, as is now generally acknowledged; errors of transcription of a similar kind are found at 2 Sam 5:2; Job 38:12. Ginsburg in vain disputes this, maintaining that the name Koheleth, as denoting wisdom personified, may be regarded as fem. as well as mas.; here, where the female sex is so much depreciated, was the fem. self-designation of the stern judge specially unsuitable (cf. above, p. 646).

    Hengst. supposes that Koheleth is purposely fem. in this one passage, since true wisdom, represented by Solomon, stands opposite to false philosophy.

    But this reason for the fem. rests on the false opinion that woman here is heresy personified; he further remarks that it is significant for this fem. personification, that there is "no writing of female authorship in the whole canon of the O. and N.T." But what of Deborah's triumphal song, the song of Hannah, the magnificat of Mary? We hand this absurdity over to the Clementines! The woman here was flesh and blood, but pulchra quamvis pellis est mens tamen plean procellis; and Koheleth is not incarnate wisdom, but the official name of a preacher, as in Assyr., for chazaaniym, curators, overseers, hazanâti (Note: Vid., Fried. Delitzsch's Assyr. Stud. (1874), p. 132.) is used. zeh , 27a, points, as at Eccl 1:10, to what follows. l|' 'achat , one thing to another (cf. Isa 27:12), must have been, like summa summarum and the like, a common arithmetical and dialectical formula, which is here subordinate to maatsaa' , since an adv. inf. such as laaqowach is to be supplemented: taking one thing to another to find out the chesh|bown , i.e., the balance of the account, and thus to reach a facit, a resultat. (Note: Cf. Aboth iv. 29, wgw' lytn, "to give account;" wgw' hkl , "all according to the result.") That which presented itself to him in this way now follows. It was, in relation to woman, a negative experience: "What my soul sought on and on, and I found not, (is this)." The words are like the superscription of the following result, in which finally the zeh of 27a terminates.

    Ginsburg, incorrectly: "what my soul is still seeking," which would have required m|baqeshet. The pret. biq|shaah (with q| without Dagesh, (Note: As generally the Piel forms of the root bqsh , Masor. all have Raphe on the q, except the imper. baq|shuw ; vid., Luzzatto's Gramm. §417.) as at v. 29) is retrospective; and `owd , from `uwd , means redire, again and again, continually, as at Gen.. 46:29. He always anew sought, and that, as biqshah naphshi for bqshty denotes, with urgent striving, violent longing, and never found, viz., a woman such as she ought to be: a man, one of a thousand, I have found, etc.

    With right, the accentuation gives Garshayim to adam; it stands forth, as at v. 20, as a general denominator-the sequence of accents, Geresh, Pashta, Zakef, is as at Gen 1:9. "One among a thousand" reminds us of Job 33:23, cf. Eccl 9:3; the old interpreters (vid., Dachselt's Bibl. Accentuata), with reference to these parallels, connect with the one man among a thousand all kinds of incongruous christological thoughts. Only, here adam, like the Romanic l'homme and the like, means man in sexual contrast to woman. It is thus ideally meant, like ish, 1 Sam. 4:9; 46:15, and accordingly also the parall. 'ishaah . For it is not to be supposed that the author denies thereby perfect human nature to woman. But also Burger's explanation: "a human being, whether man or woman," is a useless evasion. Man has the name adam kat' ex . by primitive hist. right: "for the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man," 1 Cor 11:8.

    The meaning, besides, is not that among a thousand human beings he found one upright man, but not a good woman (Hitz.)-for then the thousand ought to have had its proper denominator, 'dm bny -but that among a thousand persons of the male sex he found only one man such as he ought to be, and among a thousand of the female sex not one woman such as she ought to be; "among all these" is thus = among an equal number. Since he thus actually found the ideal of man only seldom, and that of woman still seldomer (for more than this is not denoted by the round numbers), the more surely does he resign himself to the following resultat, which he introduces by the word l|bad (only, alone), as the clear gain of his searching:


    Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. "Lo, this only have I found, that God created man upright; but they seek many arts." Also here the order of the words is inverted, since zeh , belonging as obj. to maatsaa' (have I found), which is restricted by l|bad (vid., above, p. 638), is amalgamated with r|'eeh (Lo! see!). The author means to say: Only this (solummodo hocce) have I found, that...; the r|'eeh is an interjected nota bene. The expression:

    God has made man yaashaar , is dogmatically significant. Man, as he came from the Creator's hand, was not placed in the state of moral decision, nor yet in the state of absolute indifference between good and evil; he was not neither good nor bad, but he was Twb , or, which is the same thing, yshr ; i.e., in every respect normal, so that he could normally develope himself from this positively good foundation. But by the expression yshr `sh , Koheleth has certainly not exclusively his origin in view, but at the same time his relative continuation in the propagation of himself, not without the concurrence of the Creator; also of man after the fall the words are true, yshr `sh , in so far as man still possesses the moral ability not to indulge sinful affections within him, nor suffer them to become sinful actions. But the sinful affections in the inborn nature of weak sinful man have derived so strong a support from his freedom, that the power of the will over against this power of nature is for the most part as weakness; the dominance of sin, where it is not counteracted by the grace of God, has always shown itself so powerful, that Koheleth has to complain of men of all times and in all circles of life: they seek many arts (as Luther well renders it), or properly, calculations, inventions, devices (hhishshevonoth, (Note: If we derive this word from hheshbon, the Dagesh in the sh is the so-called Dag. dirimens.) as at 2 Chron 26:15, from hhishshevon, which is as little distinguished from the formation hheshbon, as hhizzayon from hhezyon), viz., of means and ways, by which they go astray from the normal natural development into abnormities. In other words: inventive refined degeneracy has come into the place of moral simplicity, haplo'tees (2 Chron 11:3). As to the opinion that caricatures of true human nature, contrasts between the actual and that which ought to be (the ideal), are common, particularly among the female sex, the author has testimonies in support of it from all nations. It is confirmed by the primitive history itself, in which the woman appears as the first that was led astray, and as the seducer (cf. Psychol. pp. 103-106). With reference to this an old proverb says: "Women carry in themselves a frivolous mind," Kiddushin 80b. (Note: Cf. Tendlau's Sprichw. (1860), No. 733.)

    And because a woman, when she has fallen into evil, surpasses a man in fiendish superiority therein, the Midrash reckons under this passage before us fifteen things of which the one is worse than the other; the thirteenth is death, and the fourteenth a bad woman. (Note: Duke's Rabb. Blumenl. (1844), No. 32.)

    Hitzig supposes that the author has before him as his model Agathoclea, the mistress of the fourth Ptolemy Philopator. But also the history of the Persian Court affords dreadful examples of the truth of the proverb: "Woe to the age whose leader is a woman;" (Note: Ibid. No. 118.) and generally the harem is a den of female wickedness.


    If now the sentence first following sings the praise of wisdom, it does not stand out of connection with the striving after wisdom, which the author, Eccl 7:23f., has confessed, and with the experiences announced in 7:25ff., which have presented themselves to him in the way of the search after wisdom, so far as wisdom was attainable. It is the incomparable superiority of the wise man which the first verse here announces and verifies.


    Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed. "Who is like the wise? and who understandeth the interpretation of things?

    The wisdom of a man maketh his face bright, and the rudeness of his face is changed." Unlike this saying: "Who is like the wise?" are the formulas chaakaam miy , Hos. 14:10, Jer. 11:11, Ps. 107:43, which are compared by Hitzig and others. "Who is like the wise?" means: Who is equal to him? and this question, after the scheme miy-kaamokaah, Ex 15:11, presents him as one who has not his like among men. Instead of k|he' the word kechaakaam might be used, after lechaakaam , Eccl 2:16, etc. The syncope is, as at Ezek 40:25, omitted, which frequently occurs, particularly in the more modern books, Ezek 47:22; 2 Chron 10:7; 25:10; 29:27; Neh 9:19; 12:38. The regular giving of Dagesh to k| after miy , with Jethib, not Mahpach, is as at v. 7 after kiy ; Jethib is a disjunctive.

    The second question is not k|ywd` uwmiy, but yowdeea` uwmiy , and thus does not mean: who is like the man of understanding, but: who understands, viz., as the wise man does; thus it characterizes the incomparably excellent as such. Many interpreters (Oetinger, Ewald, Hitz., Heiligst., Burg., Elst., Zöckl.) persuade themselves that daabaar peesher is meant of the understanding of the proverb, 8b.

    The absence of the art., says Hitzig, does not mislead us: of a proverb, viz., the following; but in this manner determinate ideas may be made from all indeterminate ones. Rightly, Gesenius: explicationem ullius rei; better, as at Eccl 7:8: cujusvis rei. Ginsburg compares daabaar n|bown, 1 Sam 16:18, which, however, does not mean him who has the knowledge of things, but who is well acquainted with words. It is true that here also the chief idea peesher first leads to the meaning verbum (according to which the LXX, Jer., the Targ., and Syr. translate; the Venet.: hermeenei'an lo'gou ); but since the unfolding or explaining (peesher) refers to the actual contents of the thing spoken, verbi and rei coincide. The wise man knows how to explain difficult things, to unfold mysterious things; in short, he understands how to go to the foundation of things.

    What now follows, 1b, might be introduced by the confirming ky , but after the manner of synonymous parallelism it places itself in the same rank with 1a, since, that the wise man stands so high, and no one like him looks through the centre of things, is repeated in another form: "Wisdom maketh his face bright" is thus to be understood after Ps 119:130 and 19:9, wisdom draws the veil from his countenance, and makes it clear; for wisdom is related to folly as light is to darkness, 2:13. The contrast, y|shu'...w|`oz ("and the rudeness of his face is changed"), shows, however, that not merely the brightening of the countenance, but in general that intellectual and ethical transfiguration of the countenance is meant, in which at once, even though it should not in itself be beautiful, we discover the educated man rising above the common rank. To translate, with Ewald: and the brightness of his countenance is doubled, is untenable; even supposing that y|shune' can mean, like the Arab. yuthattay, duplicatur, still `oz , in the meaning of brightness, is in itself, and especially with paanaayw , impossible, along with which it is, without doubt, to be understood after az panim, Deut 28:50; Dan 8:23, and hee'eez panim, Prov 7:13, or bephanim, Prov 21:29, so that thus pnym `oz has the same meaning as the post-bibl. pnym `azuwt, stiffness, hardness, rudeness of countenance = boldness, want of bashfulness, regardlessness, e.g., Shabbath 30b, where we find a prayer in these words: O keep me this day from pnym `zy and from p' `zwt (that I may not incur the former or the latter).

    The Talm. Taanith 7b, thus explaining, says: "Every man to whom p' `zwt belongs, him one may hate, as the scripture says, yisaanee' ...w`z (do not read y|shune' )." The LXX translates miseethee'setai will be hated, and thus also the Syr.; both have thus read as the Talm. has done, which, however, bears witness in favour of y|shune' as the traditional reading. It is not at all necessary, with Hitzig, after Zirkel, to read y|shane': but boldness disfigureth his countenance; `oz in itself alone, in the meaning of boldness, would, it is true, along with pnyw as the obj. of the verb, be tenable; but the change is unnecessary, the passive affords a perfectly intelligible meaning: the boldness, or rudeness, of his visage is changed, viz., by wisdom (Böttch., Ginsb., Zöckl.). The verb shaanaah (sn' , Lam 4:1) means, Mal 3:6, merely "to change, to become different;" the Pih. shinaah , Jer 52:33, shinaa', 2 Kings 25:29, denotes in these two passages a change in melius, and the proverb of the Greek, Sir. 13:24- Kardi'a anthroo'pou alloioi' to' pro'soopon autou' ea'n te eis agatha' ea'n te eis kaka', is preserved to us in its original form thus: leeb 'aadaam y|shane' paanaayw beeyn l|Towb uwbeeyn l|raa` so that thus shunaa', in the sense of being changed as to the sternness of the expression of the countenance, is as good as established. What Ovid says of science: emollit mores nec sinit esse feros, thus tolerably falls in with what is here said of wisdom: Wisdom gives bright eyes to a man, a gentle countenance, a noble expression; it refines and dignifies his external appearance and his demeanour; the hitherto rude external, and the regardless, selfish, and bold deportment, are changed into their contraries.

    If, now, v. 1 is not to be regarded as an independent proverb, it will bear somewhat the relation of a prologue to what follows. Luther and others regard 1a as of the nature of an epilogue to what goes before; parallels, such as Hos. 14:10, make that appear probable; but it cannot be yielded, because the words are not chkm my, but khch' my. But that which follows easily subordinates itself to v. 1, in as far as fidelity to duty and thoughtfulness amid critical social relations are proofs of that wisdom which sets a man free from impetuous rudeness, and fits him intelligently and with a clear mind to accommodate himself to the time.


    I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

    The faithfulness of subjects, Koheleth says, is a religious duty: "I say:

    Observe well the kings' command, and that because of the oath of God."

    The author cannot have written 2a as it here stands; 'aniy hovers in the air. Hitzig reads, with Jerome, shomeer , and hears in vv. 2-4 a servile person speaking who veils himself in the cloak of religion; in vv. 5-8 follows the censura of this corrupt theory. but we have already (vid., above, p. 652) remarked that v. 2 accords with Rom 13:5, and is thus not a corrupt theory; besides, this distribution of the expressions of the Book of Koheleth between different speakers is throughout an expedient resting on a delusion. Luther translates: I keep the word of the king, and thus reads 'esh|mor ; as also does the Jer. Sanhedrin 21b, and Koheleth rabba, under this passage: I observe the command of the king, of the queen.

    In any case, it is not God who is meant here by "the king;" the words: "and that because of the oath of God," render this impossible, although Hengst. regards it as possible; for (1) "the oath of God" he understands, against all usage, of the oath which is taken to God; and (2) he maintains that in the O.T. scarcely any passage is to be found where obedience to a heathen master is set forth as a religious duty. But the prophets show themselves as morally great men, without a stain, just in this, that they decidedly condemn and unhesitatingly chastise any breach of faith committed against the Assyrian or Chaldean oppressor, e.g., Isa 28:15; 30:1; Ezek 17:15; cf.

    Jer 27:12. However, although we understand melek not of the heavenly, but of an earthly king, yet 'esh|mor does not recommend itself, for Koheleth records his experience, and derives therefrom warnings and admonitions; but he never in this manner presents himself as an example of virtue.

    The paraenetic imper. sh|mor is thus not to be touched. Can we then use ani elliptically, as equivalent to "I say as follows"? Passages such as Jer 20:10 (Elst.), where l'mr is omitted, are not at all the same.

    Also Ezek 34:11, where hnny is strengthened by ani, and the expression is not elliptical, is not in point here. And Isa 5:9 also does not apply to the case of the supposed ellipsis here. In an ingenious bold manner the Midrash helps itself in Lev 18 and Num 14, for with reference to the self-introduction of royal words like pr`h 'ny it explains: "Observe the I from the mouth of the king." This explanation is worthy of mention, but it has little need of refutation; it is also contrary to the accentuation, which gives Pashta to ani, as to r|'eeh , Eccl 7:27, and l|bad , 7:29, and thus places it by itself.

    Now, since this elliptical I, after which we would place a colon, is insufferably harsh, and since also it does not recommend itself to omit it, as is done by the LXX, the Targ., and Syr.-for the words must then have a different order, hmlk py sh|mor -it is most advisable to supply 'aamar|tiy , and to write 'aama' 'ny or 'ny 'aama' , after Eccl 2:1; 3:17-18. We find ourselves here, besides, within an I section, consisting of sentences interwoven in a Mashal form. The admonition is solemnly introduced, since Koheleth, himself a king, and a wise man in addition, gives it the support of the authority of his person, in which it is to be observed that the religious motive introduced by w explic. (vid., Ewald, §340b) is not merely an appendix, but the very point of the admonition. Kleinert, incorrectly: "Direct thyself according to the mouth of the king, and that, too, as according to an oath of God." Were this the meaning, then we might certainly wish that it were a servile Alexandrian court-Jew who said it.

    But why should that be the meaning? The meaning "wegen" because of, which is usually attributed to the word-connection `l-dbrt here and at Eccl 3:18; 7:14, Kleinert maintains to be an arbitrary invention. But it alone fits these three passages, and why an arbitrary invention? If `al-d|bar, Ps 45:5; 79:9, etc., means "von wegen" on account of, then also `l-dbrt will signify "propter rationem, naturam," as well as (Ps 110:4) ad rationem. 'el' sh|b' is, as elsewhere yh' shb', e.g., Ex 22:10, a promise given under an appeal to God, a declaration or promise strengthened by an oath. Here it is the oath of obedience which is meant, which the covenant between a king and his people includes, though it is not expressly entered into by individuals. The king is designated neither as belonging to the nation, nor as a foreigner; that which is said is valid also in the case of the latter. Daniel, Nehemiah, Mordecai, etc., acted in conformity with the words of Koheleth, and the oath of vassalage which the kings of Israel and Judah swore to the kings of Assyria and of Babylon is regarded by the prophets of both kingdoms as binding on king and people (vid., above, p. 652).


    Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.

    The warning, corresponding to the exhortation, now follows: One must not thoughtlessly avoid the duty of service and homage due to the king: "Hasten not to go away from him: join not in an evil matter; for he executeth all that he desireth." Regarding the connection, of two verbs with one idea, lying before us in teeleek| ...'al- , as e.g., at Zech 8:15; Hos 1:6, vid., Gesen. §142. 3b. Instead of this sentence, we might use mpnyw laalekaat 'l-tbhl, as e.g., Aboth v. 8: "The wise man does not interrupt another, and hastens not to answer," i.e., is not too hasty in answering. As with `im , to be with the king, Eccl 4:15 = to hold with him, so here mpnyw hlk means to take oneself away from him, or, as it is expressed in 10:4, to leave one's station; cf. Hos 11:2: "They (the prophets of Jahve) called to them, forthwith they betook themselves away from them."

    It is possible that in the choice of the expression, the phrase mpny nbhl , "to be put into a state of alarm before any one," Job 23:15, was not without influence. The indef. raa` daabaar , Deut 17:1; 23:10, cf. 13:12; 19:20, 2 Kings 4:41, etc., is to be referred (with Rosenm., Knobel, Bullock, and others) to undertakings which aim at resisting the will of the king, and reach their climax in conspiracy against the king's throne and life (Prov 24:21b). b| 'al-ta`amod might mean: persist not in it; but the warning does not presuppose that the entrance thereon had already taken place, but seeks to prevent it, thus: enter not, go not, engage not, like 'amad bederek, Ps 1:1; 'amad babrith, 2 Kings 23:3; cf. Ps 106:23; Jer 23:18. Also the Arab. 'amada li = intendit, proposuit sibi rem, is compared; it is used in the general sense of "to make toward something, to stretch to something."

    Otherwise Ewald, Elst., Ginsb., and Zöckl.: stand not at an evil word (of the king), provoking him to anger thereby still more-against v. 5, where r` dbr , as generally (cf. Ps 141:4), means an evil thing, and against the close connection of b| `md , which is to be presupposed.

