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Inttritatbngl Cntual Commtntarg 



Regius Professor o/ Hebrew, Oxford; 


Late Master of University College, Durham; 


Professor of Theological Encyclopcedia and Symbolics, 
Union Theological Seminary, New York. 

The International Critical Commentary 












First Impression . , 1908 
Reprinted .... 1959 

m 16 1964 





A student's career 

this volume is affectionately 



THE following pages are a plain commentary on the Book 
of Ecclesiastes. Those who expect to find here the 
advocacy of new and startling theories of this fascinat- 
ingly perplexing book will be disappointed. In the judgment 
of the writer there has been something too much of these 
things in the recent literature on Qoheleth. An endeavour is 
made in the following pages to examine the important theories 
concerning the book, both ancient and modern, in an impartial 
spirit, and, in the formation of judgments, to go whither the 
evidence points. Obviously, in treating a work which has 
been studied so many centuries, there is little opportunity for 
novel discovery. Occasionally the writer has found himself 
differing from all his predecessors, but much more often the 
evidence has pointed to a conclusion already anticipated by 
some previous worker. He cannot hope that his conclusions 
will commend themselves to all his colleagues, but if this com- 
mentary shall have a part, however humble, in recalling criti- 
cism to regions in which the evidence is sufficiently objective 
to give some ultimate promise of a consensus of judgment on 
the part of scholars concerning the problems involved, the 
labour expended upon it will be more than rewarded. 

In conclusion, I desire to express my thanks to Dr. Hans H. 
Spoer, of Jerusalem, for placing at my disposal his collation 
of some MSS. of the Greek Version of Ecclesiastes in the 
Library of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; to Professor 
Paul Haupt, for permitting me, in spite of my disbelief in his 
metrical theory, to use, while reading my proofs, advance 


sheets of his Hebrew Text of Ecclesiastes ; to the Editor, Professor 
Charles A. Briggs, for his helpful criticisms and many kind- 
nesses while the book has been passing through the press ; and 
to my wife, for her valuable aid in reading the proofs. 


Bryn Mawr, Pa., 
April 2nd, 1908. 








1. Hebrew Text 7 

2. The Septuagint Version 8 

3. The Greek Version of Aquila 11 

4. The Version of Theodotian 11 

5. The Version of Symmachus 12 

6. The Coptic Version 13 

7. The Syriac Peshitta 13 

8. The Syro-hexaplar Version 14 

9. Old Latin Version 14 

10. The Latin Vulgate iS 

11. The Arabic Version iS 

12. The Targum 15 

13. Quotations in the Talmud 16 

14. Recensions of the Text 17 



1. Supposed Linguistic Influence 32 

2. Relation to Greek Thought 34 
















A = The Arabic Version. 

'A = Version of Aquila. 

Aid. = Aldine text of (S. 

AV. = Authorized Version. 

BD. = Baer & Delitzsch, Heb. text. 

Chr. = The Chronicler, author of 
Ch. Ezr. Ne. 

D. = The Deuteronomist in Dt., 

in other books Deuter- 
onomic author of Re- 

E. = Ephraemitic sources of Hex- 



= English Versions. 


= Greek Scptuagint Version, 

Vatican text of Swete. 


= The Alexandrine text. 


= The Vatican text. 


= Codex Ephraemi. 


= The Sinaitic text. 


= Codex Venetus. 


= Hebrew consonantal text. 


= Code of Holiness of the 



= The Hexateuch 


= Judaic sources of the Hexa- 



= Jerome, Commentary. 

K = The Coptic Version. 

Kt. = K^thib, the Hebrew text as 

C = Old Latin Version. 

Mas. = Massora. 

MT. = TheMassoreticpointedtext. 

NT. = The New Testament. 

OT. = The Old Testament. 

P. = The priestly sources of the 


Qr. = Q^rc, the Hebrew text as 

R. = The Redactor, or editor. 
RV. = The Revised Version. 
RV."' = The margin of the Revised 

^ = The Syriac Peshitto Ver- 
&" = Syriac-Hexaplar Version. 

5 = The Version of Symmachus. 

21 == The Targum or Aramaic 


H = The Vulgate Version. 

Vrss. = Versions, usually ancient. 

WL. = The Wisdom Literature of 
the OT. 

6 = The Version of Theodotian. 







= Amos. 


= Jonah. 


= Baruch 


= JoshiK". 


= Ecclesiasticus of Ben Sira. 


= Judges. 

I, 2K 

.=1,2 Kings. 


. = I, 2 Chronicles. 


= Colossians. 


= Lamentations. 

I, 2Cor.= I, 2 Corinthians. 


= Luke. 


= Canticles = The Song of 


= Leviticus. 



= Malachi. 


= Daniel. 

i,2Mac.= I, 2 Maccabees. 


= Deuteronomy. 


= Micah. 


= Mark. 


= Ecclesiastes. 


= Matthew. 


= Esther. 


= Ephesians. 


= Nahum. 


= Exodus. 


= Nehemiah. 


= Ezekiel. 


= Numbers. 


= Ezra. 


= Obadiah. 


= Genesis. 


= Philippians. 


= Galatians. 


= Proverbs. 


= Psalms. 


= Habakkuk. 


= Hebrews. 


= Qoheleth or Ecclesiastes. 


= Haggai. 


= Qoheleth or Ecclesiastes. 


= Hosea. 


= Revelation. 


= early parts of Isaiah. 
= exilic parts of Isaiah. 


= Romans. 
= Ruth. 


= post-exilic parts of Isaiah. 

I, 2S. 

= I, 2 Samuel. 


= Job. 

I, 2 Thes. = I, 2 Thessalonians. 


= Jeremiah. 

I, 2 Tim. = I, 2 Timothy. 


= John. 


= Zechariah. 


= Joel. 


= Zephaniah. 





= Aben Ezra. 

Briggs. The editor 


= Augustine. 

specially referred to 
is designated by 


= Hebrew and English 

BDB. F. Brown, 

Lexicon of the OT., 

BDB. S. R. Driver, 

edited by F. Brown, 

BDB. C. A. Briggs. 

S. R. Driver, C. A. 

Bar Heb. = Bar Hcbracus. 



= G. Beer. 


= H. Ewald. 


= G. Bickell, Das Buck 


= his Lehrb. der Heb. 




= F. Bottcher. 


= C. A. Briggs. 


= J. Furst. 


= Messiah of the Apos- 



= Genung, Words of Ko- 


= Messiah of the Gos- 




= Gesenius, Thesaurus. 


= Messianic Prophecy. 


— Gesenius, Wo'rterbuch, 


= Study of Holy Script- 

13th ed. 



= his Heb. Gram., ed. 


= Higher Criticism of 


the Hexateuch. 


= his Lehrgebdude. 


= Ginsburg, Coheleth. 


= John Calvin. 


= Gratz, Kohelet. 


= T. K. Cheyne. 


= Grotius. 


= Levy, Chald. Worter- 



= W. R. Harper, Hebrew 


= C. H. Cornill. 



= Cuneiform Texts front 


= P. Haupt, Koheleth 

Babylonian Tablets 

and Ecclesiastes. 

in the British Mu- 


= Heiligstedt, Ecclesias- 




= Davidson, Hebrew 


= Hengstenberg. 


= Dathe, Ecclesiastes. 


= F. Hitzig, Ecclesiastes. 
= C. F. Houbigant. 


= Hastings' Dictionary 
of the Bible. 


= J astro w. Diet, of the 


= Franz Delitzsch, Das 
Buch Koheleth. 

Targ., Talm. and 
Midrashic Lit. 


= Doderlein, Ecclesiastes 


= Journal of Biblical Lit- 


= S. R. Driver, Ecclesi- 


astes in Kittel's 


= Jewish Encyclopaedia. 

Biblia Hebraica. 


= Jerome. 


= Heb. Tenses. 


= Fl. Josephus, Antiq- 


= Introduction to Litera- 


ture of OT. 


= Fl. Josephus, Wars of 
the Jews. 


= Encyclopaedia Biblica. 


= Jewish Quarterly Re- 


= Elster. 


Eph. Syr 

= Ephraem Syrus. 


= Euringer, Masorahtext 


= A. S. Kamenetzky. 

des Koheleth. 


= E. Kautzsch. 



— Benj. Kennicott, Vetus 


= E. Rodiger 

Testamentum He- 


= E. Robinson, Biblical 

hraicum cum variis 




= RosenmuUer. 


= Daniel Kimchi (Qam- 


= W. Robertson Smith. 


= A. W. Knobel, Das 
Buck Qoheleth. 


= D. C. Siegfried, Predi- 
ger tind Hoheslied. 


= F. E. Konig, Lehrge- 


= E. Sievers. 

b a tide der H eb . 


= R. Smend. 



= Siegfried and Stade's 


= A. Kuenen. 

Heb. Wdrterbuch. 


= B. Stade. 


= P. de Lagarde. 


= his Bildung der No- 



= The Talmud. 


= S. D. Luzzato. 


= C. Tischendorf. 


= Tristram, Natural 


= Marshall, Ecclesiastes. 

History of the Bible. 


= Miiller's Hebrew Syn- 


= T. Tyler, Ecclesiastes. 


= W. Muss- Arnold, As- 

Van d. P. 

= van der Palm. 

syr. Dictionary. 


= W. Vlock. 


= A. H. McNeile, In- 
trod. to Ecclesiastes. 


= J. C. Vaihinger. 


= J. D. Michaelis. 


= Dr. Wangemann. 


= The Mishna. 


= J. Wellhausen. 


= Wildeboer. 


= Levy, Neuhebr. Wor- 


= C. H. H. Wright, Ec- 




= W. Nowack, Pr. Solom. 


= E. H. Plumtre, Eccle- 


= V. Zapletal, Metrik d. 


= O. Zockler, Prediger 


= Rawlin son's Ctmei- 

in Lange's Bibel- 

form Inscriptions of 


Western Asia, IV. R. 

= Vol. IV. of it. 


= Zeitschrift f. alttest. 


= Rashi. 



= E. Renan, L'Eccle- 


= Z. d. deutsch. Morgen- 


land. Gesellschaft. 


= Riehm's Handwdrter- 1 


= Z. d. deutsch. Pal. 

huch. [ 






= abbreviation. 


= elsewhere. 


= absolute. 


= especially. 


= abstract. 


= emphasis, emphatic. 


= accusative. 


= Ethiopic. 

ace. cog. 

= cognate ace. 


= except. 

ace. pers. 

= ace. of person. 


= exilic. 

ace. rei 

= ace. of thing. 

ace. to 

= according to. 


= feminine. 


= active. 


= figurative. 


= adjective. 


= feminine plural. 


= adverb. 


= from. 


= dira^ \ey6iJ.evov, word 


= frequentative. 

or phr. used once. 


= feminine singular. 


= ei aliier, and elsw. 


= always. 


= gentilic. 


= antithesis, antithetical. 


= gloss, glossator. 


= apodosis. 


= genitive. 


= Arabic. 


= Aramaic. 


= haplography. 


= Hebrew. 


== article. 


= Assyrian. 


== Hiphil of verb. 
= Hithpael of verb. 


= Babylonian. 

B. Aram. 

= Biblical Aramaic. 


= imperfect. 


= circa, about; also cum, 


= imperative. 



= indefinite. 


= causative. 


,= infinitive. 

cod., codd 

= codex, codices. 


= in pause. 


= confer, compare. 


= id quod, the same with 


= intransitive. 


= cognate. 


= collective. 


= Jewish Aramaic. 


= commentaries. 


= jussive. 


= compare. 


= concrete. 


= literal, literally. 


= conjunction. 


= local, locality. 


= consecutive. 


== contract, contracted. 


= masculine. 


= construct. 


= Mandican. 


= daghesh forte. 


= metaphor, metaphori- 


= defective. 



= dele, strike out. 


= meaning. 


= dittography. 


= masculine plural. 


= dubious, doubtful. 


= masculine singular. 



n. p. 

n. pr. loc. 

n. unit. 
























: proper name. 

= proper noun of place. 

: noun of unity. 

: Nabathean. 

: New Hebrew. 

: Niphal of verb. 

: object. 

: opposite, as opposed to 
or contrasted with. 

• person. 

■ parallel with. 

■ particle, 
Piel of verb, 

Pual of verb. 


= question. 


= quod vide. 


= read. 


= reflexive. 


= relative. 


= Sabaean. 


= suffix. 


= singular. 

si vera 

= si vera lectio. 


= simile. 


= followed by. 


= status, state, stative. 


= strophe. 


= subject. 


= substantive. 


= sub voce. 


= synonymous. 


= synthetic. 


= Syriac. 


= times (following a num 



= transfer. 


= transitive. 


= text. 

txt. err. 

= textual error. 


== vide, see. 


= verb. 


= verse. 


II parallel, of words or clauses chiefly 

= equivalent, equals, 
-f- plus denotes that other passages 

might be cited. 
[ ] indicates that the form enclosed 

is not in the Hebrew, so far as 


\/ = the root, or stem. 

= sign of abbreviation in Hebrew 

"* = Yahweh. 
( ) = Indicates that Massoretic text 

has not been followed, but 

either Vrss. or conjectural 



§1. NAME. 

The name Ecclesiastes (Latin, Ecclesiastes, Greek 'E/^/cXeo-tao-- 
T^9) is apparently a translation of the unique Hebrew word, 
Qoheleth. The meaning of this word is uncertain, but it probably 
signifies "one who addresses an assembly," or "an official speaker 
in an assembly," (see critical note on ch. i', where the various 
meanings which have been supposed to attach to the term are 


In the Hebrew Bible Ecclesiastes stands in the third division 
of the canon among the KUtibim, or Hagiography, where it now 
follows Lamentations and precedes Esther. It forms one of the 
so-called Megilloth, or "Rolls," the only parts of the Hagiography 
which were publicly read at the Jewish festivals. At what period 
Ecclesiastes was admitted to its present position is uncertain. 
In the list of books given in Baba Batra, 13, 14, the Megilloth 
are not even grouped together. Qoheleth is included, and it im- 
mediately follows Proverbs and precedes Canticles, as in our Eng- 
lish Bibles. In the Talmudic treatise So/eritn, which reached its 
final redaction about the middle of the eighth century, Ruth, 
Canticles, Lamentations and Esther are mentioned twice (14' «), 
but Ecclesiastes is omitted from both passages. (JE., XI, p. 427'' 
and W. R. Smith, OT. in JC, 2d ed., p. i73n.) In the Mahzor, 
edited by Samuel of Vitry at the beginning of the twelfth century, 
it is said that at the feast of tabernacles the congregation, seated, 
read the "book" Ecclesiastes. It is not here called a "roll" and 
was, perhaps, not then included in the Megilloth. (Cf. JE., 
I 1 


VIII, 429.) In the extant MSS. of the Bible the Megilloth are 
usually grouped together, though the order varies, especially in 
Spanish MSS. (C/. the table in Ryle's Cano7i, 281/.) 

Soon after the twelfth century, apparently, the present order 
(Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes) was established in French and 
German MSS., and has been maintained ever since. Before the 
first printed editions of the Hebrew Bible were made, Ecclesiastes 
had, at all events, taken its present position as one of the five 
Megilloth. This is true of the first printed Hagiography, 1486- 
1487, as well as Bomberg's great Biblia Rahhinica of 15 17, whicli 
contained three Targums and a Rabbinic commentary. 


Ecclesiastes is not mentioned in any canonical writing of the 
Old Testament. Evidence has, however, come to light in recent 
years which proves quite conclusively that it was known in an 
edited form to the author of Ecdesiasticus, or the Wisdo??i of 
Jesus Son of Sirach, who wrote about 180-175 B.C. This evi- 
dence is given in detail below in §11; but Noldeke's article in 
ZAW., XX, 90 /., and McNeile's Introduction to Ecclesiastes, 
34 ff., may also be compared. There is no reason to suppose, 
however, that Ecclesiastes had been canonized at the time of Ben 
Sira; on the contrary, the very opposite would seem to be the fact, 
for Ecclesiastes was also known to a later extra-canonical writer, the 
author of the Wisdom of Solomon, who probably wrote in the first 
century B.C. The author of this last-mentioned book, in his 
second chapter, sets himself to correct the sinful utterances of 
certain ungodly men, and there can be no question but that in 
verses 1-9 he includes among the sayings of the ungodly a number 
of the utterances of Qoheleth (for details, see below, §12). Whether 
Qoheleth was known to the author of Wisdom in the Hebrew or in 
a Greek translation is unknown; and the fact, if known, would 
have no bearing on the question of canonicity, for uncanonical 
books were often translated. (See, however, below, §4, (2) and (3). 
The tone of the attack upon Qoheleth, which is made in Wisdom, 
indicates that to him the book was not yet Scripture. The ear- 


nestness of the attack makes rather the impression that the book 
was a candidate for canonical regard — that it was so esteemed in 
some quarters — and that the writer wished to open the eyes of his 
readers to the true character of its sentiments. 

A Talmudic story, to which McNeile calls attention, Talm. j 
Jerusalem, Berakoth, iib (vii, 2), would, if any weight can be 
attached to it, indicate that in the first century B.C. canonical 
authority was by some assigned to the book. The story is con- 
cerning an incident in the reign of Alexander Janna^us (104-79 
B.C.). It says, "The king (Jannaeus) said to him (Simon ben 
Shetach, the king's brother-in-law), 'Why didst thou mock me by 
saying that nine hundred sacrifices were required, when half 
would have been sufficient ? ' Simon answered, * I mocked thee 
not; thou hast paid thy share and I mine ... as it is written. 
For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money,'" 
thus making a literal quotation from Eccl. 7'^ 

Another Talmudic story quoted by Wright (Baba Batra, 4a) 
relates to the time of Herod. That monarch, having put to death 
members of the Sanhedrin and deprived Baba ben Buta of his 
sight, visited the latter in disguise and endeavored to betray him 
into some unguarded expression with reference to Herod's own 
tyranny. Ben Buta steadily refused to utter an incautious word, 
and in his replies he quotes from all three parts of the Biblical 
canon — from the Pentateuch, Ex. 22", from the Prophets, Isa. 2», 
and from the KHuhim, Pr. 6", and in three different parts Eccl. 
lo*" — introducing each quotation with the formula for quoting 
canonical Scripture. The passage from Qoheleth which is thus 
quoted is: 

Do not even in thy thought curse tlie king, 
Nor in thy bedcliamber curse a rich man ; 
For the bird of heaven shall carry the voice, 
And the owner of wings shall tell a thing. 

Wright (p. 21 jf.) also gives in full another Talmudic story, ^ 
to which Bloch had called attention — a story relating to the great Q) 
Rabbi Gamaliel I (r. 44 A.D.). According to this tale {Sab- 
hath^ 30b), Gamaliel had a dispute with a brilliant pupil, whom 
Bloch believed to be the Apostle Paul, and in the course of the 


dispute, the pupil quoted as Scripture twice Eccl. i": ''There is 
nothing new under the sun." 

If these Talmudic tales came from a contemporary source, they 
would prove that Ecclesiastes had been admitted into the canon 
by the first century B.C. In fact, all that the passages prove is 
that the Rabbis of the Talmudic period — the third to the fifth 
centuries A.D. — had traditions which they apparently believed 
to be authentic that Qoheleth had been recognized as Scripture 
at the dates mentioned. 

The New Testament affords us no help in tracing the canonicity 
of Ecclesiastes. There is in the NT. no quotation from Eccle- 
siastes. When, however, the character of the book is taken into 
account, it is not strange that no reference is made to it. This 
silence cannot fairly be made an argument against the canonicity 
of our book. (See Br.^"-^, pp. 131-132.) 

McNeile, however, goes farther than the evidence will warrant 
when he argues {op. cit., p. 6^.) from the New Testament use 
of the word Scripture (17 ypacj)!], at ypacjyai), that the canon was 
definitely so closed to the writers of the New Testament that 
another book could not find its way into it. As is well known the 
three divisions of the canon are mentioned in the prologue to the 
Greek Ecclesiasticus, proving that they existed when that work 
was translated, c. 130 B.C., and are also referred to in the Gospel 
of Luke (ch. 24"). There is absolutely nothing, however, to 
show us exactly what the New Testament writers had in the third 
division of their canon. It is quite possible, as McNeile claims, 
that T) ypa(l)rj meant to them a definite body of writings, but that 
that body was so fixed that no additions could be made to it, is an 
unproved assumption, and the "impression that 'Scripture' meant 
to the Apostolic writers the same body of Old Testament writings 
that it means to us," if it is to be understood that their canon could 
not have differed from ours by even one book, rests on no ade- 
quate evidence whatever. (See Br.^"^, pp. 124 Jf., 131.) 

Some scholars find quotations from Ecclesiastes in the New Testa- 
ment. Thus Plumtre thinks that Paul may have had Qoheleth in mind 
when he wrote "The creation was subjected to vanity" (Rom. 8*°); and 
that the Epistle of James alludes to it: "For ye are a vapor which ap- 


pearcth for a little time and then vanisheth away" (ch. 4"). Such par- 
allels are, however, too vague to be convincing. Neither writer may 
have been thinking of Qoheleth at all. Haupt believes that Jesus alludes 
to Ecclesiastes with the purpose of combating its sentiments in the par- 
able of the rich man who pulled down his barns to build greater, 
Lk. 12'**-^*. He sees in Lk. 12** an allusion to Eccl. 2* and in 12^"'', to 
Eccl. 2'**'. Again, the allusions are too vague to be convincing. The 
view of J. Rendel Harris, that the parable is an elaboration of BS. 5'", 
is much more probable. Haupt also holds that Lk. 12"= Matt. 6^®, 
(Solomon in all his glory) is "above all" an allusion to Ecclesiastes, but 
again one must say that the likeness is not convincing. It is quite as prob- 
able that the account of Solomon in i Kings was in the mind of Jesus. 

Philo, like the New Testament, makes no reference to Qoheleth, 
but, as in the case of the New Testament, no argument is to be 
drawn from this silence, as he makes no reference to a number of 
other books — Ezekiel, Daniel, Canticles, Ruth and Lamentations. 

The suggestion made above, that Qoheleth was in some quarters 
regarded as canonical, but was not universally received, receives 
confirmation from one or two famous passages in the Mishna, 
which reached its final form about 200 A.D. In the terminology 
of the Mishna the way of calling a book canonical is to say that it 
''defiles the hands." In the Tract Yadaim, 35, we read: "All the 
Holy Scriptures defile the hands. The Song of Songs and Qohe- 
leth defile the hands. Rabbi Judah says, 'The Song of Songs 
defiles the hands, but Koheleth is disputed.' Rabbi Jose says, 
^Qoheleth does not defile the hands, and the Song of Songs is 
disputed.' Rabbi Simeon says, ^Qoheleth belongs to the light 
things of the school of Shammai, but to the weighty things of the 
school of Hillel.' Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai says, 'I received from 
the mouth of the seventy-two elders on the day when they placed 
Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah in the president's chair, that the Song 
of Songs and Qoheleth defile the hands.' Rabbi Aqiba said, 'Far 
be it and peace! No man of Israel has ever doubted concerning 
the Song of Songs that it defiled the hands, for there is not a day 
in all the world like the day on which the Song of Songs was given 
to Israel, because all the K^tuhim are holy, but the Song of Songs 
is most holy. And if they had doubts, they only doubted con- 
cerning Qoheleth.^ Rabbi Johanan, son of Joshua, son of the 


father-in-law of Rabbi Aqiba says, 'so they differed and so they 

Again, Eduyoth, 5', says: ^'Qoheleth does not defile the hands 
according to the school of Shammai, but according to the school 
of Hillel it does defile the hands." These passages are echoed in 
the Talmud and in later Jewish writings. Now it seems very clear 
from these statements that down to the end of the first century 
A.D. Ecclesiastes was among the ''Antilegomena" of the Old 
Testament canon. Ryle is quite right in saying (Canon, 174), 
that it would be difficult after the first century B.C., when the 
antipathy between the Pharisees and Sadducees became so 
marked and their contentions so virulent, for a new book to be 
introduced into the canon. It seems clear that, if Qoheleth had 
not begun to gain a foothold before that in some influential quarter, 
its chances of canonicity would have been slight, but it seems 
equally clear that it was not universally accepted as a part of Script- 
ure until after the great council of Jabne (Jamnia), at the end of 
the first century A.D. (See Br.^""^, p. 130.) 

The book probably won its way at last, because as these pas- 
sages show it had a part of the Pharisaical influence in its favor. 
It was not a question of Pharisee against Sadducee. The Sad- 
ducees would find no fault with the book. The line of cleav- 
age was between the schools of Shammai and Hillel, and ulti- 
mately, probably because the work passed under the great name 
of Solomon, the school of Hillel won and Ecclesiastes became a 
part of the Scriptures. 

The view arrived at above agrees substantially with that of W. R. 
Smith, OT. in J.C, 2d ed., 185/. Wildeboer, Origin of the Old Testa- 
ment Canon, 147^.; and McNeile, Ecclesiastes. For attempts to explain 
away this evidence, see Ginsburg, Coheleth, i$ff. 

The statement of Josephus (Contra Apion, i") that the Jewish 
canon contained 22 books might be significant, if we knew how 
the 22 books were reckoned. The same is true of the statement 
in 2 (4) Esdras 14*'" *% which, according to the Oriental versions, 
makes the Jewish canon consist of 24 books. In neither case 
do we know how the number was made up. Different scholars 


have their theories, but, as positive evidence, both passages arc too 
indefinite either to confirm or to refute the conclusion we have 
reached. (See Br.^"*", p. 127 f.) The canonicity of Qoheleth 
was soon accepted by Christians as well as Jews, for Hermas, 
Mand., VII, quotes Eccl. 12" and Justin Martyr, in his dialogue 
with Trypho, ch. 6, seems to recall Qoheleth I2^ Clement of 
Alex, quotes by name, in Stromata, V\ Eccl. i'*-'^ 7"; Tertullian 
quotes Eccl. 3' three times, {Adv. Marc. 5% -De Monog. 3, De 
Virg. Vel. 3); while Origen has several quotations from it. 

§ 4. TEXT, 

The text of the book of Ecclesiastes was written in a late form 
of the Hebrew language — a form which evinces considerabl 
decay from the earlier tongue, and a considerable approach to the 
language of the Mishna. Aramaic must have been largely em- 
ployed by the Jews of the period, for there are many Aramaisms 
both of vocabulary and construction in Ecclesiastes. (See be- 
low, §10.) ^ 

We do not know whether Ecclesiastes was written in the older He- 
brew character, in the square Aramaic character, or in a modified form 
intermediate between the two. The last is probably the fact, for we 
know from many documents that the older characters of the Moabite 
Stone had undergone much modification. It is possible that the square 
character had come in at the time Ecclesiastes was written. The old- 
est inscription in the square character is that of Arak-el-Amir, which 
dates from about 180 B.C. (Cf. Lidzharski in JE., I, 443.) This 
was probably slightly later than the date of our book (see below ^13). 
It is possible, therefore, that the square character may have been em- 
ployed by the author of Ecclesiastes, but it may have been a form 
intermediate between the old Hebrew and the square character, such as 
is found in the Jewish papyri recently discovered in Egypt. (See Sayce 
and Cowley's Aramaic Papyri Discovered at Assuan, London, 1906.) 
As these papyri are some tw o hundred years o lder than Ecclesiastes, 
the alphabet used by the Jew s had probably_c iurin^ the period lundgr- 
gone considerable development towards the square form. (See 
Br.sH.s, pp. 172-3.) 



A manuscript of the Pentateuch exists in St. Petersburg which 


some Jewish scholars think was written before 604 A.D., but so 
far as I know no manuscript is known that contains Qohelelh 
which is older than the eleventh century. These MSS., of course, 
contain the text of the Massorets only. They do, however, ex- 
hibit some variations. 

The Massorets consulted a number of MSS. which are known by name, 
but which have long ago disappeared, such as Codex Muggeh, Codex 
Hilleli, Codex Sanbuki, Codex Jerusalami, Codex Jericho, Codex 
Sinai, Codex Great Mahzor, Codex Ezra, and Codex Babylon. (For 
description, see Broyde in JE., Ill, 473^^., esp. Br.^"^, pp. 183-4.) 

Many of these MSS. exist in the various libraries of Europe, 
and have been studied and employed by scholars. }3enjamin 
Kennicott, in his Vetiis Testamentum Hebraicum cum variis lec- 
lionibus, Oxford, 17 76-1 780, noted the variants as they appear in 
several hundred MSS. His text of the Megilloth rests on the 
collations of 350 of these. Among the texts of Ecclesiastes, 
edited in recent years, those of Baer, Ginsburg and Driver (the 
last in Kittel's Biblia Hebraica) rest on a collation of vary- 
ing numbers of MSS. Driver's text is the fruit of a collation of 
a considerable number of these, and the kind of variation which 
they exhibit is well illustrated in his notes. 


Most important for the history of the text of Ecclesiastes is the 
Greek version, which, because of the legend that it was trans- 
lated by seventy-two men, is commonly called the Septuagint. 
This version is in the following pages designated by 05. 

The Greek translation of the Old Testament was not all made 
at one time, or by one hand. The Pentateuch was apparently 
translated in the third century B.C., and the other parts at various 
later dates. The KHubim were naturally translated last of all. 
It is probable that the Psalter existed in Greek as early as 130 B.C., 
but there is reason to think that the version of Ecclesiastes now 
found in ($ was not made till the end of the first century A.D., 
and that it was made by Aquila, a native of Pontus, who was a 
convert first to Christianity and then to Judaism, and who is said 


by Jerome to have been a pupil of Aqiba. The reasons for this 
view are that the version of Qoheleth in (^ exhibits many of the 
most marked pecuHarities of the style of Aquila's version as pre- 
served by Origen in his famous Hexapla — pecuh'arities which 
occur to the same extent in the Septuagint version of no other 
Old Testament book. This view was set forth by Graetz {Ge- 
schichted. Juden, IV, 437, and Kohelet, 173-179). It was opposed 
by Dillmann in a characteristically thorough paper in the Sitzungs- 
berkhte d. kg. preus. Akad. d. Wiss. zu Berlin, 1892, I, 3-16; but 
Dillman has been ably and successfully answered by McNeile in 
his Introduction to Ecclesiastes, 1 15-134. (See Br.^"^, p. 192.) 

Some of the Aquilan marks of style which appear in the Ecclesiastes 
of <8 are as follows: the rendering of pn, the sign of the ace, by (^vp; 
CI and en by Kal ye; •^, with an infinitive, by tov with an infinitive, 
even where it forms simply the complement of a verbal expression as 
in i" 8'^ 4''' lo'-^ 3'^ 5'' 8''^ II^ etc., as in Aquila (cf. Burkitt's 
Aquila, 13), where the Hebrew noun is preceded by *^, and it would be 
inappropriate to render it by els; it is rendered by the article, e.g. 2" 
TOV <xo<pov = 0':iji^^ 2^' Tw dv^/5wirv= D^x'^j ^" tw iravri ir pdy jxar i. = 
von Sd"', 4" Kal 6 Its = -'ns'^i, 9^ 6 K-i5a>»'=3,^;|!'^, etc.; p used in com- 
parison, rendere<i by virkp with ace. more than twenty times, as e.g., 
in 2"; the rendering of a'::;*D by Kadbbovs, 6'' 7-^ ^^); of hy^ by TrapA, 
with a Gen., 5>«- '^ 7'^- <'•*' 8'' 12"; 31:3 by i.yaduiav-n, 4' s'"- "6'- « 7"- " 
9". These are but a few of the examples. Many more will be 
found in the work of McNcile already cited. Jerome mentions twice 
{Opera, V, 32 and 624) Aquila's second edkion, which the Hebrews 
call Kar oLKpl^eiav, and Graetz and McNeile have made it altogether prob- 
able that Aquila's first edition is that embodied in (ft. Thus only can 
one account for the marked approach to Aquila's style and peculiarities, 
combined with some equally striking differences from the fragments of 
Aquila, preserved by Origen. Dillman had urged these differences as 
an objection to the theory that .\quila translated our (8, but as Mc- 
Neile observes, a second edition presupposes differences, and it is difficult 
to think that a later hand adapted (ft to Aquila's later work without 
doing it in a more thorough-going manner. 

Whether there had been an earlier translation of Qoheleth than 
Aquila's first edition is uncertain, but on the whole we conclude 
that there probably had not been. The work had only recently 
been approved as canonical beyond dispute (see above §3), and 


it is probable that shortly afterward Aquila undertook its trans- 
lation. The translation which we have in (^ was at all events 
made from a text which differed a good deal from our present 
Hebrew, and was therefore made from a text that Aqiba had not 
revised. Possibly it was, as McNeile thinks, in part, because his 
first edition was made from a text that Aqiba, his teacher, did not 
approve, that Aquila undertook his revision which resulted in 
his ''second edition." 

If these views are correct, the translation of Qoheleth which 
we have in (g was made in the second quarter of the second 
century A.D. 

The text of (6 for the book of Ecclesiastes has been preserved in 
five uncial MSS. and in fifteen cursives, which have been studied, though 
of the cursives three contain only a part of the book. The uncial MSS. 
are: (i) The famous Codex Vaticanus (<8^) in the Vatican Library at 
Rome, usually cited as B, which dates from the fourth century. The 
labors of Westcott and Hort on the New Testament vindicated the text 
of this MS. as on the whole the best for that part of the Bible, and the 
labors of Swete on the Greek text of the Old Testament tend to confirm 
these results for the older part of the Canon. (2) The famous Codex 
Sinaiticus ((&^), found by Tischendorf on Mount Sinai, 1844-1859, 
and now preserved in the Library at St. Petersburg. It is sometimes 
cited by scholars as v, sometimes as S. It was also written in the fourth 
century and as an authority for the text falls little short of B. (3) The 
Codex Alexandrinus {(&^), written in the fifth century, now in the Brit- 
ish Museum cited as A. (4) Codex Ephraemi {(&^), also of the fifth 
century — a fine palimpsest MS. now in the National Library at Paris, 
cited as C. (5) Codex Venetus (<8^'), written in the eighth or ninth 
century, now in St. Mark's Library, Venice. It is usually cited as "^, 
and often allies itself with ^^. 

Of the cursive MSS., 68, written in the fifteenth century, one of the 
treasures of the Library of St. Marks at Venice, deserves especial men- 
tion. It often allies itself with B. McNeile considers it especially im- 
portant when it differs from B, and holds it to be the most important 
Greek MS. of Ecclesiastes extant (see his Ecclesiastes, 136). 

For fuller accounts of the MSS., see Swete's Introduction to the Old 
Testament in Greek, 122-170; Gregory's Prolegomena to Tischendorf 's 
Novum Testamentiim Greece, also his Textkritik des Neuen Testaments, 
and Scrivener's Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testa- 
ment, 4th ed. by Miller, Vol. I. Br.^Hs^ p. 195/. 

It is possible from the extant witnesses to the text of (& to detect in 
its text recensions or tyi)es, kindred to those which Westcott and Hort 

TEXT 1 1 

have identified for the New Testament. It is for this reason that often 
in citing the evidence of (ft the Symbols of MSS. are affixed as <8^, 
(S^**, etc. For analyses of the text of (S, see Klostcrmann's De Libri 
Coheleth Versione Alexafidrina, Kiel, 1892, and McNeile's Introduction 
to Ecclesiastes, Cambridge, 1904, pp. 1 15-168. 


Aquila was a native of Pontus, and a connection of the emperor 
Hadrian, who employed a relative of Aquila's to build ^lia 
Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem. Aquila accompanied him, 
and while there was converted to Christianity. As he refused to 
abandon the heathen practice of astrology, he was excommuni- 
cated, and in disgust joined the Jews. He undertook a translation 
of the Scriptures into Greek in order to set aside the renderings 
of the Septuagint which seemed to support the Christians. Of 
Jerome's testimony to his second edition of his rendering of 
Qoheleth, we have already spoken, and have shown that in all 
probability the version which Origen preserved as Aquila's was 
this second edition. This second edition was probably made from 
the text revised by Aquila, for it differs far less widely than (S from 
the Massoretic Text. If we are right in thinking that there was 
no Greek version of Ecclesiastes until Aquila's first edition, then 
both his editions have survived, the first entire as (^ and the 
second in fragments as *A, the symbol by which Aquila is quoted 
below. These fragments have been collated by Montfaufon in 
his Hexaplorum Originis quce super sunt, 1713? and by Field in his 
Originis Hexaplorum quce supersunt, Oxford, 1875, ^^^ cover 
practically the whole book. 

For fuller accounts of Aquila's version, cf. Swete, op. ciL, 31-42 
and 55; McNeile, op. cit., 11 5-134; Burkitt's Fragments of the 
Books of Kings according to the Translation of Aquila, 1897; 
C. Taylor's Cairo-Genizah Palimpsests, 1900, and Schiirer's Ge- 
schichte d€s judischen Volkes, etc., 3d ed.. Vol. HI, 318-321. 


Another version was made in the second century A.D. by Theo- 
dotian, who seems to have lived at Ephesus. His work was 


known to Irenacus (d. 202 A.D.), who calls him a native of Pontus, 
and says that he became a convert to Judaism in mature life. 
It is thought that in some of these details Irenajus confused The- 
odotian with Aquila. It is hardly likely that two different men 
who learned Hebrew in mature life should make translations of 
the Scriptures for the Jews in the same century. Irenacus is, 
however, probably right in saying that Theodotian lived at 
Ephesus. Theodotian's version of Daniel seems to have found its 
way into the Septuagint, as we have supposed that Aquila's first 
translation of Ecclesiastes did. The work of Theodotian is other- 
wise known to us only through the Hexapla of Origen, and that 
has survived only in fragments. Theodotian's renderings do not 
differ so widely from the Septuagint as do those of Aquila, nor so 
often from MT. as those of ($. But Dr. Swete says: *'He seems to 
have produced a free revision of the Septuagint rather than an in- 
dependent version." Theodotian's renderings of Qoheleth which 
have survived afford interesting variants to every chapter of the 
book. They are contained in the works of Montfaufon and 
Field cited above. 

For a fuller account of Theodotian see Swete, op. cit., pp. 42-49; 
Gwynn, ''Theodotian," in Smith and Wace's Diet, of Christian 
Biog., and Schiirer, Geschichte, etc.. Vol. Ill, 321-324. 


A fourth translation of the Hebrew into Greek was made by 
Symmachus near the end of the second or the beginning of the 
third century A.D. Eusebius and Jerome say that Symmachus 
was an Ebionite Christian, but according to Epiphanius he was a 
Samaritan who embraced Judaism. Epiphanius was a blunderer, 
however, and the probability is that even if Symmachus was of 
Jewish or Samaritan parentage, he became an Ebionite. Jerome 
correctly declares that the aim of Symmachus was to express the 
sense of the Hebrew rather than to follow the order of its words. 
His version shows that he aimed to set himself free from the in- 
fluence of the Septuagint as well as to write good Greek. Swete 
thinks that Symmachus had before him the three other Greek 

TEXT 1 3 

versions when he made his own, and that he exhibits his indepen- 
dence of them all and sometimes of the Hebrew as well. In spite 
of this charge it is often true that he has caught the meaning of the 
Hebrew and correctly expressed it in Greek. His version was 
employed by Origen as early as 228 A.D., and was so highly re- 
garded by that ancient scholar, that he gave it a place in his 
Hexapla. His translation of Ecclesiastes affords numerous 
interesting variants for every chapter of the book. They are 
presented by Montfaufon and Field in the works cited above. 

For a fuller account of Symmachus see Swete, op. cit., 40-53; 
Gwynn, op. cit.; Harnack, Geschichte der altchristlichen Litera- 
ture, I, 209^., and Chronologie der altchr. Literatur, H, 164^., and 
Perles, "Symmachus," in JE., XI, 619. 


The Bible is thought to have been translated into the Egyptian 
dialects before the end of the second century. This translation 
was made from the Septuagint version, so that the various Egyp- 
tian versions — Bohairic, Memphitic, and Sahidic — are in reality 
witnesses for the text of the Septuagint. Accounts of these ver- 
sions are given in Swete, op. cit., 104-108, and in the works of 
Gregory awid Scrivener cited above. In S. Biblioriim Fragmenta 
Copto-Sahidica Musei Borgiani, edited by Ciasca, 1880, Vol. II, 
pp. 195-254, the whole of Qoheleth in a Sahidic translation, ex- 
cept 9*-io», is included. This text was collated by Euringer for 
his work Der Masorahtext des Koheleth kritisch tmtersucht, 1890. 
These readings usually support the readings of ($. This version 
is cited below as K. 


The origin of this version is involved in much obscurity. Theo- 
dore of Mopsuestia declared that no one knew who the translator 
was. (Cf. Migne, P. G., LXVI, 241.) The version was, however, 
made during the early centuries of the Christian era. The Pen- 
tateuch was translated from the Hebrew, though in Isaiah, the 
Minor Prophets, and the Psalms the Septuagint has had consid- 


erable influence. A study of the Peshitta text of Qoheleth with 
a view of determining its relation to the Massoretic text on the one 
hand and the Septuagint on the other was made by Kamenetzky 
in ZAW., XXIV (1904), 181-239. Kamenetzky's conclusion, with 
which my own use of the Peshitta leads me to agree, is that for 
the most part the Syriac was translated from a Hebrew text which 
in most places agreed with MT., though in some places it differed 
from it and at some points it has been influenced by (S. This 
version is represented in the following pages by the symbol ^. 
Fuller accounts of the Peshitta will be found in the works of 
Swete, Gregory and Scrivener, already frequently referred to. 


This translation was made by Paul of Telia in 616 and 617 A.D. 
from the Septuagint column of Origen's Hexapla. It is in reality, 
therefore, a witness for the text of the Septuagint. It is cited 
below as #". For a fuller account of it and the literature see Swete, 
op. cit., 1 1 2-1 16. The standard edition of it for Ecclesiastes is 
still Middledorpf's Codex Syraco-Hexaplaris, etc., 1835. 


The origin of the early Latin version or versions of the Bible 
is involved in as much obscurity as that of the Syriac or Egyp- 
tian versions. It is clear that a translation was made into Latin 
at an early date, and that by the end of the fourth century there 
were wide variations in its MSS. Samples of these variations are 
furnished by Swete, op. cit., pp. 89-91. This early translation 
appears to have been made from the Septuagint. Our sources 
for the text of this Old Latin are in large part Patristic quotations 
of the Old Testament. These were collected with great care 
and fulness by Peter Sabatier in his BiUiorum sacrorum LatincB 
versiones antique, Rheims, 1743, which was employed by Euringer 
and is "frequently quoted in his Masorahtext des Kohelelh. Sa- 
batier's work, however, was published more than a century and a 
half ago, and his quotations now need to be tested by later editions 
of the Fathers. Some readings for Ecclesiastes from a MS. of 


St. Gall may be found in S. Berger's Notices et extraits, p. 137 jf. 
I have attempted to make little use of this version, but it is cited 
below a few times as H. The works of Swete, Gregory and Scriv- 
ener contain discussions of this translation. 


The basis of this translation was made by St. Jerome (Eusebius 
Hieronymus) between 383 and 420 A.D. It was Jerome's plan 
to translate from the Hebrew, but his version was made with a 
full knowledge of the material which Origen had collected in the 
Hexapla. His Ecclesiastes was made from a text which generally 
agreed with MT., though it sometimes departs from it in most 
suggestive ways. Full accounts of Jerome's work are given in 
the works of Gregory and Scrivener referred to above, and in 
Smith and Wace's Diet, of Christian Biography. This version is 
designated by the symbol H. 


In the commentary which follows the Arabic version is some- 
times quoted. This is the Arabic version which was published 
in the London Polyglot of 1656 and the Paris Polyglot of 1630. 
It is believed to be the translation of Saadia Gaon, who died 
in 942. 

The Hexateuch seems to have been translated from the Hebrew; 
Judges, Ruth, parts of Kings, Nehemiah and Job from the Pe- 
shitta; while the other poetical books and the prophets seem to 
be dependent on the Septuagint. In Qoheleth the Arabic, where 
it departs from MT., usually allies itself with (i. It is referred to 
below by the symbol A. Possibly only the Hexateuch was trans- 
lated by Saadia, as that was made from the Hebrew text. For 
accounts of the Arabic version, see Swete, op. cit., 110 ff., and 
Gottheil, in JE., Ill, 189. 

(12). THE TARGUM. 

As the K'tiihim were not interpreted in the synagogue services, 
Targumim of them {i.e., interpretations into the Aramaic spoken 


by the people) were not written as early as the rest of the Bible. 
That on the Psalter was not made in its present form before the 
ninth century. No Targum of the Megilloth is mentioned in any 
work older than the Ariik (Dictionary) of Nathan ben Jehiel, 
which was completed in iioi A.D. These Targumim are prob- 
ably, therefore, in their present form, not earlier than the tenth 
century, though they may go back to oral interpretations which 
are much earlier. 

The Targum of Qoheleth is a free paraphrase combined with a 
midrashic interpretation. Occasionally the text is followed 
closely, but more often the interpretation freely departs from it, 
for the sake of covering up sceptical expressions which were ob- 
noxious to orthodox Jews. These expressions are often turned 
so as to commend the study of the law and support the most 
orthodox doctrines and devout course of life. Solomon is be- 
lieved to be the author of Qoheleth, and many allusions in it are 
interpreted to refer to events in his life and that of his son Reho- 
boam. Nevertheless, the Targum is frequently an important 
witness to the text, and helps us to correct MT. It is cited as JJ. 
In addition to the publication of the Targum of Qoheleth accessible 
in the Polyglots a recension has recently been published from 
South Arabic MSS. by Alfred Levy, entitled Das Targum zu 
Koheleth nach sudarabischen Handschriften, Breslau, 1905. For 
a more complete account of the Targumim and the literature upon 
them, see Bacher's article "Targum," in JE., XIII, ^. 


The Jewish writers of the first seven centuries of the Christian 
era frequently quoted the OT. These quotations ought to per- 
form for the text-criticism of the OT. the same service that pa- 
tristic quotations perform for the NT. Euringer in his Masorah- 
text, already referred to, has collected these quotations for Qoheleth 
from the Mishna, and the parts of the Babylonian and Jerusalem 
Talmuds which were made up to the seventh century. Of the 
221 verses in Qoheleth, a part or all of 122 are quoted in these 
Jewish writings, and some of them many times. These quotations 

TEXT 1 7 

have too often been assimilated to MT., to be of much service, 
but they sometimes present interesting variations from it. Where 
quoted below, they are designated by the name of the Talmudic 
tract in which the quotation is made. 