    Hitzig even: stand not at an evil command, i.e., hesitate not to do even that which is evil, which the king commands, with the remark that here a servilismus is introduced as speaking, who, in saying of the king, "All that pleaseth him he doeth," uses words which are used only of God the Almighty, John 1:14; Ps 33:9, etc. Hengst., Hahn, Dale, and others therefore dream of the heavenly King in the text. But proverbs of the earthly king, such as Prov 20:2, say the very same thing; and if the Mishna Sanhedrin ii. 2, to which Tyler refers, says of the king, "The king cannot himself be a judge, nor can any one judge him; he does not give evidence, and no evidence can be given against him," a sovereignty is thus attributed to the king, which is formulated in 3b and established in the verse following.


    Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? "Inasmuch as the word of a king is powerful; and who can say to him:

    What doest thou?" The same thing is said of God, Job 9:12; Isa 45:9; Dan 4:32, Wisd. 12:12, but also of the king, especially of the unlimited monarch of a despotic state. Baasher verifies as b|she at Eccl 2:16; cf. Gen 39:9,23; Greek, en oo' and ef' oo' . Burger arbitrarily: quae dixit (diber for d|bar ), rex, in ea potestatem habet. The adjectival impers. use of the noun shilton = potestatem habens, is peculiar; in the Talm. and Midrash, shilton, like the Assyr. siltannu, (Note: Vid., Fried. Delitzsch's Assyr. Stud. p. 129f.) means the ruler (vid., under Eccl 5:8). That which now follows is not, as Hitzig supposes, an opposing voice which makes itself heard, but as v. 2 is compared with Rom 13:5, so is v. 5 with Rom 13:3.


    Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. "Whoso remaineth true to the commandment will experience nothing evil; and the heart of the wise man will know a time and judicial decision." That by mits|waah is here to be understood not the commandment of God, at least not immediately, as at Prov 19:16 (Ewald), but that of the king, and generally an injunction and appointment of the superior authority, is seen from the context, which treats not of God, but of the ruler over a state. Knobel and others explain: He who observeth the commandment engageth not with an evil thing, and the wise mind knoweth time and right. But yd` is never thus used (the author uses for this, b| `md ), and the same meaning is to be supposed for the repeated yeeda` : it means to arrive at the knowledge of; in the first instance: to suffer, Ezek 25:14; cf. Isa 9:8; Hos 9:7; in the second, to experience, Josh 24:31; Ps 16:11.

    It may also, indeed, be translated after Eccl 9:12: a wise heart knoweth time and judgment, viz., that they will not fail; but why should we not render yeeda` both times fut., since nothing stands in the way? We do not translate: a wise heart, a wise mind (Knobel), although this is possible, 1 Kings 3:12 (cf. Ps 90:12), but: the heart of a wise man, which is made more natural by 10:2, Prov 16:23. The heart of a wise man, which is not hurried forward by dynastic oppression to a selfish forgetfulness of duty, but in quietness and hope (Lam 3:26) awaits the interposition of God, will come to the knowledge that there is an eth, a time, when oppression has an end, and a mishpat, when it suffers punishment. Well adapted to the sense in which eth is here used is the remark of Elia Levita in his Tishbi, that z|maan corresponds to the German Zeit and the Romanic tempo, but `eet to the German Ziel and the Romanic termino. The LXX translates kairo'n kri'seoos ; and, inf act, wm' `t is a hendiadys, which, however, consists in the division of one conception into two. The heart of the wise man remaining true to duty will come to learn that there is a terminus and judicial decision, for everything has an end when it falls under the fate for which it is ripe, especially the sinner.


    Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. "For there is a time and decision for everything, for the wickedness of man becomes too great." From 6a there follow four clauses with kiy ; by such monotonous repetition of one and the same word, the author also elsewhere renders the exposition difficult, affording too free a space for understanding the ky as confirming, or as hypothetical, and for coordinating or subordinating to each other the clauses with ky .

    Presupposing the correctness of our exposition of 5a, the clause 6a with ky may be rendered parenthetically, and that with ky in 6b hypothetically: "an end and decision the heart of the wise man will come to experience (because for everything there is an end and decision), supposing that the wickedness of man has become great upon him, i.e., his burden of guilt has reached its full measure." We suppose thereby (1) that rabaah , which appears from the accent on the ult. to be an adj., can also be the 3rd pret., since before aa` the tone has gone back to áh (cf. Gen 26:10; Isa 11:1), to protect it from being put aside; but generally the accenting of such forms of `''` hovers between the penult. and the ult., e.g., Ps 69:5; 55:22; Prov 14:19.

    Then (2) that `aalaayw goes back to haa'aadaam , without distinction of persons, which has a support in Eccl 6:1, and that thus a great raa`aah is meant lying upon man, which finally finds its punishment. But this view of the relation of the clauses fails, in that it affords no connection for v. 7. It appears to be best to co-ordinate all the four ky as members of one chain of proof, which reaches its point in 8b, viz., in the following manner: the heart of a wise man will see the time and the judgment of the ruler, laying to his heart the temptation to rebellion; for (1) as the author has already said, 3:17: "God will judge the righteous as well as the wicked, for there is with Him a time for every purpose and for every act;" (2) the wickedness of man (by which, as v. 9 shows, despots are aimed at) which he has committed, becomes great upon him, so that suddenly at once the judgment of God will break in upon him; (3) he knows not what will be done; (4) no one can tell him how (quomodo) it, the future, will be, so that he might in any way anticipate it-the judgment will overwhelm him unexpectedly and irretrievably: wickedness does not save its possessor.


    For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

    Vv. 7 and 8 thus continue the For and For: "For he knoweth not that which shall be; for who can tell him who it will be? There is no man who has power over the wind, to restrain the wind; and no one has authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the war; and wickedness does not save its possessor." The actor has the sin upon himself, and bears it; if it reaches the terminus of full measure, it suddenly overwhelms him in punishment, and the too great burden oppresses its bearer (Hitzig, under Isa 24:20). This wmsh' `t comes unforeseen, for he (the man who heaps up sins) knoweth not id quod fiet; it arrives unforeseen, for quomodo fiet, who can show it to him? Thus, e.g., the tyrant knows not that he will die by assassination, and no one can say to him how that will happen, so that he might make arrangements for his protection. Rightly the LXX kathoo's e'stai ; on the contrary, the Targ., Hitzig, and Ginsburg: when it will be; (Note: The Venet. en oo' , as if the text had ba'asher .) but ka'asher signifies quum, 4:17; Eccl 5:3; 8:16, but not quando, which must be expressed by maaty (Mishnic 'eeymaatay, 'eeymaat).

    Now follows the concluding thought of the four ky , whereby 5b is established. There are four impossibilities enumerated; the fourth is the point of the enumeration constructed in the form of a numerical proverb. (1) No man has power over the wind, to check the wind. Ewald, Hengst., Zöckl., and others understand ruwach , with the Targ., Jerome, and Luther, of the Spirit (chyym rwch ); but man can limit this physically when he puts a violent termination to life, and must restrain it morally by ruling it, Prov 16:32; 25:28. On the contrary, the wind hrwch is, after Eccl 11:5, incalculable, and to rule over it is the exclusive prerogative of Divine Omnipotence, Prov 30:4.

    The transition to the second impossibility is mediated by this, that in rwch , according to the usus loq., the ideas of the breath of animal life, and of wind as the breath as it were of the life of the whole of nature, are interwoven. (2) No one has power over the day of death: death, viz., natural death, comes to a man without his being able to see it before, to determine it, or to change it. With shaliyT there here interchanges shil|Town , which is rendered by the LXX and Venet. as abstr., also by the Syr. But as at Dan 3:2, so also above at v. 4, it is concr., and will be so also in the passage before us, as generally in the Talm. and Midrash, in contradistinction to the abstr., which is shaal|Taan , after the forms 'aab|daan , daar|baan, etc., e.g., Bereshith rabba, c. 85 extr.: "Every king and ruler slTwn who had not a swlTn, a command (government, sway) in the land, said that that did not satisfy him, the king of Babylon had to place an under-Caesar in Jericho," etc. (Note: Regarding the distinction between shil|Town and shaal|Taan , vid., Baer's Abodath Jisrael, p. 385.)

    Thus: no man possesses rule or is a ruler....

    A transition is made from the inevitable law of death to the inexorable severity of the law of war; (3) there is no discharge, no dispensation, whether for a time merely (missio), or a full discharge (dimissio), in war, which in its fearful rigour (vid., on the contrary, Deut 20:5-8) was the Persian law (cf. above, p. 653). Even so, every possibility of escape is cut off by the law of the divine requital; (4) wickedness will not save (mileeT , causative, as always) its lord (cf. the proverb: "Unfaithfulness strikes its own master") or possessor; i.e., the wicked person, when the wm' `t comes, is hopelessly lost. Grätz would adopt the reading `osher instead of rs`; but the fate of the resha` ba`al , or of the raashaa` , is certainly that to which the concatenation of thought from v. 6 leads, as also the disjunctive accent at the end of the three first clauses of v. 8 denotes. But that in the words ba'al resha' (not ba`aleey ) a despotic king is thought of (b|`aalaayw , as at Eccl 5:10,12; 7:12; Prov 3:27; cf. under Prov 1:19), is placed beyond a doubt by the epilogistic verse:


    All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt. "All that I have seen, and that, too, directing my heart to all the labour that is done under the sun: to the time when a man rules over a man to his hurt." The relation of the clauses is mistaken by Jerome, Luther, Hengst., Vaih., Ginsburg, and others, who begin a new clause with `eet : "there is a time," etc.; and Zöckl., who ventures to interpret wgw' `t as epexegetical of wgw' kaal-ma`a' ("every work that is done under the sun"). The clause w|naatown is an adverbial subordinate clause (vid., under Eccl 4:2): et advertendo quidem animum. `eet is accus. of time, as at Jer 51:33; cf. Ps 4:8, the relation of 'eth asher,' like sh m|q', 1:7; 11:3. All that, viz., the wisdom of patient fidelity to duty, the perniciousness of revolutionary selfishness, and the suddenness with which the judgment comes, he has seen (for he observed the actions done under the sun), with his own eyes, at the time when man ruled over man low () l|ra` , not: to his own the ruler's injury (Symm., Jerome), but: to the injury (LXX, Theod., tou' kakoo'sai auto'n , and thus also the Targ. and Syr.) of this second man; for after 'eth asher, a description and not a judgment was to be expected. The man who rules over man to the hurt of the latter rules as a tyrant; and this whole section, beginning with Eccl 8:1, treats of the right wisdom of life at a time of tyrannical government.


    The theme of the following section shows itself by "and then" to be cognate. It is the opposition of the fate of the wicked and of the righteous to the inalienable consciousness of a moral government of the world; this opposition comes forth, under the unhappy tyrannical government of which the foregoing section treats, as a prominent phenomenon.


    And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity. "And then I have seen the wicked buried, and they came to rest; but away from the holy place they had to depart, and were forgotten in the city, such as acted justly: also this is vain." The double particle b|keen signifies, in such a manner, or under such circumstances; with "I have seen" following, it may introduce an observation coming under that which precedes (bkn = Mishnic b|kaak|), or, with the force of the Lat. inde, introduce a further observation of that ruler; this temporal signification "then" (= 'aaz ), according to which we have translated, it has in the Targ. (vid., Levy's W.B.). (Note: Cf. w|keen , 2 Chron 32:31; Ewald, §354a; Baer's Abodath Jisrael, pp. 384, 386.)

    Apparently the observation has two different classes of men in view, and refers to their fate, contradicting, according to appearance, the rectitude of God. Opposite to the r|shaa' ("the wicked") stand they who are described as wgw' 'asher : they who have practised what is rightly directed, what stands in a right relation (vid., regarding keen , as noun, under Prov 11:19), have brought the morally right into practice, i.e., have acted with fidelity and honour (keen `aasaah , as at 2 Kings 7:9).

    Koheleth has seen the wicked buried; r'h is followed by the particip. as predic. obj., as is shm` , Eccl 7:21; but q|buwriym is not followed by uwbaa'iym (which, besides not being distinct enough as part. perfecti, would be, as at Neh 13:22, part. praes.), but, according to the favourite transition of the particip. into the finite, Gesen. §134. 2, by waabaa'uw , not uwbaa'uw ; for the disjunctive Rebîa has the fuller form with waa; cf. Isa 45:20 with Job 17:10, and above, at 2:23. "To enter in" is here, after Isa 47:2, = to enter into peace, come to rest. (Note: Cf. Zunz, Zur Gesch. u. Literatur, pp. 356-359.)

    That what follows wmm' does not relate to the wicked, has been mistaken by the LXX, Aquila, Symm., Theod., and Jerome, who translate by epeenee'theesan, laudabantur, and thus read ystbchw (the Hithpa., Ps 106:47, in the pass. sense), a word which is used in the Talm. and Midrash along with ystkchw. (Note: The Midrash Tanchuma, Par. ytrw, init., uses both expressions; the Talm. Gittin 56b, applies the passage to Titus, who took away the furniture of the temple to magnify himself therewith in his city.)

    The latter, testified to by the Targ. and Syr., is without doubt the correct reading: the structure of the antithetical parallel members is chiastic; the naming of the persons in 1a a precedes that which is declared, and in 1a b it follows it; cf. Ps 70:5b, 75:9b. The fut. forms here gain, by the retrospective perfects going before, a past signification. qaad' m|q', "the place of the holy," is equivalent to qaadowsh maaqowm , as also at Lev 7:6. Ewald understands by it the place of burial: "the upright were driven away (cast out) from the holy place of graves." Thus e.g., also Zöckl., who renders: but wandered far from the place of the holy...those who did righteously, i.e., they had to be buried in graves neither holy nor honourable. But this form of expression is not found among the many designations of a burial-place used by the Jews (vid., below, Eccl 12:5, and Hamburger's Real-Encykl. für Bibel u. Talm., article "Grab").

    God's-acre is called the "good place," (Note: Vid., Tendlau's Sprichw., No. 431.) but not the "holy place." The "holy place," if not Jerusalem itself, which is called by Isaiah II (48:2), Neh., and Dan., 'ir haqqodesh (as now el-kuds), is the holy ground of the temple of God, the to'pos ha'gios (Matt 24:15), as Aquila and Symm. translate. If, now, we find min connected with the verb halak, it is to be presupposed that the min designates the point of departure, as also mn haash|lk, Isa 14:19. Thus not: to wander far from the holy place; nor as Hitz., who points yahalokuw : they pass away (perish) far from the holy place. The subject is the being driven away from the holy place, but not as if y|halee' were causative, in the sense of yowliykuw, and meant ejiciunt, with an indef. subj. (Ewald, Heiligst., Elst.)-it is also, Eccl 4:15; 11:9, only the intens. of Kal,-but y|halee' denotes, after Ps 38:7; Job 30:28, cf. 24:10, the meditative, dull, slow walk of those who are compelled against their will to depart from the place which they love (Ps 26:8; 84:2ff.). They must go forth (whither, is not said, but probably into a foreign country; cf. Amos 7:17), and only too soon are they forgotten in the city, viz., the holy city; a younger generation knows nothing more of them, and not even a gravestone brings them back to the memory of their people. Also this is a vanity, like the many others already registered-this, viz., that the wicked while living, and also in their death, possess the sacred native soil; while, on the contrary the upright are constrained to depart from it, and are soon forgotten. Divine rectitude is herein missed. Certainly it exists, and is also recognised, but it does not show itself always when we should expect it, nor so soon as appears to us to be salutary.


    Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. "Because judgment against the work of the wicked man is not speedily executed, for this reason the heart of the children of men is full within them, to this, that they do evil." The clause with asher is connected first with the foregoing gam-zeh havel: thus vain, after the nature of a perverted world (inversus ordo) events go on, because... (asher, as at Eccl 4:3; 6:12b; cf. Deut 3:24); but the following clause with 'al-ken makes this clause with asher reflex. an antecedent of itself (asher = 'al-asher)-originally it is not meant as an antecedent. pit|gaam (Note: With g raph. in H. P. and the older edd., as also Est 1:20; Dan 3:16. Thus also the punctuator Jekuthiel in his En hakore to Est 1:20.) (here to be written after n`saah, with p raph., and, besides, also with g raph.), in the post-exilian books, is the Persian paigam, Armen. patgam, which is derived from the ancient Pers. paiti-gama: "Something that has happened, tidings, news." The Heb. has adopted the word in the general sense of "sentence;" in the passage before us it signifies the saying or sentence of the judge, as the Pers. word, like the Arab. nabazn, is used principally of the sayings of a prophet (who is called peighâm-bar). Zirkel regards it as the Greek fthe'gma; but thus, also, the words 'iz|meel, 'apir|yown strangely agree in sound with smi'lee forei'on, without being borrowed from the Greek. The long a of the word is, as Elst. shows, 1:20, invariable; also here ptgaam is the constr. To point ptgam , with Heiligst. and Burg., is thus unwarrantable. It is more remarkable that the word is construed fem. instead of mas. For since 'eeyn is construed (Note: Ginsburg points in favour of n`saah as fin. to Ex 3:2, but there 'ukaal is particip.; to Jer 38:5, but there yuwkal (if it is not to be read yaakowl ) represents an attributive clause; and to Job 35:15, but there the word is rightly pointed 'ayin , not 'eeyn ; and this, like the vulg. Arab. laysa, is used as an emphatic l' .) neither in the bibl. nor in the Mishnic style with the finite of the verb, na`asaah is not the 3rd pret., but the particip. It is not, however, necessary, with Hitz., to read na`aseh . The foreign word, like the (Arab.) firdans, para'deisos , admits of use in the double gend. (Ewald, §174g); but it is also possible that the fem. n`saah is per. attract. occasioned by haaraa`aah , as Kimchi, Michlol 10a, supposes (cf. besides, under Eccl 10:15). ma`aseeh is const. governed by phithgam, and hara'ah is thus obj. gen.

    The LXX, Syr., and Jerome read mee`seey, which would be possible only if phithgam min-after the analogy of the Heb.-Aram. phrase, niphra' ('ithpera') min, to take one's due of any one, i.e., to take vengeance on him, to punish him-could mean the full execution of punishment on any one; but it means here, as Jerome rightly translates, sententia; impossible, however, with me'ose hara'ah, sententia contra malos. Hengst. supposes that not only the traditional text, but also the accentuation, is correct, for he construes: because a sentence (of the heavenly Judge) is not executed, the work of wickedness is haste, i.e., speedy. Thus also Dachselt in the Biblia accentuata. Mercerus, on the contrary, remarks that the accents are not in the first instance marks of interpunction, but of cantillation. In fact, genit. word-connections do not exclude the keeping them asunder by distinctives such as Pashta and Tiphcha, Isa 10:2, and also Zakeph, as e.g., Est 1:4.

    The LXX well renders: "Therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully persuaded in them to do evil;" for which Jerome, freely, after Symm.: absque timore ullo filii hominum perpetrant mala. The heart of one becomes full to do anything, is = it acquires full courage thereto (Luzzatto, §590: gli blastò l'animo); cf. Est 7:5: "Where is he who has his heart filled to do?" (thus rightly, Keil), i.e., whom it has encourage to so bold an undertaking. baahem in itself unnecessarily heightens the expression of the inwardness of the destructive work (vid., Psychol. p. 151f.). The sentence of punishment does not take effect mehera, hastily (adv. accus. for bimherah, Eccl 4:12), therefore men are secure, and they give themselves with full, i.e., with fearless and shameless, boldness to the practice of evil. The author confirms this further, but not without expressing his own conviction that there is a righteous requital which contradicts this appearance.