An idea of the sort of textual variation presented in these Talmudic 
quotations may be seen in the following examples. In Qoh. i" ]p'^, is 
written defectively. The passage is quoted twice in the Mishna, 
Khagiga, i*^, Sukkah, 2'', and twice in the Talmud, Yebamoth, 22^, 
Berakoth, 26', and in all cases but the last it is written fully, I'^p'': 
Qoh. 4'^ has I'^^Ji, but the Qr. iSjn. Bab. Berakoth, 23*, Jer. Berak., 
4*, 13', and MegilL, 71', all read "i^j"\, Tosephta, 17', only supporting 
y'^i'\. In the same verse MT. has nc's^ in which it is supported by 
Berakoth, 23', but the other Talmudic quotations of the verse (just 
given) read "irsa, as do (5 and 6. In Qo'a. 5"* tlic Kt. is n"'i, the (^r. 
Nin. Sifre 60* reads S"«n with Kt. 

Qoh. i2«hasasKt. pn-i- as Qr. ?:-\'. Sabbath, i5i'>, and Semakhot, 
44», support the Qr. p.'^"!'. 


There are persistent and probably trustworthy traditions that 
Rabbi Aqiba, who had such an influence in systematizing and 
perfecting the Jewish oral law and system of hermeneutics, also 
with the aid of Aquila, his pupil, attempted to fix the text of li.e 
Bible. He was the creator in a sense of the Rabbinical Billc. 
(See Ginsburg's article ''Akiba," JE., I, 306.) That the first 
Greek translation of Qoheleth, commonly called the Septuagint 
version, was probably made by Aquila, has been shown above, 
where it also was pointed out that the differences between tlie 
Hebrew underlying the Septuagint and the Hebrew text of later 
times indicates that Aquila made the Septuagint version of QoJie- 
leth before Aqiba had revised the text. McNeile is, therefore, 
right in holding that by a right critical use of (S we can obtain a 
pre-Aqiban recension of Qoheleth. 

Some of the readings which Aqiba adopted in the Hebrew 
text underwent alterations by later hands, as McNeile has shown 
{Ecdesiastes, 153-156). In the history of the text of our book, we 
may then discern three recensions. Leaving out of account the 


eddies and side currents of corruption and transmission which in- 
evitably manifest themselves in MSS. and versions, these re- 
censions are the pre-Aquilan recension, the Aquihm recension and 
the Massoretic recension. A careful study of the text on those 
sane principles which Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort have 
established for the New Testament, reveals the fact that the text 
of Qoheleth has been transmitted, on the whole, with great fidelity. 
These recensions differ from one another far less than one would 
expect, and affect comparatively few passages. 

The best text-critical work hitherto done on Ecclesiastes is that of 
McNeile in his Introduction to Ecclesiastes, to which reference has sev- 
eral times been made. The more drastic work of Bickell, based on his 
theory of dislocations, as well as that of Zapletal and Haupt, based on 
a metrical theory of the book, are in most cases conjectures which rest 
on unproven premises. A criticism of their metrical theories will be 
found in §9. Winckler's emendations {Altorientalische Forschungen, 
IV) (1896), 351-355, are also usually too conjectural. 

With the exception of a few interpolations and a very little edi- 
torial material (see below, §7), the work of Qoheleth has come 
down to us modified by design or error far less than is the case 
with most of the Old Testament books. This is due, un- 
doubtedly, to the fact that it had undergone no long history of 
transmission and frequent copying before Aqiba set those forces 
to work which made further serious alterations in the text well- 
nigh impossible. 


It is possible in the space at our disposal to treat the history of 
the interpretation of Ecclesiastes only in outline. We caimot, as 
Ginsburg has done in his CoJieleth, go into the merits and demerits 
of all the commentaries of Qoheleth, that have ever been written, 
whether Jewish or Christian. Those who are interested in such 
curious details are referred to the "Introduction" of Oinsburg's 
work, pp. 30-245. It will be possible here to treat in detail only 
a few of the more important works of recent years, the theories 
set forth in which are living issues of present-day exegesis. 


The earliest commentaries on Ecclesiastes are probably rep- 
resented in the Jewish Midrashim, the beginnings of which go 
back to the period when the canonicity of the book was first fully 
recognized, if not to a date even earlier. These works were com- 
posed for the edification of congregations, and while the literal 
sense of a passage was not ignored, if that sense was at all edifying, 
or would not give offense by its unorthodox character, nevertheless 
the greatest liberties were taken with the text when it seemed 
necessary to find edification or orthodoxy in a passage which ob- 
viously contained none. The general view of these MidrashUn 
was that Solomon wrote Qoheleth in his old age, when weary of 
life, to ''expose the emptiness and vanity of all worldly pursuits 
and carnal gratifications, and to show that the happiness of man 
consists in fearing God and obeying his commands." 

As was pointed out above (p. 15/".), the Targum of Qoheleth is such a 
midrashic interpretation. In it unspiritual passages are treated as 

Ch. 2^^ — "There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat 
and drink and enjoy himself," etc. — runs in the Targum: "There is 
nothing that is more beautiful in man than that he should eat and drink 
and show his soul good before the children of men, to perform the com- 
mandments and to walk in the ways which are right before Him, in order 
that he may gain good from his labors." 

Again 5'* — "A good that is beautiful is it to eat and drink and see 
good," etc. — the Targum converts into: "Good is it for the children of 
men and beautiful for them to work in this world that they may eat and 
drink from their labor so as not to stretch out a hand in violence or 
plunder, but to keep the words of the law and to be merciful to the poor 
in order to see good in their labor in this world under the sun." 

Similarly 9' — 'Go eat thy bread with joy and drink thy wine with a 
glad heart, for already God has accepted thy works" is changed into — 
"Said Solomon by the spirit of prophecy from before Jah, 'The Lord of 
the world shall say to all the righteous one by one, Go taste with joy 
thy bread which has been given to thee on account of the bread which 
thou hast given to the poor and the unfortunate who were hungry, and 
drink with good heart thy wine which is hidden for thee in the Garden 
of Eden, for the wine which thou hast mingled for the poor and needy 
who were thirsty, for already thy good work has been pleasing before 

To men who could read thus into an obnoxious text whatever they 


liked, every difficulty disappeared. Under the alchemy of allegory 
and spiritualizing all became easy. Nevertheless sometimes these Mid- 
rashim found a way of anticipating the theses of modern criticism that 
parts of the book refer to the exile or later. Thus the Targum says of 
i2 — "Vanity of vanities," etc. — "When Solomon, the king of Israel, 
saw by the spirit of prophecy, that the kingdom of Rehoboam, his son, 
would be divided with Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and Jerusalem 
and the sanctuary would be destroyed and that the people of Israel 
would go into captivity, he spoke saying, 'Vanity of vanities is this 
world, vanity of vanities is all for which I and David my father have 
labored — all is vanity." 

Meantime, among Christians, the book of Ecclesiastes was 
being interpreted by similar methods. The earliest Christian 
commentator on Qoheleth was Gregory Thaumaturgus, who died 
in 270 A.D., whose Metaphrasis in Ecdesianten Solomonis gives 
an interpretative paraphrase of the book. The genuineness of 
this work has been questioned, some assigning it to Gregory 
Nazianzen, but Harnack still assigns it to Thaumaturgus. {Ge- 
schichte der altchristlichen Literatiir, I, 430, and Chronologic , 
II, 99.) Gregory regards Solomon as a prophet, holding that his 
purpose was "to show that all the affairs and pursuits of man 
which are undertaken in human things are vain and useless, in 
order to lead us to the contemplation of heavenly things." Gregory 
of Nyssa and Jerome followed in good time with commentaries 
on the book, and each pursued a similar strain. The allegorical 
method was employed in its most developed form, especially by 
Jerome, who wrote his commentary to induce Basilica, a Roman 
lady, to embrace the monastic life. According to him, the purpose 
of the book is "to show the utter vanity of every sublunary enjoy- 
ment, and hence the necessity of betaking one's self to an ascetic 
life, devoted entirely to the service of God!" 

Started both among Jews and Christians in such paths as these, 
the interpretation of Ecclesiastes meandered with various windings 
through the Middle Ages. The Jewish commentators, Tobia 
ben Eleazar, Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, and others often followed 
more sober and sane methods than many, on account of the rise 
of a grammatical school of exegesis among the Jews in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, yet even from them allegory and fanciful 


interpretations did not disappear. Sometimes a Jew, sometimes 
a Christian, grasped fairly well the purpose of Qoheleth, but most 
of those who wrote upon it, followed either in the footsteps of the 
Targum or of Jerome. 

Martin Luther was the first to perceive that Solomon cannot 
have been the author of Ecclesiastes. He says in his ''Table 
Talk": "Solomon himself did not write the book of Ecclesiastes, 
but it was produced by Sirach at the time of the Maccabees. ... It 
is a sort of Talmud, compiled from many books, probably from 
the library of King Ptolemy Euergetes of Eg}'pt." 

This opinion of Luther waited, however, more than a century 
before it found corroboration. Hugo de Groot, the father of 
international law, better known as Grotius, published, in 1644, 
his commentary on the Old Testament. He regarded Ecclesiastes 
as a collection of opinions of different sages, originally spoken to 
different peoples. He says: "I believe that the book is not the 
production of Solomon, but was written in the name of this king, 
as being led by repentance to do it. For it contains many words 
which cannot be found except in Ezra, Daniel and the Chaldee 

In the next century the work of Grotius began to produce re- 
sults both in Germany and England. Thus, in the former country, 
J. D. Michaelis {Poetischer Entwnrf der Gedanken des Prediger- 
Buchs Solomons), in 1751, maintained that a prophet who lived 
after the exile wrote Ecclesiastes in the name of Solomon, in 
order that he might be al)lc, in the person of a king so happy 
and wise, to philosophize all the more touchingly about the vanity 
of human happiness, while in the latter country, in 1753, Bishop 
Lowth declared that in Ecclesiastes "the vanity of the world was 
exemplified by the exj)erience of Solomon, who is introduced 
in the character of a })crs()n investigating a very difficult ques- 
tion" (cf. Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews, xxiv) 
— thus practically admitting the non-Solomonic authorship of 
the book. 

After this the belief that Solomon did not write the book found 
increasingly abundant expression. Eichhorn, 1779; Doderlein, 
1784; Spohn, 1785; Dathc, 1789; Jahn, 1793, and during the nine- 


teenth century an increasing number of scholars have maintained 
the same view. Doderlein and Dathe dated the book about the 
time of the Babylonian exile. Since the dawn of the nineteenth 
century scholarly opinion has gradually brought the date of the\ 
book downj_fi rst to the Persian, a nd j:hen to the Greek, period. ! 
The following list is not exhaustive, but it indicates in a general 
way how scholars have grouped themselves with regard to date. 
Those who ho ld to the Persian period are Ewald, Knobel, Heng- ^V^ 
stenberg, Heiligstedt, De Wette, Vaihing er, Gin sburg^ Zockler, 
Moses Stuart {Commentary on Ecdesiastes), Delitzsch, No- 
wack, Wright, Cox, Vlock and Driver. On the other han d, the 
follo wing have assigned it to the Greek p^^o^7^arying from 330 
B.C. (Noyes, Job, Eccl. and Cant.) tQ __ioo B .C. (Renan), viz.: 
Zirkel, Noyes, Hitzig, Tyler, Plumtre, Renan, Kuenen {Poet. 
Bucher des A. T.), Strack {Einleitting) , Bickell, Cheyne, Dillon, 
Wildeboer, Siegfried, Davidson {Eccl. in EB.), Peake {Eccl. in 
DB.), Cornill {Einleitung) , Bennett {httrodnction), Winckler 
{Altorientalische Forschungen, 2d ser., 143-159), A. W. Sterne 
(Ecdesiastes or the Preacher, London, 1900), Margouliouth 
(Eccl. in JE.), Genung, Haupt and McFadyen {Introduction). 
Of the nineteenth century commentators whom I have studied, 
Wangemann (1856) alone holds to the Solomonic date, although 
Dale (1873) ^s non-committal with reference to it. Two recent 
writers, Marshall and McNeile (both 1904), are unable to decide 
between the Persian and Greek periods. One scholar, Graetz 
(187 1 ), holds that it belongs to the Roman period and was directed 
against Herod the Great. Briggs says that it '' is the latest writing 
in the Old Testament, as shown by its language, style and the- 
ology" (SHS. 321). 

It is clear from the above sketch that an increasing consensus 
of opinion places our book in the Greek period. The linguistic 
argument for the non-Solomonic authorship, which Grotius began 
to appreciate, has been worked out to a complete demonstration 
by the masterly hand of the late Franz Delitzsch. 

The disconnected character of the book of Ecdesiastes impressed 
Martin Luther, as we have seen, and led him to regard the work 
as a compilation. This fact was taken u]) and advanced by others 


and, finally, in the hands of Yeard (A Paraphrase upon Ecclesi- 
astes, London), (1701), Herder (1778) and Eichhorn (1779), led 
to the view that Qoheleth is a dialogue between a refined sensual- 
ist and a sensual worldling, who interrupts him, or between a teacher 
and pupil. A similar view was entertained by Kuenen. Doder- 
lein explained these inconcinnities as the record of the discussions 
of an ''Academy," or group of learned men. Bickell explains 
them by the supposition that the leaves of an early MS. became 
disarranged, while Siegfried, McNeile and Haupt explain them 
on the supposition of later interpolations. Some of these views 
will be examined more in detail below. 

On the other hand, the unity of the book has been strenuously 
maintained by such scholars as Ginsburg, Zockler, Delitzsch, 
Plumtre, Wright, Briggs, Wildeboer, Cornill and Genung. Briggs 
classes Koheleth with Job as a type of moral heroism wrestling 
with foes to the soul, and winning moral victories over doubt 
and error (SHS., pp. 425-426). Cornill declares that ''Old 
Testament piety nowhere enjoys a greater triumph than in the 
book of Qoheleth" {Introduction to Can. Bks. of OT., 1907, 
p. 451). Plumtre, Briggs, Cornill et al. before them, regard the 
contradictory expressions of the book as the varying moods of the 
writer, as his childhood's faith struggles with the mass of doubt 
and pessimism which fills his mind. 

" Zirkel, in 1792, Untersuchungen uber den Prediger, propounded 
the theory that Qoheleth evinces the formative influence of Greek 
thought and the Greek language — that its idiom betrays the 
presence of Greek forms of speech, and that the influence of Stoic 
philosophy is no less evident. 

Zirkel's view was revived and maintained by Hitzig (Comm., 
1847), Kleinert (Der Prediger Solomo, 1864), and by Thomas 
Tyler in his Ecclesiastes — A Contribution to its Interpretation, 
London, 1874, who finds in the book evidences of Greek linguistic 
influence, as well as the traces both of Stoic and Epicurean 
thought. Tyler maintained that the Sadducees represented Epi- 
curean influence, and the Pharisees Stoic influence, that the Tal- 
mud gives proof of the existence of Jewish schools, or academies, 
and that the mingling of contradictory ideas in the book is 


accounted for by supposing that the work is a record of the discus- 
sions of one of these academies. 

Plumtre maintains (Ecclesiastes in Cambridge Bible, 1881), 
as does Tyler, that there are two streams of Greek Philosophical 
influence, one Stoic and one Epicurean, but, as previously re- 
marked, attributes the contradictions to the varying moods of 
the author, whose mind gives house-room now to one set of 
opinions and now to another. Pfleiderer (Die Philosophie des 
Heraklit von Eph., nebst Koheleth und besonders i^n Buck der 
Weisheit, 1886) maintained the existence of traces of Greek in- 
fluence in Qoheleth, but traced them to Heraclitus. 

Siegfried (Prediger und Hoheslied, in Nowack's Handkom- 
mentar, 1898) and Ilaupt (Koheleth, oder Weltschmerz in der 
Bible, Leipzig, 1905, the Book of Ecclesiastes, Baltimore, 1905) 
both hold to this Greek influence (though Haupt confines it to the 
thought, denying any linguistic influence from Greek), but both 
account for the different philosophic strains by supposing that 
different parts of the work are from different writers. These 
theories will be set forth in greater detail below. From this 
general view of the course of the criticism of Ecclesiastes we pass 
to examine in detail some of the more important theories concern- 
ing it, which have been produced within the last forty years. 

Graetz, in his Koheleth (187 1), notes that Qoheleth directs his 
remarks in several instances against a tyrannical king, whom he 
also calls a slave (so Graetz understood "^/J). Graetz remarks 
that none of the Asmonaeans were tyrants, and argues that these 
characteristics suit Herod the Great alone, whom the Talmud 
(Baba Bathra, 3b, and Ketuboth, 24) called the ''slave of the 
Asmon.Tans." To this period he thought the language of the 
book, with its mingling of late Hebrew and Aramaic forms, also 
pointed. The book on this view is a kind of political satire.- 
Graetz denies that the author was a Sadducee, and regards him 
as a young Jew of the mild, strenuosity-abjuring school of Hillel. 

Graetz did regard the author, however, as an out and out sen- 
sualist, and fmds as he interprets Qoheleth many allusions to the 
gratifications of desire. These interpretations have been shown 
by many later commentators to be in most cases unwarranted. 


Qoheleth was no advocate of debauchery, as is proven by an in- 
telligent interpretation of his utterances in detail. As to Graetz's 
Herodian date for Koheleth recent commentators find it too late. 
The external evidence, as is shown below (§13), makes it impossible 
that the book should be so late. 

The contradictions of the book Graetz sought to soften by a 
theory of dislocations. Such a theory had first been suggested 
by J. G. van der Palm, in his Ecclesiastes philologice et critice 
illnstratus, Leyden, 1784. Graetz placed ch. 7"- '^ after ch. 5% 
removing ch. 5^ to take their place after ch. 7'''; io< he removed 
to come after 8', and 7'» he placed after 9'^ Later commentators, 
however, have not found these changes sufficient to harmonize the 
contents of the lx)ok. 

Graetz denied that the last six verses of the book (i29-»^), formed 
a part of the original work. Moreover, he held that these were to 
be divided between two hands. Vv.'2->^ were, Graetz held, a col- 
ophon to the whole Hagiography, written at the time Qoheleth 
was received into the canon, as Krochmal had previously suggested. 
How much of this position is right, and what part of it is untenable, 
will appear as we proceed. 

A more radical theory of dislocations was put forth by the late 
Professor Bickell of Vienna in 1884 in his little book, Der Prediger 
i'lber den Wert des Daseins, also set forth in more popular form in 
1886 in his Koheleth'' s Untersuchung uber den Wert des Daseins. 
Bickell declared that the book is unintelligible as it stands, and 
that this lack of clearness was produced in the following way. 
Qoheleth was written in book form on fascicles consisting of four 
leaves once ^olded, or four double leaves. Each single leaf con- 
tained about 525 letters. Qoheleth was a part of a book which 
contained other works written on an unknown number of such 

Qoheleth began on the sixth leaf of one fascicle and ended on the third 
leaf of the fourth succeeding fascicle. On the first three leaves (the end 
of the first fascicle) stood ch. i^-a", on the fourth and fifth leaves, 5'-6'; 
on the sixth and seventh leaves, 3»-4*; on the eighth and ninth leaves, 
2*^3"; on the tenth and eleventh leaves (the end of the second fascicle), 
8*-9» and 8>*; on the twelfth leaf, 9"-io'; on the thirteenth and fourteenth 


leaves, 6^-7" and 20; on the fifteenth and sixteenth, 4«-5*; on the seven- 
teenth, iQi'-ii' and'; on the eighteenth, 723-8*"; on the nineteenth (end 
of the third fascicle), lo^'-^ and 14*'; on the twentieth, 9'-'"; on the twenty- 
first and probably the twenty-second, 11^-12*. 

The string which held these fascicles together broke and the middle 
fascicle fell out. The leaves were found by some one not qualified to put 
them together, who took the inner half of the second fascicle, folded it 
inside out, and then laid it in the new order immediately after the first 
fascicle. Next came the inner sheet of the third fascicle, followed by 
the outside half of the second, into the middle of which the two double 
leaves, 13, 18, 14, 17 had already been -inserted. Although the fourth 
fascicle kept its place, it did not escape confusion, for between its leaves 
the first two leaves of the remaining sheet of the third fascicle found a 
place. Finally, leaf 17, becoming separated from its new environment, 
found a resting place between 19 and 21. This dislocation removed 
from the work all traces of its plan. 

In the new form it frequently happened that some of the edges did 
not join properly — a fact which led in time to the insertion of glosses. 
From this dislocated archetype all extant texts of Qoheleth have de- 

If now the original order of the leaves be restored and the glosses re- 
moved, the work falls into two distinct halves, a speculative and a practi- 
cal, each distinguished from the other by its own appropriate character- 
istics. According to Bickell this first half consisted of the following: 

Ch. l'-2'' =5^-6^ S^"~4^ 2'2b. 18-26. 12a. 13-17 ^1-8 8^-'^- 'S*- 1^»- ^^^- ^''^ q1 "^ 8'* 

pii-18 iQi 68- '"-•2. In this part it is demonstrated that life is an 
empty round, and that wisdom only serves to make its possessor modest, 
so that he does not get on as well as the vainly boasting fool. 

Part two consisted of the following: Ch. 7i» lo' 7»b-6 6' f-^'^- '»-"■ 

11. 12. 21. 22. 20. ^9-17 [-1 -8 jol«-20 xi'"'- *■ ■•• * 723-29 81"'' I02-13 jjlS ((^\ 
jQl4a. 15. 14b g3-10 jj7-10a j 2'* II'"'' I 2^^"'' • *. 

In this part the advice of Qoheleth is, in view of the fact that life offers 
no positive good, to make the best of such advantages as we have, to 
live modestly before the ruler and before God, and to expect everything 
to be vanity. 

The epilogue Bickell thought was from a later hand. This 
elaborate theory, rejected by most scholars, as too ingenious and 
improbable, has been accepted in full by Dillon, who sought in his 
Skeptics of the Old Testament^ 1895, to commend it to English 
readers. The theory is not only intricate and elaborate to a de- 
gree which creates doubts that, if it were true, a modern scholar 
would ever have divined it, but it breaks down archaeologically in 


its fundamental assumption that the book form had succeeded 
the roll form in literary Hbraries at a date sufficiently early for it 
to have played the part in the history of Qoheleth supposed by 

If an accident, such as Bickell supposed, had happened to the 
exemplar of Ecclesiastes, it must have been earlier than the Greek 
translation of the book, for the same confusion which Bickell sup- 
poses is present in the Greek as well as in the Hebrew text. Even 
if the Greek translation were made as late as we have supposed 
above, that was at a date in all probability too early for a literary 
work to have been written in book form. An examination of the 
published papyri, found in such large numbers in Egypt by Gren- 
fell and Hunt in recent years, tends to prove that literary works 
were written in roll form until after the first century A.D., and 
that the book form did not supersede the roll for more than an- 
other hundred years. For evidence, see e.g., the ArchcBological 
Report of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1905-1906, p. 10^., where 
literary rolls written in the second and third centuries A.D. are 
described. See also Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testa- 
ment, 1907, p. 317 ff., who holds that the book form did not 
come in until ± 300 A.D. The fundamental assumption of 
Bickell's theory is accordingly improbable. 

In presenting this theory to English readers, Dillon has added 
a new element to the study of the book. Being an Aryan scholar, 
he declares {op. cit., 122^.) that Buddhism is the only one of the 
world-religions in which such practical fruits as we see exhibited 
in Qoheleth are manifested. Instead of going to Epicureanism 
to explain these, he accordingly declares that they are due to 
Buddhistic influence. King Agoka tells us (see V. A. Smith's 
Acoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, Oxford, 1901) in one of 
his inscriptions, that in the early part of the third century B.C. 
he had sent Buddhistic missionaries to the court of the Seleucida: 
at Antioch and the court of the Ptolemies at Alexandria. Dillon, 
accordingly, declares that by 205 B.C. Qoheleth, even if he 
lived in Jerusalem, might have known Buddhism, though Dillon 
thinks it more prol)able that he lived in Alexandria. 

In 1894 Professor Paul Haunt, in a paper entitled ''The Book 


of Ecclesiastes," published in the Oriental Studies of the Oriental 
Club of Philadelphia, declared, "There is no author to the book of 
Ecclesiastes, at any rate not of the book in the form in which it 
has come down to us. . . . It reminds me of the remains of a daring 
explorer, who has met with some terrible accident, leaving his 
shattered form exposed to the encroachments of all sorts of foul 
vermin. ... In some cases there are half a dozen parallel strata 
of glosses." 

This hint of Haupt's was taken up by D. C. Siegfried, who in 
his Prediger und Hoheslied, 1898, in Nowack's Handkommentar 
elaborated it into the theory that five different hands contributed 
to the contents of Qoheleth, and two different epilogists and two 
different editors in addition have taken part in bringing the work 
into its present form. 

According to Siegfried the original work was composed by a man who 
was imbued with an un-Hebraic spirit of pessimism, but who cannot 
be shown to have been influenced by Stoic philosophy. To this writer 
(Q') belong the following sections: Eccl. 13-2'^ 2^*^-^* 3'-'- ''• 's. is. 

18-21 ^1-4. 6-8. 13-16 [-10-12. 13-17 5I -7 ylb--!. 15. 26-2S gg. 10. 14. 16. 17 q2. 3. 5. 6 

I05-7. To this work a Sadducee (Q-), who had come under the in- 
fluence of Epicureanism added the following: Ch. 3" 5I8-20 714 g'^ 
gi. 7-10. 12 10'" ii^- »''■ 9" i2»b-7a. Another hand (Q^), a Hokma glossa- 
tor, contributed the following: 2'3- i'» 4^ 6'*- ^^ 7"- '2- 19 8' 9"-" 
101-3. i2-i5_ Still another writer (Q<), the Chasid glossator, added: 

224b-26a tU. 13. H. 17 (-1-2. 4-6. 7b-8 51O-I2 7I3. 17. 23-25. 29 82-8. 11-13 qI jjS. 9b 

I2t». 7b, Under Q^ Siegfried classifies the work of glossators whose 
work cannot be individualized, assigning to them the following: 4»-'2 

|-». 7«. 9. 12 yla. 6. 6a. 7-10. 18. 20-22 gll jq4. 8-11. 16-18. 20 iil-4. 6 'J'q this 

compound work the first epilogist (E'), added ch. 128 '", a second epil- 
ogist (E^), 12"- '2. A first editor (Ri) prefixed i' and added 12", while 
a second editor (R^) added ch. 12'' ". Thus Siegfried thinks he can 
discern nine different hands in the composition of the book, and one of 
these stands for an indefinite number more. 

This theory of Siegfried greatly overworks an undoubted fact, 
viz.: — that different hands have had a part in making the book 
of Ecclesiastes. It is built upon the supposition that absolutely 
but one type of thought can be harbored by a human mind while 
it is composing a book. In periods of transition, on the contrary, 


one can give house-room to widely divergent thoughts. While 
this fact should not lead us to think that a writer who has penned 
a sentence is likely flatly to contradict himself in the next, it should 
prevent us from carrying analysis to the extent which Siegfried 
has done. 

Zapletal, in 1904, in his little book, Die Metrik des Bitches 
Kohelet, maintained the thesis that Qoheleth is (or was) metrical 
throughout, and that this fact enables the critic to reject a number 
of later glosses, which mar the metrical form. 

In 1905 Haupt, in two publications, Koheleth, published in 
Leipzig, and The Book 0/ Ecdesiastes, published in Baltimore, 
developed still further the view that he had set forth in 1894. 
Independently of Zapletal, he also set forth the theory that the 
book was written in metrical form, and in a way much more 
thorough-going than Zapletal has revised the text to make it con- 
form to metre. 

Haupt has in these works carried out the idea expressed eleven 
years before that the original work of Qoheleth has been piled with 
glosses. Of the 222 verses of the book, he retains but 124 as genu- 
ine — barely more than half — and even from these many small 
glosses have been subtracted. The most radical feature of 
Haupt's work is, however, his rearrangement of the material which 
he regards as genuine. The material is transposed and rejoined 
in an even more radical way than Bickell had done, and without 
Bickell's pala?ographical reason for it. Few verses are left in 
the connection in which we find them in our Bibles, so that an 
index becomes necessary to find a passage in the book. On any 
theory (except Haupt's), no ancient editor took such liberties with 
the text as Haupt himself has taken. He has practically rewritten 
the book, basing his changes partly on his metrical theory, but in 
larger measure on his own inner sense of what the connections 
ought to be. 

As to the date, Haupt believes that the original Ecdesiastes 
was written by a prominent Sadducx*an physician in Jerusalem, 
who was born at the beginning of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes 
(175-164) and died in the first decade of the reign of Alexander 
Jannaeus (104-79 B.C.). The author may have been a king in 


Jerusalem, if king be taken as in Gittin, 62a, and Berakoth, 64a, to 
mean the head of a school. The genuine portions of Ecclesiastes 
are Epicurean, while in the Pharisaic interpolations Stoic doc- 
trines are found. The original writer may have completed the 
book about 100 B.C., when he was 75 years old. 

This view of the date ignores the important testimony of the 
book of Ecclesiasticus, which will be presented in detail below. 
Its testimony makes the interpretation of ch. 4'='-i«, which Haupt 
applies to Alexander Balas, and on which he mainly relies for his 
date, impossible, tempting as that interpretation is. The idea that 
Qoheleth was a physician, rests upon no more substantial basis 
than the anatomical interpretation of ch. 12=% and to freeze the 
poetic metaphors of that passage into anatomy, is no more justified 
than to freeze the poetic metaphors of the Psalms into theology. 
Ingenious and brilliant as Haupt's work is, it contributes Httle 
to the real understanding of Qoheleth, as in almost every feature 
it rests, as it seems to me, on assumptions which are incapable of 
proof and do not commend themselves. Meantime, in 1904, 
the Cambridge University Press had issued McNeile's Intro- 
diiction to Ecclesiastes, to which reference has already been made. 
This work is important from the higher critical as well as from 
the text-critical point of view. McNeile recognizes with Haupt 
and Siegfried that the book has been interpolated, but in his view 
the interpolated portions are far smaller than they suppose, and the 
process of interpolation much simpler. 

McNeile recognizes two glossators, a Chasid glossator and a Hokma 
glossator. To the former he assigns ch. 2^8 (exc. last clause), T)^"^' " 
417 51-8 718b. 26L. 29 g2b. 3a. 6. 6a. 11-13 j 1 9b j 2'» '^ '<. To the latter, ch. 

Ai. 9-12 57. « yla. 4-8a. 7-12. 19 gl q17. 18 jo'-S- 8-Ka. 15. 18. 19 I2»'- I*. To 

an editor he assigns: i'- ''■ 2-« (last clause), 7**^ 128-10. While reasons 
will be given below for dissenting from this analysis in a few points, the 
present writer has again and again found himself in agreement with 
McNeile. The reasons for this agreement will be set forth below. 

McNeile also differs radically from Haupf nn d^'egfried ps regard s 
the influence of Greek philosophical thought on Qoheleth, main- 
taining that there is no clear trace of it. McNeile adduces strong 
reasons for supposing that the point of view expressed in the book of 


Ecclesiastes is the natural product of Semitic, or, more specifically, / 
of Jewish thought, in the conditions which prevailed in late post- / 
exilic time, that this thought resembles Stoicism in a general way | 
because Stoicism was a similar product of Semitic thought, Zeno, \ 
the founder of the Stoics, being a Phoenician born at Kition in j 

In the same year, 1904, Professor Genung of Amherst published 
his Words of Koheleth, in which he essays an interpretation more 
from the point of view of a student of literature than from that of 
a text-critic or an ordinary exegete. Genung argues earnestly 
for the unity of Ecclesiastes and exhibits little patience with any 
divisive theory. He regards Qoheleth as the first in Hebrew thought 
to follow the inductive method, and explains many of the seeming 
contradictions of the book by the supposition that the grafting of 
the inductive method onto the ordinary forms of expression em- 
ployed by the ''Wisdom" writers would necessarily in its first 
attempt betray the "prentice" hand and leave much in the way 
of literary harmony to be desired. Qoheleth, says Genung, "fre- 
quently reverts to a mashal to clinch his argument." Genung 
overlooks the fact that the larger part of the proverbs in the book 
do not clinch, but interrupt the argument. 

In Genung's view the purpose of Qoheleth was to recall the re- 
ligious spirit of the time back to reality, and that the result of his 
reasoning is to make life issue, not in religiosity, but in character. 
There is an element of truth in this, but Genung has greatly over- 
worked it. 

On one point Genung speaks with the authority of a literary 
expert. He declares that Qoheleth is essentially a prose book, 
having the prose temper and the prose work to do. "It contains 
little, if any, of that lyric intensity which riots in imagery or im- 
passioned eloquence." He also justly observes that the form of \ 
Hebrew poetry is largely absent from the book, declaring that for 
the sake of continuity of thought the writer has abandoned the 
hampering form of poetry, which would compel returns of the 
thought to former utterances. In this it must appear even to a 
superficial reader of the book that, with some exceptions, Genung 
is right. 



There are two regions in which traces of Greek inlluence mighy 
conceivably be detected in Qolielelh, viz.: — its language and its~^ 
thought. ^ 

1. The contention of Zirkel, Tyler, Plumtre, Siegfried and 
Wildeboer that Gra^cisms are to be found in the language of 
Qoheleth, has been ably answered by Delitzsch, Nowack, McNeile 
and others. Not more than one such linguistic characteristic can 
be detected in the book, and that belongs to the language of com- 
mon life, and might be employed by anyone living in Palestine 
after the Macedonian conquest. 

In ch. i3 the phrase u'crn nnn occurs. It is found also 28 times else- 
where in the book. Plumtre and Wildeboer (the latter hesitatingly) 
regard it as= v(p ifKLu). Kleinert and McNeile rightly hold that this 
is unnecessary. It alternates with D'::rn .--n.i, i'^ 2^ 3' and -psn ^;', 8'^ '^ 
ii«. The phrase also occurs in two Phoenician inscriptions dating 
from about 300 B.C. — those of Tabnith and Eshmunazer {cf. CIS., I, 3 
and G. A. Cooke, North Semitic Inscriptions, pp. 26, 30). It may 
easily have been a phrase characteristic of the period without any refer- 
ence to the Greeks. Zirkel's claim that Nin in the phrase ;n y:; .sn (cli. 
I '3) corresponds to the Homeric use of the article as a demonstrative 
pronoun, has been deemed by none of his successors worthy of serious 
consideration. Di->o in ch. 2^ although the same as Tra/jdScitros, is not 
derived from it. Both are derived from the Persian pairi-dieza, whic'i 
furnished the word to Semitic-Babylonian, Aramaic, Arabic and Ar- 
menian as well. (See BDB.) It is also found in Cant. 4'* and Ne. 
2". n-^|"»s, ch. 2'< 3^3 9^- ^ was by van der Palm connected with aviKpop-fi^ 
but it occurs in a kindred sense in i Sam. 6', where no Greek iaOuence 
can be suspected. n."i^ tn, ch. 2'^ Zirkel renders €ti fiiWov, but as 
rightly taken by Ginsburg, Wildeboer and McNeile Tx="t!ien," "under 
those circumstances," as in Jer. 22'5. 2VJ nvJ7, ch. 3'-, is regarded by 
Kleinert, Tyler and Siegfried as a literal translation of cD irpdrreiv. It 
is true that the context excludes an ethical meaning, and shows that it 
means "be prosperous," or "fare well," but since ny-y nr; occurs in the 
opposite meaning of "vex one's self" or "be in a bad way" in 2 S. 
i2'8, Greek influence is not necessary to account for the usage, 'jrn ■''^'-', 
rh. 4'% was explained by Zirkel from the Greek phrase devrepot toO 
BatrtX^ws, and by Delitzsch and Wright from frepos tCjv yiad-qrCiv 
<'Mt. 8-'). Bickc^U and Siegfried, however, regard 'ju'i as a gloss. 


If genuine, it is used in a straightforward way to refer to a second youth 
who became king. ^DDiinN, 5», was regarded by Zirkel as = <f>iXdpyvpoi, 
but as McNcile has said one could as well take nn^n jhn (Pr. 29^) as a 
Graecism = 0t\6<ro0os. nc^ "icn 2)12, ch. 5'', is taken by Graetz, Plumtre, 
Pfleiderer, Siegfried and Wildeboer as a translation of Ka\6v Kdya66v. 
That, however, would be ni3">i 31a. Del., who is followed by Wr., McN., 
Kd. (§§4i4n, 393a), pointed to a parallel in Non nu'x ]yy^, Ho. 12=. There 
can be no suspicion of Greek influence in Hosea. njjjc, ch. s'*, has, 
according to Zirkel, the sense of remunerari. The use of njy in this 
sense he explained through the Gr. dfieipec dai, which can mean both re- 
munerari and respondere. ny; is, however, an Aramaic loan word="to 
occupy" (BDB., see note); but even if it were from njy, "answer," 
McN. points to a parallel usage in i K. 18**, for which Greek in- 
fluence could not be responsible. VDi ^Sn, ch. 69, Zirkel compares with 
dp/x^ TTJs rpvxv^ in Marc. Aurelius 3'*. If there were influence here, it 
must have been from the Hebrew to the Greek, McN. has called at- 
tention to the fact that Ez. 11" and Job 3' use ^S^ in the same sense as 
Qoh. ov)}''}, ch. 6'-, is the one instance wherein Zirkel was right, explain- 
ing it by the Greek iroieiv xp^^ov. McN. would alter the text to avoid 
this explanation, but on the whole it seems most probable. See notes. 
n3iO ov, ch. 7IS Kleinert declared was connected with evrj/jjepla, but others, 
even those who hold to Grsecisms in Qoh., regard it as doubtful. McN. 
pertinently asks: "What other expression could possibly be chosen as a 
contrast to ny-i or ? oSd ns nx'', Zirkel claims, is equal to the Greek pJarjy 
Padli^eiv, but as Del. and others point out nx> has here the sense of "be 
quit from" or "guiltless of, " as in Mishna, Berakoih, 2', Sabbath, i». 
This is, then, not a Greek idiom, but NH. n>ntt' hd Kleinert explains as 
t6 tL ^<rTti'="the essence of the thing," but, as McN. notes, the expression 
is found in i» 315 6', in all of which such a meaning is impossible. It 
means simply "that which is." din, ch. 7", Graetz takes as equal to 
r\y, owing to the influence of the Greek AvSpuiros, but as McN. notes 
it is simply opposed to nrx as in Gen. 2"- "• « 38. n. n. 20. 21^ ^nd does 
not correspond to Greek usage at all. dj.-id, ch. 8", which Zirkel takes 
for the Gr. <pd4yna and others for ivrlTayna, is, as Delitzsch pointed out, 
a Persian word; see notes. Son, ch. 1 2", Tyler, who is followed by Sieg., 
compares with the formula of the Mishna, SSon nT=" this is the gen- 
eral rule," and thinks there is "a pretty clear trace of the influence of 
Greek philosophical terminology." He compares t6 Kad6\ov or t6 
6\op, which in Plato is used in the sense of "the Universal." Such a 
view imports into the phrase a meaning foreign to the context. The 
word simply means "all," and means that either the whole book, or all 
that the editor wished to say, has been heard. These points are more 
fully discussed by McNeile, op. cit., pp. 30-43. 


2. As to the possibility that Qoheleth was influenced by Greek 
philosophical thought, it can be shown that there is even less trace 
in Qoheleth of Greek philosophical, than of Greek linguistic, in- 
fluence. Renan and McNeile are right in thinking that everything 
in Qoheleth can be accounted for as a development of Semitic 
thought, and that the expressions which have been seized upon to 
prove that its writer came under the influence of Greek schools 
of philosophy only prove at most that Qoheleth was a Jew who had 
in him the making of a Greek philosopher. (Cf. McNeile, op. 
cit., p. 44.) 

Many attempts have been made to prove the contrary. Pflei- 
derer (Cf. Jahrh'ucher fur protestantische Theologie, 1887, 177-180, 
and his Die Philosophie des HeraklU von Eph.,nebst einemAnhang 
uber heraklitische Einfliisse im alttestamentlichen Koheleth, und 
hesonders im Buch der Weisheit, 1886) tries to show that ch. 3'-» 
is dependent upon Heraclitus, not only for its thought, but for 
many of its expressions; but this view has been justly discarded 
by others. Friedlander (Griechische Philosophie im alten Testa- 
ment, 1904) seeks to prove that Qoheleth was written in the 
Greek period, assuming that in that case Greek philosophy in- 
fluenced it. He makes no specific argument fi>r such influence 
beyond the contention that ch. 719 (= Pr. 21" 24^) is an echo 
of Euripides. Sellin {Spnren griechischer Philosophie im alten 
Testament, 1905) has answered him. 

The attempt of Tyler, which is followed by Plumtre, Siegfried, 
and Haupt, to prove that Qoheleth was influenced by the 
Stoics, deserves more serious attention. Tyler (Ecclesiastes, 
p. 11^.) finds in the catalogue of times and seasons in ch. 3»-» a 
setting forth of the great principle of Stoic ethics, thatiin£_should 
live according to nature. He thinks that in vv. 2-8 we have a 
compendious statement that for every event of human life "Nat- 
ure" has an appointed season. He finds confirmation of this in 
ch. 3'^ where the word "there" according to the Massoretic point- 
ing seems to him to refer to nature. With reference to this last 
point it may be observed that ch. 3'^ in all probability is one of the 
Chasid glossator's interpolations to Qoheleth's work, and that the 
word "there" is a Massoretic mistake (see Commentary, ad loc.^ 


for reasons). The Stoic ethics, too, which Tyler sees in ch. 3--*, 
do not appear, on a close examination, to be there. Q^)heleth 
is jioj_inj_[ ]Pse verses e x pressing an ethical standard, but is rather 
breathingji_sigh (see vv. 9, 11) ove r the fact that j )]| h""^-^" ^''^^' 
with itsjv aried activities is ai \\i^^^ in thp m eshes of an inexorab le 
fate. This ^onsciousness of the iron grip of fate Qoheleth possesse s 
in common with the Stoics, it must be confessed, but, as Zeller 
{Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics, London, 1892, p. 332 ff.) per- 
reiyed, the Stoics did not invent this conception, hut shared it 
wit h nearly all the thinkers of the period. In an age w h^XLJirst 
the Persian, then the Macedonian, and finally the Roman con- 
querer quenched all over the civilized world the torch of freedom, 
and powerful nations were crushed like egg-shells, it is no wonder 
that the fact that man is powerless before the onward sweep of 
things should have impressed the thoughtful minds of the time 
regardless of nationality. The ^ct |:hat this conc eption ^pp^nrc 
in Qo heleth is, th erefore , a mark of dat e, rather than evidence of 
St oic influe nce. Ch. 3"'*, upon which Tyler relies for confirma- 
tion of his argument, is obviously open to the same explanation. 
The writer is simply saying: Man is powerless in the presence of 

Tyler then argues {op. cit., p. i^ff.) that the picture which Qo- 
heleth draws in ch. i of the endless repetitions of nature clearly be- 
trays the influence of the Stoic theory of cycles. Tyler overlooks, 
however, the fact that the differences between the Stoics and Qo- 
heleth are really greater than their agreements. Qoheleth (ch. i<-") 
alludes only to the fact that the generations of men, the sun, the 
winds, the rivers, and all human affairs, run again and again the 
same course. He betrays no consciousness of the Stoic theory of 
larger world-cycles, at the end of which everything would be de- 
stroyed by flood or fire only to be recreated and to start upon a new 
world-course, in which every detail of its former history would be 
repeated. (See Zeller, op. cit., ch. viii.) Indeed, it is clear that 
Qoheleth did not hold this view, for his constant plaint is that *' man 
cannot find out what will be after him," or ''know what God hath 
done from the beginning to the end" {cf. 3" 6'» 7'« ii»). Qo- 
heleth's confession of ignorance is in striking contrast to the dog- 


matic certainty of the Stoics. When one notes these contrasts, it 
is hardly possible longer to maintain that Qoheleth betrays in ch. i 
any Stoic influence. He appears rather as an acute observer of 
life, whose bitter experiences have led him to look beneath the sur- 
face, and who has thus become conscious of the seemingly futile 
repetitions of life, and whose thirst for knowledge of life's mystery 
refuses, though baffled, to be satisfied by dogmatism. 

Tyler further urges {op. cit., i^ff-) that Qoheleth's oft repeated 
dictum "all is vanity" is best explained by Stoic influence, because 
Marcus Aurelius declares that ''worldly things are but as smoke, 
as very nothingness." On any theory of the date of Ecclesiastes, 
however, it might with greater plausibility be urged that the stream 
of influence, if influence there was, was in the other direction. 
The coincidence that both Qoheleth and the Stoics regarded folly 
as madness is also to Tyler an argument for his theory. If, how- 
ever, his other arguments are invalid, this fact can be regarded as 
no more than a coincidence. 

Not only do these alleged evidences of Stoic influence appear to 
be unreal, but on many other points the positions of Qoheleth and 
the Stoics are in such striking contrast as to render the theory of 
Stoic influence most improbable. The Stoics were materialists, 
and most dogmatic in their materialism (Zeller, op. cit., ch. vi), 
but there is no trace in Ecclesiastes either of their materialism or 
their dogmatism. The Stoics regarded God as pure reason, and 
were as positive and dogmatic about the divine nature as about 
the universe; Qoheleth, on the other hand, regarded both God and 
his works as unknowable. God is infinitely above man {cf. 5*), 
and even what he does man cannot hope to understand {cf. ii»). 
The Stoics thought they understood how the soul was formed in 
the unborn child (Zeller, op. cit., pp. 212-213); Qoheleth, on 
the other hand, declared that the formation even of the bones 
of the unborn infant was a mystery the secret of which is undis- 
coverable (ch. 8'^ 11*). There is a great contrast, too, between 
the idea of good as presented by Qoheleth and the Stoics respec- 
tively. To Qoheleth there is no absolute good. A good is a 
relative thing; it consists of the satisfaction of the animal appetites 
during the period of life when such satisfaction gives enjoyment. 


It has no absolute value, but there is in life nothing better {cf. 
ch. 2" 3'»- '» 5" " 9^-'° ii«" '«). To the Stoics, on the contrary, 
nothing could be considered a good which did not have an abso- 
lute value. (Zeller, op. cit., pp. 231-233.) A similar contrast 
exists between Qoheleth's idea of the relative position of wise 
and foolish men and that entertained by the Stoics. Qoheleth 
has an innate liking for^ wisdom; he admires it, and at times 
follows it (ch. I" 7" "« 9'«), but, on the other hand, he cannot rid 
himself of the feejing that the wise man toils in vain (9'«), that his 
labor is a fruitless endeavor, and that a foetus born dead is in rc- 
ahty happie?^ than the wise man (ch. 6^^-^). It is true that in 
another mood he declares that it is better to know that one will 
die than to know nothing (ch. 9^); but on the whole Qoheleth's 
verdict is that wisdom, like all other things mundane, is vanity. 
The wise man has no real advantage, except that he suffers what 
he suffers with his eyes open; in the end he dies like the fool, and 
goes to the same place (cf. 9'"). The Stoics, on the other hand, 
regarded the wise man as the only perfect man, free from passion 
and want and absolutely happy, falling short in no respect of the 
happiness of Zeus. (Zeller, op. cit., pp. 270-271.) 