    ECCLESIASTES. 8:12-13

    Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: "Because a sinner doeth evil an hundred times, and he becometh old therein, although I know that it will go well with them that fear god, that fear before Him: but it will not go well with the wicked, and he shall not live long, like a shadow; because he feareth not before God." Ewald (whom Heiligst., Elst., and Zöckl. follow), as among the ancients, e.g., Mendelssohn, translates v. 12: "Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and live long, yet I know," etc. That an antecedent may begin with asher is admissible, Lev 4:22; Deut 18:22; but in the case lying before us, still less acceptable than at v. 11. For, in the first place, this asher of the antecedent cannot mean "although," but only "considering that;" and in places such as Eccl 6:3, where this "considering that" may be exchanged with "although," there follows not the part., but the fut. natural to the concessive clause; then, in the second place, by this antecedent rendering of asher a closer connection of 12a and 12b is indeed gained, but the mediation of v. 12 and v. 11 is lost; in the third place, gm ky , in the meaning "however" (gam, ho'moos , with affirmative ki), is not found; not asher, but just this ki gam, (Note: That gam is pointed gam , has its reason in the disjunctive Jethîb with ky , which is not interchanged with the conjunctive Mahpach. Thus, 8:1, k|' miy , and 8:7, ka' kiy .) signifies, in the passage before us, as at 4:14, ei kai' , althoughonly a somewhat otherwise applied gam ki, Ewald, §362b, as `l-kn ky is a somewhat otherwise applied ky `l-kn.

    Rightly, Hitzig: "In 12a, 11a is again resumed, and it is explained how tardy justice has such a consequence." The sinner is thereby encouraged in sinning, because he does evil, and always again evil, and yet enjoys himself in all the pleasures of long life. Regarding choTe' for choTee' , vid., above, p. 641, 1. m|'at is = p|`aamiym mee'aah , an hundred times, as 'achat , Job 40:5, is = 'cht p`m ; Hengst. and others, inexactly: an hundredfold, which would have required the word maa'tayim ; and falsely, Ginsburg, with the Targ.: an hundred years, which would have required mee'aah , scil. shaanaah , Gen 17:17. This centies (Jerome) is, like mee'aah , scil. bnym , Eccl 6:3, a round number for a great many, as at Prov 17:10, and frequently in the Talm. and Midrash, e.g., Wajikra rabba, c. 27: "an hundred deeply-breathed sighs (p`ywt m'h) the mother gave forth." (Note: Vid., Jac. Reifmann in the Zeitsch., hmgyd, 1874, p. 342.)

    The meaning of low () uwma`ariyk| is in general clear: he becomes therein old. Jerome, improbable: et per patientiam sustentatur, as Mendelssohn: he experiences forbearance, for they supply 'pow (Isa 48:9), and make God the subject. low is in any case the so-called dat. ethic.; and the only question is, whether the doing of evil has to be taken from raa` `oseh , (Note: We expect these two words (cf. Gen 31:12) with the retrogression of the tone; but as this ceases, as a rule, with Mercha before Tifcha and Pashta, Gen 47:3; Ex 18:5; Deut 4:42; 19:4; Isa 10:14 (cf. the penult. accent of yo'kal , Lev 22:10,10,19, and boneh , Gen 4:17, with the ult. accent Lev 22:14; Hab 2:12), so with Mercha sometimes also before other disjunctives, as here before Tebîr.) as obj. to wm'': he practises it to him long, or whether, which is more probable, yaamiym is to be supplied after 13a, so that h'ryk signifies to live long, as at Prov 28:2, to last long; the dat. ethic. gives the idea of the feeling of contentment connected with long life: he thereupon sins wantonly, and becomes old in it in good health.

    That is the actual state of the case, which the author cannot conceal from himself; although, on the other hand, as by way of limitation he adds ki...ani, he well knows that there is a moral government of the world, and that this must finally prevail. We may not translate: that it should go well, but rather: that it must go well; but there is no reason not to interpret the fut. as a pure indic.: that it shall go well, viz., finally-it is a postulate of his consciousness which the author here expresses; that which exists in appearance contradicts this consciousness, which, however, in spite of this, asserts itself. That to haa'elo' l|yir|' the clause mil|' 'asher, explaining idem per idem, is added, has certainly its reason in this, that at the time of the author the name "fearers of God" \Gottesfürchitige had come into use. "The fearers of God, who fear before (milip|neey , as at Eccl 3:14) Him," are such as are in reality what they are called.

    In v. 13, Hitzig, followed by Elster, Burg., and Zöckl., places the division at ymym : like the shadow is he who fears not before God. Nothing can in point of syntax be said against this (cf. 1 Chron 29:15), although 'asher katseel , "like the shadow is he who," is in point of style awkward. But that the author did not use so rude a style is manifest from Eccl 6:12, according to which ktsl is rightly referred to yaamiym ...w|lo'- . Is then the shadow, asks Hitzig, because it does not "prolong its days," therefore yaamiym q|tsar ? How subtle and literal is this use of ymym ! Certainly the shadow survives not a day; but for that very reason it is short-lived, it may even indeed be called ymym qtsr, because it has not existence for a single day. In general, qetsel, hoos skia' , is applicable to the life of all men, Ps 144:4, Wisd. 2:5, etc. It is true of the wicked, if we keep in view the righteous divine requital, especially that he is short-lived like the shadow, "because he has no fear before God," and that in consequence of this want of fear his life is shortened by his sin inflicting its own punishment, and by the act of God.

    Asher, 13b, as at 11a, 12a, is the relative conj. Also in v. 14, 'shr (sh ) as a pronoun, and 'shr (sh ) as a conj., are mixed together. After the author has declared the reality of a moral government of the world as an inalienable fact of human consciousness, and particularly of his own consciousness, he places over against this fact of consciousness the actual state of things partly at least contradicting it.


    There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. "There is a vanity which is done on the earth; that there be just men, to whom it happeneth according to the conduct of the wicked; and that there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the conduct of the righteous-I said, that also this is vain." The limiting clause with ki gam, 12b, 13, is subordinated to the observation specified in vv. 10-12a, and the confirmation of it is continued here in v. 14. Regarding higiya` , to happen, vid., above, p. 639, under naaga` . Jerome translates haar|' k|ma' by quasi opera egerint impiorum, and hatsa' km' by quasi justorum facta habeant; instar operis...would be better, such as is conformable to the mode of acting of the one and of the other; for k is in the Semitic style of speech a nomen, which annexes to itself the word that follows it in the genitive, and runs through all the relations of case. This contradictory distribution of destiny deceives, misleads, and causes to err; it belongs to the illusory shadowy side of this present life, it is a hevel. The concluding clause of this verse: "I said, that also this is vain," begins to draw the facit from the observation, and is continued in the verse following.


    Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. "And I commended joy, that there is nothing better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and enjoy himself; and that this accompanies him in his labour throughout all the days of his life, which God hath given him under the sun." We already read the ultimatum, 15a, in a similar form at Eccl 2:24; 3:12,22; cf. 5:17. With yil|' huw' either begins a new clause, and the fut. is then jussive: "let this accompany him," or it is subordinate to the foregoing infinitives, and the fut. is then subjunctive: et ut id eum comitetur. The LXX and other Greeks translate less appropriately indicat.: kai' auto' sumprose'stai autoo'. Thus also Ewald, Hengst., Zöckl., and others: and this clings to him, which, however, would rather be expressed by lw () yit|rown whw' or chel|qow wh'. The verb lwh (R. lw , to twist, to bend) does not mean to cling to = to remain, but to adhere to, to follow, to accompany; cf. under Gen 18:16. The possibility of the meaning, "to accompany," for the Kal, is supported by the derivatives l|waayaah and liuwuwy (particularly hmtym l|waayat, convoy of the dead); the verb, however, in this signification extra-bibl. is found only in Pih. and Hiph. (Note: Vid., Baer in Abodath Jisrael, p. 39.)

    THE FRUITLESSNESS OF ALL PHILOSOPHIZING, 8:16, Like the distributions of destiny, so also labour and toil here below appear to the author to be on all sides an inextricable series of mysteries. Far from drawing atheistical conclusions therefrom, he sees in all that is done, viewed in its last causality, the work of God, i.e., the carrying out into execution of a divine law, the accomplishment of a divine plan. but this work of God, in spite of all his earnest endeavours, remains for man a subject of research for the future. Treating of this inexplicable difficulty, the words here used by the author himself are also hard to be understood.

    ECCLESIASTES 8:16,17 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) "When I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to view the business which is done on the earth (for neither day nor night doth he see sleep with his eyes): then have I seen all the work of God, that a man is unable to find out the work which is done under the sun: therefore that a man wearieth himself to seek out, and yet findeth not; and although a wise man taketh in hand to know-he is unable to find." A long period without a premeditated plan has here formed itself under the hand of the author. As it lies before us, it is halved by the vav in veraithi ("then I have seen"); the principal clause, introduced by "when I gave," can nowhere otherwise begin than here; but it is not indicated by the syntactical structure. Yet in Chr. and Neh. apodoses of k'shr begin with the second consec. modus, e.g., Chron 17:1; Neh 4:1, and frequently; but the author here uses this modus only rarely, and not (vid., Eccl 4:1,7) as a sign of an apodosis.

    We consider, first, the protasis, with the parenthesis in which it terminates. The phrase l| 't-hlb ntn, to direct the heart, to give attention and effort toward something, we have now frequently met with from Eccl 1:13 down. The aim is here twofold: (1) "to know wisdom" (cf. 1:17), i.e., to gain the knowledge of that which is wisdom, and which is to be regarded as wisdom, viz., solid knowledge regarding the essence, causes, and objects of things; (2) by such knowledge about that which wisdom is in itself "to see earthly labour," and-this arises from the combination of the two resolutions-to comprehend this labour in accordance with the claims of true wisdom from the point of view of its last ground and aim. Regarding 'inyan, vid., under 3:10. "On the earth" and "under the sun" are parallel designations of this world.

    With gam kiy begins a parenthetical clause. Ki may also, it is true, be rendered as at 17a: the labour on the earth, that he, etc. (Zöckl.); but this restlessness, almost renouncing sleep, is thereby pressed too much into the foreground as the special obj. of the reuth (therefore Ginsburg introduces "how that"); thus better to render this clause with ki gam, as establishing the fact that there is 'inyan, self-tormenting, restless labour on the earth. Thus also 'eeynenuw is easier explained, which scarcely goes back to läadam, 15a (Hitz.), but shows that the author, by 'inyan, has specially men in view. uwbala'...gam is = bl' gm by' gm: as well by day as by night, with the negat. following (cf. Num 23:25; Isa 48:8): neither by day nor by night; not only by day, but also in the night, not. "To see sleep" is a phrase occurring only here; cf. Terence, Heautontim. iii. 1. 82, Somnum hercle ego hac nocte oculis non vidi meis, for which we use the expression: "In this whole night my eyes have seen no sleep." The not wishing to sleep, and not being able to sleep, is such an hyperbole, carrying its limitation in itself, as is found in Cicero (ad Famil. vii. 30): Fuit mirifica vigilantia, qui toto suo consulatu somnum non vidit.

    With wr', "Then I have seen," begins the apodosis: vidi totum Dei opus non posse hominem assequi. As at Eccl 2:24b, the author places the obj. in the foreground, and lets the pred. with ki follow (for other examples of this so-called antiposis, vid., under Gen 1:4). He sees in the labour here below one side of God's work carrying itself forward amid this restless confusion, and sets forth this work of God, as at Eccl 3:11 (but where the connection of the thoughts is different), as an object of knowledge remaining beyond the reach of man. He cannot come to it, or, as mts' properly means, he reaches not to it, therefore "that a man wearies himself to seek, and yet finds not," i.e., that the search on the part of a man with all his endeavours comes not to its aim. 'shr bkl Ewald's emendation, instead of the words of the text before us: for all this, that quantumcunque (Ewald, §362c), which seems to have been approved of by the LXX, Syr., and Jerome, is rightly rejected by Hitzig; beshel asher is Heb., exactly equivalent to Aram. d| b|diyl , e.g., Gen 6:3; and is rightly glossed by Rashi, Kimchi, Michlol 47b, by she bish|biyl and she ba`abuwr. The accent dividing the verse stands on yimetsa, for to this word extends the first half of the apodosis, with vegam begins the second. Gam im is = ei kai' , as gam ki is = ea'n kai' . y'mr is to be understood after 'ch' 'm', Eccl 7:23: also if (although) the wise man resolves to know, he cannot reach that which is to be known. The characteristic mark of the wise man is thus not so much the possession as the striving after it. He strives after knowledge, but the highest problems remain unsolved by him, and his ideal of knowledge unrealized.


    He cannot attain unto it, for to the thoughts as well as to the acts of man God has put a limit.


    For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them. "For all this I brought to my consciousness, and all this I sought to make clear to me, that the righteous, and the wise, and their deeds, are in God's hands: neither love nor hatred stands in the knowledge of man, all lies before them." With ki follows the verification of what is said in Eccl 8:17b, "is unable to find out," from the fact of men, even the best and the wisest of men, being on all sides conditioned. This conditioning is a fact which he layeth to his heart (7:2), or (since he here presents himself less as a feeling than as a thinking man, and the heart as reflecting) which he has brought to his consciousness, and which he has sought to bring out into clearness. w|laabuwr has here not the force of an inf. absol., so that it subordinates itself in an adverbial manner (et ventilando quidem)-for it nowhere stands in the same rank with the inf. absol.; but the inf. with l| (laa) has the force of an intentional (with a tendency) fut., since the governing haayiytiy , as at 3:15a, haayaah , and at Hab 1:17b, yih|yeh , is to be supplied (vid., comm. on these passages, and under Isa 44:14): operam dedi ut ventilarem (excuterem), or shorter: ventilaturus fui. Regarding the form laabuwr , which is metapl. for laabor, and the double idea of sifting (particularly winnowing, ventilare) of the R. br , vid., under Eccl 3:18.

    In the post-bibl. Heb. the words bwryw `l lh`myd would denote the very same as is here expressed by the brief significant word laabuwr ; a matter in the clearness of its actual condition is called bwryw `l dbr (from baariy , after the form chaaliy , purity, vid., Buxtorf's Lex.

    Talm. col. 366). The LXX and Syr. have read r'h wlby instead of wlbwr, apparently because they could not see their way with it: "And my heart has seen all this." The expression "all this" refers both times to what follows; asher is, as at Eccl 8:12, relat. conj., in the sense of ho'ti , quod, and introduces, as at 7:29, cf. 8:14, the unfolding of the zeh - an unfolding, viz., of the conditioning of man, which 8:17 declared on one side of it, and whose further verification is here placed in view with ki, 1a.

    The righteous, and the wise, and their doings, are in God's hand, i.e., power (Ps 31:16; Prov 21:1; Job 12:10, etc.); as well their persons as their actions, in respect of their last cause, are conditioned by God, the Governor of the world and the Former of history; also the righteous and the wise learn to feel this dependence, not only in their being and in what befalls them, but also in their conduct; also this is not fully attained, ydm l'l, they are also therein not sufficient of themselves. Regarding 'avadeehem, corresponding to the Aram. 'ovadeehon, vid., 'avad, p. 639.

    The expression now following cannot mean that man does not know whether he will experience the love or hatred of God, i.e., providences of a happy nature proceeding from the love of God, or of an unhappy nature proceeding from the hatred of God (J. D. Michaelis, Knobel, Vaih., Hengst., Zöckl.), for 'ahabaah and sin|' are too general for this-man is thus, as the expression denotes, not the obj., but the subj. to both.

    Rightly, Hitz., as also Ewald: "Since man has not his actions in his own power, he knows not whether he will love or hate." Certainly this sounds deterministic; but is it not true that personal sympathies and antipathies, from which love and hatred unfold themselves, come within the sphere of man, not only as to their objects, in consequence of the divine arrangement, but also in themselves anticipate the knowledge and the will of man? and is it less true that the love which he now cherishes toward another man changes itself, without his previous knowledge, by means of unexpected causes, into hatred, and, on the other hand, the hatred into love?

    Neither love nor hatred is the product of a man's self-determination; but self-determination, and with it the function of freedom, begins for the first time over against those already present, in their beginnings. In lip|' hakol, "by all that is before him," that is brought to a general expression, in which lip|neey has not the ethical meaning proceeding from the local: before them, prae = penes eos (vid., Song, under Song 8:12a), but the purely local meaning, and referred to time: love, hatred, and generally all things, stand before man; God causes them to meet him (cf. the use of hiq|raah ); they belong to the future, which is beyond his power.

    Thus the Targ., Symm., and most modern interpreters; on the contrary, Luther: "neither the love nor the hatred of any one which he has for himself," which is, linguistically, purely impossible; Kleinert: "Neither the love nor the hatred of things does man see through, nor anything else which is before his eyes," for which we ought at least to have had the words lpnyw 'shr hkl gm; and Tyler: "Men discern neither love nor hatred in all that is before them," as if the text were 'shr bkl .

    The future can, it is true, be designated by 'achariyt , and the past by l|paaniym , but according to the most natural way of representation (vid., Orelli's Synon. der Zeit, p. 14) the future is that which lies before a man, and the past that which is behind him. The question is of importance, which of the two words lp' hkl has the accent. If the accent be on lp', then the meaning is, that all lies before men deprived of their freedom; if the accent be on hkl , then the meaning is, that all things, events of all kinds, lie before them, and that God determines which shall happen to them. The latter is more accordant with the order of words lying before us, and shows itself to be that which is intended by the further progress of the thoughts. Every possible thing may befall a man-what actually meets him is the determination and providence of God. The determination is not according to the moral condition of a man, so that the one can guide to no certain conclusion as to the other.


    All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. "All is the same which comes to all: one event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the pure and the impure; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as with the good, so is it with the sinner; with him that sweareth, as with him that feareth an oath."

    Hitzig translates: "All are alike, one fate comes on all," adding the remark, that to make 'chd mqrh at the same time pred. to hkl and subm. to lkl k'sr was, for the punctator, too much. This translation is indeed in matter, as well as in point of syntax, difficult to be comprehended. Rather, with Ewald, translate: All is as if all had one fate (death) but why then this useless hevel haasher, only darkening the thought? But certainly, since in hakol (Note: The LXX, Syr., and Aq. have read together the end of v. 1 and the beginning of v. 2. Here Jerome also is dependent on this mode of reading: sed omnia in futurum servantur incerta (hbl ).) the past is again resumed, it is to be supposed that it does not mean personally, omnes, but neut., omnia; and lakol , on the contrary, manifestly refers (as at 10;3) to persons.