Again, the Stoics made distinctions between degrees of goodness. 
Virtue was an absolute good; other goods were secondary, and 
certain things were indifferent. (Zeller, op. cit., ch. XI.) Of 
such distinctions we find no trace in Ecclcsiastes. The one kind 
of good which he knows is to eat and drink and enjoy the full 
round of physical life while it lasts. This is not an absolute good 
— Qoheleth knows none — but it is to him the only good within the 
reach of man. The Stoics also developed theories of applied 
morals, in which political theories and the duties of the individual 
were set forth. These culminated in the Roman period in the 
conception of a citizenship of the world. (Zeller, op. cit., ch. 
XII.) None of these ideas finds expression in Qoheleth, though 
it would, of course, be unfair to look for some of them, as they were 
later developments of Stoicism. The Stoics, too, were great alle- 
gorizers {cf. Zeller, op. cit., p. 355#.)) ^rid made much of divina- 
tion (cf. Zeller, op. cit., p. 370 Jf.), traces of neither of which 
appear anywhere in Ecclesiastes. 


Upon a candid comparison of the thought of Ecclesiastes, then, 
with the philosophy of the Stoics, the supposed dependence of the 
one on the other turns out to be unreal. The resemblances are 
not really likenesses but surface coincidences, and the differences 
are fundamental. 

Tyler (op. cit., iS ff.) endeavors to show that Qohelcth also ex- 
hibits traces of Epicurean thought. In this argument he relics 
mainly upon two passages: 3'"-" and 5i«-2«. The former of 
these teaches, he holds, the Epicurean doctrine of the mortality 
of the soul, and the latter the T^picurean doctrine of pleas- 
ure, or tranquillity, as the essential principle of life. With refer- 
ence to the first of these points it should be noted that Qoheleth*^ 
denial of immortality differs from the Epicurean denial. His is 
but a passing doubt: it is not dogmatically expressed, and at the end 
(12^) his doubt has vanished and he reasserts the older Jewish 
view (Gn. 2^). This older view was not an assertion of im-| 
mortality, but the primitive conception that the breath comesi 
from God and goes back to him. The Epicureans, on the otherj 
hand, dogmatically argued for the non-immortality of the soul, 
and possessed well-assured theories about it. (C/. Zeller, op. cit., 
pp. 453-456.) As to Tyler's second point, it will be presently 
shown that this is a Semitic point of view older than Epicurus 
by many centuries. 

Siegfried confesses that neither thorough-going Stoicism noi 
Epicureanism can be found in the book, but he, nevertheless, 
distinguishes two authors in the book, the one of whom shows, he 
thinks, kinship to the Stoics, and the other to the Epicureans. 

liaupt, on the other hand, believes that the original Qoheleth 
was strongly imbued with the Epicurean philosophy. He says 
{The Book of Ecclesiastes y 1905, p. 6), ''Like Epicurus (341-270 
B.C.), Ecclesiastes commends companionship (4"), and cheerful- 
ness (9"), l)ut also contentment (6«), and moderation in sensual 
pleasures to avoid painful consequences (11'°). He warns against 
wrong-doing, since it entails punishment (7'", 5"). He does not 
deny the existence of God (5-), but he disbelieves a moral order 
of the universe: divine inlUicnce on this world where there is so 
much imperfection and evil seems to him impossible. In the 


same way he doubts the immortahty of the soul (3^')! death ends 
all consciousness (9'°). He by no means commends nothing but 
eating and drinking and pleasure (8'^ 2^* 5'', c}. 3'^); he also 
preaches the gospel of work (3" 9'"')." 

The part of this argument which relates to immortality has 
already been considered. Unfortunately for the Epicurean theory, 
an old Babylonian parallel to Eccl. 9^-' — a parallel which contains 
the heart of this supposed Epicurean philosophy — has been dis- 
covered. It occurs in a fragment of the Gilgamesh epic found 
on a tablet written in the script of the Hammurabi dynasty (about 
2000 B.C.), and was published by Meissner in the Mitkilungen 
der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft , 1902, Heft i. On p. 8, col. 
iii, 1. 3, we read: 

CIXCE the gods created man, 
Death they ordained for man, 
Life in their hands they hold, 
Thou, O Gilgamesh, fill indeed thy belly, 
Day and night be thou joyful, 
Daily ordain gladness. 
Day and night rage and make merry, 
Let thy garments be bright, 
Thy head purify, wash with water. 
Desire thy children which thy hand possesses, 
A wife enjoy in thy bosom, 
Peaceably thy work (?).., 

As Hubert Grimme pointed out {Orientalische Literaturzeitung, 
Vol. Vni, col. 432^.), this is a most striking parallel to Eccl. 9«-». 

Also their (the dead's) love as well as their hate and their jealousy 
have already perished, and they have again no portion in all that is 
done under the sun. Come eat thy bread with joy and drink thy wine 
with a glad heart, for already God hath accepted thy works. At all 
times let thy garments be white, and let not oil be lacking on thy head. 
Enjoy life with a woman whom thou lovest all the days of thy vain life 
which he gives thee under the sun, for it is thy lot in life and thy toil which 
thou toilest under the sun. 

These passages are not only strikingly similar, but in parts the 
Hebrew seems to be a translation of the Babylonian (see Com- 


mentary). The existence of the influential Jewish colony called 
the '^Gouliouth^^ in Babylonia and its great influence on the Jews 
of Palestine is well known. There can be little doubt that it was 
through this channel that this Babylonian philosophy of life be- 
came known to Qoheleth and influenced him. 

This old Babylonian philosophy, too, it should be noted, con- 
tains the heart of all that has been considered Epicurean in 
Qoheleth. The eating and drinking, the enjoyment of one's labor, 
the cheerfulness, the delight in pleasure, the feeling that death 
ends all — all these are contained in it. The script in which it is 
written attests the existence of these sentiments as early as 2000 
B.C., at a time when there is no reason to doubt that they are 
a product of purely Semitic thought. Qoheleth was, in all prob- 
ability, acquainted with the Babylonian poem. It is not likely that 
his whole point of view came from Babylonia, but he adopted the 
sentiment of the poem, because it expressed a point of view which 
he had himself reached, while his own thought was made possible 
by some phases of Jewish thought in the particular period when 
he lived. Semitic thought in Babylonia had, almost two millennia 
before Qoheleth, traversed the cycle which Jewish thought was 
in his person treading. 

The point of immediate interest is that the discovery of this 
parallelism effectually disposes of the theory that Qoheleth was 
indebted to the thought of Epicurus. Epicurean influence was 
exceedingly problematical even before this discovery, for Epicu- 
reanism was in its way as dogmatic and austere as Stoicism. 
Qoheleth betrays no trace of the Epicurean dogma that all 
knowledge comes from sensation, no trace of Epicurean canonic, 
or natural science, or theology, or morals. Such likenesses as 
may be discovered are cast in a thoroughly Semitic mould of 
thought, and are mere coincidences. It may, of course, be urged 
that it would not be necessary for Qoheleth to adopt the peculiarly 
Greek characteristics of either Stoicism or Epicureanism in order 
to be influenced by some of the fundamental conceptions of these 
systems; but it may be said in reply that no Hebrew could probably 
be influenced by them without adopting on some points their 
peculiar methods or dogmatism. St. Paul, Philo, and Justin 


Martyr, for example, adopted the allegorizing method, and prob- 
ably Qoheleth would betray some ^non-Semitic trait were such 
influence real. 

McNeile (Ecdesiastes, pp. 44 ff.) has pointed out that Zeno, 
the founder of Stoicism, was of Phoenician stock, and that, though 
Ecdesiastes contains some of the seed-thoughts of Stoicism, it 
only means that another Semite under the influences of the same 
period in the world's history developed under a somewhat different 
environment some of the same ideas. Our present knowledge 
makes it possible to contend concerning the resemblances between 
Qoheleth and Epicurus, not that the former borrowed from the 
latter, but that Epicurus was indebted for his seed-thought to 
Qoheleth's great forerunner, the Babylonian poet, and that this 
thought he worked up metaphysically and dogmatically, thus giving 
it a setting in accordance with the prevailing genius of the Greek 
philosophy of the period. In favor of such a thesis a strong argu- 
ment could be made without harboring any of the extravagant 
fancies of the contemporary pan-Babylonian school of Germany, 
but the problem belongs rather to the history of Greek philosophy 
than to a commentary on Ecdesiastes. 

For full descriptions of the teachings and influence of Epicurus, 
see Zeller, Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics, London, 1892; Wallace, 
Epicureanism, London, 1880; and Guyan, La Morale d'Epicure, 
Paris, 1878. The name Epicurus appears in the Talmud as Apikoros. 
It is equivalent to "free-thinker" and is used in a way which shows that 
the writers of the Talmud had only the vaguest notions of his philosophy. 
Cf. Jewish Encyc. I, 665 ff. 

The fact that the Babylonian influence reached some Greek 
philosophical thinkers has been made evident by the discovery that the 
mystic number of Plato's Republic, Book viii, is of Babylonian origin. 
This was first shown by Aur^s, Recueil de Travaux, XV, 69-80, who, 
after examining the interpretations which Le Clerc in 1819, Vincent 
in 1839, Martin in 1857, and Tannery in 1870, had put upon Plato's 
language, finally adopted the explanation of Dupuis (1881) that the 
number was 21,600 and claimed that in the mathematical tablet of 
Senkereh this number represented 6 shars=2,o US. = i kasbu. James 
Adam, in his Republic of Plato, Cambridge, 1902, Vol. II, p. 206^., 
argued with great acuteness that the number contemplated by Plato 
was 12,960,000. The factors of this number Hilprecht {Babylonian 


Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Scries A, Vol. XX, Pt. i) 
found on Babylonian exercise tablets in such a way as to show that it 
was regarded by the Babylonians as a mystic numl:>er. He holds this 
to be a confirmation of Adam's calculation and also of the Babylonian 
origin of the numbers. Even Georg Albert admits {Die Platonische 
Zahl als Prazessionszahl, Leipzig and Wien, 1907), that the Babylonian 
origin is possible, although he differs from Dupuis and Adam in the 
interpretation of the Greek, reiterating a view which he set forth in 
1896 (Die Platonische Zahl) that the number intended is 2592, one of 
the factors of 12,960,000, and referred to the procession of the equinoxes. 

P^picurus lived through the period of the conquests of Alexander 
the Great. He began teaching in Athens in the year 306 B.C., seventeen 
years after the death of Alexander, at a time when the channels through 
which Babylonian in-fluences might pour into Greece were all open. 

It is scarcely necessary to refute Dillon's statement that Qoheleth 
was influenced by Buddhism (see above, p. 27). Dillon supports his 
statement by no extended argument, and it seems clear that such par- 
allels between Ecclesiastes and Buddhistic teaching as might be cited 
arc in all probability due to independent, though parallel, develop- 
ments of thought. 

The fact is, as Edward Caird {Lectures on the EvoUition of Re- 
ligion', Vol. I, ch. vii, X, xiii, xiv) observed, that in various centres 
positive and theoretical religions have been developed out of prim- 
itive nature religions, and that wherever this has been the case, a 
similar course of evolution, independent though parallel, may be 
observed. The instances noted by Caird are Buddhism, Judaism, 

'~^nd Stoicism. That the primitive, and, to some extent, the pro-'^ 
phetic conceptions of religion were to Israel's thinking minds prov- I 
ing inadequate, even before Qoheleth, the Book of Job attests, j 

'--iVIcNeile {op. cit., p. 44#.) has already made good use of CairdV 
principle in showing that Qoheleth represents a stage in the de- 
velopment of Jewish religious thought parallel in some respects to 
Stoicism, though independent of it. 

The principle may be applied with justice, though in a less ex- 
tended way, to the likenesses between Ecclesiastes and Epicurus. 
Where primitive types of religious conception were beginning to 
be regarded as inadequate, it was natural for men to find a kind 
of satisfaction for a time in the effort to make the most out of the 
present life and its temporary pleasures. We have already seen 


how Babylonian thought passed through this phase, and Herodotus 
tells us (Bk. 2^*) that Egyptian thought parsed through a similar 
phase, which gave birth to the custprrTof carrying a mummy 
around the table at a feast and exhorting each guest to make the 
most of his opportunity, for one day he would, like the mummy, 
be unable to participate in such joys. This point of view is also 
exhibited in native Egyptian poetry. See W. Max MuUer's 
Liehespoesie der alten Agypter, 30-35. 

Qoheleth represents such a stage in Hebrew thought. He did 
not invent the conception of Sheol, which appears in his book, as a 
place of dismal half-consciousness. It is the old Semitic concep- 
tion, set forth in the Babylonian poem of I shtafs Descent (KB., VI), 
and in the OT. in Is. 14^*^ Ez. 32"'=", and is even reiterated by 
some late Psalmists {cf. Ps. SS'" iiS'O- Qoheleth's point of 
view is a natural evolution,. therefore, from Israel's earlier thought 
—as natural as that which took place in Babylonia or in Egypt. 
The evolution of thought in Greece may as naturally have produced 
Epicurus. If either Qoheleth or Epicurus was in any way in- 
debted to the Babylonian poet, it was because the development of 
thought in their respective countries made his conceptions of life 
welcome to many Hebrew and Greek minds. 

The book of Ecclesiastes represents, then, an original develop- 
ment of Hebrew thought, thoroughly Semitic in its point of view, 
and quite independent of Greek influences. 

McNeile has pointed out {Ecclesiastes, pp. 45 ff., 50 ff.) that more 
real affinity of thought exists between Qoheleth and Xenophanes of 
Colophon, or Qoheleth and Pyrrho and the Sceptics, than between 
Qoheleth and the Stoics. McNeile, however, rightly declares that no 
contact on the part of Qoheleth with either of these philosophies can 
be maintained. The Sceptics were in their way as dogmatic and as 
Greek as the Stoics or Epicureans {cf. Zeller, op. a/., 514-563), while 
Qoheleth is thoroughly Semitic. 


It is clear from what has been said in §5 that the most diverse 
opinions upon this point exist among scholars. Cornill and Ge- 
nung, on the one hand, maintaining vigorously the entire unity 


of the work as it stands (Cornill counting the work one of the 
greatest triumphs of Hebrew faith), while Siegfried and Haupt, 
at the other extreme, regard the book as the product of so many 
hands that its original features are entirely obscured. The truth 
will be found to lie somewhere between these two extremes, and 
somewhat nearer the former than the latter. 

The title, ch. i', "The words of Qoheleth, son of David, king 
in Jerusalem," may readily be granted without controversy to be 
the work of an editor. The analogy of the titles to the prophetic 
books makes this probable. To this same editor we probably 
owe the words "says Qoheleth" in i^ 727 and 128. The writer 
of the book usually speaks of himself in the first person (see i'^ 

21. 13. 18 ^12. 16 41. 4. 7 ^18 61 715. 25. 26 glO. 16 gl . 11. 13 jo*). The 

words "says Qoheleth" interrupt the rhythm in i^ and 12", while 
in 7" they actually interrupt a discourse in the first person; we 
conclude, therefore, that they are probably editorial. Further, 
ch. 12' 10, which speaks of Qoheleth in the third person and praises 
his work, is, as a number of recent interpreters have seen, doubtless 
the work of the editor also. Ch. i2'i- '•^, which praises the work of 
Israel's wise men in general, and utters a warning against reading 
other books {i.e., probably books outside the OT. canon), is 
also from the hand of an editor or glossator. McNeile assigns it 
to the Hokma glossator, but it seems to me probable that the two 
are really one. I can see no reason for calling in the aid of 
another writer at this point. To these we must add the words, 
"End of discourse all has been heard," at the beginning of 12'% 
which marked the conclusion of the book as the Hokma editor 
left it. (For reasons, see crit. note on i2>'). 

If now we remove these editorial words and sentences, is the 
rest of the book a unity ? Are there any utterances so contradic- 
tory that they could not have been uttered by the same mind ? In 
answer we must examine the book. Through the first two chap- 
ters the thought flows on connectedly, as most interpreters have 
recognized, until we come to 2^^, when we suddenly come upon a 
sentiment which is in direct contradiction to most of the statements 
which have preceded it in the chapter, and which contains the or- 
thodox Jewish doctrine of rewards and punishments. It is incon- 


ceivable that a writer should say in the same chapter, that the wise 
man and the fool have the same fate (2'^ "^) and that there is no 
good but eating and drinking and enjoying one's self (2"), and 
also say that God punishes the sinner and rewards the good (2"). 
We accordingly are compelled to conclude that 22* comes from the 
hand of a Chasid or Jewish orthodox glossator, whose philosophy 
of life was that of the Pharisees. 

Did this glossator add any other passages to the book? If we 
find any similar sentiments which interrupt and contradict their 
context, we must conclude that he did. JSIcNeile holds that ch. 
3»^'', "God hath done it that men may fear before him," is such a 
gloss, but in this he seems to me mistaken. That the mysterious 
and inexplicable being whom Qoheleth considered God to be 
should wish men to fear before him, is as consonant to the thought 
of Qoheleth, as in a different sense to that of the Chasid. Senti- 
ments similar to those of ch. 2'' are, however, found in 3" 7'«'>- 
•^6b. 2-j 8^»'- 3a. 6. 8a. 11-13 j J 1*1, i2i'»- '^ (from thc words ''fear God") 
and '*. All these breathe the same sentiments and either 
interrupt or contradict the chief teachings of the book, and in 
most cases do both. As the last of these glosses forms the conclu- 
sion of the book, coming after the concluding words of the editor, 
we conclude that the Chasid glossator's was the last hand to anno- 
tate Ecclesiastes as it stands in our canon. To the Chasid glosses 
thus enumerated, McNeile would add s'-\ the passage on rash 
vows. I see no reason, however, why the whole of this passage, 
except the two allusions to dreams, may not belong to Qoheleth. 
His views did not exclude the worship of God altogether, and they 
would naturally lead him to denounce sham and insincerity in re- 
ligion. The only real argument against the genuineness of this 
section is that it interrupts Qoheleth's reflections on political affairs, 
to which the preceding and following sections are devoted. No 
ancient Jew, however (except possibly the Priestly Writers in the 
Pentateuch), least of all Qoheleth, is sufficiently systematic in the 
arrangement of his sections, so that this argument can really be of 
weight where, as here, not a single verse but a whole section inter- 
venes, and that section is not on the whole out of harmony with 
Qoheleth's position. Vv. 3 and 7% however, interrupt Qoheleth's 


thought, and are cast more in the form of the mashal proverbs. We 
conclude, therefore, that they were introduced by some writer who 
was especially interested in wisdom sayings cast in a poetic form. 

We must next inquire whether there may not be other proverbial 
sayings in Ecclesiastes which so interrupt the argument of the 
book as to make it impossible that they should have been inserted 
by Qoheleth himself. A careful study of the work convinces us 
that there are, and that the following passages are such wisdom or 
Hokma glosses: 4* 53- "^ 'j^^- =>• 5. «-». n. 12. 19 gi gn. is jqi-3. s-u.. 
15. 18. 19, Xo these passages McNeile would add 4'-'=, which Sieg- 
fried and Haupt also regard as glosses; but the verses, though 
proverbs, are so appropriate to the context that I cannot persuade 
myself that Qoheleth did not quote them. As we have seen above, 
the editor of the book was much interested in the work of the wise, 
and it is quite possible that the proverbial glosses just enumerated 
were introduced by him. There is no necessity, therefore, of sup- 
posing that more than two hands have made additions to Eccle- 
siastes since it left the hands of Qoheleth. One w^as an editor 
deeply interested in the Wisdom Literature, and the other who 
came after him, was deeply imbued with the spirit of the Phari- 
sees. The first edited the book because it formed an important 
addition to the Wisdom Literature, and possibly, too, because he 
thought it a work of Solomon (see on 12^). The second,' finding 
such a work attributed, as he supposed, to Solomon, added his 
glosses, because he thought it wrong that the great name of Solo- 
mon should not support the orthodox doctrines of the time. 
The •material, added by these glossators as catalogued above, is, 
however, but a small part of the material in the book. 

§ 8. qoheleth's thought in outline. 

The book opens with an introduction or preface (ch. i'-") in 
which Qoheleth sets forth his conviction that everything is vain. 
Life and the processes of nature are an endless and meaningless 
repetition. Men are unconscious of the repetition, because each 
generation is ignorant of the experiences of the generations which 
have gone before it. 


As though to give a demonstration of the thesis of the preface 
Qoheleth, in the next section of the book (i '2-226), narrates his ex- 
periments, under the assumed character of King Solomon, in seek- 
ing satisfaction first in wisdom (i'-"), then, in material and sen- 
sual things (2'-"), next, in the virtues of folly (2^--^''), and lastly, he 
states (2»*-") the conclusions to which his various experiments 
have led. These conclusions are that there is no permanent satis- 
faction in any kind of earthly activity. All labor is alike vain. 
There is nothing better than to eat and drink and gain such animal 
satisfaction as one can while life lasts. This is, it is true, vain, 
i.e., fleeting, but it is the only ray of satisfaction in a world of vain 
toil and transient phenomena. 

Qoheleth then proceeds (3'-*0 to exhibit man's helplessness in 
the grip of those laws which God has established. Human activi- 
ties are limited to certain times and seasons in which man goes his 
little round doing only what other men have done before. His 
nature cries out for complete knowledge of the works of God, but 
God has doomed him to ignorance, so that the best he can do is to 
eat and drink and ignorantly get what little enjoyment he can 
within these limitations. The philosophy which is for the second 
time repeated here, bears a striking resemblance to that of the 
Gilgamesh fragment quoted above. 

A section then follows (3'*-") which is but loosely connected 
with the preceding, in which Qoheleth argues that the oppressions 
of human government and the injustices of human courts prove 
that men are like beasts, and the fact that both experience the same 
death, and return to the same dust, confirms this. Immortality is 
such a questionable thing, that another argument is found for the 
Semitic theory which the Babylonian poet had formulated long 
before Qoheleth, that the best one can do is to make the most of 
the present. 

From the general reflections suggested by oppression and injus- 
tice, Qoheleth passes in the next section (4''^) to a closer examina- 
tion of man's inhumanity to man, speaking first of the pathos of 
the oppression of the weak by the powerful, then, of the envy 
created by rivalry, and, lastly, of the lonely miser's inhumanity to 
himself. He contents himself here with a statement of facts; the 


conclusion to be drawn from them had been stated at the end of 
ch. 3. Ch. 4i3-'« sets forth the vanity or transient nature of popu- 
larity as exhibited in the history of two young unnamed kings. 
The statement suggests that the acme of human glory is even more 
vain than other forms of human activity. 

In ch. 51-^ Qoheleth offers us his most extended remarks upon re- 
ligion. The two glosses (5' and 7») on dreams do not seriously 
interrupt the flow of his thought. He had in ch. 3 revealed his 
conception of God as a powerful being, who keeps man in ignorance 
(3" emended text), and who has circumscribed man in the inex- 
orable meshes of fate, so that man may fear him. Now Qoheleth 
goes on to counsel obedience, reverence, and a faithful perform- 
ance of one's covenants with God. His conception of God is dark, 
but such religion as he has is sincere. Qoheleth has no tolerance 
for shams, nor sympathy with the glib worshipper who in a mo- 
ment of fright will covenant with God for anything, if only he may 
escape the impending danger, and then go his way and forget it 
when the danger is past. What in his view the real function of re- 
ligion was, he does not tell us, but he does insist that such religious 
practices as one engages in should be reverent and sincere. 

In ch. 5*-63 Qoheleth returns again to the subject of oppression, 
which in every Oriental ^country, as in every despotism, is so pain- 
ful an element in life. He first observes that in a country ruled by 
a hierarchy of officers oppression is to be expected, though a king 
is on the whole an advantage, and then passes to the consideration 
of the various kinds of oppression which grow out of the love of 
money. In the course of this discussion he more than once (5'* 1* 
62 3) reiterates his theory, that the one ray of light on life is to eat 
and drink and gain what enjoyment one can, without wearing one's 
self out in useless labor. This is transient (vain, 6^), but there is 
nothing better. 

These thoughts lead Qoheleth in ch. 6^°-^^ to revert to the theme 
of ch. 3, the contrast between puny man and fate. In ch. y^'* Qo- 
heleth introduced a few proverbs which enforced his point of view. 
These the Iloknia glossator has considerably amplified with prov- 
erbs whicii have no bearing on the question in hand. 

Then, as though the indictment against the order of the world 


were not sufficiently strong, Qoheleth in the next section (7"-io») 
enters upon a second arraignment of life. He sets forth, excluding 
interpolations, in y'*-^ the uselessness of going to extremes, in y^'-" 
his judgment of women, in S'-' he reflects once more upon despot- 
ism, in S'"-** he reiterates his conviction that the results of right- 
eousness and godlessness are the same, in S^^-g^ he describes an- 
other fruitless experiment to fathom the world by wisdom, and in-i 
92 « the hopelessness of humanity's end; while in 9"-»« he, in view of/ 
this argument, restates again more fully that Semitic philosophy] 
of life, which he holds in common with the Babylonian poet, and! 
at one point, as we have seen, almost quotes that poet's words. 
Ch. 9'^-io3 are glosses added by the Hokma editor. 

In the next section (lo^-^") — a section greatly interpolated by the 
Hokma editor — Qoheleth offers still further advice as to the proper 
conduct to be observed toward rulers. 

Lastly, in the final section, ch. ii'-i2», Qoheleth utters his final 
counsels. He has probed life and the world relentlessly. He has 
stated his conclusions frankly, undeterred by any sentimental rea- 
sons. He has been compelled to find the older religious concep- 
tions of his people inadequate, and the newer conceptions, which 
some about him were adopting, unproven. His outlook has forced 
him to pessimism, but, nevertheless, his concluding advice, in ac- 
cordance with the Semitic philosophy, which more than once dur- 
ing his writing has come to the surface, is manly and healthy, if 
not inspiring. Enter into life heartily, be kindly, venture to sow ^ 
and reap and fill the whole round of life's duties while you can. 
Let the young man, therefore, make the most of his youth, for the 
inevitable decay of bodily powers will come with advancing age, 
and the cheerlessness of Sheol will terminate all. 

Such are Qoheleth's thoughts and such is his advice. His phi- 
losophy of life, though in a sense hopeless, is not immoral. He 
nowhere counsels debauchery or sensuality; he rather shows that 
in these there is no permanent enjoyment. Though a sceptic, he 
had not abandoned his belief in God. It is true that God is for 
him no longer a warm personality or a being intimately interested 
in human welfare. The ancestral faith of Israel in Yahweh has 
been outgrown; Qoheleth never uses the name. God is an in- 


scrutable being. It is vain to seek to understand his works. All 
we can know is that he holds men in the iron vice of fate. Never- 
theless Qoheleth preaches a gospel of healthy work and the full 
enjoyment of life's round of duties and op})ortunities. Let a man 
fulfil these while he bravely faces the real facts of life — this is the 
sum of Qoheleth's teaching. 

It is a teaching which is to a Christian chilling and disappoint- 
ing, but Qoheleth's negative work had, no doubt, a function to 
perform in clearing away outworn conceptions before a new, 
larger, truer, and more inspiring faith could have its birth. 

His book probably owes its presence in the canon to the fact that 
he had impersonated Solomon in the early part of it. This was 
taken literally by the unimaginative. Orthodoxy afterward added, 
as we have seen, some sentences, to soften the teaching of the 
book for Pharisaical ears. 


Two different scholars, Zapletal {Die Metrik des Buches Kohelet, 
Freiburg, Schweiz, 1904) and Haupt {Koheleth, Leipzig: 1iis 
views were set forth in 1905 in English in his Ecclesiastes, Balti- 
more), propounded quite independently of each other the theory 
that the whole of the original work of Qoheleth was composed 
in metrical form. Both scholars have naturally proceeded to 
make this theory a guide in the textual criticism of the book, 
though the metrical criterion in the hands of Zapletal leads to far 
less radical results than in the hands of Haupt. 

A candid study of the book leads, however, to the conclusion 
that, as applied to the whole book, this metrical theory is a mistake, 
however true it may be for parts of it. Clear, too, as some of the 
characteristics of Hebrew poetry are, our knowledge of Hebrew 
metre is still in too uncertain a state to enable any scholar to make 
it a basis for textual criticism with any hope of convincing any 
considerable number of his colleagues of the validity of his results. 
(See Cobb's Criticism of Systems of Hebrew Metre, 1905) To 
bring any Hebrew text into conformity to the metrical rules of 
one of our modern schools requires the excision of many words and 


phrases. Such excision may, in a work clearly poetical, be often 
obviously right, though in many cases it seems probable that a He- 
brew poet varied the length of his lines to the despair of modern 
students of metre. But to go through a book large parts of which 
are in prose and turn it into metrical form hy cutting out much 
of its material seems unwarranted. Such methods are calculated 
to create doubts as to the validity of metrical criteria generally, 
and to cast unjust suspicion upon them even for real poetry. 

The real form of Ecclesiastes was recognized as long ago as the 
middle of the eighteenth century. Bishop Lowth, in his Lectures 
on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews, Lect. xxiv, says: "The style 
of this book (Ecclesiastes) . . . possesses very little of poetical 
character, even in the composition and structure of the periods." 
He adds in a footnote: '* It is the opinion of a very ingenious writer 
that the greater part of this book was written in prose, but that it 
contains many scraps of poetry, introduced as occasion served, 
and to this opinion I am inclined to assent." He refers to 
Desvoeux, Tent. Phil, and Crit. in Eccles., lib. ii, cap. i. (C/. 
also J. D. Michaelis, Poetischer Entwnrf der Gedanken des Pre- 
diger-Bi{chs Solomon, 1751). The correctness of this view was 
recognized by Ewald, who in his Dichter des alten Bundes trans- 
lated parts of the book as poetry and the rest as prose. Driver 
has recently in his edition of the text of Qoheleth (in Kittel's Biblia 
Hebraica, 1905) arranged all the material metrically which will at 
all lend itself to metrical arrangement, but treats large i)ortions of 
it as prose. Briggs holds the same opinion, although he regards 
the conception of the book as poetic fiction belonging with Job to 
the Wisdom Literature. Ewald's method is followed in the transla- 
tion given below, where an attempt has been made to give in He- 
brew parallelism all the parts which can justly be regarded as 
metrical. To suppose that the whole book was of necessity poeti- 
cal in form because parts of it are, is to forget the analogy of the 
prophetical books, in which the degree of liberty which Hebrew 
writers might allow themselves in alternating between jjrose and 
poetry is amply illustrated. The thought of Qoheleth, as Genung 
has well said, is prosaic. It is a prose book; the writer, in spite of 
occasional parallelism, "has the prose temper and the prose v.'ork 



to do." This is true, on the whole, in spite of the fine poetical 
passage in ch. 12 with which the book originally closed. 


The Hebrew in which the book of Ecclesiastes is written exhibits 
some of the latest developments of that language which appear in 
the Old Testament. The decadent character of the tongue, as 
here employed, appears in the use of Aramaic and Persian words, 
the employment of late words used elsewhere only in the Mishna; 
in the use of late developments and mixtures of Hebrew forms, the 
absence or infrequent use of characteristic constructions, such as 1 
the waw consecutive, and the frequent employment of syntactical 
constructions rare in the older books. 

Proof of the statement just made may be offered as follows. (This 
list of linguistic peculiarities is by no means exhaustive) : 

A. Aramaic words, forms and constructions. — ^3^ as cstr. in i'; 

"(3?, Iio 2i« 3I5 42 619 g6. 7j j,j;;^ lis 223. 2« 310 48 52. IJ; pp, ii» y" i2»; 

njnp, 28 5^; n?^, 4*; -^. nDV-Sj;, 5>5; d^d^-)3, 5>8 6*; nj;;c, 5"; "''?«, 66; n'!?-\ 
610; _,jf p-,p-,_i,g^ yuj jN2rn, '725- 27 pio; -,.^i-^ gi j po'^r, 8^- »; .-^nSrc, 8»; 
"I3jf 9»; 3^,7, 9»8; fpu, lo^; pD, lo^; D^->in p, iqi?; ;n?:, 102"; rn'^^, n'- i"; 
Vto:), 12'; nij2-\n, 12". 

B. Persian words. — Dine, 2^; DJns, 8'i. 

C. Forms and words identical with those of the Mishna. — ^x = " woe," 
4"'- ioi», cf. Mish. Yebamoth, 13^, and the references in Ja. 43b; r\) ns = 
"caper-berry," 12^, cf Ma'aseroth, 4*, etc., and Ja. 5b; nr = rNr, 2* 24. 
^18 y23 gi3^ ^, ij^ Erub. 46, Fow. 3^; -Nin nr, where sn is a copula as in the 
Mishnic abbreviated "inT, jn, etc., r/. A'e/. s'o, etc., also Dr. §201 (3); 
Da. §106, rem. 2; the use of n with nouns without the article, as -r ^2, 

8^ 9', like the Mishnic nr r-^N, and nr nt=:"this" . . . "that," also 

without the art., 3>9 6* 7". «» ix6j nr is = "what"or "what then," 2» ii« 
cf Peah, 78, and Ko. §§ 70, 414m; n" ;="be guiltless" or "quit from," 
7»«,c/. Berakoth, 2'; nNnt:="the power of seeing" or "enjoying," 6» ii», 
cf Yoma, 74b, BDB. 909b and Ja. 834b; ':, 59 and "^sr ^r, 9*=" who- 
ever," cf. Sheh. 98 9; -'C used instead of iu'n as a relative 89 times. It 
occurs a few times in the older literature from the song of Deborah down 
(see, on i^); in Cant, and Eccl. it <x:curs side by side with "^U'.v, marking 
a transition period; in the Mishna it displaces ->r.s entirely. 

D. Late developments of Hebrew forms. — Here may be noted the 


omission of syncope in writing the article after prepositions, as Dsnn^, 
8'; the fondness for abstracts in P as |np>, pau^n, jva'jr, etc.; fondness 
also for abstracts in pi, as my-\, i>«, etc.; mSoir, i", n^sD, 2», niSS^n, ioi», 
niScr, ID", nn'?^ ii»; the confusion of stems "nS and "nS, e.g., i<p^n, 2", 
8'» 9»- '», see also Q.'s treatment of the forms of nv, y** io», K?r;', 8', 
and cf. Ges.J^- §7500; the confusion of forms 77 with forms ">, as c*in; 
from rrn, 2", }*Nr from sxj, 12=, written with n like SNp from op (in Hos. 
io<); the pron. OJN never appears, it is always "'js; ngos, 12", found 
only I Chr. 26'*- ", Ne. i2«*, where it forms its plural differently. 

E. Late syntactical developments. — Waw consecutive with the impjerf . 
occurs but three times, i" 4' ^ On the other hand, the participial con- 
struction is most frequent— 1<-8 2'*- '» .l*"- " 4* 5^ 6'* S'*- »« '« 9* 10", 
etc. The part, is frequently accompanied by a personal pronoun as 
its subject, as Nin n^M. i'. n>3r en. i". ^js nxi-. f\ >}H 7^)\ 8'S cf. 
the Mishna, Nedarim, \i\ These participial sentences are frequently 
negatived with r«, as D^pi^ orN, 4", naf u.^n, 92, y.i.^> ^rN, iiS r/. 
Mish., iVaz., 2<. A similar construction often occurs with verbal ad- 
jectives, cf. Snr^ ^jN, 2'8, "r??^ Nin, 2", npn ^jrN, 6*, nSd -1:?;^, i^. <ijs is 
often used pleonasticaUy with the first person of the verb, as "'JS vi-^DN, 
2' '*, "JN \-i"'Ni, 2"- 24 517; f^. also i>« 2"- '=• "■ "• '«• "• " 3''' 4'- ^ 8'*, etc., 
and Ges.K- 135b. -ra=" because," 2'« and -»rN3 = " because," 7' 8*, 
as in NH., cf. Ko. §3896. nS -ic's n;'=" while not," i2» », like the 
Mishnic vh^ '^7, Berakoth, 3*; cf. Ko. §3870. 

F. Hebrew used in Greek idiom. — The one instance of this, Ow'>' = 
"he passes them," i.e., "days," 6'*, where the idiom of iroifiv xP^vov 
is rcprcKJuced, has already been noted above, §6 (i). 


Wright (Ecclesiastes, pp. 41-46), Schechter {The Wisdom of Ben 
Sira, by S. Schechter and C. Taylor, Cambridge, 1899), and 
McNeile (Ecclesiastes, pp. 34-37) have proved that the book of 
Ecclesiastes was known to Ben Sira and influenced him to such a 
degree that the book of Ecclesiasticus clearly betrays its depend- 
ence upon Qoheleth's work. The evidence is so strong that 
Noldeke {ZAW. XX, 90/.) declares that contrary to his expecta- 
tion he has been led to the same conclusion. Noldeke and McNeile 
agree that Ben Sira used Qoheleth in its completed form, and 
this is clearly proved by the evidence. I quite agree with Nol- 
deke, op. cit., 93, that DS. Margouliouth in his Origin of the 
''Original Hebrew'^ of Ecclesiasticus, London, 1899, has failed to 



show that the Hebrew of BS. is not original but dependent on 
the Greek. 

The proof of the priority of Qoheleth is of three kinds : ( i ) Passages 
extant in the Hebrew text of Ecclcsiasticus, which show depend- 
ence upon the Hebrew of Qoheleth; (2) Passages not yet recovered 
in the Hebrew, but the Greek of which is clearly a translation of 
Hebrew practically identical with that of Qoheleth, and (3) Pas- 
sages in which Ben Sira has paraphrased the thought of Qoheleth, 
though clearly dependent upon it. 


39'« aiK 

i '', 3^oi-: 3*^3 Sn "'ry:: 



iry3 HD' nir;? Sdh pn 



O'D-in: rp3;: '>> ^3 



p|"'"<j PS rp3^ D^Ssm 



2''r'> ins Sn ]-\n:: Sd 

i^no "^N an-::: nrsi 



»< : nij^n p n>,-i San 
:-\cyn Ss 3r Ssni 

((5 rcaf 

1 this last clause, dirb 


N'.-i ; 

■I'^i'n Q-ixn ^j3 nn pv ^c 


eis dd\aajrav)='\z'i< 


:^ nj3 

cS NV1 pmvT n::n3n nn^ 

D> "'x C'c::. 


32* (35 

<) : D^nrr^ no p>' Sav 



-\pv C33npp Ski 



i'I'^n:: inN -i-iid ^;*3i 



\-iNX?: i^NO nnw oik 



vis Njr^ rus 3"^ 



VJC -^'NP 0-IN PC3n 

:;-|'^DN1 3VJ'^CS 



: :p 0S1 31£0 ON 





yp P3P >'p> nS nixn pdv^ 


14"- "': 

:ncn:2.-i"' no n^^i 
iS ijn nS SiNr'? pirn 



Pirj'S 1P> NXDP PC-N S3 

pf;'?: r« ^3 Ptr? nP23 

MNr3 pr:3Pi pyp) p3rpi 

:Pcr iSp ppn prs 



03n> ic>-S D3n TM 
:3.-iMJ3 1-yi ne 



D3n pSpp n^ri]:; ^^r^>^ 
d;*p pn pyp p::S pij: 



Ssn Nin -131 vpi 



: PK ycrj S3P P3-' n^o 

)\-i1XD PK1 MP"- DNP'^KP 
:OPNP '^3 PT ^3 Pier 

If we were to accept Schechter's conjectural emendation of 'n 
pcu' pcp n; (BS. 4") to per jen r;' "'J3, we should then have a parallel 
to Qoh. 3': ]::uP';^j^. Noldeke and McN. regard the conjecture as 
probable, but Peters and Levi retain p'sn. 

An unbiased examination of these coincidences makes upon me the 
same impression that it does upon Noldeke and McN., viz.: that Ben 

^••^ -^nsfn ^N D-'hSsS IIJ Tin -\C^K3 


Sira knew the work of Qohcleth and used his words as a modern 
writer might weave into his work the words of Browning or Tennyson 
or any other well-known author. In at least one case (the HiV^ of 
Qoh. 8', employed by Ben Sira, 13") it is probable that Ben Sira, as 
Noldeke suggests, misunderstood Qoheleth. BS. 43" is also clearly 
built on Qoh. 12". As the parts of these two passages in Qoheleth, 
which are referred to, are from the Hokma glossator, and one of them 
forms his conclusion of the book, it is clear that Qoheleth had been 
touched by the editor before Ben Sira used it. 

2. The passages of the second class indicated above are as fol- 

Qoh. 3'<: yj"? ?'N ^JDCi l^DinS i^N vSy 

(where v':';' refers to "all that God said"). 
Qoh. 8": niNH Sdv nV id D''n'?Nn nti^D S3 pn \i'>Nni 

t'crn pnn nfyj nrx nrvnn pn NixnS 

Cf. BS. 18": oiiKfO-TtP i\aTTW<rai ov5i Trpoadeivai Kal ovk e<XTiv i^ix^idaai 

tA 6avfxd(Tia toO KvpLov. 

Qoh. 5»: "^^^-'^ -^nNn 

Cf. BS. 18": fi7] ifjLTrodiad^i tov dirodovvai. evxVf evKaipws. 

(-.VJijSD 1N-\>'' irN) 

Cf. BS. l": T<J5 <p0^Vlxiv(f TOV KVpiOV €V ((TTaL ix icxO-TUP. 

Qoh. 108: ''^0' ""^ V'=iJ "ion 

Cf. BS. 27'*: 6 opOcrauv ^bdpov els avrhv i/jLTreafiTai. 

(This may have been suggested to Ben Sira, however, by Pr.26"*, 
as BS. 27" was apparently suggested by Pr. 26"*^.) 

These parallels are as striking in their way as those given under class i. 
One of the quotations (8'2) is from the hand of the C/ja57(i glossator, but 
it is probable that both the glossator and Ben Sira here quote an ortho- 
dox sentiment of the day, for there is reason to think that BS. used 
Qoheleth before the Chasid expanded it. See below on 12'^ 

3. Instances in which Ben Sira has paraphrased the words of Qo- 

Qoh. i«: 

"Generation comes and generation goes, 
But the world forever stands." 
Cf. BS. 14'" (Heb.): 

"As leaves grow upon a green tree, 
Of which one withers and another springs up, 
So the generations of flesh and blood, 
One perishes and another ripens." 
Qoh. 3^: 

"A time to keep silence, 
And a time to speak." 


C/ BS. 2os-» (Heb.): 

"There is one who is silent for want of an answer, 

And there is one who is silent because he sees the time." 
"A wise man is silent until the time, 
But a fool does not observe the time." 
Qoh. 4»^: "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" 
Cf. BS. 14^ (Heb.): 

"He who deprives his soul gathers for another, 
And in his goods a stranger shall revel." 
Qoh. 52b (Heb.>»'): "Therefore let thy words be few." 
Cf. BS. y'^i' (Heb.): "And repeat not a word in prayer." 
Qoh. s'^b (Heb.>"'): «'The satiety of the rich does not permit him to 

Cf. BS. 34' (Heb.): 

"The wakefulness of the rich wastes his flesh. 
The care of living dissipates slumber." 
Qoh. 78'>: "Better is patience than pride." 
Cf. BS. 5'ib (Heb.): "In patience of spirit return answer." 
Qoh. 7": "In the day of prosperity be joyful; and in the day of ad- 
versity, consider; even this God has made to correspond to that." 

Cf- BS. 33^'^' '' (<8): "Good is set against evil and life against death; 
so is the godly against the sinner. So look upon all the works of the 
Most High; there are two and two, one against another." 
Also BS. 422^: 

"All things arc double one against another, 
And he has made nothing imperfect." 
Qoh. 9": "Wisdom is better than might, but the wisdom of the poor 
man is despised and his words are not heard." 
Cf. BS. 13" cd (Heb.): 

"The poor man speaks and they say 'who is this?' 
Though he be weighty also they give him no place." 
Qoh. Ill": 

"Put away vexation from thy heart 
And remove misery from thy flesh." 
Cf BS. 3023 (Heb.): 

"Rejoice thy soul and make glad thy heart 
And put vexation far from thee." 

These three classes of parallels make it clear that the book of 
Ecclesiastes was known to Ben Sira, and that he regarded its 
teachings with favor. The Chasid glosses were probably added 
after his time. (See below on 12''.) 



As Wright and McNeile have clearly proved, the author of the 
Book of Wisdom, like Ben Sira, knew the work of Qoheleth, but, 
unlike him, did not approve of it. In ch. 2'-' he sets himself to 
correct various sayings of the ungodly, and palpably quotes as such 
several of the sayings of Qoheleth. The parallelism is as follows: 

2'. For they (the ungodly, see 
i'«) said within themselves, rea- 
soning not rightly: Short and sor- 
rowful is our life, and there is no 
healing at a man's end, and none 
was ever known who returned 
from Hades. 

2^. For by mere chance are we 
born, and hereafter we shall be as 
though we had never been; be- 
cause a smoke is the breath in our 
nostrils, and reason is a spark in 
the beating of our hearts. 

2'. Which being quenched, the 
body shall be turned to ashes, and 
the spirit shall be dispersed as thin 

2«. And our name shall be for- 
gotten in time, and no one shall re- 
member our works; and our life 
shall pass away like the track of a 
cloud, and shall be scattered as a 
mist chased by the beams of the 
sun and by its heat overcome. 

25. For our life is the passing of 
a shadow, and there is no retreat- 
ing of our end, because it is sealed 
and none turneth it back. 

2«. Come then let us enjoy the 
good things that exist, and let us 
use the created things eagerly as in 


22s. For all his days are pains, 
and his task is vexation, also at 
night his heart does not rest. 

51 nT). The (small) number of 
the days of his life. 

3". For the fate of the sons of 
men and the fate of the beasts — 
one fate is theirs. As is the death 
of one, so is the death of the other, 
and all have one spirit. Cf. also 
Qoh. 9". 

12^ And the dust shall return 
to the earth as it was. 

And the spirit shall return to 
God who gave it. 

1". There is no remembrance 
of former men. 

2'«. For the wise like the fool 
has no remembrance forever. 

9^. Their memory is forgotten. 