    Herein agreeing with Ewald, and, besides, with Knobel, Zöckl., and others, we accept the interpunction as it lies before us. The apparently meaningless clause, omnia sicut omnibus, gives, if we separate sicut into sic and ut, the brief but pregnant thought: All is (thus) as it happens to all, i.e., there is no distinction of their experiences nor of their persons; all of every sort happens in the same way to all men of every sort. The thought, written in cyphers in this manner, is then illustrated; the lameds following leave no doubt as to the meaning of lkl. Men are classified according to their different kinds. The good and the pure stand opposite the impure; Taamee' is thus the defiled, Hos 5:3, cf. Ezek 36:25, in body and soul. That the author has here in his mind the precepts of the law regarding the pure and the impure, is to be concluded from the following contrast: he who offers sacrifice, and he who does not offer sacrifice, i.e., he who not only does not bring free-will offerings, but not even the sacrifices that are obligatory.

    Finally, he who swears, and he who is afraid of an oath, are distinguished.

    Thus, Zech 5:3, he who swears stands along with him who steals. In itself, certainly, swearing an oath is not a sin; in certain circumstances (vid., Eccl 8:2) it is a necessary solemn act (Isa 65:16). But here, in the passage from Zechariah, swearing of an unrighteous kind is meant, i.e., wanton swearing, a calling upon God when it is not necessary, and, it may be, even to confirm an untruth, Ex 20:7. Compare Matt 5:34. The order of the words yaaree' sh|b' (cf. as to the expression, the Mishnic cheeT|' y|ree' ) is as at Nah 3:1; Isa 22:2; cf. above, Eccl 5:8b. One event befalls all these men of different characters, by which here not death exclusively is meant (as at 3:19; 2:14), but this only chiefly as the same end of these experiences which are not determined according to the moral condition of men. In the expression of the equality, there is an example of stylistic refinement in a threefold change; kacho' kaTowb denotes that the experience of the good is the experience of the sinner, and may be translated, "wie der Gute so der Sünder" as the good, so the sinner, as well as "so der Gute wie der Sünder" so the good as the sinner (cf. Köhler, under Hag 2:3). This sameness of fate, in which we perceive the want of the inter-connection of the physical and moral order of the world, is in itself and in its influence an evil matter.


    This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. "This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that one event happeneth to all: and also the heart of the children of men is full of evil; and madness possesseth their heart during their life, and after it they go to the dead." As zh , 1a, points to the asher following, in which it unfolds itself, so here to the ki following. We do not translate: This is the worst thing (Jerome: hoc est pessimum), which, after Josh 14:15; Judg 6:15; Song 1:8, would have required the words bkl haaraa` -the author does not designate the equality of fate as the greatest evil, but as an evil mixed with all earthly events. It is an evil in itself, as being a contradiction to the moral order of the world; and it is such also on account of its demoralizing influences. The author here repeats what he had already, Eccl 8:11, said in a more special reference, that because evil is not in this world visibly punished, men become confident and bold in sinning. Vegam (referable to the whole clause, at the beginning of which it is placed) stands beside zeh ra', connecting with that which is evil in itself its evil influences. maalee' might be an adj., for this (only once, Jer 6:11), like the verb, is connected with the accus., e.. Deut 33:23. But, since not a statement but a factum had to be uttered, it is finite, as at Eccl 8:11. Thus Jerome, after Symm.: sed et cor filiorum hominum repletur malitia et procacitate juxta cor eorum in vita sua. Keeping out of view the false sed, this translation corresponds to the accenting which gives the conjunctive Kadma to raa` . But without doubt an independent substantival clause begins with w|how': and madness is in their heart (vid., 1:17) their life long; for, without taking heed to God's will and to what is pleasing to God, or seeking after instruction, they think only of the satisfaction of their inclinations and lusts. "And after that they go to the dead"-they who had so given themselves up to evil, and revelled in fleshly lusts with security, go the way of all flesh, as do the righteous, and the wise, and just, because they know that they go beyond all restraining bounds. Most modern interpreters (Hitz., Ew., etc.) render aharav, after Jer 51:46, adverbially, with the suffix understood neut.: afterwards (Jerome, post haec). but at Eccl 3:22; 6:12; 7:14, the suffix refers to man: after him, him who liveth here = after he has laid down his life. Why should it not be thus understood also here? It is true b|chayee' precedes it; but in the reverse say, sing. and plur. also interchange in v. 1; cf. 3:12. Rightly the Targ., as with Kleinert and others, we also explain: after their (his) lifetime. A man's life finally falls into the past, it lies behind him, and he goes forth to the dead; and along with selfconsciousness, all the pleasures and joy of life at the same time come to an end.


    For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. "For (to him) who shall be always joined to all the living, there is hope: for even a living dog is better than a dead lion." The interrog. 'asher miy , quis est qui, acquires the force of a relative, quisquis (quicunque), and may be interpreted, Ex 32:33; 2 Sam 20:12, just as here (cf. the simple mi, Eccl 5:9), in both ways; particularly the latter passage (2 Sam 20:11) is also analogous to the one before us in the formation of the apodosis. The Chethîb ybchr does not admit of any tenable meaning. In conformity with the usus loq., Elster reads yib|char 'sr my, "who has a choice?" But this rendering has no connection with what follows; the sequence of thoughts fails. Most interpreters, in opposition to the usus loq., by pointing y|buchar or yibaacheer, render: Who is (more correctly: will be) excepted? or also: Who is it that is to be preferred (the living or the dead)? The verb baachar signifies to choose, to select; and the choice may be connected with an exception, a preference; but in itself the verb means neither excipere nor praeferre. (Note: Luther translates, "for to all the living there is that which is desired, namely, hope," as if the text were y|buchar 'asher maah.)

    All the old translators, with right, follow the Kerî, and the Syr. renders it correctly, word for word: to every one who is joined (swtp, Aram. = Heb. chaabeer ) to all the living there is hope; and this translation is more probable than that on which Symm. ("who shall always continue to live?") and Jerome (nemo est qui semper vivat et qui hujus rei habeat fiduciam) proceed: Who is he that is joined to the whole? i.e., to the absolute life; or as Hitzig: Who is he who would join himself to all the living (like the saying, "The everlasting Jew")? The expression biTaa' yeesh does not connect itself so easily and directly with these two latter renderings as with that we have adopted, in which, as also in the other two, a different accentuation of the half-verse is to be adopted as follows: kiy miy 'asher y|chubar 'el-kaal-hachayiym yeesh biTaachown The accentuation lying before us in the text, which gives a great disjunctive to ybchr as well as to hch', appears to warrant the Chethîb (cf.

    Hitzig under Ezek 22:24), by which it is possible to interpret yb' as in itself an interrog. clause. The Kerî y|chu' does not admit of this, for Dachselt's quis associabit se (sc.,, mortius? = nemo socius mortuorum fieri vult) is a linguistic impossibility; the reflex may be used for the pass., but not the pass. for the reflex., which is also an argument against Ewald's translation: Who is joined to the living has hope.

    Also the Targ. and Rashi, although explaining according to the Midrash, cannot forbear connecting klch-h' 'l with ych', and thus dividing the verse at chh' instead of at ych'. It is not, however, to be supposed that the accentuation refers to the Chethîb; it proceeds on some interpretation, contrary to the connection, such as this: he who is received into God's fellowship has to hope for the full life (in eternity). The true meaning, according to the connection, is this: that whoever (quicunque) is only always joined (whether by birth or the preservation of life) to all the living, i.e., to living beings, be they who they may, has full confidence, hope, and joy; for in respect to a living dog, this is even better than a dead lion.

    Symmachus translates: kuni' zoo'nti be'ltio'n estin ee' le'onti tethneeko'ti, which Rosenm., Herzf., and Grätz approve of. But apart from the obliquity of the comparison, that with a living dog it is better than with a dead lion, since with the latter is neither good nor evil (vid., however, Eccl 6:5b), for such a meaning the words ought to have been: chelev häi tov lo min ha'aryeeh hammeth.

    As the verifying clause stands before us, it is connected not with biTaa' yeesh, but with kaal-ha' 'el, of that which is to be verified; the l| gives emphatic prominence (Ewald, §310b) to the subject, to which the expression refers as at Ps 89:19; 2 Chron 7:21 (cf. Jer 18:16), Isa 32:1: A living dog is better than a dead lion, i.e., it is better to be a dog which lives, than that lion which is dead. The dog, which occurs in the Holy Scriptures only in relation to a shepherd's dog (Job 30:1), and as for the rest, appears as a voracious filthy beast, roaming about without a master, is the proverbial emblem of that which is common, or low, or contemptible, Sam 17:43; cf. "dog's head," 2 Sam 3:8; "dead dog," 1 Sam 24:15; 2 Sam 9:8; 16:9. The lion, on the other hand, is the king, or, as Agur (Prov 30:30) calls it, the hero among beasts. But if it be dead, then all is over with its dignity and its strength; the existence of a living dog is to be preferred to that of the dead lion. The art. in hamee' haa'a' is not that denoting species (Dale), which is excluded by hammeeth, but it points to the carcase of a lion which is present. The author, who elsewhere prefers death and nonentity to life, Eccl 4:2f., 7:1, appears to have fallen into contradiction with himself; but there he views life pessimistically in its, for the most part, unhappy experiences, while here he regards it in itself as a good affording the possibility of enjoyment. It lies, however, in the nature of his standpoint that he should not be able to find the right medium between the sorrow of the world and the pleasure of life. Although postulating a retribution in eternity, yet in his thoughts about the future he does not rise above the comfortless idea of Hades.


    For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

    He sarcastically verifies his comparison in favour of a living dog. "For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, and have no more a reward; for their memory is forgotten. Their love, as well as their hatred and their envy, has long ago perished, and they have part no more for ever in all that is done under the sun." The description of the condition of death begins sarcastically and then becomes elegiac. "They have no reward further," viz., in this upper world, since there it is only too soon forgotten that they once existed, and that they did anything worthy of being remembered; Koheleth might here indeed, with his view shrouded in dark clouds, even suppose that God also forgot them, Job 14:13. The suff. of 'ahabaa', etc., present themselves was subjective, and there is no reason, with Knobel and Ginsburg, to render them objectively: not merely the objects of their love, and hatred, and envy, are lost to them, but these their affections and strivings themselves have ceased (Rosenm., Hitzig, Zöckl., and others), they lie (Kevar 'avadah) far behind them as absolutely gone; for the dead have no part more in the history which is unfolding itself amid the light of the upper world, and they can have no more any part therein, for the dead as not living are not only without knowledge, but also without feeling and desire.

    The representation of the state after death is here more comfortless than anywhere else. For elsewhere we read that those who have been living here spend in Sheol, i.e., in the deep (R. sl, to be loose, to hang down, to go downwards) realm of the dead, as rephäim (Isa 14:9, etc.), lying beneath the upper world, far from the love and the praise of God (Ps 6:3; 30:10), a prospectless (Job 7:7f., 14:6-12; 88:11-13), dark, shadowy existence; the soul in Hades, though neither annihilated nor sleeping, finds itself in a state of death no less than does the body in the grave. But here the state of death is not even set forth over against the idea of the dissolution of life, the complete annihilation of individuality, much less that a retribution in eternity, i.e., a retribution executed, if not here, yet at some time, postulated elsewhere by the author, throws a ray of light into the night of death.

    The apocryphal book of the Wisdom of Solomon, which distinguishes between a state of blessedness and a state of misery measured out to men in the future following death, has in this surpassed the canonical Book of Koheleth. In vain do the Targ., Midrash, and the older Christian interpreters refer that which is said to the wicked dead; others regard Koheleth as introducing here the discourse of atheists (e.g., Oetinger), and interpret, under the influence of monstrous self-deception, v. 7 as the voice of the spirit (Hengst.) opposing the voice of the flesh. But that which Koheleth expresses here only in a particularly rugged way is the view of Hades predominating in the O.T. It is the consequence of viewing death from the side of its anger. Revelation intentionally permits this manner of viewing it to remain; but from premises which the revelation sets forth, the religious consciousness in the course of time draws always more decidedly the conclusion, that the man who is united to God will fully reach through death that which since the entrance of sin into the world cannot be reached without the loss of this present life, i.e., without death, viz., a more perfect life in fellowship with God. Yet the confusion of the O.T. representation of Hades remains; in the Book of Sirach it also still throws its deep shadows (17:22f.) into the contemplation of the future; for the first time the N.T. solution actually removes the confusion, and turns the scale in favour of the view of death on its side of light.

    In this history of the ideas of eternity moving forward amid many fluctuations to the N.T. goal, a significant place belongs to the Book of Koheleth; certainly the Christian interpreter ought not to have an interest in explaining away and concealing the imperfections of knowledge which made it impossible for the author spiritually to rise above his pessimism.

    He does not rise, in contrast to his pessimism, above an eudaemonism which is earthly, which, without knowing of a future life (not like the modern pessimism, without wishing to know of a future life), recommends a pleasant enjoyment of the present life, so far as that is morally allowable:

    ECCLESIASTES. 9:7-10

    Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. "Go, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for long ago hath God accepted thy work. Let thy garments be always white; and let not oil be wanting to thy head. Enjoy life with a wife whom thou lovest through all the days of thy vain life, which He hath given thee under the sun-through all thy vain days: for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labour wherewith thou weariest thyself under the sun. All that thy hand may find to do with thy might, that do; for there is not work, and calculation, and knowledge, and wisdom, in the under world, whither thou shalt go." Hengstenberg perceives here the counterpart of the spirit; on the contrary, Oetinger, Mendelssohn, and others, discover also here, and here for the first time rightly, the utterance of an epicurean thought. But, in fact, this leek| down to shaa' howleek| is the most distinct personal utterance of the author, his ceterum censeo which pervades the whole book, and here forms a particularly copious conclusion of a long series of thoughts.

    We recapitulate this series of thoughts: One fate, at last the same final event, happens to all men, without making any distinction according to their moral condition-an evil matter, so much the more evil, as it encourages to wickedness and light-mindedness; the way of man, without exception, leads to the dead, and all further prospect is cut off; for only he who belongs to the class of living beings has a joyful spirit, has a spirit of enterprise: even the lowest being, if it live, stands higher in worth, and is better, than the highest if it be dead; for death is the end of all knowledge and feeling, the being cut off from the living under the sun. From this, that there is only one life, one life on this side of eternity, he deduces the exhortation to enjoy the one as much as possible; God Himself, to whom we owe it, will have it so that we enjoy it, within the moral limits prescribed by Himself indeed, for this limitation is certainly given with His approbation.

    Incorrectly, the Targ., Rashi, Hengst. Ginsb., and Zöckl. explain: For thy moral conduct and effort have pleased Him long ago-the person addressed is some one, not a definite person, who could be thus set forth as such a witness to be commended. Rather with Grotius and others: Quia Deus favet laboribus tuis h. e. eos ita prosperavit, ut cuncta quae vitam delectant abunde tibi suppetant. The thought is wholly in the spirit of the Book of Koheleth; for the fruit of labour and the enjoyment of this fruit of labour, as at Eccl 2:24; 3:13, etc., is a gift from above; and besides, this may be said to the person addressed, since 7a presupposes that he has at his disposal heart-strengthening bread and heart-refreshing wine. But in these two explanations the meaning of k|baar is not comprehended. It was left untranslated by the old translators, from their not understanding it.

    Rightly, Aben Ezra: For God wills that thou shouldst thus to indulge in these enjoyments; more correctly, Hitzig: Long ago God has beforehand permitted this thy conduct, so that thou hast no room for scruples about it. How significant kbr is for the thought, is indicated by the accentuation which gives to it Zakef: from aforetime God has impressed the seal of His approbation on this thy eating with joy, this thy drinking with a merry heart.-The assigning of the reason gives courage to the enjoyment, but at the same time gives to it a consecration; for it is the will of God that we should enjoy life, thus it is self-evident that we have to enjoy it as He wills it to be enjoyed.

    Verse 8. The white garments, l|baaniym , are in contrast to the black robes of mourning, and thus are an expression of festal joy, of a happy mood; black and white are, according to the ancients, colour-symbols, the colours respectively of sorrow and joy, to which light and darkness correspond. (Note: Cf. Shabbath 114a: "Bury me neither in white nor in black garments: not in white, because perhaps I may not be one of the blessed, and am like a bridegroom among mourners; not in black, because perhaps I may be one of the blessed, and am like a mourner among bridegrooms." Semachoth ii. 10: Him who is outside the congregation, they do not bury with solemnity; the brothers and relatives of such must clothe and veil themselves in white; cf. Joma 39b. Elsewhere white is the colour of innocence, Shabbath 153a, Midrash under Prov 16:11; and black the colour of guilt, Kiddushin 40a, etc.)

    Fragrant oil is also, according to Prov 27:9, one of the heart-refreshing things. Sorrow and anointing exclude one another, 2 Sam 14:2; joy and oil stand in closest mutual relation, Ps 45:8; Isa 61:3; oil which smooths the hair and makes the face shine (vid., under Ps 104:15). This oil ought not to be wanting to the head, and thus the perpetuity of a happy life should suffer no interruption.

    Verse 9. In 9a most translators render: Enjoy life with the wife whom thou lovest; but the author purposely does not use the word haa'ishaah , but 'ishaah ; and also that he uses chayiym , and not hachayiym , is not without significance. He means: Bring into experience what life, what happiness, is (cf. the indetermin. ideas, Ps 34:13) with a wife whom thou hast loved (Jerome: quaecunque tibi placuerit feminarum), in which there lies indirectly the call to choose such an one; whereby the pessimistic criticism of the female sex, Eccl 7:26-28, so far as the author is concerned, falls into the background, since eudaemonism, the other side of his view of the world, predominates. The accus. designation of time, "through all the days of the life of thy vanity (i.e., of thy transient vain life)," is like 6:12, cf. 7:15. It is repeated in "all the days of thy vanity;" the repetition is heavy and unnecessary (therefore omitted by the LXX, Targ., and Syr.); probably like whdrk, Ps 45:5, a ditto; Hitzig, however, finds also here great emphasis. The relative clause standing after the first designation of time refers to "the days which He (h'lhym, 7b) has granted under the sun." Hu in 9b refers attractionally to chel|q|kaa (Jerome: haec est enim parts), as at Eccl 3:22; 5:17, cf. 7:2; hiy' of the Babyl. is therefore to be rejected; this enjoyment, particularly of marriage joys, is thy part in life, and in thy work which thou accomplishest under the sun, i.e., the real portion of gain allotted to thee which thou mayest and oughtest to enjoy here below.

    Verse 10. The author, however, recommends no continual dolce far niente, no idle, useless sluggard-life devoted to pleasure, but he gives to his exhortation to joy the converse side: "All that thy hand may reach (i.e., what thou canst accomplish and is possible to thee, 1 Sam 10:7; Lev 12:8) to accomplish it with thy might, that do." The accentuation is ingenious. If the author meant: That do with all might (Jerome: instanter operare), then he would have said bechol-kohhacha (Gen 31:6). As the words lie before us, they call on him who is addressed to come not short in his work of any possibility according to the measure of his strength, thus to a work straining his capacity to the uttermost. The reason for the call, 10b, turns back to the clause from which it was inferred: in Hades, whither thou must go (iturus es), there is no work, and reckoning (vid., Eccl 7:25), and knowledge (w|da`at (Note: Not waada`at , because the word has the conjunctive, not the disjunctive accent, vid., under Ps 55:10. The punctuation, as we have already several times remarked, is not consistent in this; cf. w|da`at , Eccl 2:26, and waae`reb, Ps 65:9, both of which are contrary to the rule (vid., Baer in Abulwalîd's Rikma, p. 119, note 2).)), and no wisdom. Practice and theory have then an end. Thus: Enjoy, but not without working, ere the night cometh when no man can work. Thus spake Jesus (John 9:4), but in a different sense indeed from Koheleth. The night which He meant is the termination of this present life, which for Him, as for every man, has its particular work, which is either accomplished within the limits of this life, or is not accomplished at all.

    THE INCALCULABLENESS OF THE ISSUES AND OF THE DURATION OF LIFE, 9:11,12 Another reflection, so far not without connection in the foregoing, as the fact of experience, that ability is yet no security for the issue aimed at and merited, is chiefly referred to wisdom:


    I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. "Further, I came to see under the sun, that the race belongs not to the swift, and the war not to the heroes, and also not bread to the wise man, and not riches to the prudent, and not favour to men of knowledge; for time and chance happeneth to them all." The nearest preceding raa'i', to which this w|raa'o' shab|' suitably connects itself, is at Eccl 8:17. Instead of redii et videndo quidem = rursus vidi (cf. 8:9 and under 9;1), we had at 4:1 the simpler expression, redii et vidi. The five times repeated l is that of property, of that, viz., by virtue of which one is master of that which is named, has power over it, disposes of it freely.

    The race belongs not to the swift (meerowts , masc. to m|ruwtsaah , only here), i.e., their fleetness is yet no guarantee that on account of it they will reach the goal. Luther freely: "To be fleet does not help in running," i.e., running to an object or goal. "The war belongs not to the heroes," means that much rather it belongs to the Lord,1 Sam 17:47.-God alone gives the victory (Ps 33:16). Even so the gaining of bread, riches, favour (i.e., influence, reputation), does not lie in wisdom, prudence, knowledge of themselves, as an indispensable means thereto; but the obtaining of them, or the not obtaining of them, depends on times and circumstances which lie beyond the control of man, and is thus, in the final result, conditioned by God (cf. Rom 9:16); (Note: But not Jer 9:22; this passage, referred to by Bernstein, is of a different nature.) time and fate happen to all whose ability appears to warrant the issue, they both time and fate encounter them and bar to them the way; they are in an inexplicable manner dependent on both, and helplessly subject to them. As the idea of spiritual superiority is here expressed in a threefold manner by hechaa' (whence lacha' of the plur., also with the art. Eccl 9:1; Ex 36:4; Est 1:13), hanaa', and hayo', so at Isa 11:2, the gifts of "wisdom," "counsel," and "knowledge" follow each other. 'Eth is here "time" with its special circumstances (conjunctures), and pega', "accident," particularly as an adversity, disappointment of the word is used also without any addition (1 Kings 5:18) of misfortune (cf. pg`ym syr, Ps 3; 91). The masc. yiq|' is regulated after wp'; 'eth can, however, be used in the masc., Song 2:12; Böttch. §648, viz., "with the misapprehension of its origin" (v.


    This limitation of man in his efforts, in spite of all his capacity, has its reason in this, that he is on the whole not master of his own life:


    For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. "For man also knoweth not his time: like the fishes which are caught in an evil net, and like the birds which are caught in the snare-like them are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it suddenly breaks in upon them."

    The particles gam kiy are here not so clearly connected as at Eccl 8:12; 4:14, where, more correctly, the pointing should be gam kiy (ki with the conjunct. accent); ki rules the sentence; and gam, as to its meaning, belongs to eth-'itto. The particular has its reason from the general: man is not master of his own time, his own person, and his own life, and thus not of the fruits of his capabilities and his actions, in spite of the previously favourable conditions which appear to place the result beyond a doubt; for ere the result is reached of which he appears to be able to entertain a certainty, suddenly his time may expire, and his term of life be exhausted.

    Jerome translate 'itto (cf. Eccl 7:17) rightly by finem suum; `t , with the gen. following, frequently (vid., under Job 24:1) means the point of time when the fate of any one is decided-the terminus where a reckoning is made; here, directly, the terminus ad quem. The suddenness with which men are frequently overtaken with the catastrophe which puts an end to their life, is seen by comparison with the fishes which are suddenly caught in the net, and the birds which are suddenly caught in the snare. With shene' (that are caught) there is interchanged, in two variations of expression, haa'achuzowt , which is incorrectly written, by v. d.

    Hooght, Norzi, and others, h'chuz'. (Note: Vid., Ed. König, Gedanke, Laut u. Accent (1874), p. 72.) m|tsow' , a net-of which the plur. form Eccl 7:26 is used-goes back, as does the similar designation of a bulwark (14b), to the root-conception of searching (hunting), and receives here the epithet "evil." Birds, tsipaariym (from a ground-form with a short terminal vowel; cf.

    Assyr. itstsur, from itspur), are, on account of their weakness, as at Isa 31:5, as a figure of tender love, represented in the fem.

    The second half of the verse, in conformity with its structure, begins with kaahem (which more frequently occurs as k|mowhem ). yuwqaa' is part. Pu. for m|yuqaashiym (Ewald, §170d); the particip. m is rejected, and q is treated altogether as a guttural, the impracticable doubling of which is compensated for by the lengthening of the vowel. The use of the part. is here stranger than e.g., at Prov 11:13; 15:32; the fact repeating itself is here treated as a property. Like the fish and the birds are they, such as are caught, etc. Otherwise Hitz.: Like these are they caught, during the continuance of their life in the evil time...; but the being snared does not, however, according to the double figure, precede the catastrophe, but is its consequence. Rightly, Ginsb.: "Like these are the sons of men ensnared in the time of misfortune." raa`aah might be adj., as at Amos 5:13; Mic 2:3; but since it lies nearer to refer k|sheti' to ra'ah than to 'eth, thus ra'ah, like the frequently occurring yom ra'ah (7:14; cf. Jer 17:17 with 15:11), may be thought of as genit. An example of that which is here said is found in the fatal wounding of Ahab by means of an arrow which was not aimed at him, so that he died "at the time of the going down of the sun," 2 Chron 18:33-34.

    THE FURTHER SETTING FORTH OF EXPERIENCES, WITH PROVERBS INTERMIXED 9:13-10:15 Experiences and Proverbs Touching Wisdom and the Contrasts to It, 9:13-10:3 With the words, "further, I saw," 11a, the author introduced the fact he had observed, that there is not always a sure and honoured position in life connected with wisdom as its consequence; here he narrates an experience which, by way of example, shows how little wisdom profits, notwithstanding the extraordinary result it produces.


    This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: "Also this have I come to see as wisdom under the sun, and it appears great to me." The Venet. construes falsely: "This also have I seen: wisdom under the sun;" as also Hitzig, who reads zeh (neut. as at Eccl 7:27).

    There is no reason thus to break up the sentence which introduces the following experience. Zoh is connected with hhochmah, but not as Luther renders it: "I have also seen this wisdom," which would have required the words hch' z't , but, as Jerome does: Hanc quoque sub sole vidi sapeintiam; this, however, since gam-zoh, as at 5:15, cf. 18, is attractionally related to hhochmah as its pred., is = "also in this I saw wisdom," as the LXX translates, or as Zöckl.: "also this have I seen-come to find out as wisdom,"-also this, viz., the following incident narrated, in which wisdom of exceeding greatness presented itself to me. As Mordecai is called "great among the Jews," Est 10:3, so here Koheleth says that the wisdom which came to light therein appeared to him great ('eelaay , as elsewhere b|`eeynay or l|paanay ).

    Now follows an experience, which, however, has not merely a light side, but also a dark side; for wisdom, which accomplished so great a matter, reaped only ingratitude:

    ECCLESIASTES. 9:14-15

    There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: "A little city, and men therein only a few-to which a great king came near, and he besieged it, and erected against it high bulwarks. And he met therein a poor wise man, and who saved the city by his wisdom; and no man thought of that poor man." What may be said as to the hist. reference of these words has already been noticed; vid., above, p. 654. The "great king" is probably an Asiatic monarch, and that the Persian; Jerome translates verbally: Civitas parva et pauci in ea viri, venit contra eam-the former is the subj., and the latter its pred.; the object stands first, plastically rigid, and there then follows what happened to it; the structure of the sentence is fundamentally the same as Ps 104:25. The expression 'el bw' , which may be used of any kind of coming to anything, is here, as at Gen 32:9, meant of a hostile approach. The object of a siege and a hostile attack is usually denoted by `al , 2 Kings 16:5; Isa 7:1. Two Codd. of de Rossi's have the word m|tsowriym, but that is an error of transcription; the plur. of maatsowr is fem., Isa 29:4. m|tsowdiym is, as at Eccl 7:26, plur. of maatsowd (from tsuwd , to lie in wait); here, as elsewhere, bachan and daayeeq is the siegetower erected on the ground or on the rampart, from which to spy out the weak points of the beleaguered place so as to assail it.

    The words following baah (OT:871a ) uwmaatsaa' are rendered by the Targ., Syr., Jerome, Arab., and Luther: "and there was found in it;" most interpreters explain accordingly, as they point to Eccl 1:10, yo'mar , dicat aliquis. But that mts' in this sequence of thought is = w|nim|tsaa' (Job 42:15), is only to be supposed if it were impossible to regard the king as the subject, which Ewald with the LXX and the Venet. does in spite of §294b. It is true it would not be possible if, as Vaih. remarks, the finding presupposed a searching; but cf. on the contrary, e.g., Deut 24:1; Ps 116:3. We also say of one whom, contrary to expectation, a superior meets with, that he has found his match, that he has found his man. Thus it is here said of the great king, he found in the city a poor wise man-met therein with such an one, against whom his plan was shattered. chaakaam is the adjective of the person of the poor man designated by ish miskeen (cf. 2 Chron 2:13); the accents correctly indicate this relation. Instead of uwmilaT-huw', the older language would use way|maleeT; it does not, like the author here, use pure perfects, but makes the chief factum prominent by the fut. consec. The ee of milleet is, as at 13:9, that of limmeed before Makkeph, referred back to the original a.

    The making prominent of the subject contained in millat by means of hu is favourable to the supposition that umatsa' has the king as its subject; while even where no opposition (as e.g., at Jer 17:18) lies before us this pleonasm belongs to the stylistic peculiarities of the book (vid., above, p. 642, No. 3). Instead of adam lo, the older form is ish lo; perhaps the author here wishes to avoid the repetition of ish, but at Eccl 7:20 he also uses adam instead of ish, where no such reason existed.

    Threatened by a powerful assailant, with whom it could not enter into battle, the little city, deserted by its men to a small remainder capable of bearing arms (this idea one appears to be under the necessity of connecting with m`T...w'n'), found itself in the greatest straits; but when all had been given up as lost, it was saved by the wisdom of the poor man (perhaps in the same way as Abel-beth-maacha, 2 Sam 20, by the wisdom of a woman). But after this was done, the wise poor man quickly again fell into the background; no man thought of him, as he deserved to have been thought of, as the saviour of the city; he was still poor, and remained so, and pauper homo raro vifit cum nomine claro. The poor man with his wisdom, Hengst. remarks, is Israel. And Wangemann (1856), generalizing the parable: "The beleaguered city is the life of the individual; the great king who lays siege to it is death and the judgment of the Lord." But sounder and more appropriate is the remark of Luther: Est exemplum generale, cujus in multis historiis simile reperitur; and: Sic Themistocles multa bona fecit suis civibus, sed expertus summam intratitudinem. The author narrates an actual history, in which, on the one hand, he had seen what great things wisdom can do; and from which, on the other hand, he has drawn the following lesson:


    Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. "And I said: Better is wisdom than strength; but the wisdom of the poor is despised, and his words are not heard." With the words, "I saw," the author introduces his observations, and with "I said" his reflections (vid., above, No. 3, p. 642). Wisdom is better than strength, since it does more for the wise man, and through him for others, than physical force-more, as expressed in Eccl 7:19, than ten mighty men. But the respect which wisdom otherwise secures for a man, if it is the wisdom of a poor man, sinks into despect, to which his poverty exposes him-if necessity arises, his service, as the above history shows, is valued; but as a rule his words are unheeded, for the crowd estimate the worth of him whom they willingly hear according to the outward respect in which he is held.

    To the lessons gathered from experience, are now added instructive proverbs of kindred contents.


    The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. "The words of the wise, heard in quiet, have the superiority above the cry of a ruler among fools." Instead of tovim min, there stands here the simple min, prae, as at 4:17, to express the superiority of the one to the other.

    Hitzig finds in this proverb the meaning that, as that history has shown, the words of the wise, heard with tranquillity, gain the victory over the cry of a ruler over fools. But (1) the contrast of nachat and za`aqat require us to attribute the tranquillity to the wise man himself, and not to his hearers; (2) bak|' mow' is not a ruler over fools, by which it would remain questionable whether he himself was not a fool (cf. Job 41:26), but a ruler among fools (cf. 2 Sam 23:3, baa' mw', "a ruler among men;" and Prov. 36:30, ba' gib', "the hero among beasts"), i.e., one who among fools takes the place of chief. The words of the poor wise man pass by unheeded, they are not listened to, because he does not possess an imposing splendid outward appearance, in accordance with which the crowd estimate the value of a man's words; the wise man does not seek to gain esteem by means of a pompous violent deportment; his words b|' nosh|' are heard, let themselves be heard, are to be heard (cf. e.g., Song 2:12) in quiet (Isa 30:15); for, trusting to their own inward power of conviction, and committing the result to God, he despises vociferous pomp, and the external force of earthly expedients (cf. Isa 42:2; Matt 12:19); but the words of the wise, which are to be heard in unassuming, passionless quietness, are of more value than the vociferation with which a king among fools, an arch-fool, a non plus ultra among fools, trumpets forth his pretended wisdom and constrains his hearers.


    Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

    The following proverb also leans on the history above narrated: "Better is wisdom than weapons of war; and one sinner destroyeth much good." The above history has shown by way of example that wisdom accomplishes more than implements of war, q|' k|leey = mil|' kly (Assyr. unut tahazi (Note: Vid., Fried. Delitzsch's Assyr. Stud. p. 129.)), i.e., than all the apparatus belonging to preparation for war. But the much good which a wise man is accomplishing or has accomplished, one sinner (chwTe' , (Note: The Syr. (not the Targ.) had cheeT|' before it, and thus realized it, which appears to correspond better with the parall. chkmh.) cf. above, p. 682, note) by treachery or calumny may render vain, or may even destroy, through mere malicious pleasure in evil. This is a synthetic distich whose two parts may be interpreted independently. As wisdom accomplishes something great, so a single villain may have a far-reaching influence, viz., such as destroys much good.


    Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

    The second half of the foregoing double proverb introduces what now follows: "Poisonous flies make to stink, make to ferment the oil of the preparer of ointment; heavier than wisdom, than honour, weighs a little folly." We do not need to change maawet z|buwbeey , on account of the foll. sing. of the pred., either into m' zbwbiy (as possible by Hitz.) or yaamuwt zb' (Luzz.); both are inadmissible, for the style of Koheleth is not adorned with archaisms such as Chirek compaginis; and also such an attrib. clause as ymwt zbwb, a fly which dies," is for him too refined; but both are also unnecessary, for a plur. of the subj., in which the plurality of the individuals comes less into view than the oneness of their character, is frequently enough followed by the sing. of the pred., e.g., Gen 39:22; Joel 1:20; Isa 59:12, etc. It is a question, however, whether by mwt zbwby, death-bringing, i.e., poisonous flies (LXX, Targ., (Note: The Targ. interprets, as the Talm. and Mid. do, deadly flies as a figure of the prava concupiscentia. Similarly Wangemann: a mind buried in the world.)

    Luther) or dead flies (Symm., Syr., Jerome) is meant. We decide in favour of the former; for (1) mwt zbwby for meetiym z|buwbiym (Eccl 9:4; Isa 37:36), "death-flies" for "dead flies," would be an affected poetic expression without analogy; while, on the contrary, "death-flies" for "deadly flies" is a genit. connection, such as mwt k|leey instruments of death, i.e., deadly instruments and the like; Böttcher understands dung-flies; but the expression can scarcely extend to the designation of flies which are found on dead bodies. Meanwhile, it is very possible that by the expression m' zb', such flies are thought of as carry death from dead bodies to those that are living; the Assyr. syllabare show how closely the Semites distinguished manifold kinds of zbwbym (Assyr. zumbi = zubbi). (2) In favour of "dead flies," it has been remarked that that influence on the contents of a pot of ointment is effected not merely by poison-flies, but, generally, by flies that have fallen into it.

    But since the oil mixed with perfumes may also be of the kind which, instead of being changed by a dead body, much rather embalms it; so it does not surprise us that the exciter of fermentation is thus drastically described by mui'ai thanatou'sai (LXX); it happens, besides, also on this account, because "a little folly" corresponds as a contrasted figure to the little destructive carcase-wisdom b|`aa' t|cha' ("giveth life," Eccl 7:2), a little folly is thus like little deadly flies. The sequence of ideas yabi' yab|' (maketh the ointment stink) is natural. The corrupting body communicates its foul savour to the ointment, makes it boil up, i.e., puts it into a state of fermentation, in consequence of which it foams and raises up small blisters, 'b`bw`wt (Rashi). To the asyndeton yaabi' yab|', there corresponds, in 1b, the asyndeton mikaa' meechaa'; the Targ., Syr., and Jerome, (Note: The LXX entirely remodels 1b: ti'mion k.t.l ("a little wisdom is more honour than the great glory of folly"), i.e., rb cklwt mkbwd chkmh m`T yqr (kbwd in the sense of "great multitude"). Van der Palm (1784) regards this as the original form of the text.) who translate by "and," are therefore not witnesses for the phrase uwmik', but the Venet. (kai' tee's do'xees ) had this certainly before it; it is, in relation to the other, inferior in point of evidence. (Note: mikaabowd ; thus in the Biblia rabb. 1525, 1615, Genoa 1618, Plantin 1582, Jablonski 1699, and also v. d. Hooght and Norzi.

    In the Ven. 1515, 1521, 1615, uwmikaabowd is found with the copulat. vav, a form which is adopted by Michaelis. Thus also the Concord. cites, and thus, originally, it stood in J., but has been corrected to mikaabowd . F., however, has mikaabwd , with the marginal remark: smswn mny qblty kn mkbwd (Simson ha- Nakdam, to whom the writer of the Frankf. Cod. 1294 here refers for the reading mk', without the copul. vav, is often called by him his voucher). This is also the correct Masoretic reading; for if uwmik' were to be read, then the word would be in the catalogue of words of which three begin with their initial letter, and a fourth has introduced a vav before it (Mas. fin. f. 26, Ochla veochla, Nr. 15).)

    In general, it is evident that the point of comparison is the hurtfulness, widely extending itself, of a matter which in appearance is insignificant.