2". The whole was vanity and 
a desire of wind. 

6'-. The number of the days of 
his vain life, for he spends them 
like a shadow. 

8^. Nor is he ruler in the day of 

2-'. Tliere is nothing better for 
a man than that he should eat 
and drink and enjoy himself. 



2\ Let us fill ourselves with 9'. Drink thy wine with a glad 

costly wine and ointments, and let heart, 
no flowers of spring pass us by. 

28. Let us crown ourselves with Qs. At all times let thy garments 
rosebuds before they be withered. be white, and let not oil be lacking 

for thy head. 

29. Let none of us be without a S^*. For that is his portion, 
share in our wanton revelry, every- 5'». For that is his lot. 
where let us leave tokens of our d^. For it is thy lot in life, 
mirth, for this is our portion and 

this is our lot. 

As Qoheleth is the only Jewish writer known to us who cham- 
pions such sentiments, there can be httle doubt that this polemic 
is directed against him. It is true that in the following verses the 
author of Wisdom denounces oppressions which Qoheleth nowhere 
countenances and couples them with these false doctrines; that 
does not, however, prove that his shafts are not aimed at Qoheleth, 
for it has in all ages been one of the methods of theological warfare 
to hold the opinions of heretics responsible for the most immoral 


It has been shown above (§5) that the Solomonic authorship of 
Ecclesiastes, denied by Luther in the sixteenth century, and by 
Grotius in the seventeenth, was in the nineteenth century demon- 
strated by scholarly interpreters to be impossible. The fact that 
Solomon is not the author, but is introduced in a literary figure, has 
become such an axiom of the present-day interpretation of the 
book, that no extended argument is necessary to prove it. No one 
at all familiar with the course of religious thought in Israel, as sci- 
entific historical study has accurately portrayed it, could for a 
moment ascribe the work to Solomon. The language of the book 
also strongly reinforces the argument drawn from the thought. [lt~ 
belongs to the latest stage of linguistic development represented in 
the Old Testament. As shown above (§10) not only are older 
Hebrew forms and constructions changed or confused, but late 
developments kindred to those of the Mishna are present, Aramaic 


words and constructions are found, at least two Persian words are 
employed, while in one instance the influence of Greek usage can 
be traced. If we compare the language of Qoheleth with that of 
the earliest prophetic document of the Pentateuch (J.), we shall 
find that they stand at the two extremes of Hebrew linguistic de- 
velopment, the former representing the latest, and the latter the 
earliest. Under such circumstances the Solomonic authorship of 
Ecclesiastes is unthinkable. 

It has also been shown above (§5) that receiiL_inter2reter5_are 
divided as tow^heth er Qoheleth wrote in the Persian or the Greek 

period; thnn^h n rif^st of th( >SP ^vri'ti'ng in flip In^f fpw ypar*^ linM^tn 

the latter era. If our recognition of a Greek idiom in Eccles iastes 
is y\\\]^, it p^intg to p flnto p o sterior to the conque st of Alexander 
th e Great, for we must agree with the almost unani mous opinion 
of recent interpreters that the author liv ed i n Palestin e;^__Thejai}- 
sen.ce Jrom his work of any important Greek influence (see above, 
§6) is sufficient, to mention no other feature, to make a noi kPales- 
tinian reside nce on his part out of the qu estion. 

It has lon g been th oug ht that in Qo h. 5^ therejs ajeference to 
the Satrapial system wh ich the Per s ians invented . If. this he true, 
it does not_prnYe thnt thpwor k is not la fer thf\n th^ Ppr«i;ian ppriod, 
for, as is well known, practically the same system was continued 
by Alexander and his successors. Wp rr^Ty tal-p thp conquest of 
Al exander^ then, n^ n iertnini(^ <! a gun for lJifi:^:u>mpQsition jof _Dur 
book. We should note, however, that some little period of contact 
with the Greeks should be allowed for before the writing of Eccle- 
siastes, in order to account for the use of a Greek idiom. We are 

thu s brough t d own to the t hird rpntnry R C 

A terminus ad quern for Ecclesiastes is, on the other hand, fixed 
for us by the book of Ecclesiasticus. As has been shown above 
(§11) Qoheleth, lacking the Chasid glosses, was known and 
used by Ben Sira — a fact which has been recognized by Tyler, 
Kuenen, Margouliouth, Noldeke, A. B. Davidson, Wright, Peake, 
Cornill, and McNeile. Tlie d ate of Ben Sira can be pretty accu - 
r ately Hrtermine d. His work was translated into Greek by his 
grandson, who in his prologue states that he translated it soon after 
he went to Egypt, and that he went thither in the thirty-eighth 


year of Euergetes. As has long been recognized, this statement 
can only apply to Ptolemy Euergetes II (Physcon), and is probably 
reckoned from the time when he first assumed the regal dignity in 
170 B.C., and not from his second assumption of it on the death of 
his brother Philometor in 146 B.C., for his reign, terminating in 117 
B.C., did not last thirty-eight years after that event. It could not 
refer to Euergetes I (247-222 B.C.) as he reigned but twenty-five 
years. We are thus brought to the year 132 (so most scholars, 
e.g., Tyler, Ecclesiastes, 30; Wright, Ecclesiastes 35^.; Sanday, 
Inspiration, 98; Toy, Ecclesiastiats in EB.; Y^di\x\.zsc\\,Apokryphen, 
I, 234-235) for the migration of the younger Ben Sira to 
Egypt, soon after which he translated the work of his grandfather. 
If we allow fifty years as the probable time which elapsed between 
the composition of the book by the grandfather and its translation 
by the grandson, we reach about 180-176 B.C. as the date of the 
composition of Ecclesiasticus. It must have been written before 
the Maccabaean revolt broke out in 168 B.C., for there is no allu- 
sion to Antiochus IV and his oppression of the Jews. This date 
seems to be confirmed by the reference to the high priest, Simon 
son of Onias in BS., ch. 50, for while there were two high priests of 
that name {cf. Jos. Ant. xii, 2* and 4'"), the second of them, to 
whom reference is probably made here, lived late enough so that 
Ben Sira, if he witnessed the scene which he so vividly describes in 
ch. 50"^., would have written about 180-175 B.C. The date of 
Ecclesiasticus is thus in the opinion of most modern scholars pretty 
definitely fixed. 

As Ben Sira quotes Ecclesiastes after it had once been glossed 
(see above §§7, 11), Qoheleth must have written at least twenty 
years earlier. We are thus brought to about the year 200-195 
B.C. as the terminus ad quern for our book. These indications 
leave the whole of the third century B.C., or the very first years of 
the second, open for it. 

Can we define the date more closely within these limits? Our 
answer to tliis will depend upon our interpretation of two pas- 
sages, 4''-'» and lo's-'". The first of these passages reads: 

•'. Better is a youth poor and wise than a king old and foolish, who no 
longer knows how to be admonished, '*. though from the house of the re- 


bellious he came forth, although even in his kingdom he was born poor. 

'^ I saw all the living who walk under the sun with the (second) youth 
who shall stand in his stead. 

'-. There was no end to all tiic peo[)lc — all wliose leader he was; more- 
over those who came after could not delight in him; for this also is 
vanity and a desire after wind." 

Many are the interpretations which this passage has received 
(see notes on 4^^). One of the most attractive has recently been 
put forth by Haupt (Ecclesiastes), according to which the ''old and 
fooUsh king " is Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164), and the "poor and 
wise youth" Alexander Balas (150-145 B.C.). This view I for a 
time adopted, but the external evidence just passed in review com- 
pelled me to abandon it. Like the theory of Winckler — that the 
contrast intended is between Antiochus Epiphanes and Deme- 
trius I — it is rendered impossible by the clear proof that Qoheleth 
lived before Ben Sira. 

If, with the date indicated by the external evidence in mind, we 
carry the book back to the verge of the third century, remembering 
that in that century Palestine was under the control of Egypt, we 
shall find that Hitzig was on the right track in his interpretation of 
the passage. The "old and foolish king" would be Ptolemy IV 
(Philopator), who died in 205 B.C.; and to whom from the Jewish 
point of view the description very well applies, for according to 
3 Mac. he greatly persecuted the Jews, both in Palestine and 
Egypt. The "poor and wise youth " would be Ptolemy V (Epiph- 
anes), who was but five years old when he came to the throne. 
He is perhaps called "poor and wise" because of the Jewish sym- 
pathy with him and hopes from him. The "rebeUious house" 
probably refers to his father's persecution of the Jews. The " second 
youth" (if the word "second" is genuine) would then be Antiochus 
III of Syria, who had succeeded to the throne of that country at an 
early age, and who, within seven years after the succession of 
Ptolemy V, was warmly welcomed as sovereign of Judiea (Jos. 
Ant. xii^ y). These are the only reigns in the history of the period 
which at all correspond to Qoheleth 's words, and it seems prob- 
able that he refers to these kings. This view receives confirmation 
from the second passage cited above, io'«- '^ It is as follows: 


Woe unto thee, O land, whose king is a child, 
And whose princes feast in tlie morning. 
Happy art thou, O land, whose king is well-born 
And whose princes feast at the proper time. 

As Hitzig has seen, v. i6 probably refers to the years after the 
reign of Ptolemy V had begun, when Agathoclea and her brother 
were the favorites in power (Justin, XXX, i), when revelry flour- 
ished, and when Antiochus III (the Great) at the height of his 
power was prosecuting those wars which, after inflicting much 
suffering upon them, robbed Egypt of her Palestinian dominions. 
Possibly, though it is by no means probable (see notes on 9'* "), the 
reference to the city delivered by a wise man from the siege of a 
powerful king (g^^-i") is a reference to some incident of the wars of 
Antiochus with Egypt. Probably "Happy art thou, O land, 
whose king is well-born and whose princes feast at the proper time," 
is Qoheleth's welcome of the strong rule of Antiochus III. Jose- 
phus tells us (Ant. xii, 3') that the Jews of their own accord went 
over to him, and welcomed him to Jerusalem, assisting him to take 
the citadel from the Egyptians. This passage apparently reflects 
the sentiments of that welcome. Qoheleth was, then, not com- 
pleted before 198 B.C. Its use by Ben Sira, on the other hand, 
makes it impossible that it should have been written much later 
than that year. 

On the whole, vague as these historical allusions are, they make 
it probable that Qoheleth did not finish his book until after the 
conquest of Antiochus III, about 198 B.C. Slight as the data are, 
they lead us with considerable confidence to place this work just 
at the end of the period which above we held open for it, if not to 
name the very year in which it was composed. This agrees with 
the judgment of Hitzig, Tyler, Cornill and Genung. 
■"jThe last of the third and the beginning of the second century 
B.C. forms a fitting background for such a work as Ecclesiastes. 
The century which followed the death of Alexander was a trying 
century for the whole East, but especially so for Palestine. Pos- 
sessed by the Ptolemies, but claimed by the Seleucidai, Palestine 
found herself in the precarious position of an apple of discord. 
The gratitude which Seleucus I felt toward Ptolemy I for the aid 


rendered him in obtaining his empire (see Bevan, House of Seleu- 
cus, 1), at first secured peace between Egypt and Syria. As the 
century advanced, however, the Seleucid claims were pressed and 
Palestine first had to pay taxes to lx)tli (Jos. Ant. xii, 4') and then, 
toward its close, became the unhappy bone of contention between 
her two powerful neighbors, suffering severely. Then, too, her 
internal organization must have been such as to bear heavily upon 
the poor. Ptolemy III had deputed Joseph, son of Tobias, to 
collect the taxes of the country (Jos. Ant. xii, 42), and Joseph had, 
in true Oriental fashion, grown rich by farming out the taxes to 
subordinates, and founded a powerful house. (The ruins of the 
palace of Joseph's son, Hyrcanus, may still be seen at Arakal-Emir, 
east of the Jordan.) Oppressed by the tax collectors, a prey to 
their rich and powerful neighbors, suffering increasingly as time 
went on from the ravages of war, oppressed during the later years 
of the century by the drunken favorites of a king who was a help- 
less child, what more fitting theatre than the Palestine of this time 
could be sought for a book like Ecclesiastes ? 

To our scanty knowledge of the history of this period, Qoheleth 
adds some valuable items. He tells us that both in the court and 
in the temple wickedness reigned (3"*)- I^ both politics and re- 
ligion men were striving for selfish and sordid ends, to which the 
claims of justice and righteousness were made to bend. The 
populace generally groaned and wept under the oppressions of the 
powerful (4') and had no redress. This oppression was aggra- 
vated by the hierarchy of officials who, rising one above another, 
culminated in a far-off king (5* ni). The land is controlled by an 
arbitrary despot, who often puts fools and slaves in office, degrad- 
ing the rich and noble to subordinate places, but it is useless to 
oppose him (10*-^). Should one be entrusted with an official 
position and incur the displeasure of his despotic master, it is bet- 
ter to be conciliatory and submissive than to abandon one's post 
and opportunity. The espionage of the despot is so complete that 
it is unsafe even to whisper one's discontent to one's self, lest it 
shall be borne to the ears of one who will regard it as treason (10"). 
Moreover, the king is a child, and his nobles, who exercised the power 
in his name, devoted even the mornings to drunken feasting (iC). 


While the bock of Ecclesiastes makes us well acquainted with 
Qoheleth's thoughts and character, it throws little light upon his 
circumstances and life. Some gleams of light even here are, how- 
ever, not altogether wanting. We learn from 5' that Qoheleth 
lived near the temple, and this fact is confirmed by 81", in which 
the connection between ''the holy place" and the **city" makes it 
clear that his home was Jerusalem. Some infer from 11', taking 
it to refer to corn-trade, that he lived in Alexandria. Even if the 
passage referred to trade, which is doubtful (see notes ad loc), 
it would not prove an Alexandrine residence. He was a man of 
wealth who could gratify every appetite for pleasure (2^-*). At the 
time of writing Qoheleth was an old man, for he had begun keenly 
to appreciate that breaking up of the physical powers and that loss 
of enjoyment in the pleasures of youth which age inevitably brings 
(11 3-12'). Further confirmation of this is found in the fact 
that his many experiments to find the summiim honum in pleasure, 
in wisdom, and even in folly, implies the lapse of years. Appar- 
ently, too, he had lived long enough to find himself alone — with- 
out son or brother (4*). His life had also been embittered by an 
unhappy domestic alliance, for his declaration that he had found 
more bitter than death ''a woman who is snares and nets her heart " 
(726), as well as his declaration that one man in a thousand might 
be true, but in all these he had not found one woman (7 2*), has the 
ring of an expression of bitter experience. 

Only this little can we clearly make out as to the private life of 
Qoheleth. Plumtre {Ecclesiastes, 35-52) draws an elaborate but 
altogether fanciful picture of Qoheleth's life, while Winckler 
{AUorientalische Forschungen, 2 Ser., 143-159) thinks that he was 
either a king or a high priest. He argues that had he not been, so 
unorthodox a writing as his would not have been preserved. 
Haupt {Ecclesiastes, iff.) would interpret the wordiSc (=*'king") 
to mean the ''head of a school," as in the Talmud {Gitt. 62a, Ber. 
64a), and holds that Qoheleth was a Sudducajan physician, who 
presided over such a school. It is unthinkable that Qoheleth could 
have been a king in the literal sense and write as he does about 
government, and proof is altogether wanting that, at the time when 
he wrote, schools such as Haupt contemplates had arisen. It is 


more probable that the word "king" is a part of his literary arti- 
fice. It must be said also, that there is no proof that Qoheleth was 
a physician. As already remarked (§5) the supposition rests upon 
metaphors which are exceedingly indehnite, and which are open 
to quite other than anatomical interpretations. In reality Qoheleth 
betrays no more knowledge of either medicine or anatomy than any 
other intelligent man. To call him a Sadducee is also to anticipate 
history. He belonged undoubtedly to that wealthy sceptical 
aristocracy out of which the Sadducees were developed, but we 
cannot trace the Sadducees before the Maccaba^an time. As 
McNeile {Ecclesiastes, 10) suggests, Qoheleth may have been of the 
high-priestly family, and himself a religious official, as this would 
account for the care with which his unorthodox book was adapted 
and preserved. Qoheleth, a pseudonym which probably desig- 
nates the name of an office, points in the same direction. More 
than this we cannot say. 



(This title was prefixed by the editor. Cf. Introduclion, $7, and note on I2».) 

The term king in Jerusalem] is an appositive of Qoheleth, not of 
David. Qoheleth ((g, 'EAr/cXeo-mo-TT;?; 'A, KcoXed) is a crux. It 
has been variously interpreted, but probably means ''an official 
speaker in an assembly." See critical note below. — Son of 
David.] These words were intended to designate Solomon. 
They were added by the editor who, on account of a hasty 
inference from V^ff., regarded Solomon as the author. As Solo- 
mon had the greatest reputation for wisdom, wealth, splendor, 
and voluptuousness, the author chose him as a character through 
which to set forth in literary fashion his observations on life and 
his convictions concerning it. This the prosaically minded editor 
mistook for authorship. For reasons why Solomon could not be 
he author, see Introduction, §13. 

nSnpj. Tobiah ben Eleazar, in the eleventh century, explained it as 
"One who collects, assembles, and expounds, among rabbis" (rt^riZ' p^npt 
D^-^a uhm ni'^np S^npc), cf. Feinberg's Tohia ben Elieser's Commentar zu 
Koheleth, Berlin, 1904. 

In Midrash Rabba nSnp is explained as "Preacher, " because it is said 
that Solomon delivered these discourses before the congregation 
C^np). This meaning was defended by Luther and, among present-day 
scholars, by VVildeboer. Many take it to mean "Assembler" or "Col- 
lector," but opinions differ greatly as to what was collected. Ra. thought 
of Qoheleth as "Gatherer of wisdom," Grot, as a 'Collector of experi- 
ences," Wang, as "Collector of the court," Dale as "Collector of 
aphorisms " which formed an address, and so "deliverer of an address"; 
Heng. and Gins., "An assembler of people into the presence of God." 
Jer. rendered it by "Concionator," "One who addresses an assembly," 



a meaning which is followed by Dat., De W., Kn., Heil., Del., Wr., K6., 
Strack, McN. and Ha. This meaning comes in the end to be practically 
synonymous with "Preacher." To pass by many fanciful explanations, 
see Ginsburg's Coheleth, p. 4jf., Dod. took it to mean "Assembly "or 
"Academy," and compared German and French royal academies. 
Hit. interprets it "Narrator," PI. renders it "Debater," while Che. 
(1893) thought it might mean "The ideal teacher." Margouliouth, 
Jewish Encyc, V, 32, takes it to mean "member of an assembly." 

The ($, 'E/c/cXeo-tao-TiJs from 'EKK\r]<xia, "assembly," is an imitation of 
r^'::-}P. It throws little light on the meaning, as we do not know the sig- 
nificance attached to it. 

r^'^.rtp is found in the book as follows: ch. i'- *• »* 7" 128- «• '". It has 
the article (riSnpn^ in 12*. In 7" it is construed with a fem. verb, unless, 
as is probable, we are to read there nSnpn nnsN. Probably, therefore, it 
is an appellative. The verb Snp, from which it comes, occurs in Hebrew 
only in Ni., "to be summoned" or "assembled" {cf. Ex. 32' Je. 26* 
Ez. 38^ Est. 8'i 92- i«- 18), or Hi., "to collect" or "assemble" (cf. Ex. 
35' Lev. 83 Nu. 208 Dt. 410 Ez. 38'3 Job iii", etc.). 

The root Snp in Aram, is used in Ni. and Hi. in the same meanings 
as in Heb. {cf. Ja. 1322), Syr.= 9''/ia/=" congregate," "collect"; Sab. Vnp 
nSnp=" assembly," "congregation" (D. H. Muller, ZDMG., XXX, 685, 
and Hommel, Chrest., 127). The root also survives in Saho, a south 
Hamitic language, in which kahal='' come together," "assemble" 
(Reinsch, Saho Sprache, 210). In Ar. qahala=''be dry," "shrivelled," 
"shrunk," the meaning of the root has developed in a different direction. 

In form ry^^t^ is a fem. segholate part, of the Kal. The use of the fem. 
here has received different explanations. 1. Ra., AE., Ew., Hit., 
Hang, and Kue. have explained the fem. on the ground that r^^rip agrees 
with or stands for wisdom ('Tspn). 2. Ty. (Ecdesiastes, 57) suggests 
that it denotes "one who is an assembly," i.e., it is a personification of 
the assemblies of men. The fact that nSnp is usually construed with a 
masc. verb, renders both these explanations improbable. 3. Wm. 
Wright, Arab. Gram. 3d ed., §233, rem. c, explains it on the analogy of 
Ar. formations as an intensive fem. formation, an opinion with which 
Wr. (Ecdesiastes, 279) agrees. 4. Del., Che., No., Strack, McN. and others 
explain n^np as the designation of an office, on the ground that the fem. 
ending is soused in r^-yrsp "scribe," Ezr. 2", and DO^n nnDc "binder of the 
gazelles," Ezr. 2". BD5. and Driver are undecided between 3 and 4. 

This last (4) is probably the right understanding of the form; r^^^;^ 

would mean, then, "an official speaker in an assembly." Another 

solution of the word should be noted. Re., U Ecdesiastes, 13, suggests 

that it is a cryptogram, as Rambam is for Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, 

' or Rashi for Rabbi Solomon Isaac. This is not so probable. 



Ch. I"". The thesis of this preface is that everything is vanity. 
Life and the processes of nature are an endless and meaningless 
repetition. Men do not perceive the repetition because each genera- 
tion is ignorant of the experiences of those which have gone before it. 

2. yAXITY of vanities, {sajs Qoheleth) 
Vanity of vanities, 

All is vanity. 
*. What gain has a man of his whole toil, 

Which under the sun he toils ? 
*. Generation comes and generation goes, 

But the world forever stands. 
». The sun rises and the sun sets, 

Panting to his place he rises there. 
•. Going to the south and circling to the north, 

Circling, circling goes the wind. 

And on its circuits the wind returns. 
">. All the streams flow to the sea, 

But the sea is not full ; 

Unto the place whence the streams flow, 

There they flow again. 
>. All things are wearied, — 

No one is able to utter it, — 

The eye is not satisfied to see. 

Nor the ear filled with hearing. 

». That which has been is what shall be, and that which has been 
done is what shall be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 
'". There is a thing of which one may say: see this is new! Already 
was it in the ages which were before us. ". There is no remembrance 
of former men, and also the men who shall l>e later shall have no re- 
membrance with those who shall be later (still). 

Vv. 2-8, as Ewald and Driver have recognized, are poetical in 
form. — 2. Vanity of vanities]. ''Vanity" — the word meant 
"breath," ''vapor," and then "nothingness," "vanity." It is 
used of the past (Job 7'«) and the worthless (Lam. 4'^). It is a 
favorite word with Qoheleth. He employs it 40 times, while in 
all the rest of the OT. it is used but ;^^ times. As Vaih. and Re. 
observe, this is the theme of the book. It is repeated in i2«, the 
concluding words of the original writer. Says Qoheleth]^ these 
words were inserted by the editor. Qoheleth always speaks of 


himself in the first person, see Introduction, §7. — All], as has 
often been noted, does not refer to the universe, but to all the 
activities of life — ''that which is done under the sun." This the 
latter context proves. — Gain\ found in this book nine times 
(i» 2" ' twice, y 58 1* 7'2 and 10'") in the meaning of ''surplusage," 
"advantage," "profit." — ^3. Under the sun\. This phrase is pe- 
culiar to Qoheleth among OT. writers. It is found in Ec. 25 
times. It is used to denote all sublunary things, and is paralleled 
by the expressions under heaven (ch. i'' 2' y) and "upon the 
earth" (ch. 8'^ '« ii*). These latter phrases are used by other 
writers, the former occurring in Ex. 17'* Dt. 7" 9'^ 2 K. 14", etc., 
the latter in Gn. S", etc. 

4. The world forever stands]. The thought which oppresses 
Qoheleth is that the earth, man's workshop, should continue, 
while man himself is so short-lived. Jer. correctly perceived that 
this is the meaning. A part of the thought of this vs. is paraphrased 
in BS. I4*'': " As leaves grow upon a green tree, of which one withers 
and another springs up, so are the generations of flesh and blood, 
one perishes and another ripens." 

5. The sun rises and the sun sets]. From man Qoheleth passes 
to nature, noting first that the sun continually goes his wearisome 
round without accomplishing anything. Possibly as Gins, sug- 
gests, Qoheleth means to hint that the sun has a little advantage 
over man, for though the sun goes, he comes again, while man 
passes away to return no more. — Panting]. It is a question whether 
the writer means to say that the sun continually pants from weari- 
ness (Gins, and Cox), or whether he pants from eagerness to start 
upon his course again (Wr.). Wr. adduces in favor of the latter 
view the fact that the Hebrew word (ink') is ordinarily used in 
the sense of panting for something {cf. Am. 2^ 8% Job 5*, Ps. 56^ 
57*, etc.). It should be noted, however, that qsr also has the 
meaning of "panting" from exhaustion {cf. Is. 42'* Jer. 14" and 
perhaps, 2^^). As the latter meaning better fits the thought, it is 
doubtless the one intended by Qoheleth. His conception of the 
universe, as the ® and Ra. note, is that of a stationary flat earth 
resting on an abyss through which there is a subterranean passage 
by which the sun finds its way at night from the west to the east. 


The word for ''panting" in Hcb. is used of the panting or snorting 
of animals. Cleric long ago perceived that Qoheleth was thinking 
of the chariot of the sun as drawn by panting steeds, as in Ovid, 
Metam. XV, AiSff. and Virgil, Gcorg. I, 250. Kn. and Wr. object 
that such an idea is entirely un-Hebraic and consequently impos- 
sible. Ha. has, however, pointed out that 2 K. 23 '> shows that 
even before the exile the Israelites were familiar with it. The 
comparison of Ps. 19' (Kn. and Heng.) is inapt. Qoheleth's 
mood is very different from that of the psalmist. 

6. Circling, circling goes the wi7t(f\. The movements of the wind, 
as well as of the sun, present a similar series of endless, wearisome 
repetitions. North and south only are mentioned probably be- 
cause east and west were mentioned in the preceding vs. (so 
Gins.). PL's suggestion that they are alone mentioned because 
north and south winds are the prevailing currents of air in Pales- 
tine is erroneous. The Palestinian winds are mostly from the 
west, and are quite as likely to be from the east as from the north 
or south. 

7. All the streams]. As a third example from nature, Qoheleth 
takes the fact that the streams all continually/^it' into the sea with- 
out filling it. Their ceaseless work accomplishes nothing. 

8. All things are wearied]. The whole universe groans with man 
because of its useless and monotonous activity. The last two 
lines of the verse may be interpreted in two different ways. 
(i) With Gr., PI., No. and Ha. it may be taken to mean that neither 
the eye nor the ear of man is able to take in all this weariness. 
This interpretation ignores, however, the literal meaning of the 
words, and gives them a sense derived from the context. (2) Wr. 
takes the words in their natural sense, understanding them to 
mean that the meaningless rounds of nature communicate them- 
selves to the spirit of man, so that eye and ear enter upon endless 
courses of seeing and hearing that never satisfy. This last seems 
the more probable interpretation. 

9. What has been is that which shall be]. This is a general state- 
ment of the fact that all things move in constant cycles. The 
fact has been illustrated in preceding verses by a few striking ex- 
amples. — 10. Already was it]. This anticipates and answers an ob- 


jection which may be urged against the sweeping statement of v. 9. 
—11. There is no remembrance]. This is a strong statement of the 
transitoriness of fame. As Hit., Gins., Del. and Wr. have seen, 
it is not a restatement of vs. 10 — that things seem new because of 
ignorance of history, but is a summing up of the whole prologue. 
Q. asks at the beginning: ''What advantage has a man of all his 
labor?" Here he returns to say in substance that even the 
most famous is soon forgotten. PI. and Wr. note the parallelism 
of the thought to utterances of Marcus Aurelius {Lib. ii, 17; iv, 
34, 35), the burden of which is that posthumous fame is oblivion. 
The vs. is quoted and opposed in Wisd. 2< The phrase, Jliere is 
no remembrance, as Hit. observes, corresponds to ^'what gain?^^ 
The thought has completed a cycle. 

2. o>';'3T San is the gen. expressive of the superlative idea. Cf. 
c^^-i|-j ]^-^p Ex. 29", D'-^r^ -irjr Gn. 9^^, -an^rn I'.r Ct. i», D^crn ^cr i K. 
8". Cf. M. §8ia and H. §9, 4a. The repetition of the phrase makes it 
emphatic {cf. Da. §29, rem. 8, and Ko. §309m). Wr. notes that the 
phrase is an ace. of exclamation {cf. Ko. §355q r). Q. means that every- 
thing is fruitless, ineffectual, unavailing. The use of ':'3n as constr. 
instead of Van is peculiar. Hit., followed by Zo., compares Sas in Ps. 
35'S observing that owing to the kinship of 'i' and a the chief vocal is 
pressed forward. As Wr. notes, however, ^3 n is not a segholate. Ew., 
Del., Wr. and Wild, rightly regard it as an Aramaizing form. — nr] 
Kleinert renders "nothing" or "not," comparing Ar. ma. This is in- 
correct. As Wr. observes, the negative idea grows out of the interroga- 

3. ?''^-7']» from a root which appears as "iri in As., Ar., Sab. and Eth., 
but as "»:^' in Aram., Syr. and Heb. In north Sem. it means "to be 
abundant," "remain over." — 'i^D"], in the earlier language, means " sor- 
row," "suffering," "trouble" {cf. Gn. 41" Nu. 23" (both E.) and Job 
3"' 4», etc.). In the later lit. it means "toil," "labor" {cf. Ps. I07>» Ec. 
2" " 4* «). As Sieg. notes, Q. employs it of toilsome labor. In Aram. 
'^':ilf also has the latter meaning {cf. Ja., sub voce). In Samaritan the 
stem means "make," "do," as it does also in Ar. Perhaps Scy has 
that force here. 

?*]. This relative is kindred to the As. m and Ph. u'n. It is a demon- 
strative root quite distinct from nrs. The two existed side by side, 
though ~^' is but little used in the earlier literary language. It does, 
however, occur in various periods, e.g., Ju. 5^, in what is, perhaps, the 
oldest bit of Heb. in the OT., in Ju. 7'* (J.) Ju. 6'' (JE.) and Ju. 8«« 


(a late annotator). In Ct. and Ec. it occurs frequently side by side with 
•>.:'N. Herzfcld, Del. and Wr. note that in Ec. ~\^' occurs 68 times, and 
•^VH 89 times. In the Mishna it has quite displaced ^Vi<. -r here does 
not denote ace. of manner, but the object (Del., Wr.). — U'Ctt'n nnp]. PI. 
confidently, and Wild, hesitatingly, explain this phrase as a Graecism= 
vip'rjXlu). Kleinert and McN. hold that this is unnecessary; it may be 
simply a peculiarity of this writer. It is interesting to note that it 
occurs in two Phoen. inscriptions, those of Taljnith and Eshmunazer 
c. 250 B.C. (cf. G. A. Cooke, North Semitic Inscr., pp. 26, 30), in just 
the way in which Q. uses it. 

4, "I'l^h N2]. These words are participles, denoting the continuity 

of the action, cf. Da. §100 (f), Ko. §412. Q. frequently puts these words 
in contrast {cf. ch. 5'^ 6* 8'"). n^n = "to die" is found in ch. 5>6 Ps. 
39'« Job lo^' 1420, Nn = "to be born" occurs ch. 5'° Ps. yi'*. — cV^yl 
denotes here, as often, simply a long, unknown period of time, BDB. 
The misunderstanding of this by certain media'val Jews occasioned the 
comment of Maimonides quoted by Gins., Cohcleth, 526, 527. — ^"^."^i"], 
fem. part, of loy, the part, again denoting dutation. Umbreit, Vaih. 
and Zo. bring into connection with the use of -^c;' here the fact that, in 
common with others of the ancients, some Hebrews believed that the 
earth rested upon pillars {cf. Ps. 75^ 104* Job 9« 38^), and hold that Q.'s 
language shows that he shared that belief. This is, however, a mistake. 
ncy is often used simply to signify continuance {cf. ch. 2» Ps. 19*° Lv. 
I3» Dn. 10"). It is thus that Q. uses it here. His form of statement 
throws no light upon his belief or non-belief in the pillar-theory of the 
earth's support. In the Talmud, Shabbath, 30b, it is said that vs. 4 
was quoted by Gamaliel in a discussion with an unnamed disciple, 
whom Bloch believes to have been the apostle Paul. Cf. Wright, 
Ecclesiastes, 22 jf. 

5. N3] = "set, " (/. the As. t>/6 saw?5/= " sun setting," and sit samsi= 
" sun rising." Ha., for metrical reasons, regards Z'r:'cn after n3 and Nin be- 
fore or as glosses. Zap., for similar reasons, expunges the phrase Nin n-> t 
or. The metrical form of the book, as a whole, is, however, too unsubstan- 
tial a theory on which to base textual criticism (see Ifttrod. §9). — nN''C* and 
r\yi are participles denoting continuity of action. — iDipn Sn], according 
to the accentuation, is separated from HN^'r and connected with the first 
part of the verse. Many interpreters endeavor to adhere to this punctu- 
ation, but the results of the efforts are unsatisfactory. Del. has clearly 
shown that this accentuation must I )e disregarded, and ic'^pn taken with 
t)H^z\ Many render the phrase "to his place where he rises," supposing 
that "^VH has been omitted before or. (So Ko. §38od). This seems 
needlessly to obscure the thought. The force of the participles justifies the 
rendering given above. The whole phrase is omitted in a small group 
of MSS. {cf. Dr.). The ancient translators, with the exception of 'A 


(who renders eto-TT »'€?), ha^e missed the meaning. (S renders i\Kei, S 
and O i7rava<TTp^<p€L, Jer. "revilitur," j& ta'eb, "he returns," and the 
(5 t]>ny "to crawl." Gr., despairing of finding in fiNir a .satisfactory 
meaning, emends the text to ^n 3^', rendering "returns to its place, again 
it rises." This is, however, unnecessary. 

6. The repetition of 22>d] strengthens the idea of continuance ex- 
pressed by the part. Cf. Da. §29, rem, 8. Cf. also Dt. 2" 14" 16" 
28" and Ex. 23'°. In the last clause the same effect is accomplished by 
combining 1^;n with 220. Cf. K6. §36iq. <S, 21, & and H wrongly take 
the first clause with the preceding verse, as applying to the sun. 
— pi3X]="The hidden," and so "north," from icx "to hide," cf. BD5. 
and Ges.Bu — an;], from n-n="to flow," "give light" {cf. BDB. 
204b and Ko., Vol. II, i, §77), is regularly used for "south" in contrast 
to X^ti-i, cf. Ez. 4o24- ". 28 42i». It is a poetical and late word. Cf. 
Job 37'^ — ^>] is to be taken with the following verb (Del., Zo. , Wr.). 
Sieg. changes it to Sn because 6 reads 'ETrf. Zap., p. 10, omits the first 
clause of the vs. from ■|';;^n to J"'cx for metrical reasons — a change which 
the metrical theory seems too insecure to support. 

7. As Kn., Del. and Wild, point out, 2V^ with S and an inf. means 
"to do a thing again," cf. On. 30'' Ho. ii' Job f Ezr. 9'*. See Ko. 
§399v. The idea is not that the streams return from the abyss by sub- 
terranean channels (© and Gins, and Cox), nor to the return of water in 
vapor to fall as rain, as in Job 36"- " (Heng.). As Zo. and PI. note, the 
thought, as in Aristophanes, Clouds, 1248, 

(The sea though all the rivers flow to it, 
Increaseth not in volume,) 

is confined to the fact that the flowing rivers accomplish nothing. The 
participles, as in the preceding verses, denote the continuity of the 
action. — Snj] is a more general term than "inj. — ^r] is not = ncr 

(Sieg.), but to be taken with ^* ==" where," like V'^ "^^n (Wr.). 

cpD is in the const, state before the rel. sentence, '<r cpa being equiva- 
lent to ijrN D-'pc, cf. Gn. 39" Lv. 4^ and Ko. §277v, so. Hit., Zo., Wr. 
— nSd] in Jos. 3'* is=" overflow," so, perhaps, here (Sieg.). 

8. on3^] Kn., Heng., Heil., Ew. and Gins, take as equal to "words," 
and think the first clause means that speech is wearied in telling of the 
ceaseless activities of nature. Most commentators — Wang., Vaih., 
Zo., Del., PI., Wr., No., Gr., Wild., Sieg., VI., Cox, McN., Gen. and 
Ha. — rightly take it in the sense of "things." The meaning then is that 
all things — the sun, the winds, the streams and all natural objects — are 
weary with their ceaseless round of activities. This view is altogether 
to be approved. Re.'s rendering: "Tout est difficile k expliquer," 
misses the point. — >ir] as an adj. occurs but twice in the OT. outside 
of this passage, Dt. 25" 2 S. 17', and in both of these passages it has 


the passive sense, "weary," not the active, "wearisome" (Dale): it ac- 
cordingly means "weary" here. — 121^], as Wr. observes, the object 
to be supplied is Sa. — vrc*::] Hit. and Zo. render: " so that I will not 
longer hear." This, as Wr. notes, is unnecessary, for >ar is constructed 
with p of the thing satisfied, cj. ch. 6^ Ps. 104'^ Job 19". Ko. §3991 
notes that JD might have stood before niNn instead of V, cf. Is. 53". 

9. 'q nc] is a late expression. 0^ and B wrongly render it as an in- 
terrogative. It is used by Q. in the following passages: 3" 6'" 7" 8^ 
10", in all of which it signifies "that which," or "whatever." It is 
parallel to Aram, "•"t jc, cf. Kau., GBA. §22^; but "itt'M ^d is used in a 
similar way in earlier Heb., cf. Ex. 32". — n"",-!] as Del. and Wr. note, 
is used of the phenomena of nature, which occur without human inter- 
vention {cf. 3"- n 6'"- 12 8^ 10" ii^), and nij7 of occurrences which re- 
sult from human action {cf. i"- " 2" 4' 9' *). — '^•vr\ Sd ps] is a universal 
negative in Heb., cf. Nu. ii« Dt. 8» Dn. i< and Ko. §352 s-w. The 
construction has passed into NT. idiom, cf. 01) iraj, Mt. 24" Lk. i»' 

21". Zap. and Ha. omit on metrical grounds the phrase C'crn ^nv 

Although it is a striking coincidence that the two advocates of the metri- 
cal theory agree at this point, the fact does not overbalance the un- 
certainty of the metrical theory (see Introd. §9). The discarded phrase 
materially strengthens the statement, and it is difficult to believe that 
the original writer did not pen it. 

10. r""], philologically equivalent to As. tTu, is different from n^n in that 
it assumes existence as a fact. Its use is equivalent to saying: "There 
really are things" {cf. Ko. §§325i-m, 3381-n). — -1 3 "j], if the present 
MT. stands=" thing," cf. on v. 8. MT. is supported by 31, S and the 
Tal., (S, t, %, and # support the reading icn>i niT'C', "there is one who 
speaks and says." McN., p. 138, thinks this reading is older than 
Aqiba, and that the present reading of MT. was introduced in Aqiba's 
recension. The testimony of the Versions would support this view. 
See the collected testimony, Euringer, Masorahtext, 35. — n;] follows 
HNn in 7"- *», in both of which cases it is connected with the following 
word by a conjunctive accent. Here, on the other hand, there is a dis- 
junctive Tiphkha. Wr. observes that the accent gives the clause the 
force of "See this, new it is." McN. regards nt as=Mishnic v-ir {cf. 
Kelim, 5'*), not as the obj. of hn-i. — Kin nr is one of Q.'s favorite ex- 
pressions, cf 2" 4« 6* and N'-n ni in s'^. — -lar] occurs in Biblical He- 
brew only in Ec. {cf. ch. i'" 2" 3'* 4* 6'" 9* ''), though common in J.Ar. 
It is connected with the Ar. kabara and Eth. kabra, "to be great." Its 
meaning seems to be "already," BDB. Ja. assigns it also the meaning 
"long ago," but none of the passages from the Mishna, which he quotes, 
substantiates this meaning. The word constitutes one of the Aramaisms 
of our book. — n^n nu'N D^nS;?S], the verb in the phrase, should strictly be vn, 
as five MSS. actually read {cf Ken.), but Heb. is not always careful about 


the agreement of subj. and pred., cj. ch. lo'* Je. 48'* Zc. ii» Dn. p". 
Some regard coSy as a pi. of eminence (K6. §26ok), and such plurals 
regularly take a sing, vb. {cf. Da. §116, rem. 4). — ^^rjo'^c] is a strength- 
ened form of iJ''Jc!:', cf. Ju. i'". — 11. inpj] is usually regarded as cstr. 
before the prep. ^; so, Kn., Heil., Zo., Ew. and Ko. §3362. Del. ob- 
serves that such refinements of syntax are not to be expected in our 
writer, and that |n3T is to be taken as a variant spelling of inrt- He 
compares jnn: and insf?, but adduces no example where |n:3T is an 
abs. Wr. repeats Del., adding that pip; may be regarded as a form more 
common in later Heb., but still adduces no example. Sieg. agrees with 
them. There is in reality no parallel, so far as I know, which sub- 
stantiates this view. In the OT., wherever ]npT occurs, except here and 
in ch. 2i«, it is in the cstr. state {cf. Lv. 232^ Is. 57'). It is better 
here to regard the word as cstr. before ^^ especially since such construc- 
tion finds parallels in the Mishna {cf. P'-dS ^jV^n Aboth, 5", ^J^S -arv, 
ibid., 5", cf. also s'' and Ko. §336z). — D-iirN-i] and D'jnnN] were for- 
merly incorrectly understood to refer to things, but modern writers, except 
Gr. and Ha., take it rightly to refer to persons. The masc. forms 
refer to persons {cf. Gn. ;i^' Dt. 19" Job 18"), and the fem. forms to 
things {cf Is. 42» 43»- >8 46'). — 3>joip and nvjcip are similarly used, 
the former of persons, the latter adverbially {cf. 1 S. 24»» Is. 43"). 

i«»-2» qoheleth's experiments in the character of the 


Qoheleth represents himself in the character of Solomon as seek- 
ing wisdom more than anyone else, but finding in it no permanent 
satisfaction (i'*''); then, as seeking joy in material and sensual 
things, with the same result (2' "); next, as trying the virtues of 
folly and finding them no better (i'^"'); and lastly, he states the con- 
clusion to which his various experiments have led him (2'8 ^b). 

"• I Qoheleth was king over Israel in Jerusalem. " And I gave 
my heart to search and to explore with wisdom concerning all that is 
done under the heavens — it is a bad business God has given the children 
of men in which to toil. "• I saw all the works which are done under 
the sun and behold the whole is vanity and desire of wind. 
"• The crooked cannot be straightened, 
And the wanting cannot be numbered. 

"• And 1 spake with my heart, saying: Behold I have greatly in- 
creased wisdom above all who were before me over Jerusalem, and my 
heart has abundantly beheld wisdom and knowledge. "■ And I gave 
my heart to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, I know that 


this also is desire of wind. '* For in much wisdom is much vex- 
ation, and he who increases knowledge increases pain. 

2' I said in my heart: "Come now, I will test thee with joy, so look 
upon good," and behold also it was vanity. ^ Of laughter I said it is 
mad, and of joy, what does this accomplish ? »• I searched out in my 
heart how to stimulate my flesh with wine, while my heart was acting 
with wisdom, and to lay hold on folly until I should see what good there 
is for the children of men to practise under the heavens the few days of 
their life. *• I undertook great works; I built me houses, I planted me 
vineyards. »■ I made me gardens and parks and planted in them every 
kind of fruit tree. « I made me pools of water in order to water a 
plantation springing up with trees. ^- I bought bondmen and bond- 
maids and had slaves born in my house; also I had many possessions 
of cattle and sheep — more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. 
•• I collected for myself silver and gold, the treasures of kings and 
provinces; I provided me male and female musicians and the luxuries 
of the sons of men — all sorts of concubines (?). »• And I became con- 
tinually more wealthy above all who were before me in Jerusalem; also 
my wisdom remained with me. *°- And nothing which my eyes asked 
did I withhold from them; I did not deny my heart any joy, for my heart 
rejoiced in all my toil, and this was my portion of all my toil. "• And 
I turned (to look) at all my works which my hands had wrought and at 
the toil which I had toiled to accomplish and behold the whole was vanity 
and desire of wind and there is no gain under the sun. '*• And I turned 
to observe wisdom and madness and folly, for what (can) the man (do) 
that comes after the king ? That which he (the king) hath done. "And 
I saw that wisdom has an advantage over folly like the advantage of 
light over darkness. " As for the wise man his eyes are in his head, 
but the fool walks in darkness. But I know also that the same event 
will happen to both of them. '* And I said in my heart according to 
the fate of the fool thus will it happen to me, so why have I then been 
wise overmuch? So I said in my heart: this also is vanity. " For the 
wise, like the fool, has no remembrance forever, inasmuch as in days to 
come both will have been already forgotten. And how does the wise die 
like the fool! "■ And I hated life, for evil unto me was the work which is 
done under the sun, for all is vanity and desire of wind. '*• And I hated 
all my toil which I toiled under the sun because I shall leave it to the 
man who shall come after me. '» And who knows whether he will be 
a wise man or a fool ? And he shall rule over all my toil on which I have 
toiled and exercised wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. " And 
I turned about to give my heart up to despair concerning all the toil 
which I had toiled under the sun. *' For there is a man whose toil is 
with wisdom and intelligence and success, and to a man who has not 
toiled for it he will leave his portion. This also is vanity and a great 


evil. " For what shall be to a man for all his toil and the striving of 
his heart in which he toils under the sun. "■ For all his days are pains, 
and his task vexation, also at night his heart does not rest, moreover this 
is vanity. "• For there is nothing better for a man than that he should 
eat and drink and enjoy himself in his toil. Also this I saw that it is 
from the hand of God. ^- For who can eat and who can enjoy apart 
from him? «. For to a man who is good before him he gives 


BEFORE God. Also this is vanity and a desire of wind. 