    Therefore the meaning of 1b cannot be that a little folly is more weighty than wisdom, than honour, viz., in the eyes of the blinded crowd (Zöckl., Dächsel). This limitation the author ought to have expressed, for without it the sentence is an untruth. Jerome, following the Targ. and Midrash, explains: Pretiosa est super sapientiam et gloriam stultitia parva, understanding by wisdom and honour the self-elation therewith connected; besides, this thought, which Luther limits by the introduction of zuweilen "folly is sometimes better than wisdom, etc."], is in harmony neither with that which goes before nor with that which follows.

    Luzz., as already Aben Ezra, Grotius, Geiger, Hengst., and the more recent English expositors, transfer the verbs of 1a zeugmatically to 1b: similiter pretiosum nomine sapientiae et gloriae virum foetidum facit stolidtias parva. But yby` forbids this transference, and, besides, min yaaqaar , "honoured on account of," is an improbable expression; also mk' yqr presents a tautology, which Luzz. seeks to remove by glossing mk', as the Targ. does, by wnkcym `wsr mrwb. Already Rashi has rightly explained by taking yaaqaar (Syr. jakîr, Arab. wakur, wakûr), in its primary meaning, as synon. of kaabeed : more weighty, i.e., heavier and weighing more than wisdom, than honour, is a little folly; and he reminds us that a single foolish act can at once change into their contrary the wisdom and the honour of a man, destroying both, making it as if they had never been, cf. 1 Cor 5:6.

    The sentence is true both in an intellectual and in a moral reference.

    Wisdom and honour are swept away by a little quantum of folly; it places both in the shade, it outweighs them in the scale; it stamps the man, notwithstanding the wisdom and dignity which otherwise belong to him, as a fool. The expressive roqeeach shemen is purposely used here; the dealer in ointments (pigmentarius) can now do nothing with the corrupted perfume-thus the wisdom which a man possesses, the honour which he has hitherto enjoyed, avail him no longer; the proportionally small portion of folly which has become an ingredient in his personality gives him the character of a fool, and operates to his dishonour. Knobel construes rightly; but his explanation (also of Heiligst., Elst., Ginsb.): "a little folly frequently shows itself more efficacious and fruitful than the wisdom of an honoured wise man," helps itself with a "frequently" inserted, and weakens mk' to a subordinated idea, and is opposed to the figure, which requires a personality.

    ECCLESIASTES 10:2,3 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

    A double proverb regarding wisdom and folly in their difference: "The heart of a wise man is directed to his right hand, and the heart of the fool to his left. And also on the way where a fool goeth, there his heart faileth him, and he saith to all that he is a fool." Most interpreters translate: The heart of the wise man is at his right hand, i.e., it is in the right place. But this designation, meant figuratively and yet sounding anatomically, would be in bad taste (Note: Christ. Fried. Bauer (1732) explains as we do, and remarks, "If we translate: the heart of the wise is at his right hand, but the heart of the fool at his left, it appears as if the heart of the prudent and of the foolish must have a different position in the human body, thus affording to the profane ground for mockery.") in this distinguishing double form (vid., on the contrary, Eccl 2:14). The l is that of direction; (Note: Accordingly, v. 2 has become a Jewish saying with reference to the study of a book (this thought of as Heb.): The wise always turn over the leaves backwards, repeating that which has been read; the fool forwards, superficially anticipating that which has not yet been read, and scarcely able to wait for the end.) and that which is situated to the right of a man is figuratively a designation of the right; and that to the left, a designation of the wrong. The designation proceeds from a different idea from that at Deut 5:32, etc.; that which lies to the right, as that lying at a man's right hand, is that to which his calling and duty point him; his|' denotes, in the later Hebrew, "to turn oneself to the wrong side."

    Verse 3. This proverb forms, along with the preceding, a tetrastich, for it is divided into two parts by vav. The Kerî has removed the art. in ks' and sh', Eccl 6:10, as incompatible with the s. The order of the words vegambaderek keshehsachal holek is inverted for vegam keshehsachal baderek holek, cf. 3:13, and also rav sheyihyn, 6:3; so far as this signifies, "supposing that they are many." Plainly the author intends to give prominence to "on the way;" and why, but because the fool, the inclination of whose heart, according to 2b, always goes to the left, is now placed in view as he presents himself in his public manner of life. Instead of leebhuw' chacar we have here the verbal clause chaaceer libow , which is not, after 6:2, to be translated: corde suo caret (Herzf., Ginsb.), contrary to the suff. and also the order of the words, but, after 9:8: cor ejus deficit, i.e., his understanding is at fault; for lb , here and at v. 2, is thus used in a double sense, as the Greek nou's and the Lat. mens can also be used: there it means pure, formal, intellectual soul-life; here, pregnantly (Psychol. p. 249), as at 7:7, cf.

    Hos 4:11, the understanding or the knowledge and will of what is right.

    The fool takes no step without showing that his understanding is not there-that, so to speak, he does not take it along with him, but has left it at home. He even carries his folly about publicly, and prides himself in it as if it were wisdom: he says to all that he is a fool, se esse stultum (thus, correctly, most Jewish and Christian interpreters, e.g., Rashi and Rambach). The expression follows the scheme of Ps. 9:21: May the heathen know mortales se esse (vid., l.c.). Otherwise Luther, with Symm. and Jerome: "he takes every man as a fool;" but this thought has no support in the connection, and would undoubtedly be expressed by heemaah c|kaaliym . Still differently Knobel and Ewald: he says to all, "it is foolish;" Hitzig, on the contrary, justly remarks that caakaal is not used of actions and things; this also is true of k|ciyl , against himself, Eccl 5:2, where he translates qol kesil by "foolish discourses."


    Wisdom is a strong protection. To this thought, from which the foregoing group proceeded, there is here subordinated the following admonition.


    If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

    This verse shows what is the wise conduct of a subject, and particularly of a servant, when the anger of the ruler breaks forth: "If the ill-humour of the ruler rise up against thee, do not leave thy post; for patience leaves out great sins." Luther connects v. 4 and v. 3 by "therefore;" for by the potentate he understands such an one as, himself a fool, holds all who contradict him to be fools: then it is best to let his folly rage on. But the mowsheel is a different person from the caakaal ; and 'altanach m|q' does not mean, "let not yourself get into a passion," or, as he more accurately explains in the Annotationes: "remain self-possessed" (similarly Hitzig: lose not thy mental state of composure), but, in conformity with tlk|...'l , Eccl 8:3, "forsake not the post (synon. matsaab and ma`amaad , Isa 22:19, cf. 23) which thou hast received." The person addressed is thus represented not merely as a subject, but officially as a subordinate officer: if the ruler's displeasure (ruwach , as at Judg 8:3; Prov 29:11) rises up against him (`aalaah , as elsewhere; cf. 'p , Ps 73:21; or cheemaah , 2 Sam 11:20), he ought not, in the consciousness that he does not merit his displeasure, hastily give up his situation which has been entrusted to him and renounce submission; for patience, gentleness (regarding mar|pee' , vid., Prov 12:18) g|d'...yani'.

    This concluding clause of the verse is usually translated: "It appeaseth (pacifieth) great sins" (LXX katapau'sei , Symm. pau'sei ). The phrase (chmh) 'p heeniyach is not to be compared, for it signifies quieting by an exhausting outbreak; on the contrary, ynych in the passage before us must signify quieting, as the preventing of an outbreak (cf. Prov 15:1). It appears more correct to render hiniyach in both cases in the sense of ea'n , missum facere: to leave great sins is = not to commit them, to give up the lust thereto; for hinniahh signifies to let go, to leave off, e.g., Jer 14:9; and to indulge, Est 3:8, here as at 7:18; 11:6, "to keep the hands from something." The great sins cannot certainly be thought of as those of the ruler; for on his part only one comes into view, if indeed, according to the old legal conception, it could be called such, viz., cruel proceeding with reference to him who wilfully withdraws from him, and thus proves his opposition; much rather we are to think of the great sins into which he who is the object of the ruler's displeasure might fall, viz., treason (Eccl 8:2), insubordination, self-destruction, and at the same time, since he does not stand alone, or make common cause with others who are discontented, the drawing of others into inevitable ruin (8:3b). All these sins, into which he falls who answers wrath with wrath, patience avoids, and puts a check to them. The king's anger is perhaps justified; the admonition, however, would be otherwise expressed than by 'l-tnch mq', if it were not presupposed that it was not justified; and thus without meta'basis eis a'llo ge'nos an I-section follows the reflection regarding wise deportment as over against the king's displeasure, a section which describes from experience and from personal observation the world turned upside down in the state.


    There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, like an error which proceedeth from the ruler." The introduction by the virtual relative räithi is as at Eccl 5:12; 6:1. Knobel, Hengst., and others give to the k of kish|' the meaning of "according to," or "in consequence of which," which harmonizes neither with ra'ah nor with räithi. Also Kleinert's translation: "There is a misery-I have seen it under the sun-in respect of an error which proceedeth from the ruler," is untenable; for by this translation ra'ah is made the pred. while it is the subj. to yeesh , and kishgagah the unfolding of this subject. Hitzig also remarks: "as \wie ein an error, instead of which we have: in respect to \um einen an error;" for he confounds things incongruous. Hitz., however, rightly recognises, as also Kleinert, the k as Caph veritatis, which measures the concrete with the idea.

    Isa 13:6, compares the individual with the general which therein comes to view, Ezek 26:10; Neh 7:2; cf. 2 Sam 9:8. Koheleth saw an evil under the sun; something which was like an error, appeared to him altogether like an error which proceedeth from the ruler. If we could translate sheyo' by quod exiit, then k would be the usual Caph similitudinis; but since it must be translated by quod exit, wgw' ksh' places the observed fact under a comprehensive generality: it had the nature of an error proceeding from the ruler. If this is correct, it is so much the less to be assumed that by hashaliyT God is to be understood (Dan 5:21), as Jerome was taught by his Hebraeus: quod putent homines in hac inaequalitate rerum illum non juste et ut aequum est judicare. It is a governor in a state that is meant, by whom an error might easily be committed, and only too frequently is committed, in the promotion of degradation of persons.

    But since the world, with its wonderful division of high and low, appears like as it were an error proceeding from the Most High, there certainly falls a shadow on the providence of God Himself, the Governor of the world; but yet not so immediately that the subject of discourse is an "error" of God, which would be a saying more than irreverent. ytsaa' = ytsaah is the metaplastic form for yts|'aah or yts'eet (for which at Deut 28:57 incorrectly yowtseet), not an error of transcription, as Olsh. supposes; vid., to the contrary, above, No. 1, p. 641. milip|neey (Symm. ex e'mprosthen ) with yts' is the old usus loq. There now follows a sketch of the perverted world.

    ECCLESIASTES. 10:6-7

    Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. "Folly is set on great heights, and the rich must sit in lowliness. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes like servants walking on foot." The word hacekel (with double seghol, Aram. cak|luw) is used here instead of those in whom it is personified. Elsewhere a multiplicity of things great, such as `amiym , mayim , and the like, is heightened by rabiym (cf. e.g., Ps 18:17); here "great heights" are such as are of a high, or the highest degree; rabbim, instead of harabbim, is more appos. than adject. (cf. Gen 43:14; Ps 68:28; 143:10; Jer 2:21), in the sense of "many" (e.g., Ginsburg: "in many high positions") it mixes with the poetry of the description dull prose. (Note: Luzz. reads naatan : "Folly brings many into high places." The order of the words, however, does not favour this.) 'Ashirim also is peculiarly used: divites = nobiles (cf. showa` , Isa 32:5), those to whom their family inheritance gives a claim to a high station, who possess the means of training themselves for high offices, which they regard as places of honour, not as sources of gain. Regibus multis, Grotius here remarks, quoting from Sallust and Tacitus, suspecti qui excellunt sive sapientia sive nobilitate aut opibus. Hence it appears that the relation of slaves and princes to each other is suggested; hoc discrimen, says Justin, 41:3, of the Parthians, inter servos liberosque est quod servi pedibus, liberi nonnisi equis incedunt; this distinction is set aside, princes must walk 'al-haarets, i.e., beregel (beragleehem), and in their stead (Jer 17:25) slaves sit high on horseback, and rule over them (the princes)-an offensive spectacle, Prov 19:10. The eunuch Bagoas (vid., above, p. 653), long all-powerful at the Persian Court, is an example of the evil consequences of this reversal of the natural relations of men.


    How much time, thought, and paper have been expended in seeking to find out a close connection between this group of verses and that going before!

    Some read in them warnings against rising in rebellion against despots (Ginsb.); others (e.g., Zöckl.) place these proverbs in relation to the by no means enviable lot of those upstarts (Zöckl.); more simply and more appropriately, Luther here finds exemplified the thought that to govern (regere homines et gerere res humanas) is a difficult matter; on the other hand, Luzz. finds in 8-11 the thought that all depends on fate, and not on the wisdom of man. In reality, this section forms a member in the carrying forward of the theme which the author has been discussing from Eccl 9:13: wisdom and folly in their mutual relations, particularly in difficult situations of life. The catchword of the foregoing section is mar|pee' , patience, resignation, which guards against rendering evil for evil; and the catchword of the following section is hak|sheeyr , considerate and provisory straining of the means toward the accomplishment of that which one purposes to do. The author presents a prelude in four sentences, which denote by way of example, that whoever undertakes any severe labour, at the same time faces the dangers connected therewith.

    ECCLESIASTES. 10:8-9

    He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. "He that diggeth a pit may fall into it; whoso breaketh down walls, a serpent may sting him. Whoso pulleth out stones may do himself hurt therewith; he who cleaveth wood may endanger himself thereby." The futures are not the expression of that which will necessarily take place, for, thus rendered, these four statements would be contrary to experience; they are the expression of a possibility. The fut. yipowl is not here meant as predicting an event, as where the clause 8a is a figure of selfpunishment arising from the destruction prepared for others, Prov 26:27.

    Sir. 27:26. guwmaats is, Prov 26:27, the Targum word for shachat , ditch, from gaamats = shuwach , depressum esse. gaadeer (R. gd , to cut), something cutting off, something dividing, is a wall as a boundary and means of protection drawn round a garden, vineyard, or farm-court; gaadeer paarats is the reverse of perets gaadar , Isa 58:12.

    Serpents are accustomed to nestle in the crevices and holes of walls, as well as in the earth (from a city-wall is called chwmh and cheel ); thus he who breaks into such a wall may expect that the serpent which is there will bite him (cf. Amos 5:19). To tear down stones, hissi'a, is synon. of hhatsav, to break stones, Isa 51:1; yet hhotseev does not usually mean the stone-breaker, but the stone-cutter (stone-mason); hissi'a, from nasa', to tear out, does not also signify, 1 Kings 5:31, "to transport," and here, along with wood-splitting, is certainly to be thought of as a breaking loose or separating in the quarry or shaft. Ne'etsav signifies elsewhere to be afflicted; here, where the reference is not to the internal but the external feeling: to suffer pain, or reflex.: to injure oneself painfully; the derivat. 'etsev signifies also severe labour; but to find this signification in the Niph. ("he who has painful labour") is contrary to the usu loq., and contrary to the meaning intended here, where generally actual injuries are in view. Accordingly baam (OT:871a ) yicaaken , for which the Mishn. b|`ats|mow y|cakeen, (Note: Vid., above, p. 639.) "he brings himself into danger," would denote, to be placed in danger of life and limb, cf. Gittin 65b, Chullin 37a; and it is therefore not necessary, with Hitzig and others, to translate after the vulnerabitur of Jerome: "He may wound himself thereby;" there is not a denom. caakan , to cut, to wound, derived from cakiyn (sakiyn ), an instrument for cutting, a knife. (Note: The Midrash understands the whole ethically, and illustrates it by the example of Rabsake we know now that the half-Assyr., half- Accad. word rabsak means a military chief], whom report makes a brother of Manasseh, and a renegade in the Assyrian service.)

    The sum of these four clauses is certainly not merely that he who undertakes a dangerous matter exposes himself to danger; the author means to say, in this series of proverbs which treat of the distinction between wisdom and folly, that the wise man is everywhere conscious of his danger, and guards against it. These two verses (8, 9) come under this definite point of view by the following proverb; wisdom has just this value in providing against the manifold dangers and difficulties which every undertaking brings along with it. (Note: Thus rightly Carl Lang in his Salom. Kunst im Psalter (Marburg 1874). He sees in vv. 8-10 a beautiful heptastich. But as to its contents, v. 11 also belongs to this group.)

    This is illustrated by a fifth example, and then it is declared with reference to all together.


    If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. "If the iron has become blunt, and he has not whetted the face, then he must give more strength to the effort; but wisdom has the superiority in setting right." This proverb of iron, i.e., iron instruments (bar|zel , from baaraz, to pierce, like the Arab. name for iron, hadîd, means essentially something pointed), is one of the most difficult in the Book of Koheleth-linguistically the most difficult, because scarcely anywhere else are so many peculiar and unexampled forms of words to be found. The old translators afford no help for the understanding of it. The advocates of the hypothesis of a Dialogue have here a support in 'im , which may be rendered interrogatively; but where would we find, syntactically as well as actually, the answer? Also, the explanations which understand chayaaliym in the sense of war-troops, armies, which is certainly its nearestlying meaning, bring out no appropriate thought; for the thought that even blunt iron, as far as it is not externally altogether spoiled (lo-phanim qilqal), or: although it has not a sharpened edge (Rashi, Rashbam), might be an equipment for an army, or gain the victory, would, although it were true, not fit the context; Ginsburg explains: If the axe be blunt, and he (who goes out against the tyrant) do not sharpen it beforehand (phanim, after Jerome, for lephanim, which is impossible, and besides leads to nothing, since lephanim means ehedem formerly, but not zuvor \prius, Ewald, §220a), he (the tyrant) only increases his army; on the contrary, wisdom hath the advantage by repairing the mischief (without the war being unequal);-but the "ruler" of the foregoing group has here long ago disappeared, and it is only a bold imagination which discovers in the hu of 10a the person addressed in v. 4, and represents him as a rebel, and augments him into a warlike force, but recklessly going forth with unwhetted swords.

    The correct meaning for the whole, in general at least, is found if, after the example of Abulwalîd and Kimchi, we interpret chayaaliym gabeer of the increasing of strength, the augmenting of the effort of strength, not, as Aben-Ezra, of conquering, outstripping, surpassing; gibeer means to make strong, to strengthen, Zech 10:6,12; and chayaaliym , as plur. of chayil , strength, is supported by chayaaliym gibowreey , 1 Chron 7:5,7,11,40, the plur. of chyl gbwr ; the LXX renders by duna'meis dunamoo'sei and he shall strengthen the forces, and the Peshito has chay|leey for duna'meis , Acts 8:13; 19:11 (cf. Chald. Syr. 'it|chayal, to strengthen oneself, to become strengthened). Thus understanding the words y|ga' yacha' of intentio virium, and that not with reference to sharpening (Luth., Grotius), but to the splitting of wood, etc. (Geier, Desvoeux, Mendelss.), all modern interpreters, with the exception of a few who lose themselves on their own path, gain the thought, that in all undertakings wisdom hath the advantage in the devising of means subservient to an end. The diversities in the interpretation of details leave the essence of this thought untouched. Hitz., Böttch., Zöckl., Lange, and others make the wood-splitter, or, in general, the labourer, the subject to qeehaah , referring whw' to the iron, and contrary to the accents, beginning the apodosis with qilqal: "If he (one) has made the iron blunt, and it is without an edge, he swings it, and applies his strength." lo'-paaniym, "without an edge" (lo for belo), would be linguistically as correct as baaniym lo' , "without children," 1 Chron 2:30,32; Ewald, §286b; and qilqal would have a meaning in some measure supported by Ezek 21:26. But granting that qilqal, which there signifies "to shake," may be used of the swinging of an axe (for which we may refer to the Aethiop. kualkuala, kalkala, of the swinging of a sword), yet qil|q|low ('otow qil|qal ) could have been used, and, besides, pnym means, not like py , the edge, but, as a somewhat wider idea, the front, face (Ezek 21:21; cf. Assyr. pan ilippi, the forepart of a ship); "it has no edge" would have been expressed by (piypiyowt ) peh l' whw' , or by m|luTaash 'ynnw whw' (muwchaad, mowraaT ). We therefore translate: if the iron has become blunt, hebes factum sit (for the Pih. of intransitives has frequently the meaning of an inchoative or desiderative stem, like mi`eeT , to become little, decrescere, Eccl 12:3; kihaah , hebescere, caligare, Ezek 21:12; Ewald, §120c), and he (who uses it) has not polished (whetted) the face of it, he will (must) increase the force. w|huw' does not refer to the iron, but, since there was no reason to emphasize the sameness of the subject (as e.g., 2 Chron 32:30), to the labourer, and thus makes, as with the other explanation, the change of subject noticeable (as e.g., 2 Chron 26:1). The order of the words ql'...wh', et ille non faciem (ferri) exacuit, is as at Isa 53:9; cf. also the position of lo in 2 Sam 3:34; Num 16:29. qil|qeel, or pointed with Pattach instead of Tsere (cf. qarqar, Num 24:17) in bibl. usage, from the root-meaning levem esse, signifies to move with ease, i.e., quickness (as also in the Arab. and Aethiop.), to shake (according to which the LXX and Syr. render it by tara'ssein, d|lach, to shake, and thereby to trouble, make muddy); in the Mishn. usage, to make light, little, to bring down, to destroy; here it means to make light = even and smooth (the contrast of rugged and notched), a meaning the possibility of which is warranted by qaalaal nch', Ezek 1:7; Dan 10:6 (which is compared by Jewish lexicographers and interpreters), which is translated by all the old translators "glittering brass," and which, more probably than Ewald's "to steel" (temper), is derived from the root qal, to burn, glow. (Note: Regarding the two roots, vid., Fried. Delitzsch's Indogerm.- Sem. Stud. p. 91f.)

    With vahhaylim the apodosis begins; the style of Koheleth recognises this vav apod. in conditional clauses, Eccl 4:11, cf. Gen 43:9, Ruth. Eccl 3:13; Job 7:4; Mic 5:7, and is fond of the inverted order of the words for the sake of emphasis, 11:8, cf. Jer 37:10, and above, under 7:22.

    In 10b there follows the common clause containing the application. Hitzig, Elster, and Zöckl. incorrectly translate: "and it is a profit wisely to handle wisdom;" for instead of the inf. absol. hak|', they unnecessarily read the inf. constr. hak|shiyr, and connect chaak|maah hak|shiyr, which is a phrase altogether unparalleled. Hichsir means to set in the right position (vid., above, p. 638, kaser), and the sentence will thus mean: the advantage which the placing rightly of the means serviceable to an end affords, is wisdom-i.e., wisdom bears this advantage in itself, brings it with it, concretely: a wise man is he who reflects upon this advantage. It is certainly also possible that hksh', after the manner of the Hiph. htslych and hskyl, directly means "to succeed," or causatively: "to make to succeed." We might explain, as e.g., Knobel: the advantage of success, or of the causing of prosperity, is wisdom, i.e., it is that which secures this gain.

    But the meaning prevalent in post-bibl. Heb. of making fit, equipping-a predisposition corresponding to a definite aim or result-is much more conformable to the example from which the porisma is deduced. Buxtorf translates the Hiph. as a Mishnic word by aptare, rectificare. Tyler suggests along with "right guidance" the meaning "pre-arrangement," which we prefer. (Note: Also the twofold Haggadic explanation, Taanith 8a, gives to hachshir the meaning of "to set, à priori, in the right place." Luther translated qilqal twice correctly, but further follows the impossible rendering of Jerome: multo labore exacuetur, et post industriam sequetur sapientia.)


    Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

    The last proverb of this series presents for consideration the uselessness of him who comes too late. "If a serpent bite without enchantment, the charmer is of no use." The Talm. interprets this 'm , like that of v. 10, also as interrog.: Does the serpent bite without its being whispered to, i.e., without a providential determination impelling it thereto? Jer. Peah, i. 1. But lachash , except at Isa 26:16, where whispering prayers are meant, signifies the whispering of formulas of charming; "serpents are not to be charmed (tamed)," lchsh, Jer 8:17. Rather for haalaa' ba`al the meaning of slander is possible, which is given to it in the Haggada, Taanith 8a: All the beasts will one day all at once say to the serpent: the lion walks on the earth and eats, the wolf tears asunder and eats; but what enjoyment hast thou by thy bite? and it answers them: "Also the slanderer (hlshwn lb`l) has certainly no profit."

    Accordingly the Targ., Jerome, and Luther translate; but if 'im is conditional, and the vav of veeen connects the protasis and the apodosis, then ba'al hallashon must denote a man of tongue, viz., of an enchanting tongue, and thus a charmer (LXX, Syr.). This name for the charmer, one of many, is not unintentional; the tongue is an instrument, as iron is, v. 10: the latter must be sharp, if it would not make greater effort necessary; the former, if it is to gain its object, must be used at the right time. The serpent bites laacha' b|l', when it bites before it has been charmed (cf. belo yomo, Job 15:32); there are also serpents which bite without letting themselves be charmed; but here this is the point, that it anticipates the enchantment, and thus that the charmer comes too late, and can make no use of his tongue for the intended purpose, and therefore has no advantage from his act. There appropriately follow here proverbs of the use of the tongue on the part of a wise man, and its misuse on the part of a fool.


    It is wisdom, as the preceding series of proverbs has shown, to be on one's guard to provide oneself with the right means, and to observe the right time. These characteristics of the wise man v. 11 has brought to view, by an example from the sphere of action in which the tongue serves as the instrument. There now follows, not unexpectedly, a proverb with reference to that which the words of a wise man and the words of a fool respectively bring about.


    The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. "The words of a wise man's mouth are grace; but the lips of a fool swallow him up." The words from a wise man's mouth are cheen , graciousness, i.e., gracious in their contents, their form and manner of utterance, and thus also they gain favour, affection, approbation, for culture (education) produces favour, Prov 13:15, and its lips grace (pleasantness), which has so wide an influence that he can call a king his friend, Prov 22:11, although, according to 9:11, that does not always so happen as is to be expected. The lips of a fool, on the contrary, swallow him, i.e., lead him to destruction. The Pih. bila` , which at Prov 19:28 means to swallow down, and at Prov 21:20 to swallow = to consume in luxury, to spend dissolutely, has here the metaphorical meaning of to destroy, to take out of the way (for that which is swallowed up disappears). sip|towt is parallel form to sip|teey , like the Aram. cip|waat. The construction is, as at Prov 14:3, "the lips of the wise tish|m' preserve them;" the idea of unity, in the conception of the lips as an instrument of speech, prevails over the idea of plurality. The words of the wise are heart-winning, and those of the fool self-destructive.

    This is verified in the following verse.


    The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. "The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his mouth is mischievous madness." From folly (absurdity) the words which are heard from a fool's mouth rise to madness, which is compounded of presumption, wantonness, and frenzy, and which, in itself a symptom of mental and moral depravity, brings as its consequence destruction on himself (Prov 18:17). The adjective raa`aah is as in raa` chaaliy , which interchanges with chow' raa`aah Eccl 6:2; 5:12, etc.

    The end of his mouth, viz., of his speaking, is = the end of the words of his mouth, viz., the end which they at last reach. Instead of holeloth, there is here, with the adj. following, holeluth, with the usual ending of abstracta.

    The following proverb says how the words of the fool move between these two poles of folly and wicked madness: he speaks much, and as if he knew all things.


    A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? "And the fool maketh many words: while a man yet doth not know that which shall be; and what shall be when he is no more, who can show him that?" The vav at the beginning of this verse corresponds to the Lat. accedit quod. That he who in 12b was named kesil is now named hassachal, arises from this, that meanwhile sichluth has been predicated of him. The relation of 14b to 14a, Geier has rightly defined: Probatur absurditas multiloquii a communi ignorantia ac imbecillitate humana, quae tamen praecipue dominatur apud ignaros stultos. We miss before lo-yeda' an "although" (gam, Neh 6:1, or ki gam, 8:12); the clause is, after the manner of a clause denoting state or condition, subordinated to the principal clause, as at Ps 5:10: "an open grave is their throat yacha' l|sh', although they smooth their tongue, i.e., speak flatteringly." The LXX, Syr., Symm., and Jerome seek to rectify the tautology id quod futurum est et quod futurum est (cf. on the other hand, Eccl 8:7), for they read yh'...shyh mh. But the second quod futurum certainly preserves by mee'acha' its distinguishing nearer definition. Hitzig explains: "What is done, and what after this (that is done) is done." Scarcely correctly: aharav of the parallel passage, 6:12, cf. 7:14; 9:3, requires for the suffix a personal reference, so that thus meaharav, as at Deut 29:21, means "from his death and onwards." Thus, first, the knowledge of the future is denied to man; then the knowledge of what will be done after his death; and generally, of what will then be done. The fool, without any consciousness of human ignorance, acts as if he knew all, and utters about all and everything a multitude of words; for he uselessly fatigues himself with his ignorance, which remains far behind the knowledge that is possible for man.


    The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. "The labour of the foolish wearieth him who knoweth not how to go to the city." If we do not seek to explain: labour such as fools have wearies him (the fool), then we have here such a synallage numeri as at Isa 2:8; Hos 4:8, for from the plur. a transition is made to the distributive or individualizing sing. A greater anomaly is the treatment of the noun `aamaal as fem. (greater even than the same of the noun pithgam, Eccl 8:11, which admitted of attractional explanation, and, besides, in a foreign word was not strange). Kimchi, Michlol 10a, supposes that `ml is thought of in the sense of `ml y|giy`at; impossible, for one does not use such an expression.

    Hitzig, and with him Hengst., sees the occasion for the synallage in the discordance of the masc. y|yag|`enuw; but without hesitation we use the expressions y|yacheel , Mic 5:6, y|yac|', Josh 6:26, and the like. 'Amal also cannot be here fem. unitatis (Böttch. §657. 4), for it denotes the wearisome striving of fools as a whole and individually.

    We have thus to suppose that the author has taken the liberty of using 'amal once as fem. (vid., on the contrary, Eccl 2:18,20), as the poet, Prov 4:13, in the introduction of the Book of Proverbs uses musar once as fem., and as the similarly formed tsaabaa' is used in two genders. The fool kindles himself up and perplexes himself, as if he could enlighten the world and make it happy-he who does not even know how to go to the city.

    Ewald remarks: "Apparently proverbial, viz., to bribe the great lords in the city." For us who, notwithstanding v. 16, do not trouble ourselves any more with the tyrants of v. 4, such thoughts, which do violence to the connection, are unnecessary. Hitzig also, and with him Elst. and Zöckl., thinks of the city as the residence of the rulers from whom oppression proceeds, but from whom also help against oppression is to be sought. All this is to be rejected. Not to know how to go to the city, is = not to be able to find the open public street, and, like the Syrians, 2 Kings 6:18f., to be smitten with blindness. The way to the city is via notissima et tritissima.

    Rightly Grotius, like Aben Ezra: Multi quaestionibus arduis se faitgant, cum ne obvia quidem norint, quale est iter ad urbem. 'el-`iyr is vulgar for 'lhaa` yr. In the Greek language also the word po'lis has a definite signification, and Athens is called a'stu, mostly without the art. But Stamboul, the name of which may seem as an illustration of the proverbial phrase, "not to know how to go to the city," is = eis tee'n po'lin . Grätz finds here an allusion to the Essenes, who avoided the cityhabeat sibi!

    THIRD CONCLUDING SECTION, WITH THE FINALE AND EPILOGUE (A.) Warnings against Idle Revelry and Improvidence, and a Call to a Fresh Effort after a Happy Improvement of Life- 10:16-11:17 The Prosperity of a Country, Its Misfortune, and Thoughtful Foresight, 10:16-20 Interpreters have sought in every way to discover a close connection between the following proverbs of the bad and good princes, and those that precede. Hitzig, rightly dissatisfied with this forced attempt, cuts the knot by putting vv. 16-19 into the mouth of the fool, v. 15: Koheleth, v. 20, refers to him this rash freedom of speech, and warns him against such language; for, supposing that vv. 16-19 were the words of Koheleth, in v. 20 he would contradict himself. This unworthy perversion of the contents of the section rectifies itself. The supposed words of the fool belong to the most peculiar, most impressive, and most beautiful utterances of the chkm which the Book of Koheleth contains, and the warning, v. 20, against cursing the king, stands in no contradiction to the "woe," v. 16; Isaiah under Ahaz, Jeremiah under Zedekiah, actually show how the two are in harmony; and the apostles even in the times of Nero acted on their "honour the king." Rather it may be said that the author in v. 16, from fools in general (v. 15) comes to speak of folly in the position occupied by a king and princes. But "folly" is not the characteristic name for that which is unseemly and indecorous which is blamed in these high lords. From Eccl 10:16, the Book of Koheleth turns toward the conclusion; since it represents itself as a discourse of Solomon's on the subject of the wisdom of life, and all through has a sharp eye on rulers and their surroundings, it is not strange that it treated of it in 10:4-7, and again now returns to the theme it had scarcely left.

    ECCLESIASTES. 10:16-17

    Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! "Woe to thee, O land, whose king is a child, and whose princes sit at table in the early morning! Happy art thou, O land, whose king is a noble, and whose princes sit at table at the right time, in manly strength, and not in drunkenness!" Regarding 'iy , vid., above, p. 637. Instead of na' shema', the older language would rather use the phrase mal|kow na`ar 'asher ; and instead of na'ar, we might correctly use, after Prov 30:22, 'eved; but not as Grätz thinks, who from this verse deduces the reference of the book of Herod (the "slave of the Hasmonean house," as the Talm. names him), in the same meaning. For na'ar, it is true, sometimes means-e.g., as Ziba's by-name (2 Sam. 19:1817)-a servant, but never a slave as such, so that here, in the latter sense, it might be the contrast of bench-owriym; it is to be understood after Isa 3:12; and Solomon, Bishop of Constance, understood this woe rightly, for he found it fulfilled at the time of the last German Karolingian Ludwig III. (Note: Cf. Büchmann's Feglügelte Worte, p. 178, 5th ed. (1868).)

    Na'ar is a very extensively applicable word in regard to the age of a person.

    King Solomon and the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah show that na'ar may be used with reference to one in a high office; but here it is one of few years of age who is meant, who is incapable of ruling, and shows himself as childish in this, that he lets himself be led by bad guides in accordance with their pleasure. In 16b, the author perhaps thinks of the heads of the aristocracy who have the phantom-king in their power: intending to fatten themselves, they begin their feasting with the break of day. If we translate yocheeeelu by "they eat," 16b sounds as if to breakfast were a sin-with us such an abbreviation of the thought so open to misconception would be a fault in style, but not so with a Hebrew. (Note: Vid., Gesch. d. jüd. Poesie, p. 188.f.) 'akol (for lechem 'akol , Ps 14:4) is here eating for eating's sake, eating as its own object, eating which, in the morning, comes in the place of fresh activity in one's calling, consecrated by prayer.

    Instead of 'ash|', 17a, there ought properly to have been 'ashaarayik| ; but (1) 'ash|reey has this peculiarity, to be explained from its interjectional usage, that with the suff. added it remains in the form of the st. constr., for we say e.g., 'ash|reykaa for 'ashaareykaa; (2) the sing. form 'esher , inflected 'ash|riy, so substitutes itself that 'ash|reeyk| , or, more correctly, 'ash|reek| , and 'ash|reehuw , Prov 29:19, the latter for 'ashaaraayw, are used (vid., under Song 2:14).

    Regarding ben-hhorim, vid., above, p. 637; the root-word signifies to be white (vid., under Gen 40:16). A noble is called hhor, Isa 34:12; and one noble by birth, more closely, or also merely descriptively (Gesen. Lehrgeb. p. 649), ben-hhorim, from his purer complexion, by which persons of rank were distinguished from the common people (Lam 4:7). In the passage before us, ben-hhorim is an ethical conception, as e.g., also generosus becomes such, for it connects with the idea of noble by birth that of noble in disposition, and the latter predominates (cf. Song 7:2, nadiv): it is well with a land whose king is of noble mind, is a man of noble character, or, if we give to ben-hhorim the Mishnic meaning, is truly a free man (cf. John 8:36). Of princes after the pattern of such a king, the contrary of what is said 16b is true: they do not eat early in the morning, but ba'et, "at the right time;" everywhere else this is expressed by be'itto (Eccl 3:11); here the expression-corresponding to the Greek en kairoo' , the Lat. in tempore-is perhaps occasioned by the contrast baboqer, "in the morning."

    Eating at the right time is more closely characterized by bighvurah velo vashshethi. Jerome, whom Luther follows, translates: ad reficiendum et non ad luxuriam. Hitz., Ginsb., and Zöckl., "for strengthening" (obtaining strength), not: "for feasting;" but that beth might introduce the object aimed at (after Hitz., proceeding from the beth of exchange), we have already considered under Eccl 2:4. The author, wishing to say this, ought to have written lshty wl' lgbwrh. Better, Hahn: "in strength, but not in drunkenness,"-as heroes, but not as drunkards (Isa 5:22). Ewald's "in virtue, and not in debauchery," is also thus meant. But what is that: to eat in virtue, i.e., the dignity of a man? The author much rather represents them as eating in manly strength, i.e., as this requires it (cf. the plur. Ps 71:16 and Ps 90:10), only not bashti ("in drunkenness-excess"), so that eating and drinking become objects in themselves. Kleinert, well: as men, and not as gluttons. The Masora makes, under bashti,' the note lyt, i.e., shty has here a meaning which it has not elsewhere, it signifies drunkenness; elsewhere it means the weft of a web. The Targ. gives the word the meaning of weakness (chalaashuwt), after the Midrash, which explains it by bit|shiyshuw (in weakness); Menahem b. Saruk takes along with it in this sense naash|taah , Jer 51:30. The Talm. Shabbath 10a, however, explains it rightly by shel-yayin bish|tiyaah.