12. Was king over Israel in Jerusalem]. The author indicates 
that he proposes to speak in the character of Solomon. It is his 
aim to offer proof of the general position taken in the prologue by 
adducing the concrete experiences of Solomon. Solomon had 
had wealth, wisdom and opportunities for sensual enjoyment. 
He had drawn upon every source of ''profit." To adduce these 
concrete experiences would be the most powerful literary form in 
which to couch his argument, so in this verse he assumes that 
mask. He mentions the fact of kingship as a claim to especial 
opportunities for experience in these matters, since "the wisdom 
of a learned man cometh by opportunity " (BS. 38"). The words: 
*^over Israel in Jerusalem,^' exclude any king of the northern 
kingdom and sufficiently indicate Solomon. — 13. Gave my heart]. 
This is not an uncommon idiom for turning the attention {cf. ch. 
jn y2i 89. 10 Dn. 1012 I Ch. 22'8). It is parallel to ''set one's 
heart (or mind)" (Job 7'^ Ps. 48'' 62'" 2 Ch. i2i< 3o»9). It is 
used mainly in late Biblical Heb. '' Search^' SLud'^explore^' are 
synonyms. They do not refer to higher and lower forms of in- 
vestigation (Zo.), but to different methods. "Search " means to in- 
vestigate the roots of a matter, and "explore" to investigate a 
subject on all sides (Del., Wr.). — Is Done], This is, as in v. 9, 
employed of human activities. 

14. Works] refers also to human actions. — Desire of Wind], 
i.e., an unsatisfying desire. The word for desire has occasioned 
much discussion. The peculiar phrase occurs in Biblical Heb. 
only in this book, where it occurs seven times altogether (i'* 2"- 
17. 26 44. 6 5»^, See critical note. — 15. The crooked cannot be 
straightened]. — Re., PL, Wr. and Gen. are probably right in re- 


garding this as an aphorism quoted by Qoheleth because appH- 
cable to his theme. — The wanting cannot be numbered], i.e., an 
untold number of things are lacking. 

16. All who were before me over Jerusalem], it is difficult for the 
writer to maintain the mask which he has assumed, and as Del., 
Wr., Wild, and McN. have noted, he falls into an anachronism 
here in this phrase, since Solomon had but one predecessor, David. 
It is hardly possible with Heng., Zo., No. and PL, to think of Jeb- 
usite kings, or Melchisedek (Gn. 14'*), and Adonizedek (Jos. 10', 
cj. also, 2 S 5.^), or Ethan, Heman, and Calcol (i K. 4*'). It is 
more likely the phrase of one who was familiar with some set for- 
mula, like the Assyrian ''the kings my predecessors," which he sup- 
posed it appropriate for kings to use. After letting the mask slip 
once more in 2^ », he finally throws it aside altogether in 2 '2. — 17. 
Madness and folly'], ^^Contrariis contraria intelliguntur.^' Qohe- 
leth determined to know not only wisdom but the opposite. — 18. In 
much wisdom is muchvexation]. The burden of the verse is blessed 
be ignorance! It reminds one of the point of view of J. in Gn. 3, 
where toil and pain in child-bearing are attributed to knowledge. 

2'. / will test thee with joy]. Having proved the futility of wis- 
dom (i '*■'*), Qoheleth now tries material pleasures (2>-"). In this 
introductory verse he expresses his resolution. The context shows 
that joy is used of the pleasure derived from the possession of 
wealth and the excitements of sensual pleasure. — 2. Of laughter], 
unrestrained merriment is represented by laughter and pleasure 
in general by ''joy." To the beholder both often seem folly or 
delirium. Scholars differ as to whether we should translate "of" 
or, "to." Gins., Ew. and Wild, advocate the latter view and ren- 
der as though the sentence were a direct address. Heil., Vaih., 
Del., Sieg., and most recent interpreters take the former view, 
which the above rendering follows. Parallel examples are found 
in Ps. y 22" 41*. Kn. remarks that laughter means "lusty re- 
joicing," cf. 7« Io'^— 3. Searched], as Del. notes, this is, as in 
Nu. io», equivalent to "explore." Combined with "heart" it 
denotes discovery by mental processes (so Wr.). — Stimulate], 
literally to "draw" {cf. Dt. 2I* i K. 22=*^ 2 Ch. iS^" Job 24^'^), 
but here used figuratively, either in the sense of "stimulate," 


"give pleasure to," or ''refresh." It resemVjles Talmudic usage 
as Del., No. and Wild, have observed. — My heart was acting 
with\ This is, as several interpreters h'-*,ve noted, in the nature 
of a parenthesis. — 4. / built houses, I planted vineyards]. From 
the excitements of wine Qoheleth turns to the more healthy 
pleasures of a country gentleman's enterprises. As he is speak- 
ing in the character of Solomon, probably he had in mind Solo- 
mon's buildings (r/. i K. 7 9' •« 10' ^ff). Near these buildings 
there were vineyards (r/. Je. 52^ Ct. 6^ 8"). Works] is used by 
metonomy for the gains of work, wealth, riches, possessions (rf. i 
S. 25'). 

5. Gardens and Parks]. To the vineyards, gardens and parks 
were added. The former were perhaps devoted to practical vege- 
tables {cf. Dt. II'"), and the latter to trees, though in older Hebrew 
''garden" stood for both. Frequent allusion is made in the OT. 
to the "King's gardens" (Je. 39^ 52^ 2 K. 25^ and Ne. 3''). Such 
enclosures, constructed by the wealthy, contained refreshing 
streams, cool shade and all manner of fruit trees (cf. Jos. Antiq. 
viii, 7» and Qur'an, 13" and 55^"*). Sometimes they also con- 
tained wild animals (Xen. Anab. i, 2-). How in the hot and thirsty 
east such scenes attracted the imagination may be seen in the ex- 
aggerated description in Qur^an, 47'«*. — Q. Pools of water]. In 
Palestine, where the rainfall of the winter has to be stored for the 
long drought of summer, rock-cut reservoirs or cisterns are of 
such importance that their structure was a worthy boast for a king 
{cf. Mesha of Moab, Moabite Stone, 11. 9 and 23-25). Ne. 2'< 3'% 
as well as the Siloam inscription and Jos., BJ., v. 4-, testify to 
the existence of an important reservoir near Jerusalem, while Ct. 
7' alludes to one in Heshbon and 2 S. 4'- to one in Hebron. There 
may be seen to-day near ancient Etam three such reservoirs, 
which are attributed by tradition to Solomon. The importance 
of such reservoirs to gardens is alluded to in Is. i^° and 58". 

7. Bondmen and bondmaids]. Slaves formed a large percentage 
of the population in all the civilized countries of antiquity. How 
frequently they were bought and sold may be seen by consulting 
any body of Babylonian contracts such as Keilinschriftliche Bib- 
liothek, Vol. rV. The purchase of new slaves was probably an 


experience in the life of every wealthy man. About 750 B.C., 
when the "Book of the Covenant" was written, a slave was valued 
at 30 shekels (Ex. 21^-), while after the exile they were valued at 
50 shekels (Lv. 2 7 3). For Solomon's slaves, see 1 K. q-"- -' and lo^ 
Slaves are associated with flocks and herds as evidences of wealth 
{<■/. Gn. 12'" 30^^). — All who were before me\ the author permits 
his Solomonic mask to slip, for this implies that he had had many 
predecessors in Jerusalem. — 8. Treasures of kings]. To the de- 
lights of rural possessions, Qoheleth added the treasures of a 
monarch who controls the taxes of large provinces, and the luxuries 
of sensual gratification. He is still posing as the ''Son of David," 
and these details were no doubt suggested by i K. 4^ 9=8 10'* 7'* " 
ii'-». — 9. Continually ynore wealthy], in i" Qoheleth claims to 
have surpassed others in wisdom, so here he claims to have sur- 
passed them in wealth. In the last clause of the vs. there is prob- 
ably a reference to vs. 3. He means that in spite of his folly in the 
pursuit of wealth and sensual delights his wisdom remained with 
him. It suggests that this clause about wisdom has also a for- 
ward look, and refers in part to the next verse. — 10. Not deny my 
heart any joy]. Still drawing on the accounts of Solomon's splen- 
dor for his illustration, Qoheleth represents himself as able to 
gratify every desire. He denied himself no material possession or 
pleasure, and, like the man in the parable of Jesus (Lk. 16"), he 
obtained enjoyment — a real good — for a time. This was his ad- 
vantage, or gain from his toil. The passage was suggested by the 
statements of Solomon's wealth in i K. 4-«« (Ileb. 5»"), and io^«. 
The eyes are used by metonomy for desire which is not sensual, 
cf. I K. 20' Ps. 145'' Ec. I" 4* and Pr. 27-". Similarly we have 
in I Jn. 2" "lust" (literally, "desire") of the eyes, which, though 
closely associated with "lust {i.e., desire) of the flesh," is not iden- 
tical with it. — Withhold], for the meaning cf. Gn. 27" Nu. ii'- ", 
where the word is rendered "take away," "take of." — Portion] is 
here equivalent to gain or reward. — 11. And I turned]. This is as 
Del. and others have noted a pregnant construction, meaning "1 
turned to look," cf. Job 6". It implies that Qoheleth turned from 
the absorption of his active material labors and his sensual pleas- 
ures to consider the meaning of them all, and finds that, like the 


delights of wisdom, the delights of possession are but vanity. 
From V. 3b to this point a cycle is completed — an experiment has 
been carried through and a result reached. 

12. Qoheleth is now led to make a comparison between wisdom 
and folly, to discover, if possible, whether wisdom had any real 
advantage. The last clause of the verse is difficult of interpreta- 
tion because the text is corrupt. It is rendered above from an 
emended text. For reasons and the opinions of interpreters, see 
critical note. — 13. Sieg. assigns this verse and 14a to his Q», or 
Hokma annotator, on the ground that it contradicts Q.'s thought, 
but the objection does not seem well taken. As PI. suggests Qo- 
heleth might believe that all is vanity, and yet hold that it is better 
to face the reality intelligently than to be carried into the vortex of 
oblivion while absorbed in senseless folly. A line from the Iliad 
(17"^) is apposite: ''And if our fate be death, give light, and let us 
die." It is the attitude of a strong, though agnostic mind. The 
comparison of wisdom to light is kindred to the use of light in Is. 
51" Ps. 36" 43* 119'" Pr. 6". For ''darkness" in the sense of 
"folly," cf. Job 37' ». Cf. also Job 12". 

14. His eyes are in his head]. The wise man has this advantage, 
he can see. The expression, as Gins, notes, is equivalent to "his 
eyes are open." The fool goes on in unconscious darkness. 
Nevertheless the same death overtakes both. The wise ought to 
have some advantage, but experience shows that he does not. 
The fact that death relentlessly claims both wise and foolish, op- 
pressed others. Cf. Ps. 49>'' Job 21" and Horace's 

Sed onines una manet nox 
Et calcanda seniel via leti. — Od. I, 28'*". 

15. According to the fate of the fool.] The fact that death buries 
the wise and the foolish in the same oblivion, makes Qoheleth pro- 
nounce great wisdom vanity, in spite of the fact that he has just 
seen in wisdom the advantage of reality. / said in my heart], see 
on i>«. On Vanity, see on i». 

16. The wise die like the jool]. Wild, has noted that Qoheleth 
contradicts here Pr. lo^ and Ps. ii2«. This vs. is quoted and op- 
posed in Wisdom i*». — Has no remembrance forever]. Cf. on i". 


The discovery that at death both are alike strikes Qohelcth as a 
painful surprise. It is not what one would expect. — 17. Andl hated 
life]. This expresses a strong revulsion of feeling from something, 
cf. 2 S. 13" Is. V* Am. 5" Mai. i\ The fact that the wise are 
swallowed up by the same oblivion as the fool caused this revul- 
sion of feeling. As Plumtre remarks, the only logical out- 
come of such pessimism is suicide, but from Qoheleth to Hart- 
mann it has never produced suicide. A pessimist who is able to 
vent his feelings in literary expression continues to enjoy life. — Evil 
unto me was the work], i.e., it was evil in my eyes. — Vanity and 
desire of wind], see on i'*. 

18. / hated all my toil . . . because I shall leave it]. Qoheleth 
not only loathed life, but also his toil. This latter revulsion was 
produced by the thought that he must leave all the results of his 
labor to some one else. Probably the reference is to such works 
as were described in vv. 4, 10, 11. As Plumtre points out others 
have been oppressed by the same thought. Mazarin walked 
through his palace and said to himself: II faiit quitter tout cela, 
while Frederic William IV of Prussia, looking at his garden at 
Potsdam, said to his friend Bunsen: Das auch,das soli ich lassen. — 
And I hated] is the repetition of a formula. Qoheleth is fond of 
such repetition. — 19. Who knows whether he shall be a wise man 
or a fool?] One must not only leave his possessions, but he does 
not know into whose hands they will fall after he is gone, or 
whether his own wise policies concerning them will be pursued or 
not. This added to Qoheleth's bitterness. The thought is simi- 
lar to that of Ps. 39« and Lk. 122". The Targ. takes this and the 
preceding vs. to refer to Rehoboam, but Qoheleth's statement is 
entirely general. As No. and Sieg. have noted, Rehoboam was 
forty-one years old when Solomon died (i K. 14"), and Solomon 
must have known whether he was a fool or not. — 20. Give my 
heart up to despair]. The facts stated in the preceding verses dried 
up the springs of Qoheleth's impulse to active labor. — 21. To a 
man who has not toiled he will leave his portion]. Qoheleth broods 
over a fact and views it from different aspects. This vs. is not a 
repetition of vs. 19; the thought which tortures him here is not that 
his heir may be a fool, but the mere idea that that upon which one 


toils with so much care should go into the possession of one who 
has never worked for it at all. — 22. What shall be to a tnan], as Gins, 
suggests, this corresponds to ''what advantage to a man," of 
ch. I'. The thought has nearly comi)leted a great cycle, and 
Qoheleth now comes back to sum up his reasons for pessimism. 
— 23. All his days are pains]. This verse echoes the experi- 
ence of those who follow pursuits which cannot satisfy the heart. 
They obtain no real pleasure even in the performance of their 
chosen occupations. One phrase of it — "his days are pain" — is 
in substance quoted and opposed in Wisd. 2K — 24, 25. There is 
nothing better for a man]. The rendering of these verses given 
above rests on an emended text, the authority for which is given 
in the critical notes below. Qoheleth here states the conclusions 
to which his various investigations had led. The best thing for 
man is to get the most physical pleasure he can out of life. This 
is not stated from the Epicurean standpoint, but from the point 
of view of Hebrew monotheism. Qoheleth, as a Hebrew, believes 
that this would not be the order of life, if God had not so ordained 
it. The sentiment of this verse is quoted and denied in Wisd. 2». 

26*. To a man who is good He gives wisdom]. Recent interpre- 
ters have, with some differences in detail, regarded the verse as a 
gloss; so Wild., Sieg., McN., and Ha. Sieg. and McN. divide it 
into two glosses, regarding: '^This also is vanity and a desire of 
wind,^^ as a touch of a late hand. That the verse with the excep- 
tion of the last clause is the work of a Chasid glossator, must be 
granted. It contradicts Q.'s fundamental philosophy. The 
doctrine that all the good things of life come to the morally good, 
finds expression in many parts of the OT., and the thought that 
the good finally receive the fruits of the toil of the wicked is also 
not lacking (r/. Job 27'^ Pr. 13" 28»). Such a cheerful view of 
the moral order of the universe is, however, totally opposed to 
Q.'s whole thought, and justifies us in seeing here the work of 
another hand. I cannot agree with Sieg. and McN., though, in 
seeing the hand of an annotator in the last clause. If it originally 
followed vs. 25, it expressed, as pointed out above, an intelligible 
thought, and one thoroughly consonant with Q.'s point of view. 

26^ Desire of wind] originally followed vs. 25. Q.'s declaration 


was, that there is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink 
and enjoy Hfe, that God had ordained that this is man's destiny, 
but that there is no real satisfaction even in this — this also being 
vanity and a desire of wind. This is a note of profound pessimism. 

1'2. >.-ii\-i]. The tense has occasioned a curious amount of discussion 
among commentators. It is in fact a perfect denoting a state, whether 
mental or physical (r/. Dr. §11, Da. §40, Ko. §124 and Ex. 2" Gn. 
42" Ps. I5«). The Tahnud {Gittin, 68b), Midrash Yalkui, AE., and Ra., 
thinking in accordance with later Hebrew that it could be used only of 
past events, adopted the legend that in his old age Solomon was deposed 
by Asmodaeus, king of the demons, and then wrote, "I was king." 
Gins, agrees that the writer was no longer king. Gr., who believes that 
Herod the Great was referred to, falls back on the theory that nv-i means 
here "became," not "was." Bullock quotes Louis XIV, who toward 
the end of his life used to say: ''Quand f'etois rot" and supposes that 
Solomon, like Louis, had become weary of kingship. Of course Q. is 
using the character as a mask, but the indefiniteness of the tense in 
Heb. suits his purpose well, as it would be right if Solomon were really 
writing. '^N-^r-' "?;? •i'?r], the more usual expression is hn'\^'^ iSd {cf. i S. 
26" I K. 159 Ho. i> io'5 .\m. ii 7'", etc.), but "^Nnr^ Sp iSc alsooccurs 
(2 S. 19" I K. 4' II'''). Ila.'s statement that nSs may mean "head of 
a school," while substantiated by Gittin, 62a, and Bcrahoth, 64a, does not 
fit the mask which Q. was wearing throughout the passage. 

13. "»i."i] has been claimed as a Gr.Tcism = (rK^7rTe<r^ai, a Gr. philosophi- 
cal term, but it is good Heb., being used of the spies in Nu. 13*- " " 
{cf. McN., p. 40). ^3"] = " business," "occupation," occurs in OT. 
only in Ec. {cf. 2" " 3'" 4* 5- '')• It is an Aramaic loan word, occur- 
ring in the Targ. on Ps. \(f 41* Ct. i'. Ha. curiously regards this vs. 
as a gloss, even though, according to his own rendering, it conforms to a 
metrical standard. — 14. ir;ju ]. In tlie Mishna the usage of "ir;* is similar, 
cf. Bcrakoth, 2^, Baha Balra, lo*. — 'V}], a very ancient rendering de- 
rived from >7"^=i"'i"'> "to break," makes it mean "breaking," "affliction," 
or "vexation of spirit." Thus, &, 01, V, Ra., and AV. Another old 
interpretation derived it from nj-n to feed. So *A, 9, 2, AE., Mich., 
Ros., PL, Re. and RV."". Others, as No. and Wild., take it from 
np-i "to be behind" {cf Gn. 32'9 »''). Most recent interpreters derive 
it from n;n "to wish," "desire," "strive for," so d, Kn., Hit., Eur., 
Heil., Wang., Vaih., Gins., Ty., Z6., Gr., Del., Wr., VI., Sieg., McN., Ha., 
RV., BDB., Ges.**" These scholars differ, however, as to whether 
it is or is not an Aramaism, and some, as McN., who so render it, derive 
it from the stem n;"> "to feed." Gcs."" calls it an Aramaism, and it is 
true that it occurs in the Aram, portion of Ezr. (5" 7"). It occurs 


twice, however, in the form n>n in Ph. inscriptions where there is no 
reason to suspect Aram, influence, one coming from the Piraeus and the 
other from N. Africa (c/. G. A. Cooke, No. Sent. Ins., 97; 150). Prob- 
ably the root is n;;n, which occurs in Ps. 37^ Pr. i5'< Hos. 12* — 15. nij^rj, 
Pu. part, from ni;? used only in Pi. and Pu., "to be perverse, crooked." 
The figurative uses in Ps. 119^* and Lam. 3'«- '^ are no objection to this 
general meaning (cf. ch. 7" 12^ Job 8' 19* 3412 ^^n 8^ Ps. 146'). 
Gins.'s inference from this latter passage that the word means "de- 
pressed" is unfounded. Bick. (10, 47) erases the second S>v], but such 
repetitions are characteristic of Q. (cf. 4* 6' 8'2). jpp'^] is rendered 
as a passive by several of the versions (CS iiriKoa-firjdTJvai, J. C. ador- 
nari, B^ lemestabatu, (5 NjpnN^, V corriguntur, Ar. yuzayyana). This leads 
Del. to observe that we should have the intrans. li^p"? instead of the 
trans. li'riS; Or. says JpnS must be a passive= \\]T\r\\ Sieg., McN. and 
Dr. would emend to Ni. Ji!!"^\iS- A passive sense is necessary to corre- 
spond with mjDH^. The root occurs in BH. only in Qoh. {cf. i'* 7'* 
I2»). It is found in Aram. {cf. Dn. 4'' and Targ. to Jer. 7' 18" and 
frequently elsewhere and in Tal. (see references in Ja.), and must be 
regarded as an Aramaism. Cf. As. takana. — jn^n] is, as Wr. observes, 
a a.X. in BH. "^tin occurs, however, in Dt. 28<«- ", in the sense of " want," 
"destitution." niono from the same root, is the word usually em- 
ployed (c/. Pr. 6"). jnon is often employed in Mish. and Tal. for 
"deficit" in money matters, see J5DB. and Ja., cd loc. — •iiJS'l'?] from 
njc. "to count," "number," occurs often in BH. Cf As. manu, Ar. 
mana. Ew., who is followed by No., Wild, and Dr., suggested that 
n^jon is corrupted from ^"^^0^^ from N^cn, " to be filled up," or " supplied." 
— 16. ''jx ^ri-\ai], 'iH, as Gins, and Wr. have perceived, is not emphatic, 
but pleonastic, see ch. 2' " >^ '* '^.".n ^jso K6. §i8,andDa. §107, rem. i. 
— aS oy ^m3"'] = " commune with myself." Generally another preposition 
is employed as 3S3, ch. 2'- " Ps. 14* 15*; or aV *?«. Gn. 24", or aS ^}:, i S. 
I". Probably op is employed to personify the heart, cf. aps;? r]^n'> nai. 
Dt. 5*. — ^nDDini\nS-!jn]. Gr. thinks, from the form \7S-]J 2\ that the 
n is a dittograph from the preceding -"un. The two perfects are coor- 
dinated when in reality one modifies the other, as Gins., Wr. and McN. 
have seen {cf 2', 8»). The combination means "I greatly multiplied" 
(cf Da. ^8s, Dr. §157).— "^3 Vy], the prep., as Sieg., VI. and Ko. 
(§3o8d) note, is equivalent to a comparative "more than" (cf Gn. 48" 
49** Ps. 16* 89' 137* and also vv^p iroXXoi>j, Gal. i"). — n\-i] is sing., 
although -ii:;n refers to pi. subject, perhaps as Gins, suggests because the 
plural is taken distributively in the writer's thought. Cf Da. §116, 
rem. i. — 0^rn> S;-]. i4oMSS.reada'^U'no (c/. Dr.). n3";:',as Kn.,Heil., 
Gins., Wr. and Wild, note, is a Hiph. inf. used adverbially (cf H. §28, 
2b, rem. g). It is a favorite word with our author (cf. 2^ $*■ "• '•• " 


7" " 9" I2»). — HDon HNnJ, as Sieg. observes, is a phrase peculiar to 
Qoh., cf. 2" 9" and nin> -(Jt hn-i, Je. 2". PI. observes that noj.-i and npi 
correspond respectively to ethical and speculative knowledge. — 17. McN. 

(pp. 57, 156) suspects ny-iS nj-Ni to be a corruption introduced into 

the text from (6. It is omitted in a number of MSS. of (ft, but that 
seems a slender basis on which to discard it. Its omission, as he admits, 
may have been accidental. — '^^^ps ] is one of the three instances of waw 
consecutive with imper., which occur in this book. The others are 
ch. 4*- ^ (cf. Dr. §133). Del. notes that the ending n., as in Gn. 32* 
41", expresses the writer's purpose (cf. Ko. §20ob). Zap. and Ha. 
omit n^SDJPi niSSn nym on metrical grounds. Gins, omits r\^'?2V^ niSSn. 
believing that they crept in through a transcriber's carelessness, because 
in the next vs. only r>ni n::3n are mentioned. Gr. emends PIS'?:! to 
niStrn, "proverbs," on the ground that ^ and Targ. so render it. (It 
might be added that <8 and IC also so translate.) He then takes niS3t:*= 
"intelligence," comparing Pr. i" Ps. 78* and BS. 3*' 39*. The omis- 
sions of Zap., Ha. and Gins, are not justified by the reasons urged, while 
Gr.'s emendation is unnecessary. All the versions, as Eur. has pointed 
out, go back to MT. Most recent interpreters have rightly taken ni^jir 
to be a variant spelling of niS:!D=" folly," which occurs in 2' '* " 7'» 
io«- '» (so Dat., Kn., Del., Wr., Wild., VI., McN. BDB. Ges.Bu)— a 
variant which is parallelled by nnr:i:*o for the usual nncDo in ch.12". 
This spelling antedated the versions and was misunderstood by them, 
though many MSS. actually have nSoD (cf. Ken.). — r^y^y]. Del. and VI. 
regard p;'t as an inf. for Ppi':'. S being omitted because expressed with 
the preceding inf., and so the Massorets took it, but as Gins, and McN. 
note, it should with <8 and 21 be taken as a noun and pointed Dyy_- 
"Wisdom and knowledge" balance "madness and folly." — .I'^VSn]. 
Probably to be read niS'?n (cf. ch. io'», also BDB. and Ko. §262d), is 
from VSn, Ar. /ta//a, to "shout," "rage" (so Del. and BDB.), is peculiar 
in BH. to Q.'s vocabulary (cf 2'* 7" 9' io") = " folly." Probably as 
10", and the fact that in 2'* and 7" (6 renders it in the sing., shows the 
ending is p\ an abstract, and not n\ a plural of intensity (VI.). Ty. 
and Sieg. contend that it is a GTdccism= fiavia, but such an assumption 
seems unwarranted. — 03^ is not necessarily a late expression. Cf. 
QW2 in J., Gn. 6». — wn nt], Kin is used frequently in Q. as a copula. 
In Mishna it is frequently abbreviated to in; (cf. Dr. §201 (3), and 
Da. §106, rem. 2). — V^'^"^] is a variant formation to nijrn (cf v. 14), with 
the same meaning. Cf. l^ri and nici from the stem noi. — 18. 0-;d]. 
(6, IC, iJ", A, read n>n = 7>'u;(rts, instead. This fact has caused some 
discussion among scholars, but probably all of the three latter versions 
are dependent upon (6, and its reading as Eur. suggests was a lapsus 
calami. — d;?3=" vexation," a word in Heb. found from the D. literature 
onward. It also occurs frequently in the Mishna (cf. Ja.). It occurs 


several times in Q. (c/. 2" 7' ii*"). In the book of Job it is spelled 
tryo (see Job 5» 6» 10" 17^.— n'D>^] Hit., Wr., No., VI. and K6. §3440 
take it as a part. Some regard it as a pure Kal., misspelled for *\p\ 
others as a Hiph., "returning to a Kal." Del., however, regards it as 
a regular imperf. The latter is the preferable view. The sentence is 
similar to Prov. 12" 18". 

2'. ^jx \-i-(Cs]. The "js is pleonastic, as was the ':n of ii«. Heng. 
claims that it is emphatic, but most scholars take the opposite view 
(c/". Gins., Zo., and Da. §107, rem. i). — '3^2] is a variant of the expression 
o"? a;*, i'«. For parallel usage see the citations made there. The rest 
of the vs. shows that Q. was not saying in his heart, but talking to his 
heart, for he addresses to it an exhortation. (See BDB.) — nrojs] has oc- 
casioned much discussion. The Targ. and Mid., which Bick. follows, 
evidently read "i^TJ^; =*T will test it;" V made it a Ni. of "iD), "to pour 
out." AE. took it from 'D: and supposed that "wine" was to be sup- 
plied as an object. Most modern interpreters follow (S and take it 
from nD: = "to test," regarding the ^^^ as a strengthened form of n, 
Wr. observes that the verb is used with 3 of instrumentality (cf. ch. 7" 
I K. 10'). Wr. also observes with justice that the longer nj is used (i) 
to make the suffix more distinct in words ending in 1 as n--;s (2 S. 2"); 
(2) to lengthen in writing shorter words, as ^3x2 (Gn. lo'^); and (3) 
less frequently in longer words, as here, where the usage perhaps marks 
a later date. — 3 ns-\] the Hebrews used words which describe the action 
of the primary senses in a figurative way. ns-^ means in such uses " to 
experience," and is applied to the whole gamut of experiences from 
life (3'\-i, ch. 99) to death (iir, Ps. Sg*"). For some of these see ch. 2" 
313 517 gi. p9 Ps. 1610 858 89^9 Job 9« Is. 44>« La. 3'. 'Ueip and its 
synonyms are similarly used in the NT. (cf. Lk. 2" Jn. 3»« 8*'). Fre- 
quently, as here, 3 follows ns-\ {cf. Gn. 2i'« 44" Je. 29" Job 3'). An 
examination of these passages will confirm the justice of the observa- 
tion of Kn. and Wr, that those who hold that '3 nsn denotes enjoyment, are 
quite mistaken. It is used for any experience, pleasurable or otherwise. — 
2. ^'^1^"] is a Poal part. = " mad," cf. Ps. 1029. The Hithpoal means 
"to act like a madman," cf. i S. 2V* Je. 25" 46* 50" 51" Na. 2». 
The versions, except C, render incorrectly. — "if is a fem.,a shorter way 
of writing rtiv, so Heil., Zo., Del., Wr., No. and Ko. §§44, 45/3. It is 
also found in 5'* j-^ 9". As Del. noted, the use of nt in Q. resembles 
that of the Mishna (cf. also Introduction, §10). This form occurs, 
however, in earlier Heb., cf. 2 K. 6' 9, and Ez. 40^*. The form of the 
question is identical with that in Gn. 3". — nr;] is fem. part. Kal agree- 
ing with ir, which represents nnr:t:*. Hit. supposed that some word like 
"•ID should be supplied after it, but it seems to be used as in Dn. 8** 
in the meaning of "accomplish a purpose." Kn. compared it with 
Ju. 13'* and Ez. 28*, where definite objects follow it. — 3. iro]. In 


favor of taking this to mean "refresh," Del. recalls Khagiga, 14a: 
D'CD D^N ^V 13"? f^DD N1J1N "''?>3. The reading of (S, KaT«TKe\pi.iJ.ii)v el 17 
KapSia fjLov A/cjJo-ei, may, as McN. has noted, indicate that the original 
Heb. read "Iiu'd o'i'a ■'JN \n->.-ii, the "'JN becoming corrupted to on. (S's 
reading may, however, be a corruption of 'A, S and e's iv rrj KopSi^t, etc. 
The unanimity of reading in MSS. of (ft is in favor of the former view. — 
pn] (ft and read p''3. Ha., for metrical reasons, regards it as a gloss. 
noona jnj ^aSt] is, for the same reason, rejected by him as a gloss. — jij] 
ordinarily means " lead " or "drive," as in i S. 3020 Is. 1 1« Ps. 80^ La. 3' Ct. 
8*, but here, as McN. has pointed out, the meaning is much more nearly 
akin to the Mishna {cf. Aboda Zara, 3*). It means (BDB.) "behaving 
itself," to "be practised in" (Ja.), or "act." rns'i'i] like iir::':' is an in- 
direct object of '^\^r'. — ni*?DD] describes a course which seems reasonable, 
but which turns out to be unwise (cf. Gn. 31^* i S. 13" 2 S. 24'° Is. 
44"), not absolute folly. The root, spelled with a z, occurs in this sense 
in the code of Hammurabi (cf. Zikilta, Code XXIII, 39). In late Heb. 
the Hith. means "be confused" {cf. Ja. 991'). Q. determined to ex- 
plore the courses of life which men counted foolish, to see whether there 
might not be some good there. — n? •>«] here means "what" (Ko. §§ 70 
and 414m). It introduces an indirect question. — ^sDt] is an ace. of time 
(Ko. §33 la). It denotes what one can number and so comes to mean 
"few" {cf. Gn. 3430 Dt. 4" Is. io>» Ps. los'^ Job 1622).— nrs y; 
is in one MS. pointed nrs n;*, cf. Baer, niSjr, p. 61. — 3it3], 6 renders 
rb <T^iJ.(f>opop. Ty. notes that "good" was the great object of the search 
of both Stoicism and Epicureanism, and finds in this expression evi- 
dence of Greek influence upon Q. But see Introduction, §6 (2). — 
D"«crn](ft, B and iJ read r:;r.-i. — 4. o^r\:^] hattim, noihotttm. It is frequently 
pointed with Metheg, as Baer and Dr. point it in this passage, to insure 
the pronunciation. Cf. Ges.'^- §16, 2/. — 5. p'] is derived from the ";v, 
stem in, "to protect" {cf. Is. 31=). — D-t-c] occurs but twice outside Qoh. 
in BH., Ct. 4", where we have the sing. D"t->2 and Nc. 2*, where we have 
Di")o^. It is Persian and occurs, my colleague. Professor Collitz, in- 
forms me, in the Avesta {Vendidad, 3, 18 (58), and 5, 49 (145), as pairi- 
dieza, composed of pairi=Gr. irepl, and dieza=Gr. toixos, "wall." 
In Pers. it means, according to Bartholoma; {Altiranisches Worter- 
buch, col. 865), "Umwallung," or "circumvallation," according to 
Darmsteter, "enclosure." It came into Gr. as vapddcLffos and into Heb. 
as Di-\^2'- It also found its way into Semitic Babylonian {rf. Strass- 
maier's Cyrus, No. 212, 3), into Aramaic, Arabic and Armenian. In 
the Mishna {Arakin, 3-), the pi. is niD"nD instead of D"'DT>a as here. — 
6. .'^o";i3] is constr. of ^^'>'!}}, which in BH. is frequently used for "pool" 
or " reservoir." It also occurs in the Siloam inscr., 1. 5. r)373 is different 
in form from PO"i3, the constr. of '^}'\}. "blessing." Graetz, recalling 
the facts that Solomon and Herod were the two great builders among 


Israel's kings, and that Herod built reservoirs, uses this allusion as an 
argument for the Herodian date of the book. — D^c] is omitted by Ha. 
on account of the metrical exigency. nD"^3 is, it is true, usually not fol- 
lowed by D-'C in BH., but Nah. 2» presents a parallel in favor of the pres- 
ent reading. — dhl] is used after nijna for po. There is considerable 
inaccuracy in BH. as to the agreement in gender in such cases. Cf 
Ges.*^- § 145U. See also below^ on 2»°. — a-'xy] is ace. after the intrans. 
npvj. C/. Ges.^- §ii7y. — 7. nop], "to gain p>ossession of ," was used with 
1D33 for "buying" {e.g., Am. 8« Is. 43^*), and then came to mean "buy" 
when used without i^^ (c/. Gn. 39' 47" Ex. 21' 2 S. 12', etc.). — .""O 'J3] 
are slaves born of slaves already in the master's possession {cf. Gn. 
15=). The usual expression for this is n-'a >'t«S'» See Gn. i4>< 17'' '»• 
"• " and Je. 2". — nin no ^J3] is a phrase with a pi. sub. and a sing. pred. 
Ty. thought the expression a collective, but Ges.^- (§i45u) and Ko. 
(§349g) explain it better as a case where the sing, dependent gen. has 
attracted the verb to its number. One MS. has corrected to vn {cf. 
Dr.). — n^ipc] was read as a const. n;i^p by <8, 6, C and i>. On the 
pointing n^pc, see Baer, Mg., p. 61. Buxtorf and Dr., in their 
editions, point is as a constr., and Wild, so regards it. The analogy 
of Gn. 26'* and 2 Ch. 32" favors this view. No., Wr., VI. and Ko. 
(§3330) explain njif^p as absol. and np3 and |nx as appositives of 
nearer definition. Cf. Ges.^- §i27h. — ^3-1-1] is in one source pointed 
nam. See Baer, Mg., p. 61. — ^i\-i^] is read T\''r\v by 87 MSS. Cf. Dr. 

D^rno Sod] Bick. and Zap. omit for metrical rea.sons. Ha. goes 

still further, arbitrarily reducing the original verse to 7a. The reference 
to cattle and predecessors was in his view a gloss which reached its present 
form by the addition of two glosses. — 8. \~DJ3]. Kn.'s contention that Dj3 
means "collect" only in late Heb. will hardly stand. Even its mean- 
ing in Is. 28" may be explained as a derivative of this meaning, as also 
the derived noun in Lv. i6<. The root is found in all the Semitic lan- 
guages. In Heb., Aram., Syr. and Eth. it means to " collect," " assemble," 
etc., while the meanings in Ar. ("to lie down in a lair") and As. 
("submit") probably go back to this primitive meaning. (8^^ reads 
Ka\ 7e xP^'^'-o^- McN. suggests that the original text may have been 
jnr OJ. — '"'^.'O] denotes a "treasure," or "precious treasure" {cf. Ex. 
19* Mai, 3*^). In the Targ. it denotes "investments," "heirlooms," 
"treasures" {cf. Ja.). In As. its pi. sugullati means "herds." Hit. 
compares the Ar. shaghl, "work," holding that n'^>D means that which 
is worked upon, and so "valuable," "precious." It is doubtful, how- 
ever, whether Chain is an equivalent of i. — .-virion], the article here is 
peculiar in view of the fact that Do^r? is undefined. Gr. thought that 
some word had fallen out of the text adducing nr"*? ^jcira (Dn. 11**) 
as a suggestive parallel, but as Ty. long ago noted, ch. 7" affords an 
example of the introduction of an article in a somewhat similar way, and 


makes it probable that nunc is gen. after nSjD in spite of the article. 
'"ij>-i:: itself, although it occurs once as early as i K. 20'*, is an Aram, 
word, from pi. Its primary meaning is "place of judgment," but it 
is used in the sense of "province" (c/. BD5. Est. i'- '• ^^ ^12. u Lg,. i'- 
Ne. i' II' Dn. 8^ ii^*, etc.). Bick. (p. 10) rejects the words nVjDi 
nunon as a gloss, because the exigencies of his metrical theory de- 
mand it. — nuij;T] occurs in Mi. 2* Pr. 191° and BS. 41' in the sense of 
" pleasures," "luxuries." With this the Talmudic usage corresponds, cf. 
SDB., ]a.., sub voce. — nnri mr] the sing, of a word followed by its pi. 
or masc. followed by fem. is used to denote totality, cf. Ges.*^ §i22v and 
K6. §91. As to the meaning of these words the greatest diversity of 
opinion has prevailed. C5 and 6 read olvox^ov Kal olvox^as, "male 
and female cupbearers" — (i.e., nnri n-^f , cf. sub. voce) a reading sup- 
ported by ii, & and K. 'A. read kv\Ikiov Kal KvXlKia, "a cup and cups." 
Similarly 13 rendered "scyphos et urceos in ministerio ad vina fun- 
denda." According to Jer., S read "mensarum species et apposi- 
tiones." 21 rendered 'O^cn n-'C p-\v-\ jonm niro n>d jncn p^T-ir, i.e., 
"tubes (siphons?) which pour forth cold water and tubes which pour 
forth hot water." The ancients accordingly understood the word to 
refer to the pleasures of the table in some way. Among modern in- 
terpreters Dat. supports this view. According to Gins., Ibn Melcch 
interpreted the words to mean "ict >^_p, in which he was followed by Luther 
and AV. in: "musical instruments and that of all sorts." Dale, among 
recent interpreters, still holds to this. Ew. and Zo. derive the root from 
a word meaning "mass," "heap," and render "a heap and heaps." 
Heng. and Re. connect it with Ar. root shadda, robur, vehementia, and 
render "plenty of all sorts." Ra., whom Gr. follows, makes it refer to 
sedan-chairs. Most modern scholars take the words to refer to a harem 
and as completing the meaning nijij;\n, v^^hich is thought to refer to 
sexual pleasures (so Dod., Mic, Kn,, Hit., Heil., Vaih., Wang., 
Ty., Gins., No., VI., Wr., PI. Eur., Wild., Sieg., McN., Gen., Marsh, 
and Ha.), though they differ as to the root from which it should be 
derived. Some connect it with sadda, "to hide," supposing it to be an 
appropriate reference to oriental women. Others, as Hit., derive it 
from sanada, "to lean upon"; so they suppose it to mean "bed," and 
hence "concubine." Others {e.g., Olshausen) derive it from sld (Hcb. 
"'^r, "demon," As. ^sidu, "bull-deity"), which in Ar. not only means 
"demon" (Spanish Cid), but also "lord," and 5a>'y/</a/, "lady" (modern 
Ar. silti). (In Talmud Babli, Giltin, 78a, it is said that in Palestine 
the word was understood to mean chests, or sedan-chairs, but in Baby- 
lon, demons, both male and female.) Ros. and Marsh, connect it with 
ir, "the breast," and so reached the meaning "female," while Wr. and 
others derive it with more probability from it^. As. "sadddu, "to love." 
Dr. (Kittel's Bib. Heb., p. ii37n) supposes the original reading to have 


been nn^i nnr, "a princess and princesses," a view which BDB. 
also shares. Though the etymology is obscure, the connection demands 
the meaning "mistress" or "concubine." In picturing the life of one 
who, like Solomon, tasted all pleasures to the full, the luxuries of the 
harem would surely not be omitted. Zap. and Ha. omit nnE'i mr on 
metrical grounds, without suflEicient reason. — 9. \iDDim >nSnji], see 
comment on i>6 and cf. Ko. §§ 370! and 371b, d, and Ges.^^ §i2od. 
Sieg. emends the text to '<^y^ '>DDD^n^ ^n'jui, supposing that ^ncon 
must have an object, but as Del. had observed its object is an implied 
nSn; understood from "TiSij. — Sn.>] is used of one who increases in 
wealth, cf. Gn. 24'* 26" i K. 10" and Job i'. On 1N]="also," cf. 
Ko. §37 id. iDj;] has the meaning "remain," see Is. 47'' Je. 481* 
Ps. 102". Most modern exegetes so render it here. Herz, Ew., Elst. 
and Gins, follow an explanation of Ra.'s which takes the word in the 
sense of "assist." This is not so probable. — 10. i'^nt] S happily renders 
iiriOvfii^ffav. Cf. for similar meaning Dt. 14^8. — one] occurs instead of 
jnr. As Del. noted this has resulted from the transfer of the inaccuracies 
of the common spoken language to literature, cf. Gn. 26'* 31' 32'« 
Job i'< Ges.*^ §1350 and Ko. §14. Cases of faulty agreement not 
strictly parallel to this also occur in Zc. 4'*' and Ct. 4^. — pjc] frequently 
takes the ace. of the thing and the gen. ( ]r) of the person, but that con- 
struction is reversed here as in Gn. 30^ and Nu. 24". — ncr] is rarely used 
with p; when it is, p denotes the source of the joy, cf. Pr. 5'* 2 Ch. 20". 
Gr. believed that the original reading was nDtt'% the "> being omitted 
because of the ' of "'3^. (^^ '" 253. 254 ^nd *" reads iv<povvT}% fwv=: 
"my mirth" for n::'j'. The fJiov is probably a corruption, introduced 
because it occurs so many times in the passage. — P'jn], cf. on 3". Ha. 
omits ""Sny Sso nca' o*? >d and S^ before the last ^Sdj? on account of the 
supposed exigencies of his metrical arrangement. — 11. njc] is usually 
followed by Sn, but here and in Job 6" by 3. In Is. 8" .-iS^dS njo is used 
for "look upward." Hit. urges that the analogy of vs. 12 would lead us 
to supply niN"^*^ after njc here. — '^Jn], the pleonastic use of this pron. 
after verbs is peculiar to Qoh. Cf. Da. §107, rem. i. On the phrases 
n-i ''fyv ""iryD and ^nSnpr hnv, cf. Ko. §329d. On the inf. ^\^iffyh, 

cf. Gn. 2' Jo. 220 and Ko. §4020. Ha. omits '•"''' Sd3 and 

nn nij7">i for his metrical arrangement. 

12. Oisn n^]. (g has t/j a»'^pw7ro5=o-tN ^r; McN. thinks this was 
the reading before Aqiba, and to which Gr. would emend the text. 
Most of the Vrss. favor nr?, which makes better sense. — "I^^^]. /3oi;XiJ 
in (& and 2 is a rendering of the Aram. l^.D for -\^r:_. cf. Dn. 4"^*. The 
clause has been variously understood and rendered. Ty. and PI. re- 
gard the expression as proverbial, which Ty. thinks would account for 
the elliptical omission of ir;'> after msn. Hit. and Heng. take the ques- 
tion to refer to the king's successor, and Hit. emends inif ;^ to the inf. 


1n^uy. In substance the question on this view becomes "What can 
the king's successor do ? That which he (the king) already is doing." 
Del., Wr., and Ha. render: "What shall the man do who comes after 
the king whom they long ago made?" believing on the basis of i Ch. 
29" that Israelites could believe that Solomon had been made king by 
the people. This rendering seems harsh and unnatural. Sieg. trans- 
poses the two halves of the vs., so as to connect the question: "What 
can the man do," etc., with the statement of vs. 11 that all is vanity. 
"^3r] is omitted by (&, &", &, O and V, and should probably be dropped 
from the text. UJ and Biresh. Rab. are the only ancient authori- 
ties which support MT. Dr. notes that for initr^, 68 MSS., (ft^, 
B and "B read inr;?. The text adopted in the above rendering is, there- 
fore, inirj? -liTN hn iSdh >-\nx no-'U' nrj?^ dinh hd. Ha. omits oisn and 

"invj-;: -^Sdh for metrical reasons. — 13. I'mn^?] of Walton's Pol. and of 

Hahn is pointed I'i'>n."'p by Baer and Dr. For the reasons, see Baer, 
Megilloth, p. 61, and for analogies, Je. 25'* Ps. 45'' and Pr. 30'^. See 
also Ges.'^- §246. Zap. and Ha., in view of their conceptions of the 

metre, reject I'bJ'nn }nn^D as a gloss — a view which we cannot share. — 

p]on p in comparisons, see Ges.*^- §i33b. — 14. That Sieg. regards 14a 
as a gloss has been treated under vs. 13. — dj]. Kn., Gins, and Zo. take this 
in an adversative sense, but as Del., Wr., and VI. note, if it were ad- 
versative, it should come at the beginning of the sentence. The real 
adv. particle here is v — nns] is used, as several times in Qoh., in the 
sense of "the same," cf. 3'«- " 6« 9^- » 12". — rt^^y^o] from nnp, "to hap- 
pen," "befall" {cf. Gn. 44"), means "chance" or "accident," as in 
I S. 20" Ru. 2», and then passes to the meaning of "fate," 5DB. (i S. 
6» Qoh. 2"- " 3" 9* '). Vv. 15-17 show that it refers to death or 
oblivion. Sieg. considers it a Graecism, but, as McN. notes, its use in 
I S. 6» proves that it has good Hebrew precedent. — ^'2^\ literally, "the 
whole," but used of two things, it is equivalent to "both," cf. ch. 3>3 *" 
6« 714 9I. i io»9. 