    By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

    Since, now, v. 19 has only to do with princes, the following proverb of the consequences of sloth receives a particular reference in the frame of this mirror for princes: "Through being idle the roof falleth; and through laziness of the hands the house leaketh." Ewald, Redslob, Olsh., Hitz., and Fürst, as already Aben Ezra, understand the dual `atsal|' of the two idle hands, but a similar attribut. adject.-dual is not found in Heb.; on the contrary, ephraim, merathaim Jer 50:21, rish'athaim, and, in a certain measure, also riqmathaim, speak in favour of the intensification of the dual; 'atsaltaim is related to 'atslah, as Faulenzen being idle, living in idleness to Faulheit laziness, it means doubled, i.e., great, constant laziness (Gesen. H.

    Wört., and Böttch. in the N. Aehrenl., under this passage). If 'atsaltaim were an attribut. designation of the hands, then shiphluth hadaim would be lowness, i.e., the hanging down of the hands languidly by the side; the former would agree better with the second than with the first passage.

    Regarding the difference between hammeqareh (the beams and joists of a house) and hamqareh (contignans), vid., note below. (Note: ham|qaareh , with mem Dageshed (Masora: dgs lyt); in Ps 104:3, on the contrary, the mem has Raphe, for there it is particip. (Michlol 46a; Parchon's Lex. f. 3, col. 1).)

    Since exceeding laziness leaves alone everything that could support the house, the beams fall (yimak| , Niph. maakak| ), and the house drops, i.e., lets the rain through (yid|lop , with o, in spite of the intrans. signification); cf. the Arab. proverb of the three things which make a house insufferable, under Prov 19:13. Also the community, whom the king and the nobles represent, is a bayit , as e.g., Israel is called the house of Jacob. If the rulers neglect their duty, abusing their high position in obeying their own lusts, then the kingdom (state) becomes as a dilapidated house, affording no longer any protection, and at last a machshelah, a ruined building, Isa 3:6. It becomes so by slothfulness, and the prodigal love of pleasure associated therewith.


    A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things. "Meals they make into a pleasure, and wine cheereth the life, and money maketh everything serviceable." By `osiym , wicked princes are without doubt thought of-but not immediately, since 16b is too remote to give the subject to v. 19. The subject which 'osim bears in itself (= 'osim heem) might be syntactically definite, as e.g., Ps 33:5, 'oheeb , He, Jahve, loves, thus: those princes, or, from v. 18: such slothful men; but 'osim is better rendered, like e.g., omrim, Ex 5:16 (Ewald, §200a), and as in the Mishna we read qowriyn and the like with gramm. indefin. subj.: they make, but so that by it the slothful just designated, and those of a princely rank are meant (cf. a similar use of the inf. abs., as here of the part. in the historical style, Isa 22:13). Ginsburg's rendering is altogether at fault: "They turn bread and wine which cheereth life into revelry."

    If `sh and lechem as its object stand together, the meaning is, "to prepare a feast," Ezek 4:15; cf. 'avad leheem, Dan 5:1. Here, as there, 'osim lehem signifies coenam faciunt (parant). The l of lis|' is not the sign of the factitive obj. (as leeel, Isa 44:17), and thus not, as Hitz. supposes, the conditioning l with which adv. conceptions are formed-e.g., Lam 4:5, l|ma`a' haa'ok|', where Jerome rightly translates, voluptuose (vid., E.

    Gerlach, l.c.)-but, which is most natural and is very appropriate, it is the l of the aim or purpose: non ad debitam corporis refectionem, sed ad hera ludicra et stulta gaudia (Geier). s|chowq is laughter, as that to which he utters the sentence (Eccl 2:2): Thou art mad. It is incorrect, moreover, to take lehem veyaim together, and to render yesammahh hayaim as an attribut. clause to yain: this epitheton ornans of wine would here be a most unsuitable weakening of the figure intended.

    It is only an apparent reason for this, that what Ps 104:15 says in praise of wine the author cannot here turn into a denunciatory reproach. Wine is certainly fitted to make glad the heart of a man; but here the subject of discourse is duty-forgetting idlers, to whom chiefly wine must be brought (Isa 5:12) to cheer their life (this sluggard-life spent in feasting and revelry). The fut. y|samach is meant in the same modal sense as y|gabeer , 10a: wine must accomplish that for them. And they can feast and drink, for they have money, and money -hakol ...ya`a'.

    Luther hits the meaning: "Money must procure everything for them;" but the clause is too general; and better thus, after Jerome, the Zürich Bible: "unto money are all things obedient." The old Jewish interpreters compare Hos 2:23f., where `nh, with accus. petentis, signifies, "to answer a request, to gratify a desire." But in the passage before us hakol is not the obj. accus. of petentis, but petiti; for 'anah is connected with the accus. of that to which one answers as well as of that which one answers, e.g., Job 40:2, cf. Eccl 9:3. It is unnecessary, with Hitzig, to interpret ya`aneh as Hiph.: Money makes all to hear (him who has the money)-makes it that nothing is refused to his wish. It is the Kal: Money answers to every demand, hears every wish, grants whatever one longs for, helps to all; as Menander says: "Silver and gold-these are, according to my opinion, the most useful gods; if these have a place in the house, wish what thou wilt (eu'xai ti' bou'lei), all will be thine;" and Horace, Epod. i. 6. 36 s.: "Scilicet uxorem cum dote fidemque et amicos Et genus et formam regina pecunia donat." The author has now described the king who is a misfortune and him who is a blessing to the land, and princes as they ought to be and as they ought not to be, but particularly luxurious idle courtiers; there is now a warning given which has for its motive not only prudence, but also, according to Eccl 8:2, religiousness.


    Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. "Curse not the king even in thy thought; and in thy bed-chamber curse not the rich; for the birds of the air carry away the sound, and the winged creature telleth the matter." In the Books of Daniel and Chronicles, madaa` , in the sense of gnoo'sis , is a synon. of has|keel and chaak|maah ; here it is rightly translated by the LXX by sunei'deesis ; it does not correspond with the moral-religious idea of conscience, but yet it touches it, for it designates the quiet, inner consciousness (Psychol. p. 134) which judges according to moral criteria: even (gam, as e.g., Deut 23:3) in the inner region of his thoughts (Note: Hengst., not finding the transition from scientia to conscientia natural, gives, after Hartmann, the meaning of "study-chamber" to the word madaa` ; but neither the Heb. nor the Aram. has this meaning, although Ps 68:13 Targ. touches it.) one must not curse the king (cf. Eccl 7:4f.) nor the rich (which here, as at 6b, without distinction of the aristocracy of wealth and of birth, signifies those who are placed in a high princely position, and have wealth, the nervus rerum, at their disposal) in his bed-chamber, the innermost room of the house, where one thinks himself free from treachery, and thus may utter whatever he thinks without concealment (2 Kings 6:12): for the birds of the air may carry forth or bring out (Lat. deferrent, whence delator) that which is rumoured, and the possessor of a pair of wings (cf. Prov 1:17), after the Chethîb (whose h of the art. is unnecessarily erased by the Kerî, (Note: hk|naa' with unpointed He, because it is not read in the Kerî; similarly hchaniyt (1 Sam 26:22). Cf. Mas. fin. f. 22, and Ochla veochla, No. 166.) as at Eccl 3:6,10): the possessor of wings (double-winged), shall further tell the matter. As to its meaning, it is the same as the proverb quoted by the Midrash: "walls have ears." (Note: Vid., Tendlau's Sprichwörter, No. 861.)

    Geier thinks of the swallows which helped to the discovery of Bessus, the murderer of his father, and the cranes which betrayed the murderer of Ibycus, as comparisons approaching that which is here said. There would certainly be no hyperbole if the author thought of carrier-pigeons (Paxton, Kitto) in the service of espionage. But the reason for the warning is hyperbolical, like an hundred others in all languages: "Aures fert paries, oculos nemus: ergo cavere Debet qui loquitur, ne possint verba nocere." ACT PRUDENTLY, BUT NOT TOO PRUDENTLY-- THE FUTURE IS GOD'S; ENJOY LIFE--THE WORLD TO COME IS DARK, 11:1-8 There are interpreters (as e.g., Zöckl.) who regard the concluding part of the book as commencing with Eccl 11:1, and do not acknowledge any connection with that which immediately precedes; but from 10:16 the book draws to its conclusion. lchm , 10:19, affords an external connection for the proverb here following; but, since the proverb 10:20 lies between, the sequence after the same catchword is uncertain. Whether there is here a more inward connection, and what it is, is determined by the interpretation of 11:1, which proceeds in two fundamentally different directions, the one finding therein recommended unscrupulous beneficence, the other an unscrupulous spirit of enterprise. We decide in favour of the latter: it is a call, derived from commercial pursuits, to engage in fresh enterprise.


    Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. "Let thy bread go forth over the watery mirror: for in the course of many days shalt thou find it." Most interpreters, chiefly the Talm., Midrash, and Targ., (Note: The Midrash tells the following story: Rabbi Akiba sees a ship wrecked which carried in it one learned in the law. He finds him again actively engaged in Cappadocia. What whale, he asked him, has vomited thee out upon dry land? How hast thou merited this? The scribe learned in the law thereupon related that when he went on board the ship, he gave a loaf of bread to a poor man, who thanked him for it, saying: As thou hast saved my life, may thy life be saved.

    Thereupon Akiba thought of the proverb in Eccl 11:1. Similarly the Targ.: Extend to the poor the bread for thy support; they sail in ships over the water.) regard this as an exhortation to charity, which although practised without expectation of reward, does not yet remain unrewarded at last. An Aram. proverb of Ben Sira's (vid., Buxtorf's Florilegium, p. 171) proceeds on this interpretation: "Scatter thy bread on the water and on the dry land; in the end of the days thou findest it again." Knobel quotes a similar Arab. proverb from Diez' Denkwürdigkeiten von Asien (Souvenirs of Asia), II 106: "Do good; cast thy bread into the water: thou shalt be repaid some day." See also the proverb in Goethe's Westöst. Divan, compared by Herzfeld. Voltaire, in his Precis de l'Ecclesiaste en vers, also adopts this rendering: Repandez vos bien faits avec magnificence, Même aux moins vertueux ne les refusez pas.

    Ne vous informez pas de leur reconnaissance- Il est grand, il est beau de faire des ingrats.

    That instead of "into the water (the sea)" of these or similar proverbs, Koheleth uses here the expression, "on the face of (`al-p|neey) the waters," makes no difference: Eastern bread has for the most part the form of cakes, and is thin (especially such as is prepared hastily for guests, 'ughoth or matstsoth, Gen 18:6; 19:3); so that when thrown into the water, it remains on the surface (like a chip of wood, Hos 10:7), and is carried away by the stream. But shalach , with this reference of the proverb to beneficence, is strange; instead of it, the word hash|leek| was rather to be expected; the LXX renders by apo'steilon ; the Syr., shadar; Jerome, mitte; Venet. pe'mpe ; thus by none is the pure idea of casting forth connected with shalach . And the reason given does not harmonize with this reference: "for in the course of many days (berov yamin, cf. meerov yamim, Isa 24:22) wilt thou find it" (not "find it again," which would be expressed by tim|' taashuwb). This indefinite designation of time, which yet definitely points to the remote future, does not thus indicate that the subject is the recompense of noble self-renunciation which is sooner or later rewarded, and often immediately, but exactly accords with the idea of commerce carried on with foreign countries, which expects to attain its object only after a long period of waiting. In the proper sense, they send their bread over the surface of the water who, as Ps 107:33 expresses, "do business in great waters." It is a figure taken from the corn trade of a seaport (vid., p. 654), an illustration of the thought: seek thy support in the way of bold, confident adventure. (Note: The Greek phrase spei'rein po'nton , "to sow the sea" = to undertake a fruitless work, is of an altogether different character; cf. Amos 6:12.)

    Bread in lach|' is the designation of the means of making a living or gain, and bread in tmts'enuw the designation of the gain (cf. Eccl 9:11).

    Hitzig's explanation: Throw thy bread into the water = venture thy hope, is forced; and of the same character are all the attempts to understand the word of agricultural pursuits; e.g., by van der Palm: sementem fac muxta aquas (or: in loca irrigua); Grätz even translates: "Throw thy corn on the surface of the water," and understands this, with the fancy of a Martial, of begetting children. Mendelssohn is right in remarking that the exhortation shows itself to be that of Koheleth-Solomon, whose ships traded to Tarshish and Ophir. Only the reference to self-sacrificing beneficence stands on a level with it as worthy of consideration. With Ginsburg, we may in this way say that a proverb as to our dealings with those who are above us, is followed by a proverb regarding those who are below us; with those others a proverb regarding judicious courageous venturing, ranks itself with a proverb regarding a rashness which is to be discountenanced; and the following proverb does not say: Give a portion, distribute of that which is thine, to seven and also to eight: for it is well done that thou gainest for thee friends with the unrighteous mammon for a time when thou thyself mayest unexpectedly be in want; but it is a prudent rule which is here placed by the side of counsel to bold adventure:


    Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. "Divide the portion into seven, yea, eight (parts); for thou knowest not what evil shall happen on the earth." With that other interpretation, `aaleykaa was to be expected instead of 'al-haarets; for an evil spreading abroad over the earth, a calamity to the land, does not yet fall on every one without exception; and why was not the raa`aah designated directly as personal? The impression of the words lish|m' ...ten- , established in this general manner, is certainly this, that on the supposition of the possibility of a universal catastrophe breaking in, they advise a division of our property, so that if we are involved in it, our all may not at once be lost, but only this or that part of it, as Jacob, Gen 32:9, says. With reference to 1a, it is most natural to suppose that one is counselled not to venture his all in one expedition, so that if this is lost in a storm, all might not at once be lost (Mendelss., Preston, Hitz., Stuart); with the same right, since 1a is only an example, the counsel may be regarded as denoting that one must not commit all to one caravan; or, since in v. 2 lchmk is to be represented not merely as a means of obtaining gain, that one ought not to lay up all he has gathered in one place, Judg 6:11; Jer 41:8 (Nachtigal); in short, that one ought not to put all into one business, or, as we say literally, venture all on one card. cheeleq is either the portion which one possesses, i.e., the measure of the possession that has fallen to him (Ps 16:5), or cheeleq naatan means to make portions, to undertake a division.

    In the first case, the expression l|...ntn follows the scheme of Gen 17:20: make the part into seven, yea, into eight (parts); in the second case, the scheme of Josh 18:5: make division into seven, etc. We prefer the former, because otherwise that which is to be divided remains unknown; cheeleq is the part now in possession: make the much or the little that thou hast into seven or yet more parts. The rising from seven to eight is as at Job 5:19, and like the expression ter quaterque, etc. The same inverted order of words as in 2b is found in Est 6:3; 2 Kings 8:12.


    If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

    With this verse there is not now a transition, eis a'llo ge'nos (as when one understands v. 1f. of beneficence); the thoughts down to v. 6 move in the same track. "When the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth: and if a tree fall in the south, or in the north-the place where the tree falleth, there it lieth." Man knows not-this is the reference of the verse backwards-what misfortune, as e.g., hurricane, flood, scarcity, will come upon the earth; for all that is done follows fixed laws, and the binding together of cause and effect is removed beyond the influence of the will of man, and also in individual cases beyond his knowledge. The interpunction of 3 a: geshem he`aabiym 'im-yimaal|'uw (not as by v. d. Hooght, Mendelss., and elsewhere h`bym, but as the Venet. 1515, 21, Michael. h`bym, for immediately before the tone syllable Mahpach is changed into Mercha) appears on the first glance to be erroneous, and much rather it appears that the accentuation ought to be 'm-yml'w h`bym gsm `l-h'rts yryqw but on closer inspection gshm is rightly referred to the conditional antecedent, for "the clouds could be filled also with hail, and thus not pour down rain" (Hitz.). As in Eccl 4:10, the fut. stands in the protasis as well as in the apodosis. If A is done, then as a consequence B will be done; the old language would prefer the words whryqw...nml'w (ky ) 'm , Ewald, §355b: as often as A happens, so always happens B. yaariyquw carries (without needing an external object to be supplied), as internally transitive, its object is itself: if the clouds above fill themselves with rain, they make an emptying, i.e., they empty themselves downwards. Man cannot, if the previous condition is fixed, change the necessary consequences of it.

    The second conditioning clause: si ceciderit lignum ad austraum aut ad aquilonem, in quocunque loco cociderit ibi erit. Thus rightly Jerome (vid., above, p. 609). It might also be said: btspyn w'm bdrwm 'm `ts w'm-ypwl, and if a tree falls, whether it be in the south or in the north; this sive...sive would thus be a parenthetic parallel definition. Thus regarded, the protasis as it lies before us consists in itself, as the two veim in Amos 9:3, of two correlated halves: "And if a tree falls on the south side, and (or) if it fall on the north side," i.e., whether it fall on the one or on the other. The Athnach, which more correctly belongs to yryqw, sets off in an expressive way the protasis over against the apodosis; that a new clause begins with veim yippol is unmistakeable; for the contrary, there was need for a chief disjunctive to bts'. Meqom is accus. loci for bimqom, as at Est 4:3; 8:17.

    Sham is rightly not connected with the relat. clause (cf. Ezek 6:13); the relation is the same as at 1:7. The fut. y|huw' is formed from haawaah , whence Eccl 2:22, as at Neh 6:6, and in the Mishna (Aboth, vi. 1; (Note: Vid., Baer, Abodath Jisrael, p. 290.)

    Aboda zara, iii. 8) the part. howeh . As the jussive form y|hiy is formed from yih|yeh , so yeheweh (yeh|weh) passes into y|huw , which is here written y|huw' . Hitzig supposes that, according to the passage before us and Job 37:6, the word appears to have been written with ' , in the sense of "to fall." Certainly hwh has the root-signification of delabi, cadere, and derives from thence the meaning of accidere, exsistere, esse (vid., under Job 37:6); in the Book of Job, however, hwh may have this meaning as an Arabism; in the usus loq. of the author of the Book of Koheleth it certainly was no longer so used. Rather it may be said that y|huw had to be written with an ' added to distinguish it from the abbreviated tetragramm, if the ', as in 'aabuw' , Isa 28:12, and haal|' , Josh 10:24, does not merely represent the long terminal vowel (cf. the German-Jewish dw' = thou, dy' = the, etc.). (Note: Otherwise Ewald, §192b: y|huw' , Aram. of huw' (as bow' ) = hawaa' .)

    Moreover, y|huw' , as written, approaches the Mishnic inflection of the fut. of the verb hwh ; the sing. there is y|hee', t|hee', 'ehee' , and the plur. y|huw , according to which Rashi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi interpret y|huw' here also as plur.; Luzzatto, §670, hesitates, but in his Commentary he takes it as sing., as the context requires: there will it (the tree) be, or in accordance with the more lively meaning of the verb hwh : there will it find itself, there it continues to lie. As it is an invariable law of nature according to which the clouds discharge the masses of water that have become too heavy for them, so it is an unchangeable law of nature that the tree that has fallen before the axe or the tempest follows the direction in which it is impelled. Thus the future forms itself according to laws beyond the control of the human will, and man also has no certain knowledge of the future; wherefore he does well to be composed as to the worst, and to adopt prudent preventive measures regarding it. This is the reference of v. 3 looking backwards. But, on