15. ^.^PD^]. Baer points this as though in st. abs., claiming (p. 61) 
that the authority of the Massora for this is quite clear. But most mod- 
ern editors, including BDB., Dr., point as constr. n-\j^D. — >in dj], this is 
an emphatic expression. The emphasis is obtained by the anticipation 
of the suffix in -jk, cf. Gn. 24" Ez. ;i;i^'' 2 Ch. 28><', and for a kindred 
use, Nu. 14" and i K. 21"; also Ges.^ §1356 and Ko. §19. — nn") in], 
the phrase has occasioned much difficulty both in ancient and modern 
times. Tx is omitted by (6^^* (and several cursives). B, "B and IC, 
followed by Gr., omit it as without meaning, (ft*'*'* »^^ supports MT., 
and most modern scholars adhere to MT., although Kn. changed it to "IN. 
They differ, however, in their interpretations of it. Zo. and No. take it to 
refer to the moment of death; then wisdom will avail nothing. Del. says 
it may be either a temporal or a logical "then." Wild, takes it in the 


logical sense, while Gins, regards it as introducing the apodosis. Ko. 
§3731 takes it temporally, citing as parallels Ju. 5^ i K. 9" Mi. 3* 
Ps. 40* 56'" Ct. 8". Our passage seems to differ from these, and I in- 
cline to agree with Gins, and Wild., and take it as a logical " then," intro- 
ducing a conclusion. — in"'>"| has also been variously treated. BDB., 
and most recent interpreters, take it as an adverb as in 7'* i2». This 
is probably right, though Dale would correct to "i^?/ and Winckler (AOF. 
IV, 351), who is followed by Sieg. and Dr., would correct to \inir» tn, 
comparing vs. 3. — no'^]. Del. and Wr. point out that hdV in a question asks 
after the object or design, while JJ-np asks for the reason of the object. 
Ha., for metrical reasons, omits ^JM Di and 0S3 as glosses. — 16. p^Jt] 
for the form, see on i". TnJ. Winckler {AOF., IV, 351) corrects to 
IN, but as McN. has said, it is unnecessary. A better sense is obtained 
as the text stands. — 3>], lit. "with," is used in comparisons; so. Hit., 
Heil., Gr., Del., Wr., Gins., No., VI. Compare ch. 7" Job 9" ^-j^* 
Ps. 885, also BDB. 768a, and Ko. §3751. — "123^^3 is a compound ex- 
pression. — ~i5'3]is equivalent to nu'Na, "inasmuch" or "because," BDB., 
cf. Gn. 39'- " and Ko. §3896. — B'i is compounded as in post-Bib. 
Heb. (cf. above Introd. §io£). "^3:?] means "already," see on i'". 
As McN. remarks, Q. puts himself at the point of view of future days and 
looks backward. — D''N3n D"'D>n] is ace. of time, cf. Ges.^- §ii8i, and Je. 
28'«. — ^3n] refers here to persons, as in Ps. 14'. For the meaning 
"both," see on 2'*. — nrc'j] may in form be either the perf. or a part. 
Gins, takes it as a part., but it is better to regard it as a perf. used to 
express the future perfect, cf. Da. §41 (c). — I^n], though sometimes 
interrogative as in i S. 16*, is here exclamatory as in Is. 14^ Ez. 26" 
La. 1 1, etc. — 17. Sjj pn], as Delitzsch pointed out, is a late expression 
parallel to Sy aiw of Es. 3' and the similar expression in Ps. i6«. It is 
an idiom found in the Mishna, see Pirke Ahoth, 2^°- '* and 4'2. Hit. 
endeavors to explain the prep, in Sy pn as "unto," and Gins, as "upon," 
denoting the resting of a burden upon one. Hit. cites Job lo' and Ps. 
425- « in support of his view, and Gins., Is. i" Job 7"' Qoh. 6' 8* in 
support of his. Possibly it originated in the view Gins, advocates, but 
it has become simply a late usage. — nc'i's] may refer to cosmic activity 
as in i», or to human activities as in i". — nn PiV"^)]. Gr. would emend 
to nn n;n), on the ground that the verse refers to the world-order, and 
it is unfitting to say that it is desiring wind. — This is unnecessary, how- 
ever, since Q.'s complaint is that the cosmic order, which dooms the wise 
to oblivion like the fool, renders the efforts of man toward wisdom a de- 
sire of wind. — 18. n^^N] Kn. derived from nj\ but most recent inter- 
preters have correctly observed that it is from Tv\i. Cf. t\''D^ from n-.o, 
Je. 38". — "inN], cf. Ko. §410 b. — 19. Donn], the -n is the interrogative par- 
ticle. It is used with "*»< in double questions. The more common par- 
ticles for such questions are on -n. but the combination '^n . • ~fi. 


which we have here, occurs several times, once in the J. document. 
Cy. Ju. i8'» 2 K. 6" Ma. i* Job 16' 38" and Qoh. ii«. For the more 
usual form see Gn. 24*' 27*', etc. CJ. Ges.'^ §i5og and Ko. §379b. 
— ''DD ]. The root, spelled with a 2, occurs, as noted above, in this sense 
in the form Zakalu in the code of Hammurabi, col. XXIII, 40. — d^v] 
occurs in BH. only in late compositions, Ne. Es. Ps. up'" and Qoh. 
It is frequent in the Aram, portions of Daniel. (Jbanv j-gad ei i^ov- 
(ridferat, which represents O^rn in Heb. Perhaps as McN. thinks this 
was a reading before the time of Aqiba. It is an unnatural reading, 
and may have arisen through some mistake. — ^3D in]. Ha. regards this as 
a gloss, and both he and Zap. reject *?3n nr OJ as a stereotyped insertion. 
These supposed glosses are in the interest of their metrical arrangement. 
— >PDDnK'i *nSnj,'r] is, as Zo. and Del. have noted, a hendiadys for "upon 
which I toiled wisely." — 20. \ii3D ]. Some scholars maintain that there 
b a distinction between 33D and njo — that the former means "turn to 
do," the latter "turn to see." Del. has pointed out, however, that in 
Lv. 26* njD means "turn to do," while in Qoh. 72* 333 signifies "turn to 
see." — Tn;], according to Baer, should be pointed vh\ Dr. so points it, 
and the reading is accepted by Ges.^ §646. The form is a Piel inf. 
The root occurs outside of this passage but five times in the OT. (i S. 
27' Is. 571' Je. 2" i8>» Job 6"), and always in the Niphal. The Mishna 
has the Hithpael of the root, thus vouching for its use in the Piel, see 
Ahoth, i\ and Kelim, 26*. — '^cpn Sa V>']. A number of MSS. of (& read iv 
tiSxBufiov = "Srjra. VTZvn nnp]. Ha. rejects this as a gloss, which spoils the 

symmetry of his metrical arrangement. — 21. din din] is a balanced 

rhetorical expression, cf. Ko. §34. — inc'p] occurs only in Qoh., here, 
and in 4* and 5'". Its root ■\C'3 occurs in Es. 8* Qoh. io»o and ii*, 
also in NH. Aram, and Syr. (SDB. 506b and Ja. 677b). The root 
means "to go well," "prosper;" and the noun, "success." — ipSn] is taken 
by No, as the second object of ^nj. cf. Ps. 2«, Ges.^^ (§i3im) takes it 
as an appositive to the preceding suffix, Ko. (§3400) regards it as a 
predicate ace. "ip'^n and ."ijn ny-^ Ha. excises so that the verse shall 
conform to his metrical conception, 

22. ninj, the part, of nvi, occurs elsewhere in Ne. 6«. The root. Job 37', 
has the meaning "fall;" in Gn. 27" Is.i 6* Ne. 6* and Qoh. ii»the sense 
of n'H, "be," which it has here. Ges.^" (13th ed.) regards nin, "to 
fall," and r^^n, "to be," as different roots, but BDB. is probably right in 
connecting them, that "which occurs" or "falls out," being that which is 
In Aramaic nn and ^""^ occur side by side in the sense of "be" (see 
Dalman, Aram. Gram. §73, and Ja., p. 338). nvi is found in the Aram, 
inscr. of Panammu of Zendjirli, which is from the 8th cent. {cf. G. A. 
Cooke, North Sem. Inscr., pp. 172, 176), Its occurrence in Aram, led 
Hit., No. and others to regard it as an Aramaism, but its occurrence 
in an old poem in Gn. 27»» indicates that in Heb. as in Aram, it was at 


every period a synonym of nvi- This usage occurs in NH. alsc cf. 
Aboth, I* and 2^, and for the idiom Ja. sub voce. See also Ko. §326h. — 
For Q-\n^] (6 has iv ry avdpwiri^. Probably there was a pre-Aqiban read- 
ing D"iN3. — jvj?n] is not nv">. but probably comes from the same root. 
BDB. renders it "longing," "striving." In the Tal. it means "desire," 
"ambition," "greed" {cf. Ja. sub voce). — NinuO was read xins* by Ki 
{cf. Ges."^- §36), and is so read by Baer, Del., No. and VI. Cf. 0^7, 

ch. 3'8. ^2 and '^rD'-'n sinr] Ha.'s metrical arrangement leads hira 

to reject as glosses. — 23. vd"> '^3\ is regarded by AE., Hit., Gr., Gins, 
and McN. as ace. of time, oonod being taken like d;'3 as a pred. of pj;'. 
This is a possible construction. Del., VVr., Sieg., Ha. and Ko. {cf. 
§3o6r) take it as the subj. of a nominal sentence, of which DON3C is the 
predicate. — Doso']. Gins, remarks that this is a plural used to express 
an abstract idea. — D;;;pj], see the comment on i'^ ^nd for ]"!';, on i". Del. 
and Wr. note that the pointing of waw with kamec before D;'o is done be- 
cause d;7d is a segholate, having its accent on the first syllable, thus bring- 
ing the vowel of 1 into an open syl. before the tone. For similar cases see 
Lv. i8» Is. 651^ and Pr. 25'. The sentence which begins here is nom- 
inal and its pred. is for emphasis placed first. Cf. Ko. §338c. — ^ac], 
literally "lie down," is used for "sleep" (Gn. zS^' Ju. i6» and i S. 3"). 
The rendering "rest" is a little free, but gives the sense. — oj]. B read 
a "1 before the last CJ. but this is unsupported by the other versions. 
— ^3n nr dj] Zap. erases as a stereotyped gloss, which disturbs the 
metre, but Ha. finds it necessary to the metre here. 

24. Sieg., with no good reason, denies the last clause of the vs. to 
Q. It is thoroughly consistent with the point of view of such a 
Jew as Q. Sieg. is right in saying that in Q. 3VJ and n^ita rarely 
denote ethical good (as in 7*0 i2i<), but "convenience," "satisfaction," 
as in 2>- « 312. 13. 22 48. 8 517 63. 9. 12 ys. 26 ^n. 15 u?. BT>B. show that 
they seldom have ethical meaning in OT. — 31N3] is a corruption from 
D^s^, for that is the reading of (&^^^', & and U, and the construction 
in 6'* and 8'^ — S^N""-.:*], before this word a has fallen out. Gins., Gr., Del., 
Wr., Eur., Wild., McN., Kit. and Ko. (§3i9h) have taken this view. 
SjN^'j'O is supported by <&y, &, C, (S, JU, and by the analogy of 3'* " and 
8»». — ."iN^ni nntt'ij. Instead the pre-Aqiban reading seems to have been 
nsi>s>i nnc'-'yi, for so read (6^^ 161-248. 2n. in and B. Perhaps as McN. 
suggests the relative '•:> was dropped by mistake from nn^'^sn because of 
its proximity to another 'i', after which rtn-sn was changed so as to make 
the tense conform. — rir], fern.; an apocopation of ."isr. Cf BZ>B., Ges."^ 
§34b and Ko. §45. The form occurs also in 2 K. 6'* Ez. 40" Qoh. 2»- ** 
^14. 18 yii gi3. — o^hSn.-i ^'c], i.e., God's gift (Del.), n^i is replaced by 
Nn in some MSS. Cf. Baer, p. 62. — otn3 and i^c;'2] Ha. rejects as 

glosses for his metrical arrangement. The whole of vs. 24b (^<^"l dj) 

he, like Sieg., regards as a gloss, although he dnds it in metrical form.- 


26. Sieg. and Ha. reject the vs. as a gloss along with vs. 24b. That this is un- 
necessary has been shown under vs. 24. — - in>]. For this (ft, 6 and & read 
nnc'>, as in vs. 24. 'A, S and i^" read inn-, or Din% "to suffer," "feel 
pity," etc., like Syr. hus. The authorities last cited prove that the reading 
of (8 and is not primitive, for no one would change in that case to the 
more difficult reading of 'A and S, Modern interpreters since Del. 
connect it with the Ar. hassa, "to feel, have sensation, perceive," 
Aram, i'irn. As. asasu, " to feel pain." Thus we have the Syr. has, " per- 
ceive," "understand," and Eth. hawas, "understanding." Thus Del., 
Wr., No., 5DB. and Ges.^"- take it correctly for "perceive," "feel," 
"enjoy." — p ^i^n] does not occur elsewhere in BH., but occurs in Tal- 
mud, e.g., Berakot, 33b, and Niddah, i6b. It is the equivalent of the 
Aram, p 13, cf. e.g., Targ. to Isa. 43" 45', etc. — >jdc], instead (6, 
H, IC and read udd. Of modern scholars, Gr., Zo., Dale, Del., Wr., 
Bick., Eur., Sieg., Wild., McN., Ha. and Dr. have followed this reading. 
In this they are undoubtedly right. ^JDC gives no intelligible meaning. — 
26. I."ij]. Ty.'s notion that the perf. is used to indicate the unalterable 
character of God's decrees, is foreign to Heb. thought. The perf. is 
the perf. of actions, which experience proves to be customary, cf. Da. 
§40 (c), Ges.J^ §io6k. — ^^pii] is in Q., except in 7*«, pointed like the 
part, of verbs, "n"'? {cf. S^' 9' *8). On the kinship of verbs "n"S and 
"n", h^c/.Ges.^ §7500. — ^3n nr dj] Zap. erases as a gloss, which destroys 
his metre, while Ha. regards the vs. metrically perfect as it stands. 


GOD (3-). 

The burden of this section is that man's activities are limited to 
certain times and seasons, in which he goes his little round doing 
what has been done before him ; his nature cries out for complete 
knowledge of the works of God, but tne best he can do is ignorantly 
to rejoice and get good within these limitations. 

>. Everything has a fixed season, and there is a time for every busi- 
ness under the sun. 

'. A time to be born; 

And a time to die; 

A time to plant, 

And a time to uproot what is planted. 
8. A time to kill 

And a time to heal; 

A time to break down 

And a time to build. 


♦. A time to weep 

And a time to laugh; 

A time to mourn 

And a time to dance. 
». A time to scatter stones, 

And a time to pick up stones; 

A time to embrace, 

And a time to refrain from embracing. 
«. A time to seek 

And a time to lose, 

A time to keep 

And a time to throw away. 
'. A time to rend 

And a time to sew; 

A time to keep silence. 

And a time to speak. 
8. A time to love 

And a time to hate; 

A time of war 

And a time of peace. 

•. What profit has a worker in that in which he toils? '«. I saw the 
toil which God has given the sons of men to toil in. ". He has made 
everything appropriate in its time; also he has put ignorance in man's 
heart, so that he cannot find out the work that God does from be- 
ginning to end. i^ I know that there is no good for them except to 
rejoice and to do good in their life. >^ And also every man — that he 
should eat and drink and see good in all his toil, is the gift of God. ^*. 1 
know that all which God does it shall be forever; unto it, it is not possible 
to add, and from it, it is not possible to take away, and God has done it 
that men may fear before him. '^ What is that which is ? Already it 
has been, and what is to be already is, for God shall seek that which is 
driven away. 

1. Everything has a fixed season]. In this ch. Qoheleth reverts 
to the thought of ch. i, but treats the application of the thought to 
human activities in a somewhat different way. His point is that 
there is a proper or divinely ordered time for all human activities, 
and that these go on over and over again. Ha. interprets the 
word "time" here as a "short space of time," and so obtains the 
meaning for verses 1-9, that all is transient. This gives, how- 
ever, an unwarranted meaning to the passage. Compare the Ara- 
bic proverb: "Everything has its proper time" (Jewett, in JAOS. 
XV, 92). Verse i is probably alluded to in the last clause of 


Wisdom, 8«. — 2. A time to be born]. Ty. and Sieg. hold that this 
table (vv. 1-8), of times and seasons, when various actions are 
appropriate, betrays Stoic influence, since Marcus Aurelius (IV, 
32) makes a somewhat similar contrast. They believe this table 
shows a knowledge of the Stoic principle of living in accord with 
nature. The proof is, however, not convincing. A Hebrew, by 
reflecting on life, might have given expression to sentiments like 
these, though untouched by Stoic teaching. Cf. Introduction, §6 (2). 
Ha. transposes many of the clauses of this table so as to secure 
a more symmetrical grouping of events. Other transpositions 
have been suggested {e.g., the transposition of 2b and 3a, and 
placing 5a before 4a), so as to secure a logical sequence of thought, 
the order thus obtained being: i, treatment of landed property; 
2, emotions of joy and sorrow; 3, preservation and loss of prop- 
erty in general; 4, emotions of friendship and enmity. {Cf. McN., 
p. 61.) Such artificial arrangements are, however, as McN. 
well says, foreign to the book. Many suggestions have been made 
as to the meaning of "be born" and "to die." The former of 
these is here to be taken in an intransitive sense (see crit. note). 
Ty. thought it referred to the fact that pregnancy has its fixed 
period before birth, and that this fact is made parallel to the fact 
that life has its fixed period before it is terminated by death. Ha. 
believes that Qoheleth observed that there are periods in human 
history when the race exhibits great fecundity, as it did after the 
Black Death (1348-1351), and that there are other periods, like 
that of the Black Death, when dying prevails. It is doubtful 
whether Qoheleth 's thought is as abstruse as either of these would 
imply. It is more probable that he simply meant that in every 
life there is a time to be born and a time to die, and that every 
agriculturist has a time of planting and a time of uprooting, i.e.,^ 
life is full of contrasts. At one period we undo what at another 
period we have done. — 3. A time to kill and a time to heal]. The 
antitheses of life are illustrated by further examples. There are 
times when man destroys life, and times when he tries to save it; 
times when he breaks down old walls, and times when he builds 
new ones. — 4. A time to weep and a time to laugh]. In illustration 
of the mourning referred to, cf. Zc. 12'°, and in illustration of the 


meaning of "times of mourning and of rejoicing," cj. Mt. 9" '» 
1 1 16. 17 Lk. 6^' and Jn. i6-». — 5. A lime to scatter stones\. The 
interpretation of the first clause is difficuh. The 01 and AE. took it 
to refer to scattering the stones of an old building, and collecting 
stones for a new structure. Several modern scholars (Kn., Hit., 
Heil., Wr., No., VI., Wild., and McN.) take it to refer to scatter- 
ing stones to render fields unproductive {cj. 2 K. 3'»- 25), and pick- 
ing up stones to render a field cultivable {cf. Is. 52). PL, taking 
a hint from a suggestion of Del., is incHned to regard it as a refer- 
ence to the Jewish custom, which survives among Christians, of 
throwing stones or earth into the grave at a burial. Although he 
confesses that this leaves the "gathering" of stones unexplained, 
it would refer to the severance of human ties, as "embracing" in 
the last clause refers to the opposite. Probably the second inter- 
pretation, which refers to fields, is to be preferred, though in that 
case there is no logical connection between the two halves of 
the verse. — A time to emhrace and a time to refrain from embracing]. 
Gr. and Wr. take the last clause to refer to the embraces of men 
in cordial friendly greeting. It is true that the word is so used in 
Gn. 29'3 ^7,* 2 K. 4'«. Ty., No. and Sieg. take it to refer to erotic 
embraces, comparing Prov. 5^0, and Ct. 2% where the word un- 
doubtedly has that significance. On this interpretation the time 
"to refrain from embracing" is that mentioned in Lv. 15^3 2*. 
This latter view is to be preferred. — 6. A time to seek and a time 
to lose, a time to keep and a time to throw away]. The two clauses 
of the verse are not exactly synonymous. The first refers to the 
acquisition of property as contrasted with losing it; the second, 
to guarding what one has in contrast with throwing it away. — 
7. A time to rend]. Most interpreters see in this verse a reference 
to rending garments as a sign of mourning {cf. Gn. 37" 44>» 
2 S. I" 3^' Job i^" 2'2)j and sewing them up after the sadness 
is past, also to keeping silence in sorrow (cf. 2 K. iS^* Job 2" 
Ps. 392- «), and to utterance as a sign of joy (cf. Is. 58' Ps. 26' 
126*). PL, however, prefers to see in it a reference to rending a 
garment as a sign of schism or division, as in the case of Ahijah 
(i K. II"), in which case the sewing would be figurative for the 
restoration of unity. He compares the words of Jesus (Mt. 10" ^») 


to show that there are occasions when schism is necessary, and 
Is. 58'^ to show that there arc times when the opposite is in place. 
While Qoheleth's principle might be figuratively extended to cover 
such cases as PI. supposes, it is far more likely that he had the uni- 
versal customs of mourning in mind. On silence and speech com- 
pare BS. 2o« ' in the Heb. — 8. A time to love]. Qoheleth declares 
here that love and hate as well as their expression in war and peace 
have their appointed times. Wr. recalls with reference to vv. 2-8 
the words of Marcus Aurelius (xii, 23), rov Be Kaipov^ /cal tov opov 
Sl8(0(tlv t) (f)vaL^ — "both the opportunity and the limit nature 
gives." As was noted above, Ty. and Sieg. regard these verses 
as the result of Stoic influence. Pfleiderer {Jahrhuch fi'tr prot. 
Theol., 1887, 178-182) finds in them traces of the influence of 
the Trdpra pel^ or universal flux, of Heraclitus. As Wild, well ob- 
serves, the fundamental thought of these verses in its connec- 
tion differs from every known philosophy. It is, as Cox says, 
when man thinks himself most free that he is subject to divine 

9. What profit, etc.]. After his extended survey, Qoheleth returns 
to the crying question of ch. i'. The positive question is a neg- 
ative assertion. His position is that there has been ordained a 
time for all these activities, but that no substantial advantage ac- 
crues from them to man, though he must go through them. — 10. / 
saw the toil]. Qoheleth reverts here to the very word which he 
had used in i"''. The verse gives the reason for the denial made 
in vs. 9. — 11. Everything appropriate]. For a justification of the 
rendering "appropriate" and "ignorance," see critical notes be- 
low. The verse continues Qoh.'s observations about times and 
seasons. Everything, he declares, is suitable to its season, but 
God has so veiled man's vision that he cannot discover God's work 
from beginning to end, i.e., its purpose and meaning. He has put 
ignorance in man^s heart — gives us a glimpse of Qoheleth's con- 
ception of God. He thinks of him as a being jealous lest man 
should become his equal. It is a Semitic thought. Cf. Gn. 3"'^, 
and the story of Adapa, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, VI, 92 ff. 
The first clause of this verse is recalled in the Heb. text of Sirach, 
3;9'« »3, — 12. There is no good for them]. This verse reiterates the 


pessimistic conclusion previously drawn in 2". Qoheleth comes 
back to it here after passing in review the activities of human life 
in their appropriate times and their futility. — Do good], Ew., 
Heng., Zo., PL, and Wr. maintain that this means to do good in 
an ethical sense. Wherever the phrase occurs in Qoh., however, 
it is defined by the context to mean " enjoy life." Del. is probably 
right in claiming that it is here equivalent to ''see good" of the 
next verse. — 13. And also]. The verse continues and completes 
the thought of vs. 12. Ginsburg is quite right in maintaining that 
"and also" is dependent upon **I know." It is not to be rendered 
as an adversative, as Wr. and VI. maintain. The thought is the 
same as that of 2", but Qoh. approaches it here from a some- 
what different line of reasoning. Every man] or '^each man^' 
stands for ''all humanity," though the phrase takes each in- 
dividual man singly. Cf. ch. 5'8 and Ps. 116". — Is the gift 0/ 
God]. In Qoheleth's view, God's one good gift to man is the bit of 
healthy animal life which comes with the years of vigor. See 
below, ch. 1 1 '-1 2«. — 14. All which God does shall be forever]. This 
vs., introduced like vs. 12 by / know, contains a second conviction 
of Qoheleth, based on vv. 2-3. This conviction is that man is 
caught in the world-order and cannot escape from it. This much 
can be seen that the world-order is the work of God, and is 
ordained to produce in men the fear of God. As the context 
shows, however, this is to Qoheleth not a sufficient explanation. 
He longs for some vision of a permanent gain from man's pre- 
scribed activities, whereas all that he can see is that man should 
eat and drink and enjoy himself. It is probable that he does not 
put into the word "fear" a meaning so religious as it often bears in 
other passages, as Mai. i«. On the permanence of God's works, 
cf. Ps. 7,y^. The first half of this vs. is quoted and elaborated 
in BS. i8«. — 15. What is that which is? Already it has been]. Qo- 
heleth now reverts, approaching it from another point of view, 
to the thought expressed in i». Here it is the immutability 
of the divine order in which man is caught that oppresses him. 
Everything has its time. Nothing can be put out of existence. 
Acts and events recur continually, each pursuing the other in a 


revolving circle. Tyler compares Ovid, Metamorphoses^ XV, 

Even time itself glides on with constant progress 

No otherwise than a river. For neither can the river pause, 

Nor the fleeting hour; but as wave is urged by wave, 

The earlier pushed by the one approaching, and it pushes the former, 

So the moments similarly fly on and similarly follow, 

And ever are renewed. 

Qoheleth's figure is not, however, a river, but a circle. In this he 
conceives of event as chased by event, until it is itself brought back 
by God. Already], see on i'". 

1'. pt] occurs in Heb.only in late books (Ne. 2« Es. 9" »• and here). 
It is used frequently in the Mishna (see e.g., Erub., f, and Zebakhim, 
V and 2'. The participle occurs in Ezr. io>S Ne. lo^* and 13", in the 
sense of fixing calendar dates. The noun means a "fixed or appointed 
time." Schechter conjectures that in the Heb. of BS. 4", pan ny 'J3 
should be |n?i np >i2 (see above Introd. §11, i). The Greek of 
BS., however, translates simply by Kaipov. The root |0T, having the 
same general meaning, is found in Ar., Eth. and Aram. In some of 
the dialects of the latter (Syr., Mand., Palmyrene and Samaritan), it is 
zabna, or zibna. In As. it occurs as simanu. In the Aram, of 
Daniel it occurs several times in the sense of "appointed time," see 
Dn. 2'« " 3^- *, etc. CS's reading, 6 xP^^^^i indicates the pre-Aqiban 
reading was pin. Cf. McN., p. 141. — VDn],from a root meaning " be 
pleased" or "take delight," originally meant "pleasure," see e.g.. Is. 
44" 46»<i 5310 and Job 21". Sometimes in Qoh. this earlier meaning 
survives {e.g., in 5* i2*- 1°). Here, however, it means "matter," or 
"business," i.e., "that in which one is occupied, or takes delight," a 
meaning which it also has in ch. 5^ and 8». The (S rendered it by 
irpdy/ia. In the Talmud it meant the same, see Ja. 492b. Cf. also on 
the word Ko. §8oc. 

2. mS*^]. Hit., Zo. and Sieg. maintain that this is not equivalent 
to "^^.y^, but that it is an act. inf. and is connected with yon of the pre- 
ceding vs., and refers to the act of begetting. With this in part Ko. 
(§2 1 5b) agrees. The toO reKcTv of (6, as Wr. observes, refers it to the 
labor of the mother, though from this Ko. (/. c.) dissents. Heil., Gins., 
Del., Wr., Wild., VI., No., McN. and Ha. rightly take it as having an 
intransitive or passive sense, as the opposite of pic. Similarly nSp is 
used for "birth" in Ho. 9'> and r\yj'^ for nrort^ in Je. 2$**. The '^ in 
this and the following expressions seems to express the genitive relation, 
cf. Ko. §4oob. — n>!t3'^] is in some authorities pointed r^yj'i'^, see Baer, 


p. 62, and cf. h'^dS, Ps. 66«. This form of this inf. occurs only here in 
BH. The usual form is yajS or J^^ta^S, see Is. 51" Je. i'" iS' 31". 
The form without the J occurs in the Mishna, but as ptpS, see She- 
bi'ith, 2K — i|"2yj is a verb which occurs in the Kal once only elsewhere 
in BH. (Zp. 2*), meaning to uproot. It occurs in the Mishna, see 
Ahoth, 3!^ and the references in Ja., p. iio8a. The root also occurs in 
Aram., Syr., Ar. and Eth., cf. BDB., sub voce. The Piel is used in 
BH. in the sense of "hough," "cut the ham-strings," cf. Gn. 49* Jos. 
ii« 9 2 S. 8% I Ch. i8<. — ';^^:\ Ha. erases as a gloss, to secure a more 
evenly balanced metre. — 3. Jin], AE., who is followed by Hit., Gins, 
and Sieg., thought it unfitting to take this in its ordinary sense of "kill," 
because that did not seem to him a natural antithesis to "heal," he ac- 
cordingly rendered it "wound." Most recent commentators (Gr., Del., 
No., Wr., PI., VI., Wild., McN. and Ha.) rightly regard the contrast 
between killing and healing — i.e., destroying life and saving it — as nat- 
ural and forceful. The ® restricts the word J"in to killing in war, but 
as Wr. observes, it more probably refers to the execution of individual 
offenders. — I'njj^]. The root means to "break through," "to break 
down," and is particularly appropriate as an antithesis of nja in a coun- 
try like Palestine, where buildings are uniformly constructed of stone. 
In Is. 5' it is used of breaking down a vineyard- wall. — 4. iicd and "iipi]. 
There is a striking paranomasia between these, idd is used of mourn- 
ing, whether public or private, see Gn. 232 i S. 25' 28' 2 S. 3'' Je. 16* 
Zc. I21''- ". The root occurs in As. as sapadu (derivatives sipdu and 
sipittu) in the same meaning. It also occurs in Christian Palestinian 
Aram. (SchwaWy, I dioticon, 64), and in Amharic with transposed radicals, 
as "dirge" (cf ZDMG., XXXV,762).—Tn] means "to leap," "dance." 
The root occurs in Aram., Syr. and As. with the same meaning. In 
Ar. in 9th stem it means "to hasten greatly," "to run with leaps and 
bounds." Probably, as Gins, suggests, the root is used here instead of 
ncr, "to rejoice," on account of the similarity in sound toiDD, — 5. l*^-']. 
For the use of this in the sense of scatter or throw away, cf. 2 K. 3** •j^* 
Ez. 20*, Ps. 2'. — pan] is used in Kal and Piel without apparent dis- 
tinction in meaning. ~p pnn*?], for another example of the use of pn-\ 
with JD, see Ex. 23^. cj^n] and pan?:]. Ha., to secure his metre, re- 
jects as glosses. — 6. a'pa], literally "seek," is here apparently used of the 
acquisition of property, cf. Mt. 13"- ". — idn] ordinarily means "de- 
stroy," a meaning which it has even in this book in ch. 7^. Here, how- 
ever, it is used in the weaker sense of "lose," BDB., in which it appears 
in the Mishna, Teharoth, 8'. This meaning also appears in Ps. 119'", 
where "^a** ^^! is "a lost sTieep." — 1'''?^'^]^ see note on previous verse. 
— 7. "»Dri], "to sew," is a comparatively rare word. It occurs in Gn. 3^ 
Ez. 13" Job 16" and here. It is also found in NH., see Sabbath, 13', 
and Kelim, 20». — 8. nr:n^c] and D"»Stt']. The change in 8b from infini- 


tives to the nouns denotes, as PI. has noted, that the series is completed. 
9. pin^], see on i*. — nfc';'.!] Bick. emends to '^'Djjn, but as Sieg. re- 
marks, Q. may well have written nt^yn. Ha., who practically rewrites 
the book, regards this vs. as originally a gloss to i', but there is no evi- 
dence whatever to justify us in transferring it thither. It is a refrain 
which well expresses Q.'s mood, and has a genuine ring. — 10. rJ>], see 
on i". Ha. counts the verse a gloss as he does vs. 9, and with as little 
cause. — 11. "13''], in BH. usually means "fair," " beautiful, "c/". BDB., 
sub voce, but in NH. it has a much wider meaning. E.g., in Zabim, 
2*, Makshirin, 5*", Mikwa'oth, io«, no"* signifies "good." It is interest- 
ing to note that when BS. paraphrases our passage (ch. ^g^'^- "), he renders 
no'' by 2^'>2. In Zabim, ^\ no^ jV^n means "a strong tree." In Nazir, 
7<, ■(•:n nD*- means "to speak very well." In Zebachim, 8-, Shebi'ith, i\ 
and Teruntoth, 2* «, no"' means the "best" (animal for sacrifice), while in 
Keriloth, 6«, n^'^'p ^PZ' np> means "worth two Sela's," and tit n-ir^^ n?> 
means "worth ten zuzim." That this later usage had begun as early 
as Qoheleth is shown by ch. 5^^, where ^31 means "befitting" (so Ha.). 
The context in the verse before us demands such a meaning here. 
— "D^i] should probably be pointed d';'';.- To say that "God has put 
eternity in their heart, so that they cannot find out the work of God from 
beginning to end," makes no sense. Ko. (§392g) would render "i-'N "•'^30 
"only that not," but that makes the thought of doubtful lucidity, and 
so far as I have observed gives to "'^JJ': an unwarranted meaning. Gaab, 
Kn., Hit., and Heil. derived the word from the Ar. ^aloma, and took it to 
mean "knowledge," or "Weltsinn." This, however, makes no better 
sense of the passage. Wang., Vaih., Zo., Del., Wr., Cox, No., Gins., 
Wild, and McN. cling to the meaning "eternity," or notion of eternity. 
It is true that in Qoh. the word has the meaning "forever," "of old," 
and "eternal" in i<- ■" 2i« 3" 9* and i25, but that is no reason why in 
an unpointed text it might not have another meaning here. Dale and 
Sieg. take it to mean "future," while Re. takes it in the later meaning 
of oSj; for "world." Dod., more than a century ago, pointed toward 
the right interpretation when he rendered it "hidden," or "unknown." 
Gr. saw that it meant "ignorance," while PI. hesitatingly, and Ha. 
more positively, have followed this lead. The root oSy means " hidden," 
"unknown," D^'y, the unknown of time, hence "of old," "forever," 
"eternity." From this same root Q^l, frequently used in the Talmud 
(cf. Ja. 1084b), means "that which is concealed," "secret," etc. The 
context in our verse compels us to render it "ignorance." (S^^cv «8. 
253. in indicate that an early reading was d'^;; Sd tn. nS . . . . "-S^::], the 
two negatives strengthen the negation. They do not destroy each 
other as in Latin and English (cf. Ko. §352x and Ges.*^ §i52y). — ']^d] is 
a late synonym of Vi?, cf. BDB., 693a. Sieg. assigns this vs. to the Chasid 
glossator. Ha., although he translates it as poetry, also regards it as a 


gloss. When its real thought is perceived, however, the vs. fits ad- 
mirably into Q.'s system of thought. The activities of life may be suited 
to their seasons, but they are vain and give no proper return, for man 
cannot understand them. — 12. Sieg. claims that this verse draws the 
pessimistic conclusion to vs. lo, and contradicts vs. ii. This view rests 
on a misunderstanding of vs. ii. Both are parts of Q.'s pessimistic 
conclusion. Ha., for a reason, too, so subjective that I do not appreci- 
ate it, regards the verse as a gloss. — D3]. It is probable from the analogy 
of 01X3 in 2^* (which is a corruption of dinS, see crit. note on 2") and 
oinS in 8'*, which occur in similar expressions to this, that 02 is equiva- 
lent to dV (possibly a corruption of it), and refers to mankind. So Gins., 
Zo., Gr., Del., Sieg. and most recent interpreters. Rashbam, Luther, 
Coverdale, the Bishops Bible, and Ty. took it as "in them," and re- 
ferred it to the times and seasons of vv. 2-8. This view is less probable. 
— 210 nit'y'?]. Zirkel, Kleinert, Ty., Sieg. and Wild, regard 21:3 nfy as a 
Graecism=e5 irpdrreip. Del., Wr., McN. and others declare that it is 
not necessary to regard the idiom as influenced by Greek, and they are 
probably right, since in 2 S. 12^^ we have the opposite pi nt:7="do 
badly," or "vex one's self," in a book where no Greek influence can be 
suspected. — ds '<2], "but," </. Ko. §3721. n>nr^] expresses a subject 
clause in a shortened form, cf. K6. §397a. — 13. nN-\i nnuh]is, as it stands, 
two instances of waw consecutive with the perfect. The same ex- 
pression occurs in 2", where the pre-Aqiban reading was -a* with the 
imperf. The Versions give no hint of a similar original here. Sieg. 
regards this and the following vs. as the work of the Chasid interpolator, 
but when one sees the sequence of the thought as outlined above, that, 
so far as this vs. is concerned, is unnecessary. Ha. rejects the vs. as a 
gloss apparently because the thought is strongly expressed in ch. 8'», 
but surely an Oriental could express the same thought more than once 
in a writing of this length. — 14. Sieg. and Ha. regard the whole vs. as the 
work of the Chasid glossator, and McN. so regards the last clause, re- 
marking that the mystery of the inexorable world-order, over which 
Q. broods, was no mystery to the glossator. If our view of the preceding 
context be correct, Sieg. and Ha. err in denying to Q. the whole vs. 
McN. has probably needlessly beheld the hand of a glossator too. To 
Q.'s mood God might make a world-order to cause men to fear him, 
but this would not constitute a satisfactory explanation of the limita- 
tions of human life any more than it did to Job in certain of his moods 
{cf. Job 7'*-"). — sin] takes up the subject again like the Gr. avrbt or 
Latin idem, cf. Ges.'^ §i4ih. — ~\^r\^'\ is, as Del. remarks, "will be." 
— S>], on the use of this, in additions, cf. Gn. 28'. For ps] with an inf. 
to deny a possibility, see 2 Ch. 20". — ';''^\^ and I'D'^*^], on the inf. as ind. 
obj., cf. Ko. §397f. — V"*i], cf. Dt. 4' 13' and, for a Gr. equivalent, Rev. 
2211. 19, -{y nt:*;], the -c expresses purpose, introducing an objective sen- 


tence, cf. K6. §384!, Ges. ^ §i65b. Such Heb. is the original of -KoiiXv tW, 
Rev. 13" '•. As Gins, noted the subj. of in"^^ is cn, which must be sup- 
plied from the preceding vs. — 15. nvn'? nK'N], as Del. notes, is equivalent 
to the Gr. t6 h^XXov, cf. Gn. is'^ Jos. 2* Ho. 9>' i?^; also Ges."^ §ii4i 
and Ko. §3992. — a^'^N.ii], the clause has usually been interpreted as 
though 1T>J, "that which is pursued," were to be rendered "that which 
is driven away," and so simply referred to that which is past. Some, 
as Gr. and Ha., have noted, however, that the Niph. Tinj usually means 
" persecuted." It certainly has this meaning in the Talmud (cf. Ja. and 
Levy, sub voce), they accordingly render C'p3^ by "looks after," i.e., 
" God looks after him who is persecuted." These scholars accordingly 
believe that the clause is out of place, and that it probably belonged 
originally to vs. 17. If, however, we recognize that Q. is thinking of 
events as chasing one another around in a circle, and take T'"^ in its 
original sense of "pursue," as in Jos. 8" Je. 291^ the difficulty vanishes 
and the clause fits into its context. The phrase is quoted in the Heb. 
of Sir. 5'. Ben Sira, like (6, 'A, S, B and 31, regards IT^J as masc. 
That, however, is not a decisive objection to the view advocated above, 
for the masc. may be used to express such concepts. Cf. Ko. §244a. 
After PN we should expect l"^"'^'"'' The article is similarly omitted in 
3S PN, ch. 7^ On these cases, see Ko. §288g. Ha. regards this verse 
as two glosses, apparently on the principle that Q. could say a thing but 
once. Sieg., on the other hand, recognizes it as a part of the work of Q'. 



16. And again I saw under the sun the place of judgment — there was 
wickedness, and the place of righteousness — there was wickedness. 


18. I said in my heart (it is) on account of the sons of men, for God 
to prove them and to show that they are beasts. ... 19. For the fate of 
the sons of men and the fate of the beasts — one fate is theirs. As is the 
death of one, so is the death of the other, and all have one spirit. Man 
has no advantage over beasts, for both are vanity. 20. Both are going 
to the same place; both were from the dust, and both are going to return 
to the dust. 21. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, whether it 
ascends upward, and the spirit of beasts, whether it descends downward 
to the earth. 22. And I saw that there is nothing better than that man 
should rejoice in his work, for that is his portion, for who can bring him 
to see what shall be after him ? 


16. Again I saw]. This vs. begins a new section, which is but 
loosely connected with the survey of times and seasons. In it 
Qoheleth expresses his views on the wickedness of men and their 
lack of superiority to animals. The vs. pictures the corrupt ad- 
ministration of Qoheleth's time. The opening of the vs. is similar 
to ch. 2'2 13 and 4', but contains the word agaitt, which is unusual 
in such connections. Zo. maintains that this refers back to vs. 12, 
but it seems rather loosely to connect some independent observa- 
tions of the writer with the preceding. — The place of judgment — 
there was wickedttess], ^^ Place" has been regarded by Hit., Gins., 
Zo., Del., Sieg. and Ko. (§33ok) not as the object of "saw," but 
as ace. of place or pred. ace, the former being the favorite view. 
Gins, urges that it cannot be the obj. of "saw" on account of the 
accent, but, as Wr. points out in Gn. i', we have the ace. occurring 
in spite of this accent. I agree with Wr. and No. that the simplest 
construction is to regard it as an ace. here. — Place of judgment] is 
the place of the administration of justice. — Place of righteousness] 
is probably ''the place of piety," "righteousness," as Gr. has sug- 
gested, being, as in y'*- '« 20 ^2^ equivalent to piety. On this view 
Qoheleth maintains that wickedness prevails in the administration 
of government and in the practice of religion. See also critical 

17. The righteous and the wicked God will judge]. This verse 
interrupts the thought. It is, no doubt, the work of the Chasid 
glossator (see critical note). Del. notes that "judge" has a double 
meaning, referring to the vindication of the righteous as in Ps. 
7* 26', and to the punishment of the wicked. The idea that the 
righteous are vindicated is entirely out of harmony with the con- 
text. This is a strong reason for regarding it as the work of a 
glossator. On the emendation which underlies our rendering, 
see critical note. — A time for every matter] is a distinct allusion 
in the verse to vv. 2-8. 

18. // is on accotint of the sons of men]. As Graetz observed, this 
verse connects directly with vs. 16, vs. 17 being, as already noted, an 
interpolation. Qoheleth's view is that the corruption in civil and 
religious affairs is God's way of demonstrating that men are, for 
all their intelligence and assumed superiority, really on a level with 


animals. For the phrase, "I said in my heart," see critical note on 
I". Before on account of, it is, is to be suppHed. After beasts the 
Hebrew has some words which were added through a mistake. 
The reasons for this view and discussions of particular words are 
given in the critical notes. — 19. Sons of 7nen — beasts — one fate is 
theirs]. The thought of vs. 18, that men are the same as beasts, 
is here more fully developed. For a similar thought, cf. Ps. 49". 
On "fate," see critical note 2^K It is further defined in this very 
verse as death. Spirit] is here the breath of life as in 12^ and Ps. 
104*". Men and animals are said to possess the same spirit. In 
Job 12'" man is said to have a spirit and animals a soul, but the 
distinction is there largely a matter of phraseology on account of 
poetic parallelism. For the rendering both, see 2'*. The thought 
of this vs. is opposed in Wisd. 2\ — 20. Both are going to the same 
place]. The thought of the preceding verse is here made more 
definite. Men and beasts came from the same dust (Gn. 2^ »»), 
and to the same dust they will return (Gn. y). It is a thought 
which finds an echo in Job io« 34'* Ps. 104" 146^ and is quoted 
in BS. 40" (Heb.) and 41'" (Gr.). Siegfried refers to Gn. 6^^ 7*' to 
prove it equivalent to "all flesh," but this is contrary to the context. 
As Del. observes, the "one place" is the earth, which, as in ch. 6% 
is conceived as the great cemetery. Qoheleth is not thinking of 
Sheol, but of the common sepulchre. PI. finds the same thought in 

Omniparens eadem rerum commune sepulchrum. 
(The mother and the sepulchre of all.) 

Ginsburg's claim that this verse refers only to the body, because 
Qoheleth treats the spirit in the next verse, can hardly be main- 
tained. What Qoheleth says of the spirit indicates that he in- 
cluded it with the body. Genung's claim that Qoheleth was 
thinking simply of the present phenomenal life, is probably true, 
but at the moment the phenomenal life seemed to Qoheleth to be 
the whole. Siegfried's claim, however, that ch. 9'" must be from 
another writer, because it recognizes the existence of Sheol which 
this denies, will hardly convince one who knows from experience 
to what seemingly contradictory ideas one may, in passing through 


transitions in thought, give room. — 21. Who knows]. The inter- 
rogative is in reahty a strong negation, cf. ch. 6'^ Am. 5" Ps. 
90" Is. 53'. Apparently, Qoheleth's contemporaries held that 
as the breath of man came from God (Gn. 2^), so it went back to 
God, while the breath of animals went to the earth. This Qohe- 
leth combats. That Qoheleth really held the view that the 
spirit (or breath) of man returns to God is shown by 12', though 
in his mood of despondent pessimism he seems here to deny it. 
He uses ** spirit" to mean ''the breath of life," BD5.,and not in the 
sense of "soul." The latter was expressed by a different Heb. 
word (see Schwally, Leben nach dem Tode, Sy ff., 161, 180 jf., and 
Frey, Tod, Seelenglaiibe tmd Seelenkult, 18). This is true, although 
in the Talmud it was supposed that Qoheleth was referring to the 
souls of men (cf. Weber, J iid. TheoL, 1897, 338^.). Qoheleth 
follows up his statement that "both return to dust," by the claim 
that no one can make good the assertion that the breath of one has 
a different destination than that of the other. — 22. There is nothing 
better, etc.]. Qoheleth's train of thought, starting from the cor- 
ruption in civil and religious life, has, at least for the moment, 
convinced him that man is no more immortal than an animal. 
From this he draws in this verse the conclusion that man's only 
good is to have as good a time as he can in the present life. This 
is a fundamental thought of the book, to which Qoh. frequently 
reverts (c/. 2" 3'* 5'^ »» 8>« 9^"). Here he adds as a reason for it 
that no man can know what will happen after him, — a thought 
shared by other OT. writers (cf. Ps. 30" 88"'-'« Is. 38'8). It is too 
great a refinement to try to determine, as some have done, whether 
Qoheleth refers to man's ignorance of what will happen on the 
earth after him, or to an entire lack of knowledge after death. 
The language of some of the Psalmists is as strong as his. In 
Qoh.'s mood a complete negation of all knowledge is most fitting, 
and grew naturally out of the old Hebrew point of view as to the 
future life. Although no reference is made here to eating, or to the 
pleasures of the appetites as in 2", we should not conclude with 
Genung that Qoh.'s thought is now centred on work in its nobler 
creative aspects. Qoheleth has plainly shown that man's "work" 
(what he can do) includes the sensual side. His thought is "Let 


a man live to the full the round of life's occupations in every de- 
partment, for this is his fated lot — his profit for his toil — and he 
has no higher possibility." 

16. r\DV] is an emphatic form of Df. Ordinarily the Ht is used only 
after verbs of motion with a locative signification, but in Je. i8* Ps. 
122* and here it is an emphatic form of Dtt>, cf. Ko. §33oh. — ^v-y]. Gr. 
noted that in the two halves of the vs. it is tautological, and conjectured 
that instead of the second we should read y^D, transgression, a con- 
jecture which Dr. also makes. This is probably right. Had it any 
MS. authority I should introduce it into the text. (S curiously reads 
cyje/Si^j for d<r€/3ijs in all copies. Eur. regards it as an early mistake, but 
McN. as an early dogmatic correction in the interest of orthodoxy. 

17. Sieg., McN. and Ha. regard this vs. as an interpolation of the Chasid 
glossator. In this they are right, for the thought is out of harmony with 
its context. The opinion of Del. as to the double meaning of oo'^' is 
reinforced by BDB. p. 1047b. The opinions of such Hebraists cannot 
lightly be rejected. Moreover, vs. 18 joins directly on to vs. 16. — \"i"^:::n]. 
(gB es. J48. J98 and & read ^n-\DNi. — Sy] is used as in late Heb. in the 
same meaning as V, so BZ>B., Del., Wild. — DU"] has been variously 
interpreted. Hit., Heil., Ty., Gins., Z6., Del., PI., and Wr. take it as 
"there," interpreting it as "in that place" (Heil.), "in the ap- 
pointed course of things" (Ty.), or a pud Deum (Del. and Wr.). On 
the other hand, Houb., Dat., Van d. P., Luz., Kn., Gr., Re., No., VI., 
Wild., Ha. and Dr. emend to oif, as I have done above. (S>^ «* omits 
it. This has led Sieg. and McN. to do the same. McN. regards it as 
a possible corruption of the last two letters of ntf^n or the first two of 
the fol. ^nnoN. As (ft puts it at the beginning of the next verse, it may, 
on the other hand, have been omitted for the sake of smoothness. 
McN. opposes the emendation ot? on the ground of awkwardness of 
style, but the verb in the first half of the vs. is near the end, and thb 
clause may well have been inverted in like manner. On the whole, I 
prefer the conjectural emendation of the commentators quoted. 

18. nnjn hy'\ is late. Apart from this passage it occurs only in BH. in 
Qoh. 7" 8* and Ps. no*. The usual form is '\:i'\Sy {cf. Gn. 20" «• 
12" 43i» Ex. 8»), or nai Sj; {cf. Dt. 4" Je. i4»). It means "for the sake 
of." Cf BD5.— Dia^ is, as BDB., Gins., Del., McN. and Ges.K (§67p) 
have noted, from "<"(3, the inf. being formed like nn from "tt^. Is. 45', 
and y^ from "I3r, Je. 5". It is connected with the As. bararu, " to be 
bright." <ft's Sto/cpivef takes it in the secondary meaning of "choose," 
"select," in which the part, of the stem is used in i Ch. 7*° 9" 16" and 
Ne. 5'*. It has in NH. the meaning "single out," "choose," and "sift" 
also, cf. Kil., 2', Maasr., 2«, Sab., 7*, and Citt., 5". " Probaret" (C), and 


the similar reading of 01, presupposes a Piel, as in NH. the stem has thi? 
meaning only in the Piel (c/. Ja. 197b). The meaning "sift" fits here 
admirably. 8»'s reading n-\3 is an error {cf. Eur. p. 58, and Kame- 
netzky in ZAW., XXIV, 215).— n^N^';']. Instead <g, & and C read niNnS. 
Hiph. "to show," which is undoubtedly the true reading. So, Wr., 
No., Eur. and McN. The clause introduced by ^ is a clause of pur- 
pose, see Ko. §407c. — "S']. On the pointing for the relative, see Ges.*^ 
§36. — onV ncn]. These words have been very differently treated by 
different interpreters. Del. and Wr. take them to mean "they in refer- 
ence to themselves," believing that ^'r^T\ was introduced because of its 
alliteration to 'r\r::T\i, Ko. (§36) interprets onS similarly. Sieg. believes 
that neither word belongs to the text, holding that ^r^ry arose by dit- 
tography with r\'Ci'r\i^ and that onS was afterward added as an explana- 
tory gloss. With reference to the origin of nsn, Gr. had anticipated 
him. McN. agrees as to T\r^r\^ but holds that, because (S begins the fol- 
lowing vs. with Ko.i 7€ avTots, the ending of this verse was QnS dj. 
Del. admitted that the last clause contained an unusual fulness. In 
reality it is most awkward Heb., and I agree with Sieg. that both these 
words are an intrusion in the text. — 19. onS] C5, jb and #" bring over 
from vs. 18 to the beginning of vs. 19. (S^ reads ov (TVpdvTT]fxa, but 
the ov is probably a corruption of ort, a translation of ""D. Sieg. would 
emend o to -.7 and make the comparison begin here. •I'Ii'jd] MT. 
points as though in the absol. state, which would compel us to read 
"fate are the sons of men, and fate are the beasts," — a reading which 
Heil., Gins., Del. and Wr, follow. (^, #, H and 21, however, read 
n-i,*>D, Stat, constr., and this is undoubtedly right. — nnin] occurs no- 
where else in Qoh., who uses |nn."> or n^n^. (S, S and 6 read nn^ "»d, 
making the clause a question, to which pN was the answer. McN. 
adopts this reading, and it has much in its favor. Zap. and Ha. erase 
^jn Sdh >3, and Ha. also r\^p^2^ DtNn >j3 nnpa ^3 nrnjn, and nona |d on 
metrical grounds with great arbitrariness.— 20. (gBX*^ «». ui-ut-is*. ut 
omit 'i^'^^. McN. accordingly believes that it was absent from the 
pre-Aqiban text. Other MSB. of C6 as well as the other ancient versions 
support it. Ha., for metrical reasons, omits as a gloss -^n *iSin Son 
nnN DipD, and suggests the improbable explanation that it was based 
on Horace's "Omnes eodem cogimur," which was written about 
23 B.C.— 3'^] instead <&^ ««• '69. m. 261. is* ^h read apparently 3'^'^ 
Whether this was a pre-Aqiban reading, or has resulted from a cor- 
ruption in Gr. MSS., is uncertain. — 21. -i], before nSj? and mi-, is 
rightly taken by (&, &, U and 2; and by most modern interpreters (Kn., 
Gins., Gr., Zo., Del., Wr., No., VI., McN. and Ko. §§379aa, 4i4d) 
as interrogative. Geiger, Sieg. and Ges.'^- (§ioom) hold that the text 
here was intended to be interrogative, but that it cannot be so considered 
as at present pointed, and that the n has been in both cases changed 


for dogmatic reasons. This seems to be a mistake, as in some cases 
the interrogative particle takes kamec before gutturals (see ''^''i*'^, Nu. 
16"), and in some cases daghesh forte before other letters (see 3^3n Job 
23", 0"'N3n Is. 27', and a^^'n Lv. lo'^). 

(S, & and 60 MSS. (so Dr.) read '':;i at the beginning of the verse. 
— 22. li'ND 3113], in the sense of "better than," cf. Ko. §3926. Dixn], the 
art. is used to denote a class of beings {cf. Da. §22 (c)). — pSn]. The 
context shows that here and in 2'° 5"- '^ and 9' it has the meaning of 
"reward," "profit" {cf. BDB. 324a). "ijno^ ••c], like nv ^d of the 
preceding vs., is really a strong denial. — 3 hni], see crit. note on 2^. — 
mnx] Ko. (§401 b) seems to be right in saying that this is equivalent 
to PiD nnN. VI. 's interpretation, which limits the lack of knowledge 
to what goes on among men on the earth, seems forced. — uso^] 
Winckler (AOF., 351) emends to ijjo"', "cause him to perceive." 
This is unnecessary. — ^nc]. Hit., Del., and No. note that the pointing, 
seghol, here is due to the influence of the following -2>. Cf. also Ges.*^- 
§i02k. Baer notes (p. 63) that two authorities favor the reading ns- 
Sieg. assigns this vs. and its kindred passages cited above to an epicurean 
interpolator, claiming that Q' knew no joy in work. In support of 
this he cites i^ '< 2'' ''f 20. 22f. This result is reached only by excising 
in each part of the context — a process which can be necessary only to 
one who is convinced that both Stoic and Epicurean thought mingle 
in the book. Against this view, see above, Introduction, §6 (2). Ha. 
rejects as an unmetrical gloss all of the verse after vr;'::. His basis 
is, however, too doubtful. 


4>-»« is a section treating of man's inhumanity to man, and the re- 
flections which it caused in the mind of Qoheleth. The subject is 
divided into three parts: (i) The oppressions of men by men; (2) The 
vanity of rivalry; and (3) The lonely miser's inhumanity to himself. 

41. And again, I saw all the oppressions which are practised under 
the sun, and behold the tears of the oppressed! And they had no 
comforter. And from the hand of the oppressors (went forth) power, 
but they had no comforter. *. And I congratulated the dead, who have 
already died, more than the living who are yet alive. '. And (I regarded) 
as happier than both of them him who had never been born, who has 
not seen the evil work which is done under the sun. *. And I saw all 
the toil and all the skilful work, that it was jealousy of one towards an- 
other, also this is vanity and a desire of wind. 

*. The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 

". Better is a palm of the hand full of rest than the hollow of two hands 
full of toil and the desire of wind. ^ Again I saw a vanity under the 


sun. ». There is a lone man, without a second, he has neither son nor 
brother, but there is no end to all his toil, yea his eye is not sated with 
wealth. And for whom do I toil and deprive myself of good ? This 
also is vanity and an evil task. 

'. Two are better than one, for they have a good reward in their toil. 
'«. For, if one shall fall, the other can raise up his companion, but woe 
to the solitary man who shall fall, when there is none to raise him up. 
". Also, if two lie together, then they have warmth, but the solitary 
man — how shall he be warm? >2^ And if (a man) should attack one, 
two could stand against him, and a threefold cord is not easily broken. 

4'. / saw all the oppressions]. The observation contained in 
this verse is kindred to that in 3'% though different from it. — Tears]. 
The deep emotion which the tears of the oppressed excited in 
Qoheleth is evidence of his profound sympathies with the lower 
classes. — Power] is taken by several commentators to mean 
violence. Such a meaning would fit the context admirably, but 
the word bears such a significance in no other passage. Undoubt- 
edly the context shows, however, that it means an oppressive use 
of power. The iteration of the phrase they had no comforter is for 
rhetorical effect. It heightens the impression of the helplessness 
of the oppressed. — 2. / congratulated the dead]. The oppressions 
which men suffer make Qoheleth feel that the only happy men are 
those who are dead. This was, however, not his settled opinion 
(cf. g*). It was rather a transitory mood, though intense in feel- 
ing while it lasted. For similar expressions, see ch. 7^ Job y* 
and Herodotus i". — 3. Happier than both, him who had never 
been born]. The thought of Qoh. here surges onward to the as- 
sertion that better even than the dead are those who have never 
been born. For similar sentiments, see ch. 6'-* 7* Job 3i»-'« 
Je. 20'*, and among classical authors, Theognis, 425-428, Sopho- 
cles, (Edipiis, col. 1 2 25-1 2 28, and Cicero, Tusc. v^. — Seen] is here 
not so much ''seen" as "experienced." 4. That it was jealousy 
of one towards another]. It springs from jealousy or rivalry. 
Qoheleth here passes from consideration of the inhumanity of 
oppressors to the inhumanity of competition. He finds in this 
the motive of toil and the arts. 

6. Folds his hands], a synonym for idleness, cf. Pr. 6"" 19" 24*'. 
— Eats his own fiesh\ devours his substance through idleness. 


This is no doubt a current proverb, which is here quoted. It is 
out of harmony with the context, however, and was probably added 
by the Hoktna glossator. 

6. Palm of the hand], the slight hollow of the flat up-turned 
hand. — Rest], an Oriental's ideal of enjoyment, cf. Job 3'*. — 
The hollow of two hands], both hands so curved as to hold as 
much as possible. This, too, is no doubt a current proverb, but 
it is so in accord with the thought of the context, that it was prob- 
ably inserted by Qoheleth himself. The thought is similar to 
that of Pr. I5'^ — 7. Again I sau^, Qoheleth now turns from 
rivalry to consider avarice. — 8. Without a second]. This is ex- 
plained by the words son nor brother. Qoh. means a man with- 
out helper or heir, though second can hardly mean "wife," as AE. 
thought. — No end to all his toil], activity has become a disease. — 
His eyes]. The eye is frequently used as the organ of desire, cf. 
2'« and note. — Sated], An avaricious soul is never satisfied. — For 
whom do I toil ?] Qoheleth suddenly drops the indirect discourse 
and transfers us to the soul of the miser, perhaps to his own soul, 
for this may be a bit of personal experience. See above, Intro- 
dtution, §13. — This also is vanity]. Here Qoheleth reverts again 
to his own reflections. The sentiment of this verse is repeated in 
BS. 14'. 

9—12 are evidently current proverbs. It is an open question 
whether the proverbs were introduced by Qoheleth himself, or by 
glossators. See critical note. 9. Two are better than one]. Cf. 
Gn. 2'«. Jewish and classic lore contain similar sentiments, e.g., 
Iliad, io"<-"6. — A good reward]. The nature of this is explained in 
the next vs. It is that they help each other in time of need. — 10. // 
the one shall fall the other can raise up his companion]. The thought 
of the vs. is that comradeship is the reward of united toil. — 11. // 
two lie together]. The reference is not to husband and wife, but 
to two travellers. The nights of Palestine are cold, especially in 
the colder months, and a lone traveller sleeps sometimes close to 
his donkey for warmth in lieu of other companionship (see Barton, 
A Yearns Wandering in Bible Lands, p. 167 j/".); Del. observes 
that in the Aboth of R. Nathan, ch. 8, sleeping together is a sign 
of friendship. — 12. A man], the Heb. leaves the reader to gather 


the subject of the verb from the sentence, but it is clear that a 
robber is intended. — Two could stand against him]. This and the 
preceding vs. present further proofs of the advantages of com- 
panionship. — A threefold cord], one of the best-known passages 
in the book. Genung thinks the phrase means that if two are 
better than one, three are better still. Probably this is right. 
The other suggestions that have been made seem fanciful. 

4». .-i.snsi ^ry^v i]. This is an instance of waw consecutive with the im- 

perf. An earlier instance occurs in ch. i". Instances of its use with the 
perf. have been noted in 2"^* and 3 '3, though it is rare in Qoh. — ^r2y\ like 
"'n3!:> in 9", is, as several interpreters have noted, a Heb. idiom for an 
adverb. It is equal to "again," see Ko. 369r. — D^^-^'i;]. The tirst oc- 
currence is, as most recent commentators agree, an abstract, as in 
Am. 3* Job 35». Ko.'s limitation of this usage to the last two passages 
quoted (Ko. §26id) seems arbitrary. The second CpK';' is the passive 
part. Cf. ^^nc, Is. 35'°. — .i;?:2"i], though sing, in form, is collective in 
sense, as in Is. 25* Ps. 39>» 42<. — z^t";: ^Z'h]. Ha. excises this Niph. part 
as a gloss; it does not fit his metrical theory. H inserts r^* before it, 
which gives the sentence quite a different turn. There is no other au- 
thority for this, however, and it is probably a mistake. — n3 Dnip^»>' n-r], 
RV. renders "on the side of their oppressors there was power," making 
n^D equal to i^ Sy. As McN. observes it is simpler to supply some 

verb like "went forth." — anS r:rh\ Ha. claims that the first refers 

to the oppressed, and the second time to the oppressors; cnjc] he also 
takes the first time as "comforter," the second as "avenger." In that 
case the last clause should be rendered, "there was no avenger (for the 
wrongs done, by them) " — a view which is probably right. Sieg. holds 
that the last onjD cn^ ji^ is a mistake, that the words are unsuited to 
the context, and must have arisen from dittography. On Ha.'s inter- 
pretation, adopted above, this objection falls to the ground. — 2. nac't] 
has caused the commentators much trouble, and has occasioned some 
emendations of the text. AE., Herzfeld and Gins, regarded it as a 
verbal adjective. Ges., Kn., Heil., Elst., Del. (hesitatingly) and others 
regarded it as a participle Piel, from which the D had been accidentally 
dropped, nn? in Zeph. i'< — a form which made Del. hesitate to call 
naB> an inf. — is, as Wr. has pointed out, a verbal adjective. Among 
more recent commentators Eur. and Sieg. hold that it is a part. They 
explain the accidental loss of the r through its similarity to ir in the old 
alphabet. Dr. suggests that possibly the original reading was v'^nasM. 
Both these suggestions, however, lack evidence. Rashbam, Mendels- 
sohn, Ew., Z6., Wr., Heng., Gr., Hit., VI., Wild., McN., Ko. (§§2i8b 


and 2250) and Ges.'^- (§ii3gg) regard it as an inf. abs. With this 
view I agree. For similar constructions, cf. Gn. 41" Ex. 8" and Ju. 7". 
The word in the sense of "praise," "congratulate," is an Aramaism, 
and occurs in late books only. It appears in Ps. 63* i Ch. 16", and often 
in Aram, as in Dn. 2" 4"- ^ 5*- ", and in the Targum on Koh. 4' Ex. 15' 
Ps. 4', etc. — ">3dJ, see note on i'". — o\"iD ns]. As <S read D^nrn S^-pn in- 
stead, McN. properly regards this as the pre-Aqiban reading. Ha. 
regards "irs 133-' and the second o-'in as glosses. Of course it is be- 
cause of his arrangement of the metre. — ^J7.?J (pointed thus by Baer 
and Dr., but n:-;:^ by Hahn) is composed of njn— ij^ or p-nj:. In vs. 3 
it is shortened to n?. It occurs nowhere else in BH., but c/". the NH. 
pT2.^ — 3. "^S'N Pn]. Scholars have differed in their interpretation of the 
government of this. Kn., Wr., VI., Wild., Sieg. and Ko. (§27ob) hold 
that it is governed by nac* of the preceding verse. Gins, and McN. by 
nar, to be supplied in thought from the preceding vs. As Del. ob- 
served, however, 210 follows n3£' very unnaturally, and neither C5, l> 
nor B takes it as the object of such a verb. Del. accordingly suggested 
that TN may be the equivalent of the Ar. 'ayya, a sign of the nom. case, 
as (S and render it. He also suggests that \'in">i'' is, perhaps, to be 
supplied, since "B renders judicavi. In that case pn would be the sign 
of the ace. as usual. This is the view taken by No. and, apparently, 
by Ges.'^ (§1171). It seems to me the most probable view. — ]"}>_], see 
note on vs. 2. r^>7\] is happily rendered iyewfjd-q by 2. — ntryon] refers 
here to human oppressions.— ;in nfynn pnJ. <S, 'A and 9 read "^d-.-n 
ntryrn ;nn, which was probably the reading in Aqiba's time. Ha. 
omits y^7 on metrical grounds. 4. jnr3] = "skill," though in s*" it is 
equivalent to jnp^see note on 2^'. <S renders it in all three passages by 
dvSpeia, which does not give quite the thought. — '':]="that" as in Gn. i* 
Job 22'^ cf. Ko. §4i4C. — HNjp], "jealousy" is often used with ':', as in 
I K. iQio Nu. n", etc., and with 3 as in Dt. 32" Pr. 3", etc.— p, 
y-iy-^o Z"<H PXJp], in this expression the p is used to express the re- 
ciprocal idea, cf. Ko. §3o8b. From (Jb* reading Sri t6 ^rjXoi dvSpl, 
which Swete adopts in his text, McN. concludes that the true reading 
was w'-'N PNjp "•:;, omitting N^n, The point is uncertain, however, since 
K\"i is here a copula and might not be represented in (5. 

6. Sieg., McN. and Ha. rightly consider this vs. a proverb inserted by 
some glossator. It was probably introduced because the context seemed to 
encourage sloth. — p3-] generally in BH. means "to embrace," cf. ch. 
3» Gn. 29'* 48'<', etc. It is connected with Aram. r>2n and similar 
Mand., Syr. and Ar. stems. The root means "to embrace," except 
in Ar., but the Ar. ii stem means to "gather together." Here it 
is used figuratively for folding the hands. — ntra S3N]="to destroy 
one's self," cf. Ps. 27* Mi. 3' Is. 492* Pr. 30>«, So, correctly, Ty., Kn., 
Hit., Wr., Wild. Gins.'s explanation, "to enjoy a delicate repast,' 


which he bases on the analogy of Ex. i6'* 2i'» Is, 22" and Ez. 39'«, is 
wrong. The sentiment of the verse is that laziness is suicide. 

6. nSc], after this nnj, and ^c;' are the ace. expressive of the material, 
cf. Ko. §333d. — 2'JDn] means the "two hollow hands full." It occurs 
elsewhere only in Ex. 9* Lv. 16'* Ez. 10* ' Pr. 30^ It is found also in NH. 
{Yoma, 5'), and is kindred to Syr. huphim and Eth. ha/an. — 7. >r3C') 
n.sns) ^in], a repetition of the phrase of 4', in which waw consecutives 
occur, see note on 4'. — 8. "inN], on the use of thi. , cf. Ez. 2^^* and K6. 
§3i5n. — Di], according to Ko. §3716, means "neither." — hni p dj] (S 
and 0H read ns dji p ci, which was probably the pre-Aqiban read- 
ing. The pointing nsM with the accent Munah is unusual. In Pr. 
17" we find ns) with Mcrka. Cf. |NVi (2^ with Dj3i (2"). — rry], 
the Kt. is supported by 21 and "B and is defended by Hit., Heil., Zo., 
Eur., Ty. and VI. It has in its favor the fact that the members of the 
body are frequently mentioned in pairs (cf. Mi. 4" and i K. i4«- "). 
The Qr. is supported by (8, C, and &. As the latter is the reading 
hardest to account for, it is probably original. Bick., p. 12, regards 
this verse as the work of a clumsy editor. Zap. rejects ^Jn nr di as a 
stereotyped gloss, Ha. regards Nin ;'n ]^y;^ Sin ni o) as a gloss. These 
opinions are only convincing to those who hold the peculiar views of 
their authors. The Hebrew text of BS. (14O expresses the thought 
of this passage thus: 

:nr ;-3;*3."i"« ipji^sa) -insS V3p' ik'dj yj)D 

9-12. Sieg., McN. and Ha. regard these vvs. as proverbial additions 
made by glossators. There can be no doubt as to the proverbial char- 
acter of the material, but it is an open question whether Qoh. himself 
may not have introduced them. They explain and give definiteness 
to vs. 8, but possibly may be epexegetical glosses introduced by others. — 
9. nnNH and "Jr't], the art. in these words, as Ty., Del., Wr. and Ko. 
(§3i3h) hold, is used because the writer individualizes two persons and 
one person. — i-'s]= "because," or "for," cf. ch, 6'* 10" Gn. 30'* 
34" Dt. 3" Jos. 47 and Dn. i'", also Ges.K- §i57a.— 10. iSc:]. The 
plural here denotes an indefinite sing., cf. Ges.'^- §i57a. Kn. com- 
pares in;r"\ Sn u"n ncN>i in Gn. 11' and Ju. 6". Dr. suggests that the 
original text may have been Dip^ jrn nns'T Sc\ This is the reading 
of ^, "B, and Q>, and seems probably correct. If so, the corruption of 
MT. antedates (&, for it is supported by it. — i^v^] is taken by d and i> 
and many Heb. MSS. as= ''V "iin. So, among interpreters, Kn., Gr., 
Del., VI. and Ko. (§32ic). — mn is regularly "woe," cf. Nu. 21" i S. 4' 
Is. 3» and Ez. 13'' (where it is spelled "•in). QI takes it as the Aram. 
•iS'K=Heb. iS, "if." The former view is correct. — >x]="woe" occurs 
in BH. only here and ch. 10", but in NH. it appears as 'n, cf. Ja., 
p. 43b.^"'nNn ^h], the "»nNn is in apposition with the suffix, and the 


suffix is anticipatory, the prep, logically governing ins, so, Hit., Gins., 
Del., No., Eur., McN. and Ko. (§§340 o, 343a and 406a). — "^D-r.'], as 
Del. remarks, may be "who falls," or "when he falls." — 'io^-»n^] Del. 
and No. regard as potential. — 11. oj] is often used to introduce a new 
thought. — 33"'] is used regularly for lying down to sleep, see e.g., Gn. 
28". — 3ni], the conjunction introduces the apodosis, and the construc- 
tion of the verb is impersonal. — I^n] is here interrogative; not so in 2". — 
12. iDpri"'] has an impersonal subject, i.e., the reader has to supply 
it from the context, cf. Ko. §323c. The suffix ^- is instead of the more 
common in.-., see e.g., Job z^"^*. The verb itself occurs only in late 
Heb., though also common in NH., Aram. (Biblical, Nab. and Syr.), 
and in Sabaean. Its ordinary meaning is to "overpower," and Zo., 
Del., Sieg., Wild., McN. and 5DB. so take it here. The context, however, 
requires here the meaning "attack," so correctly Kn., Wr., Ha. and 
Ges.^" <S read IH^l, making insn the subject — a reading which Kn. 
regarded as right. — "'HJ;.], the suffix refers to the implied robber, the 
subject of npri\ The prep, following lO" is more often in such con- 
structions, ''JDa as in Jos. io», or njj^ in Dn. io'». — .:'"':»cn], on the use 
of tt'-'i* and deriv. in BH. and NH., cf. Ko. §3 12c. — ^n^t^^] is late Heb. 
for '"T)'!?p. It is parallel to the late expression •"t^^-I'D "^V. in Ps. 147". 

4'» '« set forth the vanity of the popularity of certain young kings 
who are not named. 

". Better is a youth poor and wise than a king old and foolish, who 
no longer knows how to be admonished. '<. Though from the house 
of the rebellious he came forth — although even in his kingdom he was 
born poor. ". I saw all the living who walk under the sun with [the 
second] youth, who shall stand in his stead. '«. There was no end to all 
the people — all whose leader he was — moreover those who come after 
could not delight in him. For this also is vanity and a desire of wind. 

13. Better is a youth poor and wise\ The word youth is applied 
to children (i S. y) and to men at least forty years of age (i K. 
12"). In the East great deference has always been paid to age. 
This vagueness presents a difficulty in the interpretation of this 
vs. Many theories as to whom Qoheleth refers, have been put 
forth. The Targum makes it a contrast between Abraham and 
Nimrod; the Midrash, between Joseph and Pharaoh, or David 
and vSaul. Joash and Amaziah, Cyrus and Astyages, the high 
priest Onias and his nephew Joseph, have also been suggested. 
Graetz believed that the reference was to Herod the Great and 
his son Alexander; Hitzig, to Ptolemy Philipator, who, weak and 


headstrong, had been beaten by Antiochus III, and Ptolemy 
Epiphanes, who came to the Egyptian throne in 205 B.C. at the 
age of five; Winckler beHeves the contrast to be between Antiochus 
Epiphanes and Demetrius I; Haupt, between Antiochus Epiph- 
anes and Alexander Balas — a view which would be tempting, if 
one could bring the book down as late as Haupt does. Alexander 
Balas was a youth of humble origin (c/. Justin, xxxv, i), who pre- 
tended to be the son of Antiochus. Balas was friendly to the Jews 
(i Mac. io<^). This would seem very tempting, if the external 
evidence did not make it certain that the book was written before 
175 B.C. (See Introduction, §§ii, 15). This evidence makes it 
probable that Hitzig was right and that the "wise youth" is one 
of the Ptolemies, perhaps Ptolemy V, who in 205 B.C. succeeded 
his aged father Ptolemy IV. Ptolemy V was but five years old 
when he came to the throne. — 14. House of the rebellions] prob- 
ably refers to the Ptolemaic dynasty. It is so designated because 
Ptolemy IV persecuted the Jews; see 3 Mace. Symmachus, the 
Targum, Wang., Del., Wr. and VI. take the last clause of the 
verse to refer to the old king, but it is better with McN. and Haupt 
to take the whole verse as referring to the youth. — 15. All the living 
who walk under the sun], an hyperbolical expression of popular 
enthusiasm upon the young king's succession. — Second youth.] 
Second is here a difficulty and has been variously explained. 
Ewald, whom Marshall follows, thought it analogous to ''second" 
in Gn. 4i<», i.e., it designated a youth who held the second place 
in the kingdom and who usurped the throne. Kn., Del. and Wr. 
held that the youth is ''second," the old king, his predecessor, 
being first. Del. cites as analogies the use of "other," Mt. 
8", and "others," Lk. 23". The expression and interpretation are, 
however, unnatural. As McN. declares it can only mean a second 
youth. Bick., Sieg., Ha. and Dr. (the last hesitatingly) regard 
second as a disturbing gloss. Erase this, and we have, on Hitzig's 
view, a picture of the enthusiasm with which Ptolemy V was 
greeted. If second is genuine, it would, on our view, be a reference 
to the enthusiasm which greeted Antiochus III when he conquered 
Jerusalem in 198 B.C. (r/. Jos. Ant. xii, 3''). — Who shall stand], 
future, because spoken from the point of view of the moment when 


the enthusiasm burst out. — In his stead], i.e., if ''second" is genu- 
ine, in place of the first youth. — 16. A^^ end of all the people], hyper- 
bole again, referring to the young king's accession. Those who 
came after], in a short time the popularity of Epiphanes 
waned because of the corruption of his advisers. Then Anti- 
ochus III (200-198) attached Palestine to Syria, and was gladly 
received by the Jews. See Bevan, House of Seleucus, II, 37, and 
Jos. Ant. xii, y. — This also is vanity], the old refrain. Specific 
cases have demonstrated the fleeting character even of royal 
prestige. If these are not the real instances of which Qoheleth 
was thinking, he had similar ones in mind. 

13. 2Yc], i.e., better suited to govern, cf. what is said of a high priest, 
Horayoth, 3*. — pDCJ, poor, occurs in BH. only here and in ch. 9'*- !•. 
It is not uncommon in Aram., see e.g., the 01 of this passage, and to Dt. 
8'. In Babylonian (Code of Hammurabi) the word occurs as miskenu 
and designates the lowest class of citizens above slaves {cf. Code, col. 
vi, 65, and CT., XII, 16, 42b). The root pD, "to be poor," occurs in 
Is. 40*°, and Pp?p?, "poverty," in Dt. 8*. Just why it should be applied 
to Ptolemy V, we know too little of the history of the times to tell. 
Possibly the word is an early gloss added by some one who did not per- 
ceive that the reference was to a royal youth. — ■'^."'.] is used not only of 
boys, but of Joseph when 17 years old (Gn. 37'°), and of the companions 
of Jeroboam who were about 40 years old (i K. 128). Here, however, 
the reference is to a real boy. — -\^u] is usually explained as from 
■^nr, "to be bright," but this is doubtful {cf. BDB. 264a). In Niph. 
and Hiph. it means "warn," or "admonish," cf. ch. la'^ Ez. 320 33<-« and 
Ps. 19''. *A, S, and render rov (pvXd^ejdai, "to be on one's guard," 
but this destroys the parallelism. — 14. cn^Dn], some MSS. and <B, 10, 
read amoNn (see Baer and Dr.). AE., Kn., Heil., Gins., Heng., 
Del., Wr., No., VI., Eur., McN., Kam. and Ges.K- (§35d) hold this to 
be the true rendering on the ground that in late Heb. n is often dropped. 
& and 21 give the word a different interpretation, and Ew., Hit., Dale and 
Ha. take it from "md, "to turn," the derivatives of which may mean 
"rebels," or "outcasts" {cf. Je. 2'^' 17")- This I believe to be nearer 
the truth. — nx^J is perf. Gr.'s contention that it is imperf., was but a. tour 
de force to fit his theory. — DJ ^3], it is better to take this as "although" 
with most interpreters {cf. Ko. §394f) than as "for" with McN. For 
the sake of consistency, however, the first "'D should be rendered 
"though." — mi^Scs], the sufTix probably refers to the "youth," not 
to the old king as S, 21, Wang., Del., Wr. and VI. held. — nSu] prob- 
ably has here its usual meaning. It is true, as Ty., Gins, and Gr. hold. 


that in the Mishna it means "arise" or "become" (c/. Terumoth, 8», 
Ned.f 9', and Temurah, 3*), but a more natural meaning is obtained 
by taking it in its ordinary sense. It then means that the "youth" 
was born poor in the kingdom which he afterward ruled. Possibly 
this last clause, like por, is a gloss, though it may possibly refer 
to the impoverished state of Egypt at Ptolemy V's accession on 
account of political disorders in the preceding reign. Cf. Poly- 
bius, V, 107, and XIV, 12. — 15. DoSnrn], the Piel part. The Kal is 
more common, cf. Is. 42*. — 'jr] is supported by all the Versions, and 
is probably not a gloss, as Bick., Sieg., Ha. and Kit. hold. — o;*], 
"with," in the sense of "on the side of," cf. Gn. 21" 26*. — "'^>''], in the 
sense of " reign" or " arise," see BDB. 764a. Its imperf . tense is paralleled 
2 K. 3" and Job 15", r^n'"' is often used of a successor to a throne, see 
e.g., 2 S. iQi and 2 Ch. i«. — 16. D"'jnnNn] often means "posterity" 
(cf. i" and Is. 41*), but here probably simply "those who come after." 
If we are right in our interpretation of the passage, but seven years had 
passed. — 3n^joS n"»n "iu'n]=" before whom he was," i.e., whose leader 
he was, cf. Ps. 68* and 2 Ch. i'", thus Ros., Ges., Gins., Del. and Wr. 
Ew. misunderstood it and made ^^~ refer to the two preceding kings. 
1^, V and IB changed on- to 1-, misunderstanding it also. — djJ is ad- 
versative, cf. Ko. §373n. 

5' -^ (Heb. 4'^-5«) treats of shams in religion. 

5> (417). Guard thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and 
to draw near to obey is better than that fools should give sacrifice, for 
they do not know (except) to do evil. *(i). Do not be rash with thy 
mouth and let not thy heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for 
God is in heaven and thou on the earth, therefore let thy words be few. 

*(*). For dreams come through a multitude of business, 
And the voice of a fool through a multitude of words. 

«<»>. When thou vowest a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it, for there 
is no delight in fools, what thou vowest fulfil. *<*'. Better is it that 
thou shouldst not vow than that thou shouldst vow and not fulfil. 
•(*'. Do not permit thy mouth to make thy flesh to sin, and do not 
speak in the presence of the angel, for it is an error, Why should God 
be angry at thy voice and destroy the work of thy hands, ^(«). {For in 
a multitude of dreams and words are many vanities), but fear thou God. 

6' (4'^. Guard thy foot]. Do not run to the place of worship 
thoughtlessly, or because it is the fashion to go frequently, but con- 
sider the nature of the place and thy purpose in going. Inter- 
preted by what follows, this is the meaning. — The house of God]^ 

SHAMS IN RELIGION [Ch.5'-^ 1 23 

often used in the OT. for the temple, cf. 2 S. 12" Is. 37'. It 
probably means that here, though some think it the synagogue. 
Whether it is to be regarded as temple or synagogue depends upon 
how we interpret the next clause. — To obey is better than that fools 
should give sacrifice]. The sentiment recalls i S. 15" Am. 5" » 
Mi. 6^ ». If this sacrifice is to be taken literally, Qoh. was think- 
ing of the temple; if it is to be interpreted by the following verse as 
figurative for words, he may have referred to the synagogue. On 
the whole, it is more probable that this verse refers to the well- 
known contrast between literal sacrifice and obedience, and that 
the next verse takes up a new topic, unless we interpret vows as 
votive sacrifices. — Know except to do evil]. They go from their 
sacrifices with an easy conscience to plunge again into evil. — 2 ^'\ 
Rash with thy tnouth . . . Jitter a word]. This is explained in vs. 4 
to refer to vows. — God is in heaven]. The belief in the transcen- 
dence and aloofness of God, Qoheleth shared with his age, cf. Ps. 
ii5». The verse is paraphrased in BS. 7'^ 

3 <*>. Sieg. and Ha. are right in regarding this verse as a gloss. 
It is a proverb, kindred to 5* and in reality breaks the connection 
of the thought here. It was probably introduced because the 
reference to a fool's multitude of words seemed kindred in mean- 
ing to vs. 4('). It has a proverbial form and is apparently the 
work of the Hokma glossator. The sentiment of the first part of 
the vs. is expressed in BS. 31'*. — Dreams come through a multitude 
of business]. The words apparently mean that one who is worried 
with cares cannot sleep, but in that case there is little connection 
with the next clause. Tyler thought the ** multitude of business" 
referred to the multiplicity of images and the confused action of a 
troubled dream. This would make the parallel with the "words 
of a fool " closer. If this is the meaning it is not clearly expressed, 
but not all popular proverbs are clear. 

4 <*>. When thou vowest a vow\ This is taken with as little 
change as possible from Dt. 23='. For other statements about 
vows, cf. Nu. 30» Ps. 50'*. — Do not delay to fulfil]. Hasty vows 
were not infrequent in later Judaism, and many evasions were at- 
tempted, as the Talmudic tract Nedarim shows. On vows of 
the sort here referred to, see Gn. 28" Lv. 27 Ju. ii'" Jos., BJ. 


ii, 15'; f/- a-lso Mk. 7" Acts 18" 21". — There is no delight in fools]. 
God has no delight in them. Vows are the favorite resort of the 
fooh'sh. They think to bribe Providence. — What thou vowest ful- 
fil]. This expresses in another way the meaning of Dt. 23" ". The 
verse is quoted in BS. 18". — 5 ^^ >. Better not to vow], for one is then 
at least honest, Qoheleth's point of view on this point is similar 
to that of Acts 5<. — 6 <*) . Do not permit thy mouth] by rash vows. — 
Thy Flesh]. Flesh here stands for the whole personality ; perhaps 
it is used here because the Jews thought of punishment as corporal. — 
In the presence of the angel]. This has been variously interpreted: 
(i) It has been held that angel is a later and more reverent way of 
alluding to God. This view has in its favor the fact that (8 and 
^ actually read "God" here. (2) That angel (literally messenger) 
is God's representative — either prophet as in Hg. i»» Mai. 3», or 
a priest as in Mai. 2'' — here, of course, a priest. (3) That we 
should translate "messenger," and regard it as a temple messenger 
who recorded vows and collected the dues. Probably the first in- 
terpretation is right. — Error], a sin of inadvertence. — Why should 
God he angry]. Qoheleth has much the same idea of God as that 
which underlies our expression, "tempting Providence." — 7 ^*\ For 
in a multitude of dreams and words are many vanities]. This is an- 
other interpolated proverb, corresponding to vs. 3. It interrupts 
the connection. — But fear thou God]. This is the conclusion to 
vs. 6. 

1-7. McN. regards these verses as the work of the Chasid glossator, 
and Sieg. assigns vvs. i and 2 to Q* — a term which covers a mass of glosses. 
One with so keen an eye for glosses as Ha. has, however, regarded 
vvs. I and 2 as genuine. Really the whole section, except vvs. 3 and 7a, 
is Q.'s work. Because he held a Sadduca^an point of view, he was not 
prevented from speaking of religion. — 1 (4'^). T'VjnJ is, according to 
Qr., "iSjn, a reading which is supported by 160 MSS. and (5, #, and ¥, 
and is probably right. Analogies can be adduced for the plural {e.g., 
Ps. 119") and for the sing. (Ps. iiq"* Pr. i'* 4»s). So far as the meaning 
goes, it is a matter of indifference which reading is followed. — nyN3]= 
"when," as in Gn. 18". <S, 6 and Tal., Jer., Berak., 4*, 71', and Megill., 
yic, Tosephta, i7=',read ">-'Na bymistake. — 3 np] was taken by Ros.,DeW. 
and others as an inf. continuing the imperative construction, but recent 
interpreters (Kn., Del., Wr., No., Zo., VI., Ha. and Ko. (§223a) rightly 
regard it as an inf. used as the subject. — nn?;], 2vj is to be supplied 


in thought before this, as in 9'', cf. Ges.^^ §i33e, and Ko. §3080. (S, 
%, and B take the word as a noun="gift," but this is an error. 

n3T D-'^Djn] (^ read oS-'Don nar. — ;n nir;''^ d^/It* dj'n] has occasioned 

much trouble. It naturally seems to mean "they do not know (how) 
to do evil," which is obviously contrary to Q.'s thought. Kn, under- 
stood it "they do not know when they do evil," Del. and Eur. "ignor- 
ance makes for evil doing," Re. supplied dn o before nir;-"', while 
Sieg., whom McN. follows, emends to rvi'ySD. One of these emenda- 
tions has to be made, the last is the simplest, as the c may easily have fallen 
out after D^pv. The error is older than any of the Vrss., for they all 
support MT. — 2 (»>. ""O *^>] is a not uncommon e.xpression, see Ex. 23" 
Ps. 5o'« Pr. I61". Parallel expressions are ^Ji:'"' ':';* Ps. 15^ and \-iDi;' "?;' 
Pr. i6"». cn^NH ""Jd"^], i.e., where God is, in his house; cf. Ex. i6» 
i8»« Dt. i4» 15" Is. 37>^ — a^tay?:], as a plural predicate {cf. Ko. §334b), 
occurs elsewhere only in Ps. 109*. It is a late and rare usage. This 
verse is paraphrased in BS. 7", see Heb. text.— 3 <2). DiSnn], the art. is 
used to make the sing, stand for a class, cf. Ges.^- §i26r. — pjy], see 
on i'». S read d.voiiXa.%=\\'S (iniquity). — 3">3] 2 is instrumental, cf. 
Hb. 2* and Ps. i9'2. — 4 w). -\-i'ND] corresponds to^^of Dt. 23*2. — -inNn Sn] 
to "»nNn nS of the same passage. Ha., for metrical reasons, erases 
o-inSuS] as a gloss. — ;'on] means usually "delight," "pleasure." As 
the "delight" of Yahweh is his "will," also PI. takes it to mean "fixed 
purpose," i.e., "there is no fixed purpose in fools" — not enough to fulfil 
a vow. Such a meaning would be attractive, if it had lexical authority, 
but it has none. Cf. Is. 62^ — '^^v •\-T\ ->'i'x ns]. Zap. erases this as a 
gloss for metrical reasons. — 6 <*>. I.-j], in the sense of "permit," takes 
an ace. of the object and dat. of the end, cf. Gn. 20« 31^ Ex. 3»9 Nu. 22" 
Ju. i»« Job 31". Sometimes *^ is omitted as in Job 9I8. — N^tpn*^] is for 
K'Onn^, cf. Ges.'^- §53q. — l«'"c], instead <S and & read D^dSn, which 
was probably the original reading, njju'] is often used in Lv. and Nu. 
for sins of error or inadvertence, BD5., cf., e.g., Lv. 4^ «• "" and Nu. 
i^te. »7. J8. 19. Such sins were readily atoned by offerings. — ^n^] is used 
in Heb. idiom as we would use "lest," cf. Ko. §3546. — 7 «•). The first 
part of the vs. is a proverbial interpolation, but its te.xt is evidently cor- 
rupt. It is probably a variant of vs. 3, and was written on the 
margin, afterward creeping into the text. The simplest emendation 
is to suppose that Q'^^n and a-'-^ai have been accidentally transposed. 
It is thus translated above. <8, &, "H, IC, read nns for pn, which reading 
is to be followed. 

51 (7). — 69 treats of oppression: (i) Of despotic government, 5*, »; 
(2) Of riches, s^o-e*. 

6» ">. If thou seest oppression of a poor man and the wresting of 
justice and right in a province, do not look in astonishment at the 


matter, for one high officer is watching above another, and there are 
higher ones above them. » <»\ But an advantage to a country on the 
whole is a king — (i.e.) an agricuUural land. 

»" (9), He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor who 
loves riches, with gain; also this is vanity. " <•<». When goods in- 
crease, eaters of them increase, and what profit has their owner except 
the sight of his eyes? i* (">. Sweet is the sleep of the laborer, whether 
he eat little or much, but the satiety of the rich does not permit him 
to sleep. •' (12). There is a sore evil which I have seen under the 
sun, — wealth guarded by its owner to his hurt. " <»3). And that wealth 
perished in an unlucky adventure, and he begat a son and there 
was nothing in his hand. '^ <"'. As he came naked from the womb 
of his mother, he shall go again as he came; and nothing shall he re- 
ceive through his labor, which he can carry in his hand, " <>*). Also 
this is a sore evil — exactly as he came so shall he go, and what ad- 
vantage is it to him that he toiled for wind. " ('»). Also all his days 
he is in darkness and mourning and much vexation and sickness and 

18 (17). Behold what I saw, — a good that is beautiful is it to eat and 
drink and to see good in all one's toil which he toils under the sun the 
number of the days of his life which God gives him, for that is his lot. 

19 (18). Also every man to whom God has given riches and wealth and 
has empowered him to eat of it and to take up his lot and to rejoice in 
his work — this is the gift of God. " (•»). For he will not much think 
on the days of his life, for God occupies him with the joy of his heart. 

6'. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy 
upon mankind; ^ A man to whom God has given riches and wealth 
and honor and he lacks nothing for himself of all that he desires, but 
God has not empowered him to eat of it, but a stranger eats of it — this 
is vanity and an evil disease. '. Though a man beget a hundred (chil- 
dren), and live many years and multiplied are the days of his years, but 
his soul is not satisfied with good, and also he has no burial, — I have seen 
that an untimely birth is better than he. ■•. For into vanity it came and 
into darkness it shall go and with darkness shall its name be covered, 
*, Yea the sun it saw not, nor had knowledge. This has more rest than 
the other. •. And if he live a thousand years twice over and good he 
does not see, — are not both going unto the same place ? 

7. All the toil of man is for his mouth, 
And yet his appetite is not satisfied. 

». For what advantage has the wise man over the fool, and what the 
poor who knows how to walk before the living ? ». Better is the sight 
of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and a de- 
sire of wind. 


5» (7), oppression]. The unequal oppressions of life may lead 
one to pessimism {cf. ch. 4'" ), but when he considers how an 
Oriental state is organized and governed he does not marvel at it. 
— Wresting of justice and right]. The constant complaint against 
Oriental rule, where each official looks out for his own interests, 
from time immemorial to the present day. — One high officer is 
watching above another], an excellent description of a satrapial 
system. The appropriateness of this remark to Qoheleth's line 
of thought lies in the fact that these officials were watching, not, 
as a rule, that justice might be done to the poor, but to squeeze 
revenue out of the petty officials under them. As each officer was 
an oppressor, no wonder that the poor peasant — the lowest stratum 
of the heap — should be squeezed. — Higher ones above them]. 
This is perhaps an impersonal allusion to the king. — 9 ^^K An ad- 
vantage to a country on the whole is a king]. Qoheleth thinks that, 
after all, monarchy has some advantages. Others have thought 
that even kings like Herod had some good points (cf. Jos. Ant. 
xvi, 9'), in that they prevented plundering raids and rendered 
agriculture secure. 

10 ^*K He who loves silver], perhaps this reflection was 
suggested by the rapacity of the officials referred to in vs. 8. It 
serves as the starting-point for some reflections upon the vanity 
of riches. — Will not be satisfied]. The miser is always poor, be- 
cause his desire is not satisfied. — 11 ('">. What profit has their 
owner except the sight of his eyes?]. One can really enjoy but a 
limited amount of wealth, he who has more, has only the pleasure 
of seeing others consume it. For similar sentiments, cf. Herod., 
I, 32; Horace, Satires, I, i^"" , and Xenophon, Cyroped., VIII, 3"**. 
A part of the last passage (§40) is particularly in harmony with 
our text: "Do you think, Sacian, that I live with more pleasure 
the more I possess? Do you not know that I neither eat, nor 
drink, nor sleep, with a particle more pleasure than when I was 
poor? But by having this abundance I gain merely this, that I 
have to guard more, to distribute more to others, and to have the 
trouble of taking care of more." — 12 <">. Sweet is the sleep of the 
laborer]. Qoheleth recognizes that the healthy out-door life of 
the peasant has some blessings which money not only cannot buy, 


but which it destroys. — 13 ^^^K Wealth guarded by its owner to his 
hurt], i.e. J guarded at the expense of anxiety and sleeplessness. — 

14 (">. Unlucky adventure], such as speculation in a caravan which 
robbers capture. — He begat a son and there was nothing in his 
hand]. After all his anxiety he has nothing to leave his offspring. 

15 ^'^^ As he came naked]. Probably, as Del. remarked, Qoheleth 
has Job 1 21 in mind. For similar thoughts, see Ps. 49'" and 
I Tim. 6^ — 16 <'^'. Both this vs. and the preceding were suggested 
by "father" in vs. 14. — What advantage], perhaps, refers back to 
the father, as Graetz thought. — Toiled for wind], a figurative 
expression for nothingness, only in late writings. Cf. Is. 26'* Pr. 
ii2». — 17 ^'O). All his days he is in darkness]. The vs. refers to the 
self-denial and mental distresses of those who are bent upon the 
accumulation of wealth. Qoheleth's thought reminds us of that 
in I Tim. 6% ''They that desire to be rich fall into a temptation 
and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts." 

18 "'>. A good that is beautiful is to eat]. In contrast to the 
evils incident to the accumulation of wealth given in vs. 17, Qoheleth 
advocates the enjoyment of life as one goes along, claiming that 
this is the order of life appointed man by God. It is an iteration 
of his fundamental philosophy. The sentiment probably refers 
to rational enjoyment of present good, in contrast to miserly self- 
denial for the sake of hoarding. — 19 (i^), j'his is the gift of God]. 
This expresses the same thought as vs. 18 in a different way. 
The way in which Qoheleth dwells upon the idea shows how heart- 
ily he was in favor of getting rational enjoyment as one goes along. 
The vs. is quoted and opposed in Wisdom 2\ — 20 <'»'. Will 7iot 
much think]. One will not brood over life's brevity, if it is full of 
proper enjoyment. Qoheleth sees no very bright ray illuminating 
Hfe, but believes in being content with such satisfactions as God 
has allotted to man. On the sentiment, cf. Hor. Epist. I, 4, 7 : 

Di tibi divit'ias dederunt artemque fruendi. 

6*. There is an evil]. The phrase introduces the following 
verse. — 2. Has given riches and wealth and honor]. This descrip- 
tion is almost identical with that in 5", where Qoheleth described 
what he regarded as the right course of life for a prosperous man. 


The description is purposely repeated here in order to set forth 
what inQohelcth's judgment is one of Hfe's greatest misfortunes. — 
God has not empowered him to eat of it]. "To eat" is used in the 
sense of "enjoy," cf. Is. 3'" Je. i5'«. Perhaps he does not enjoy 
it through worry, or because in the hard processes of obtaining it 
he has lost the power of enjoyment. — A stranger eats of it]. He has 
not even a son to inherit it, its real enjoyment is obtained by an- 
other. — 3. Though a ynan beget a hundred children]. A numerous 
offspring was to the ancient Hebrew an object of great desire, and 
its possession regarded as a great blessing, r/., e.g., Gn. 24" and 
Ps. 1 27*-*. — A hundred] is simply a round number, cf. Gn. 26'* 
2 S. 24' and Pr. 17'". — And live many years]. Long life was also 
regarded as one of the most desirable blessings, cf. Ex. 20'* Dt. 
11" *' and Pr. 28''. — Soul is not satisfied with good], i.e., he does 
not obtain that enjoyment praised in 5". — Also he has no burial]. 
The ancient Semites, like the ancient Greeks, attached great im- 
portance to proper burial. At the end of the Gilgamesh epic are 
the following lines {cf. KB., VI, 265): 

He whose dead body is thrown on the field, 

Thou hast seen, I see, 
His spirit rests not in the earth. 
He whose spirit has no caretaker 

Thou hast seen, I see, 
The dregs of the pot, the remnants of food. 
What is thrown in the street, must eat. 

This idea prevailed widely among the Greeks. Much of the plot 
of the Antigone of Sophocles turns upon it. It also prevailed 
among the Hebrews,^/. Is. i4'»- " Je. i6< » Job 21" " Tobit i'» 2* » 
I Mac. 7'^ 2 Mac. 5'« 13', see also Schwally,L€Z>c» nach dem Tode, 
48-51, and 54-59. Plumtre's idea that the importance attached 
to burial here is due to Greek influence, is quite wrong. — 
Untimely birth], cf. Job 3'« Ps. 58 «. — 4. Into vanity it came], i.e., 
into a lifeless existence. — With darkness shall its name be covered]. 
As Delitzsch observes, it really has no name. The Hebrew way 
of saying this is the above. As in Job 3'" and Ps. 58*, the untimely 
birth is an example of something that has no sensations either of 
good or evil, and which leaves no memory behind it. It can be 


conscious of no loss or suffering, hence in comparison with the un- 
fortunate in question, Qoheleth regards it fortunate. — 5. Yea the 
sun it saw not]. The Hfeless fcrtus escaped all sensation. — Nor 
had knowledge], did not come to consciousness. — This has more 
rest than the other], freedom from the toil and worry of life. Rest 
is an Oriental ideal, and Qoheleth in this expression approaches 
the Buddhistic appreciation of Nirvana. — 6. A thousand years 
twice over], twice the length of an antedeluvian patriarch's life. — 
And good he does fiot see], misses the one redeeming feature of 
mortal existence, which in 5' ^ Qoheleth hasrecognized to be such. — 
Are not both going unto the same place?]. Both the lifeless foetus 
and the man whose life has been long but wretched, are destined 
to Sheol, and the lifeless foetus is to be congratulated because it 
reaches the goal by a shorter and less agonizing way. — 7. The 
man], here the long-lived individual referred to in vs. 6. — Mouth 
and appetite] are probably used symbolically. One toils all his 
life for a satisfaction which he never attains. — 8. What advantage 
has the wise man over the fool?]. The idea that the lifeless foetus 
has an advantage over a prosperous man prompts a repetition of 
the thought of ch. 2'^". — What, the poor who knows how to walk 
before the living?]. This evidently means, as McN. has seen, 
"what advantage has the poor man, who has got on in the world 
by knowing how to walk prudently and successfully, before his 
fellow-men?" This, like the question about the wise and fools, is 
suggested by the comparison of the prosperous, long-lived man 
with the lifeless foet^^s. — 9. Better is the sight of the eyes]. The 
last clause shows that tijs expression means "better is the enjoy- 
ment of what one has." — Wandering of desire], desires for various 
unattainable things. 

5* ('>. Sieg. and Ha. regard this verse as the work of a glossator — 
Sieg., of Q^ his Chasid glossator. Sieg. misinterprets the text, however, 
taking n::n in the sense of (XKavSaXl^eadac in Mt. 132', emending npc' 
to -i?:t:'j, and following Kn., Heil., Zo., BD5. and Ges.*^- (§i24h), in 
taking dti^j, plural majestalis, referring to God. It is better with Hit., 
Ew., Del, Wr., Wild., Gins., Pi., VI. and McN. to interpret it of a 
hierarchy of officials, as we have done above. It then becomes thor- 
oughly harmonious with Q.*s point of view. — accD Sri], cf. taotr'D Srj, 
Is. 10*. — ^J"'"'':], in the sense of "Province," occurs frequently in the 


late books, Ezr., Neh., Est., Dn., La., and Qoh. Outside of these 
books, only in i K. 2o'<- ''• "■ " and Ez. 19^. — nDnr^] on nop, in the sense 
of "look with astonishment," see Is. 13* 29^ Je. 4* Ps. 48* Job 26". 
— )>Dn=" business" in Is. 58'' and Pr. 3113, it has here passed from that 
to mean "matter," or "thing," BDB., as in the Talmud, cf. Ja. 492b. — 
9 <«>. This verse has been a crux to interpreters. The various render- 
ings from that of Dod. to that of Sieg. are, when compared, an eloquent 
testimony to the difficulty of the verse. — n-\r] Dod. emended to ''"'-'» 
rendering, "Superior land, whose king is a servant of the Almighty." 
Ewald and Zo. rendered, "A king set over a land"; Kn., Ges., Vaih., 
"A king who is served by the land"; 21, Ra. and AE., "A king who is 
subject to the land"; Del., Heng., Wr., "A king devoted to arable 
land," and Wild., "King of a kingdom which is served." McN. and 
Ha. have correctly rendered substantially as it is rendered above. Ha. 
alone seems to have correctly seen that niir is epexegetical of y'>i<. McN. 
and Ko. (§286d) hold that they cannot refer to the same thing. McN. 
correctly observes, however, that the accents show that "i3;'j is to be 
construed with rnr and not with "iSd. The article in Ssj expresses 
totality, vc/. Gn. 161* 2 S. 23^ i Ch. 7^ and K6. §30ia. (S and 2 read 
^7ri iravrl. Perhaps, as McN. suggests, the scribe thought it referred to 
the hierarchy of officials in vs. 8. — nif], literally "field," i.e., land for 
pasturage or tillage. — 12;?:]. This Niphal occurs only in Dt. 21* and 
Ez. 36»- »*, and always means "till." 

10 (»>. «iDj ^hn] was regarded by Zirkel as a Graecism=0tX<ip7i'/3os, 
a view which McN., p. 41, has sufficiently refuted. See above, Intro- 
duction, §6 (i). IDo was among the ancient Semites the specific word 
for money. — 3 dhn. -3 occurs with ans only here. It strengthens the 
idea. It is parallel to -2 yon in Nu. 148 2 S. is^*, etc. — ■'c] is used in 
the sense "whoever," cf. Ex. 24" 322* Ju, 7^ Is. 44'" Pr. 9<- »•, also 
Ko. §382b. — pan] usually means "multitude," being derived from a 
root, "to roar," or "murmur." Sometimes it has as here the meaning 
"wealth," cf. Is. 60* Ps. 37'" i Ch. 291*. Dr. thinks the original reading 
may have been poc, since that is the reading of & and 21. The 2 be- 
fore |iDn he regards as due to dittography. — '^an nr o] Zap. regards 
as a stereotyped gloss, while Ha. refers the whole verse to a glossator. 
— 11 oo). pon^l affords an example of a common Sem. method of denoting 
time by a prep, and an infinitive. Cf. the As. ina kascuiisa=" when she 
approached," IV, R., 31, 12; KB., VI, 80, and also cf. Ges.^- §1146. 
— r\2M3n] is another way of referring to pnn of the preceding vs. — V'^^:^], 
see on 4*. It primarily means skill, but is here equivalent to inpv 
— i^7j,'3]. Vyj is frequently used in the pi. form with a sing, sense, but 
always before a suffix, c/., e.g., Ex. 21" Is. iVand Ko. §263k. — nw\] is 
probably to be read with Qr., though Eur. takes the opposite view. 
Cf. Dr., in loco, and BDB. p. 909.— 12 ('»>. ip';;] (ft, 2, 9 and K read 



13?., "slave." MT. is, however, supported by &, H, W, and is probably 
right. As AE. noted, Gn. 4} and Pr. i2i» make it probable that the ex- 
pression is shortened from nniN n^j?, and refers to an agricultural worker. 

— OH oh], usually without 1, mean "either". . , "or"; cf. Ko. 

§37 ir. For ';2t', in the sense of " satiety," cf. Dt. 23^^- The construction 
of the word is a case of casus pendens, cf. Da. §106. — n-ijc], Hiph. part, 
of mj, followed by S, and meaning "permit." The inf. is usually used 
in such constructions, see Ko. §289d. — V'^'% from p\ is one of the 
rare forms of the inf. made after the analogy of the strong verb, cf. 
Ges.^- §69n. — 13 ^^^K nSin nyn]. nVm is part, of nSn, used adjectively. 
It means "sore," or "deep-seated" (so Del., Wr. and BDB.). (ft 
reads d/)/3W(rTk=" sickness," in which it is followed by #, which leads 
McN. to conjecture that the pre-Aqiban reading was "'Sn pn v\ "there 
is an evil sickness." H and 01 support MT., however, and its reading 
is so much more intelligible that it can but be regarded as the original. 
Then, as Kn. long ago observed, in Qo. the adj. regularly follows the 
noun. The Niph. of nSn has a similar meaning, cf. Je. 14" Na. 3". 
For the use of the passive followed by V to express agency, see Gn. 14" 
and Ko. §104. — "i^Sjo] see on vs. 12. Ha., on account of his metrical 
theory, erases rn^'n nnn and iny>S as glosses. — 14 d^). nyi fjj?], most 
interpreters agree that the phrase means "a bad business," or "venture." 
— pj;?] see on i>^ — no]. Interpreters differ as to whether the sufl&x ''" 
refers to the father or the son. Kn., Gins., Heil. and PI. hold that it 
refers to the former, while Gr., VI., No. and Sieg. refer it to the latter. 
Wild, rightly remarks that it may refer to either. Ha., for his usual 
reason, regards Kinn ic^'n and noinc as glosses. — 15 <">. "^^'hd] is fre- 
quently used in comparisons, cf. Ges.^- §i6ib and Ko. §388h. — 
n^SS 3iC'i]="go again." On account of its poverty in adverbs, 3v.i' 
is often used to express an adverbial idea, cf. Ges.^- §i2od. — sir'"'], 
literally "take up," "carry," is here used in the sense of "receive," as 
in Dt. 33» I K. 5" Ps. 24". — iSdv^], the 2 expresses instrumentality. — 
Tl^T was read by (ft and S "i^'aJ. Ko. (§i94b) regards "iS* here as prob- 
ably a Kal, but it is better to regard it as a Hiph. Jussive. Wr. notes 
that it is one of the few Jussives in the book. Other instances he be- 
lieves occur in 10" (n^J:) and i2< (o^p'). — 16 <i5). nSm ny-\], on this, 
see on 5" <'»). -^ nDy-^D] is variously regarded by different scholars. 
Geiger, who is followed by Wild., McN., and Ges.^"-, regarded it as a 
compound of o, S, and poy, comparing i Ch. 258. Ko. (§§2771, 339r 
and 37in) seems to favor this view. On the other hand, Del., who is 
followed by Wr., Sieg. and BDB., regards the expression as an imitation 
of the Aram, -n lap Sd (Dan. 2"), and accordingly as an Aramaism. 
This view is correct. — pnn^J^read r^:^-\n^ = ■^■epca■aeia dvrod. — 17 <•«). The 
MT. of the verse is obviously corrupt; a translation of the present text 
is impossible. Many attempts have been made to explain Sdn^ i^'na]. 


Some, as Del., taking it literally; others, as Wr., taking it figuratively 
like att'^ in Mi. 7*. 05, however, reads Kal iv 7r^i'^«= "r^Ni, the preposi- 
tion being carried over from Itrna. This is the best solution of the 
difficulty, and with Gr., Kn., Sieg., McN., and Ha. we adopt it. — d;:] 
is to be corrected to D>:d, and taken as a noun with No., Eur., Sieg., 
McN. and Ha. The 1 of v'rn is untranslatable. It should be omitted 
as an error (c/. 6^), (so Kn., Gr., No., Eur., Wild., Sieg. and McN.), 
which, as Kn. and McN. have observed, arose by an accidental doubling 
of the following 1. We thus obtain a verse which by supplying a copula 
at the beginning contains a series of nouns all governed by 3 in HJi'na. 
Ha. regards n^P"" ^""^n as a gloss to the rest of the vs. because it spoils 
the metre. He unnecessarily denies the whole vs. to Q». 

18 ('7). This verse contains no Athnah. As Del. notes, it is to be 
compared in that respect with Gn. 2i» Nu. 9' Is. 361 Je. 13" 51" Ez. 4210 
Am. 5» I Ch. 262« 28' 2 Ch. 23'. The phrase r\t^ it:'N 3io is difficult. 
In interpreting it, the Massoretic accents must be disregarded. Gr., 
PI., Wild, and Sieg. regard this as a translation of the Greek koKov 
Kdyaddv. That, however, would be hdm 21C3. Del., who is followed 
by Wr., McN. and Ko. (§§4 14m, 383a), noted that the one parallel is in 
Ho. 12', Nton-\B>N i;.r=" iniquity which is sin." As there can be no 
suspicion of Greek influence in Hosea, the phrase is not a Graecism. 
— -\dd::] is ace. of time, cf. K6. §33 la. vn is an accidental misspelling 
of v>n. Cf. Dr., ad he. Sieg. holds that the vs. is the work of the 
Epicurean glossator. Ha. also regards it as the work of a secondary 
hand, but as we have interpreted it, it belongs naturally in the sequence 
of the thought. — 19 (>*>. D"'Nn ^2]. (6 irds dvdp(,}iroi=:i-M< So. The pre- 
Aqiban reading apparently lacked the article. — d-'Ddj] is an As. or 
Aram, loan word, cf. As. nikasu, "possessions," "treasure," Syr. nekse. 
It occurs in Heb. only in late works (Jos. 22* (P) 2 Ch. i"- >* and Qoh. 
6»), though common in Aram., see e.g., Ezr. 6* 7". — tO"'Stt'n]= " to em- 
power," has an Aramaic coloring, cf. Dn. 2'8 *«. The only Heb. passage 
in which the meaning approximates is Ps. 119'". — N^n] is a good ex- 
ample of the copula, cf Ges.*^- §i4ih. Sieg. and Ha. regard the verse 
as the work of the later hand. There is little convincing reason for this. 
The only ground would be that it might be regarded as a doublette of 
the preceding verse, but that is not in this case convincing. — 20 <»»). njyc] 
has caused interpreters much difficulty, and Dr. would emend to n^y. 
The root njy may be (i) nj;-, "occupy" (Ar. 'ana, Syr. ''no), or (2) 
rty;, "answer." Ew., Del., No., Wr., and McN. take it from the 
latter root, Dejong, Sieg., Wild, and Ha. (cf. JBL., XIX, 71) from the 
former. McN. notes that the reading of (8 Trepi(nrd avT6p=^ni];^:, 
which was the pre-Aqiban reading, but fails to see that this supplies the 
desired object of the verb, so that if we take the verb from nj;? (i) as 
a and B both do, we need to make no further change in the text and 


obtain the most satisfactory sense. In that case r\y; is probably an 
Aram, loan word (BDB.). Ha., in JBL., XIX, 71, proposed to amend 
in accord with It to u*? nnotyj, so that iS could be the object, but (S 
is a much older authority, its reading is simpler and gives the better 
sense. It is also supported by & and A. If vs. 17 is genuine, as I be- 
lieve, it carries with it this vs. Ha. and Sieg. wrongly make this a gloss. 
61. ly'^] is several times used by Q. (4^ 512 8'^ and lo^) to introduce a 
new topic or example, but not always so used; cf. 8*, and perhaps 2". 

Dr. notes that 20 MSS. add after n>'-\], nSin, as in 512. ~hy n3n]= 

"be great," i.e., "heavy upon"; cf. its use in 8«. — 2. cddj], see on 
519 (18), — ijj-'n]. The suffix is pleonastic as in Gn. 30", — npn] may in form 
be either as a vb. or an adj. Del. takes it here rightly as an adj. and 
compares i S. 2ii« i K. 11" Pr. 12'. — p is partitive after ion, cf. 
Gn. 62 and Ko. §81.— ib'CJ] "himself," cf. 2^ BD5.— noj] ordinarily 
"foreigner," but as Gins., Wr., VI. and Sieg., it here signifies one of an- 
other family — not a regular heir. — y"i ^'?n]= " evil disease," is peculiar. If 
the reading is genuine, Q. must have varied the text from S'^ purposely, 
perhaps because he regarded the thing in his mind as an incurable dis- 
ease in human affairs (cf. i Ch. 2ii2ff, which may have been in his mind). 
Ha., for metrical reasons, regards DinVsn] in both its occurrences in 
this vs. as glosses; also Nin y-\ ^Sm S^n nr. — 3. dn]= "although," cf. Is. 
1I8. — hnd] carries with it after n^Sv the idea of e^J3, cf. i S. 2K (5, & 
and A support MT. in its reading, while B, © and IC supply a-'ja. 
Hit. follows the latter, but most recent interpreters take it as above. 
— ni3n cyi'], as Del. observes, is interchangeable with t^::'\^ cyi'; cf. 
118 and Ne. 9'°. "S'] seems, as Wr. noted, pleonastic, but K6. (§387k) 
regards it as an iterative of as. Dr. thinks the original reading may 
have been vnt oon. One is tempted with Ha. to regard vniiy nni 
vja> ^D"" as a gloss, it seems such a repetition, but as McN. observes, 
it may have been inserted by Q. for emphasis. In late Heb. this would 
not be strange. — i?3r], with |r, cf Is. 66^K—i<h nn^n nh •\)2p dji]. Ha. 
regards it as a gloss. By eliminating this and the gloss mentioned 
above, he makes poetry of it. Del. and PI. think that the vs. refers in 
part to Artaxerxes Memnon, who had, according to Justin (X, i), 115 
sons by various concubines, besides three begotten in lawful marriage, 
and in part to Artaxerxes Ochus, who had no burial, his body being 
thrown to the cats. Possibly some such tales floating through the cen- 
turies, influenced Q.'s expression. Gr. takes the last clause to refer to 
Hyrcanus II (cf Jos. Ant. xv, 62), but this is an idle fancy. — 4. icr], Du* 
is frequently= IDT, cf Dt. 9" i S. 24" 2 S. 14^ Ps. 72".— 5. C'Dtt*] else- 
where in Qoh. has the article, but is frequently used in BH. without it, 
cf. Je. 3i«» 431' Ez. 32^ Jo. 2"' 4'*, etc. — hni B'dc']=">in hni of Job 
3". — y'\''] is construed by several interpreters like nxn, as governing tt'cr. 
2 makes it govern nnj, but Wild, is right in taking it in the sense of the 


Lat. sap^re=" to have knowledge" or "discernment," cf. Is. 44' 45" 
Sb'" Ps. 73" 82* and Job 13*. — nnj], a segholate noun from mj, is held by 
some to be used here as in the sense of " better," as it is in two passages 
in the Talmud (cf. Ja. 886b), but as McN. observes it must have the 

same meaning as in Job 3" as well as Qoh. 4* and 9". — m nr, c/". ch. 

3'9and Ko. §48. — nir:]. This use of p is very common, c/. i S. 24" Ps. 52* 
Hb. 2'«. — 6. •I'jN (=1*? 1N="|'^ V^) is an Aramaism (cf. Ja. 48b). It 
occurs elsewhere in BII. only in Est. ;<. Cf. s*? dn, Ez. 3* and Ko. 
§39oy. — oipj;!)], the dual="two times," is usually understood to double 
the preceding numeral, but in Is. 3o*» we have the analogous expression, 
DTHP^S ^^'^"ch 01 explains as equal to 343, i.e., 7x7X7- Ha., who 
strangely assigns the verse to a glossator, rejects — nS] after n:3i:2 as 
a still later gloss, but he misses the point of Qoheleth's thought. It is 
only the man who has had no enjoyment in life, whose lot is worse than 
that of a lifeless foetus. There is a limit to Q.'s pessimism. — n^ic] 
refers to the enjoyment of life, cf. 5'^ Di|">c= Sink*, c/. 9'" and ii». 
— '7>"i]= " both," see on 2'^ — 7. McN. and Ha. regard this verse as a gloss, 
but it can so easily be interpreted to fit admirably into the context, that 
I think we should so interpret it. It is true the poetical form of the 
saying suggests a proverb, but it is a proverb so appropriate that it may 
well be introduced by Q. himself. — Dinh]. The article is by most inter- 
preters taken to be the generic art., but Gins, is right in regarding it as 
the art. which refers to a subject recently introduced (Da. §21 (a)). 
Here it refers to the man mentioned in vvs. 3 and 6, the nVdh nS C'ijjn] 
corresponding to yarn «S v^dj of vs. 3. — VT'ijS], not to be taken with 
Zo. and No. in contrast with vd2, nor, as some have th0Ught,=" accord- 
ing to his measure," or "proportion" (cf. Ex. 12* Gn. 47'*), but in its 
ordinary meaning. It is used to represent all the consumptive desires 
of an individual. The reading of &, "B and H — in>£52 — is a corruption. 
— aji] is concessive, cf. Ko. §373n. — rcj]= "appetite," cf. Is. 5'< 
29' Pr. 16", also IJullin, 4^ In this latter passage riD^'n 1^00 = "good 
appetite," see BDB. — 8. Sieg. assigns this verse to his Hokma glos- 
sator, and Ha. breaks it up into two glosses, but both seem to lack suffi- 
cient warrant. It fits well into the development of Qoheleth's theme. 
Gins., whom Dr. follows, would supply |D before yiv] from the first 
clause, and make the meaning, "what advantage has the poor man over 
one who knows," etc. Del., Wr. and McN., however, take V"iv as 
an attributive without the art. Del. compares Ps. 143'" (naio ini-*), 
but as Br. points out (Psalms, ad loc), the words are taken from Neh. 
9^", where n^ita has the art. It is easier to disregard the pointing of 
MT. and suppose that '•J>'^] is without the art., then ym can be attribu- 
tive without the art. also (cf. Ko, §41 ic). — l^n^], for the strong inf. 
instead of pdSS, cf. Ex.3" Nu. 22>»- " Job 34". — D>^n] isnot="life" (Kn., 
Hit., Wild.), but "living" (so Gins., Del., Wr., McN., Ha.).— 9. Schol- 


ars differ as to the genuineness of this vs. Ha. regards it as Q.'s, except 
the words — Sdh nt dj]. Sieg. attributes the couplet to Q' — his Hokma 
glossator — and the last clause to his R'. McN. assigns it to his pro- 
verbial glossator — the part which Sieg. attributes to Q', but regards 
the last clause as genuine. As in the case of vs. 7, if vs. 9a is a proverb, 
why may not Q. have introduced it himself? — '> hn-io] has been com- 
pared by many scholars to Ps. 352' Gn. 3*, etc., but the comparisons are 
really inapt. — HNnn] is here used to denote the power of seeing and en- 
joying a meaning which is found in late Heb. only {cf. BDB. 909b). 
It occurs again in ch. ii» and in Yoma, 74b {cf. Ja. 834b) in this sense. 
— iSn], again the strong form of the inf. as in the preceding vs.t— trcjiSn] 
= " wandering of desire." Compare ^c/n/Sao-yuds ^7rt^uju/a5=" roving of 
desire," in Wisd, 4'^ — S^n nr dj], etc. is, if the first part of the vs. 
be assigned to a glossator, said of vs. 8. If, however, the first part of the 
vs. Q. inserted himself, it applies to the roaming of desire. 

510. 12 Puny man against Fate. 

'". That which is, its name has already been called, and it has been 
known what man is, and he will not be able to contend with Him who 
is stronger than he. ". For there are many words which increase vanity. 
What advantage has man ? ". For who knows what is good for man in 
life, the number of the days of his vain life, for he spends them like a 
shadow: for who shall tell man what shall be after him under the sun? 

6'". Its name has already been called]. It has already existed. 
The phrase is perhaps influenced by the Babylonian, in which 
"to name a name" is equivalent to saying that the thing named 
exists. When, at the opening of the Babylonian Creation 
epic, the poet wishes to refer to a time before the existence 
of the heavens and the earth, he says (see King's Seven Tablets 
of Creation, I, i): 

When in the height heaven was not named, 
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name. 

Cf. also Is. 40". — // has been known], i.e., foreknown, and so 
foreordained. — He mill not be able to contend with Him], with his 
Creator, who ordained his fate. The thought of the vs. is similar 
to that of Is. 45» 46'° and Rom. 9"". — 11. Maity words which in- 
crease vanity]. As Del. saw, this refers to the "contention " spoken 
of in vs. 10. Delitzsch and Wright held that the verse contained 
a reference to the disputes between the Pharisees, Sadducees and 

PUNY MAN AGAINST FATE [Ch.6">-i» 1 37 

Essenes, as to how far fate controls the actions of men, the Phari- 
sees contending that it controls some of their actions, the Sadducees 
that it controls none of them, and the Essenes that it controls all 
(see Jos. Ant. xiii, 5'; xviii, i' " and BJ. ii, 8'^). To what ex- 
tent these disputes were carried on as early as the time of Qoheleth, 
however, we do not know. We cannot clearly trace the sects 
mentioned in his time. Qoheleth maintains that man is so power- 
less against his Creator that discussion of the matter is futile. 
— What advantage has 7na7i], in his powerless position. — 12. 
Who knows what is good for man]. The positive question is a 
negative assertion. No one knows what is really good, for power, 
possessions, sensual enjoyment, and wisdom have been shown to 
be vanity. — The number of the days of his vain life]. This reminds 
the reader of the verdict on life which Qoheleth has repeatedly 
reached. — Like a shadow]. The thought that human life is as 
unsubstantial as a shadow finds expression several times in the 
OT., as I Ch. 29'5 Job 8^ Ps. io2'» and 144*. PI. cites an 
expression of the same sentiment from Sophocles: 

In this I see that we, all we that live, 

Are but vain shadows, unsubstantial dreams. 

{Ajax, 127/:) 

The thought expressed by Qoheleth is rather that human life flits 
like a shadow. It is more nearly akin to ch. 8'» Job 14^ Ps. 
109". — What shall be after him]. The uncertainty of the future 
creates a part of the difficulty of telling what is good for man. 

6'". ">K'n], i.e., what sort of creature man is, cf. Ex. 14''. Perhaps, as 
Ty. thought, the words were shaped by a reminiscence of Gn. 6', Nin Qyz'2 
nt:'3. — Dy piS], used in the sense of ^•'n, occurs only here (cf. BDB. 
192b), though ]n:="be at strife," occurs in 2 S. 19'". The nearest 
parallel is in Gn. 6', though there probably the original reading did not 
contain tn> (cf. BD5. 192b). Ty. thought this text an allusion to 
Gn. If that had been corrupted into its present form by the time Q. 
wrote, perhaps Ty. was right. — 1>pnna'], Qr. T'' is probably, as 
Dr. conjectures (in Kit.'s RH.), a corruption of ']'pn Ninr, cf. Sd>' t^^r\zf'. 
ch. 2". Some have taken the Kt. as a Iliph., but that is not so probable, 
as elsewhere its Hiph. does not occur in Heb. — H'pr] is an Aramaism, 
cf. Dn. 2*°- " 3" and the cognate Syr. — 11. d>-\3i] was taken by Kn. 
and Gins, as "things," as QI takes it, but (6, iJ, "B and A, which render it 


"words," are rightly followed by most recent interpreters. On '"'^■^•''], 
cj. Ko. §3i8e. H adds after the words of MT. in this vs. majora 
se querere {=']i^ptp2h? CJ. Est. (f^). Zap. (Kohelet, p. 14) thinks 
that the metre makes it necessary to adopt an equivalent for these words 
of H, to fill out the line. The words are an ancient gloss supplied to 
relieve a supposed abruptness in the sentence, liut their absence from 
all other versions attests that they were a late addition to the text. 
— 12. "^BOr.], an ace. of time, cf. Ko. §33 la, also ch. ^". — iS^n ^-^n], an 
attrib. gen., cf. Da. §24 (c). — ory-'i]; nr>*, in the sense of "spend time," 
is without parallel in BH., but occurs in Midrash Tillim {cf. Ja. 1125a). 
(8, in Pr. 13", shows that the LXX had before them some such reading 
there, while Trotijcrai^es 5^ xP*^*'*"' (Acts 15" 18") and TroL-^aofiev iKci 
iviavrbp (Jas. 4") preserve the same idiom (cf. also Acts 20' 2 Cor. 
11^* Tob. 10' Jos. Ant. vi, i*). The idiom is found in both Greek and 
Latin, and is claimed by Zirkel and Gr. as a Graicism. McN. would 
avoid this conclusion by making S]0 complete the meaning of the verb, 
thus, "seeing that he makes them like a shadow." It seems more natural 
to take the words as a Gracism. Such an idiom may have been bor- 
rowed after a few years of Macedonian rule, even if Q. was not influ- 
enced by Greek philosophy. — ■\B'n]=" because"; does not differ from 
o when ••n follows, cf. Dt. t,^*. It is causal in Q., also in ch. 4' S^i and 
iQis, cf. Ko. §389a. Sieg. makes the verse a gloss, Ha. four separate 
glosses, but I see no reason for so doing. 

7' •<. — A Variety of Proverbs. 

1. A ^i^ood name is better than good ointment, 

And the death-day, than the birth-day. 
1. It is better to go to the house of mourning 

Than to the house of feasting, 

For that is the end of every man, 

And the living will lay it to heart. 
». Better is grief than laughter, 

For through sadness of countenance it is well with the heart 
4. The hearts of wise men are in the house of mourning, 

But the hearts of fools, in the house of mirth. 
». It is better to hear the rebuke of a wise man 

Than for a man to list to songs of fools. 
8. As the crackling of nettles under kettles. 

So is the laughter of fools. 
[This also is vanity.] 
1, For oppression makes mad a wise man. 

And a bribe corrupts the heart. 
». Better is the end of a thing than its bf-ginning; 

Better is patience than pride. 
•. Do not hasten in thy spirit to be angry. 

For anger lodges in the bosom of fools. 

VARIETY OF PROVERBS [Ch. 7'-i« 1 39 

>o. Do not say: "Why is it that the former days were better than 
these?" For thou dost not ask in wisdom concerning this. 

11. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, 

And an advantage to those who behold the sun. 
i». For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money, 

And the advantage of knowledge is, wisdom makes its possessor to live. 
>». Consider the work of God ; 

For who is able to straighten 

What he has made crooked ? 

". In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity 
consider; even this God has made to correspond to that in order that 
man should not find anything (that is to be) after him. 

7'. A good name is better than good ointment]. This is a pro- 
verbial phrase which has no relation to the context. Sieg. and 
McN. believe it to have been added by a glossator. This may be 
right, but it is difficult to divine what motive can have induced a 
glossator to add it. Ointment is, in hot climates, highly valued, 
cf. 2 S. 12" Am. 6« Ps. 45^ Pr. 7^^ Ru. 3' Dn. lo^ In Ct. i» it 
is a simile for a good reputation. The thought of this line, how- 
ever, is ''honor is better than vanity." — The death day]. This has 
the true ring of Qoheleth, cf. 6*«. — 2. House of mourning]. The 
mourning at a death lasted seven days, see Gn. 50'° BS. 22'2, those 
who sat round about sought to comfort the mourners, see Je. 16^ 
Jn. II"- ". — The living will lay it to heart]. The thought is sim- 
ilar to Ps. 90'^ — 3. Better grief than laughter], i.e.j sorrow than 
wanton mirth. — It is well with the heart]. The idea is similar to 
the Greek proverb, ''to suffer is to learn." A similar thought is 
expressed in Job sy^-"^^. The thought is, however, foreign to 
Qoheleth, who never seems to grasp a moral purpose in suffering. 
The verse as Ha. has seen is a proverb added by a glossator. 
— 4. House of mourning . . . house of mirth]. The vs. reverts to and 
enforces the thought of vs. 2. McN. and Ha. are wrong in regard- 
ing it a gloss. Its thought is "like attracts like." — 5. Hear the 
rebuke], cf. Pr. 13'- «, from which the expression is borrowed. — 
Songs of fools], probably mirthful drinking songs, such as are 
mentioned in Am. 6'. This proverb is probably also a gloss. Its 
thought is out of harmony with Qoheleth, as Sieg., McN. and Ha. 
have perceived. — 6. This vs., like several which follow, is a proverb 



added by a glossator. — The crackling of nettles]. There is a word- 
play in the original, which our English rendering imitates. In the 
original, however, the word rendered nettles means "thorns." In 
the East charcoal was commonly used for fires {cf. Ps. iS" 120* 
Is. 47'* Jn. i8'»), as it is to-day. It burns slowly in a brasier 
(r/, Je. 36" 23^^ and gives out considerable heat. Thorns (Ps. 
58"), or even stubble (Is. 47*^), might be burned by the hasty, but 
the result was noise, not heat. — The laughter of fools] is alike 
noisy, but valueless. — This also is vayiity]. This clause spoils the 
symmetry of a poetic couplet, and as Sieg.,McN. and Haupt agree, 
is a still later gloss. — 7. For oppression makes mad a wise man]. 
This clause has no connection with the preceding. Del. supposed 
that two lines had fallen out, and proposed to supply them from 
Pr. i6«. As Sieg., McN. and Ha. have noted, the vs. is a gloss, 
introduced by the hand which inserted so many of these proverbs; 
it is vain, therefore, to seek for connection of thought, or to sup- 
pose that another couplet is necessary. — A bribe corrupts the 
heart]. This is an echo of Ex. 23 » and Dt. 16". Heart in Heb. 
includes "understanding" (Ho. 4"), and the moral nature also. 
In Hebrew thought, wisdom and goodness go together, and folly 
and wickedness. — 8. Better is the end of a thing]. This is a proverb 
quite in Qoheleth's mood. Sieg. and McN. regard it as a gloss, 
but Haupt is right in seeing in it Q.'s hand. It is too pessimistic 
to be true without qualifications, as Pr. 5^ 23" show. — Better is 
patience than pride]. This last has no connection with Q.'s 
theme, but it belonged to the proverb which he quoted, so he in- 
troduced it. Its presence led a glossator to add the next verse. — 
9. Do not hasten . . . to be angry]. This is a proverb out of har- 
mony with Q.'s thought, it was introduced because of the suggestion 
of vs. 8b. — Anger lodges in the bosom of fools]: a sentiment set forth 
in Pr. i2'» and Job 5^ 

10. Why is it that the former days were better?]. This is 
always the plaint of an old man. Sieg. and McN. regard this 
also as a gloss, but it is not in the form of a proverb, and is in 
thorough harmony with Qoheleth's thought, see ch. i» '".—11. Wis- 
dom is good with an inheritance]. Compare the saying in Aboth, 
2», "Beautiful is knowledge of the law with a secular occupation"; 


also I Tim. 6«. It does not imply that wisdom without an in- 
heritance is of no value, but that with an inheritance it makes an 
especially happy combination. The vs. is, as Gr., Sieg., McN. 
and Ha. have seen, a proverbial gloss. — Those who behold the sun], 
the living, c/. Ps. 58*. — 12. For the protection of wisdom is as 
the protection of money]. Money ransoms a life (Pr. 13"), while 
wisdom may deliver a city (Ec. q^'). The verse is a gloss by the 
same hand as the last, and gives a reason for it. — 13. Consider the 
work of God]. Qoheleth has not given up belief in God, though he 
is a pessimist. This vs. followed vs. 10. Vvs. 1 1 and 12 have been 
interpolated. — Who is able to straighten what He has made crooked?]. 
This is an iteration in other words of the thought of i". Sieg. 
and Ha. unnecessarily regard it as a gloss. It is certainly Qohe- 
leth's thought, and he could as easily repeat himself as a modern 
writer. — 14. This God has made to correspond to that]. He has 
made good and evil correspond to each other. — Not find any- 
thing that is to be after him]. God has so mingled good and evil 
that man cannot tell what the future will be. Cf. 3". Here, as 
there, ''after him" refers to what will be in this world. 

7>. 31J3] is best regarded as pred. adj. with Gins, and Del., not as 
attributive (Kn. and Hit.). — Da*] is used in the sense of 3ia Da* as in Ez. 
39'» Zp. 3»» " Pr. 22>.— n'?jn] (»nb and i^ omit the suffix, which is 
here meaningless. Ec. 5" 8" and Is. 17* are sometimes cited to show 
that ■»- here means "one's," but they are really not parallel, as in each 
case the accompanying verb implies an agent. Probably the original 
reading was i^in (McN. and Dr.), or n'^Sn (Bick.). — 2. nntt'c], lit. "drink- 
ing bouts." In vs. 4 we have nncir no. In Est. 9" we find nrut'D o'l' 
nncri, which shows the close association of the words. — iu'N3]=" be- 
cause," cf. Ko. §389e. — Nin]= *' that." — nr would have been inappropriate, 
for it refers to the thing first mentioned. Del. remarks that sin follows 
the gender of 1''D. — ■•nn], the art. here is rightly pointed with — bef. n. 
Exceptions to this rule occur in Gn. 6'9 and Is. 178. — aS Sn in>]=Sx Dir^ 
3S, 2 S. 13". — 3S Vy occurs with D^i:* in Is. 42" 477 571. n and ^Sj in 
I S. 21". All these expressions are syn. — 3. d^d], cf. on i'*. — v!^\ an 
inf., so Del. — ^"ID j.n], cf. Ne. 2*, and the expression dS yn = "sad heart," 
which it contains. — 3*? aa^-"], if used in the meaning attaching to it in 
ch. ii», makes no sense; if used with a moral signification, it contra- 
dicts Q.'s whole thought. As the first half of the vs. makes a moral 
signification imperative, the vs. must be a late gloss — late, because the 


expression everywhere else in the OT. has the non-moral meaning, cf. 
Ju. i82o i9« > I K. 2V Ru. 3^ Ec. 1 1 ».— 4. '?3n]. Del. remarks that the Zakef 
Katon on '7JN divides the vs. instead of Athnah, because none of the 
words after S^N are tri-syllabic. Cf. for the opposite vs. 7. — 5. mj?j], 
"rebuke," occurs in Q. only here, but is used in Ps., Job, Is. and Pr. 
frequently. Cf. the Targ. on Zc. 3^. — ycc" tt>>N^]. Gins, held that the 

normal form of expression would be yco'D pcB''? B'^n'? 3it3, but 

Del., Wild, and McN. maintain that tt''''N is introduced before '^'dv be- 
cause the two hearings are supposed to be the acts of different individ- 
uals. — 6. on-iD], a rare word for "thorns." It occurs in Is. 34'' Ho. 2* 
and Na. !>", also with plural in m- in Am. 4^ in the sense of " hook." In 
Sabaean it is found as a proper name {cf. Hommel, ZMG. xlvi, 532). It is 
used here for the sake of the paranomasia. — Sip] stands for all sorts of 
sounds. — 7. ptj);'] is connected with the As. esku, "strong," the same stem 
in Ar. means "roughness," "injustice," and in Syr., "slander." It often 
means "extortion," cf. Ps. 62" Is. 30'* 59". Ew. emended to "svy and Gr. 
to B>pp, but later comm. have realized that no emendation is necessary. 
— njPD] disagrees with its vb. i^n"" in gender, cf. Ges.''- §i45a. — VSin'] 
Polel of VSn, "to shout," "boast." It occurs in Is, 44" Job 12" in 
the sense it has here. Cf. the noun n^SSvn in i" 2'*, etc. — njno] is here = 
inr, so Del., cf. 1 Mac. 2'*. Some of the Vrss. had a different reading, 
but there seems no reason to change the MT., cf. Eur., p. 82. — pn] is 
interpretative of another's words ace. to Ko. §288g. — 8. nnnNJ oc- 
curs also in Pr. 25^ in the sense of "end." Sieg. takes the word as 
evidence that this mashal is not from Q», since he has used liD for 
"end" in 3". In so small a work, however, arguments from mere vo- 
cabulary have little weight. — n2-i], (g» on^i. Perhaps the final D was 
accidentally dropped before the following c. — ^\^^^ T^n]. t^n is usually 
coupled with con in the sense of "long suffering" or "patience," cf. 
Ex. 34« Pr. 14" I5>» 16". With this the Talmudic usage agrees, cf. 
Ja. i2ia. In Pr. 14*9, however, nn "\i'p is used for the opposite, and 
in i6« inna S-^'d, as a parallel. — n3J], constr. of nbj {cf. BD5. 147a), 

not naj (Bo.). — 9. d;'3 di^d':'], cf. on i»8. Sieg. notes that d>'d has a 

different meaning than in vs. 3, and makes the difference an argument 
for difference of authorship. I agree as to difference of authorship, but 
this word is no argument for it, since the Semites naturally employ the 
same word to express "anger" and "sorrow," both of which are ex- 
pressed in the modern dialect of Jerusalem by za'lan. — nir P^na], 

cf. nun aVi, Pr. 1433. — 10. nc] used in the sense of nr;S, as in Ct. 

S*. — noDno]. CS, & and A read rtr^Dn:, which was probably the original 
reading. — ^'J Ssi'] is a late idiom, cf. Ne. i''. In earlier Heb. it was 
-h Snb^, cf Gn. 43\ and i S. 22'3. — 11. oy], with the use of this 
prep., cf Ahoth, 2^, inx i-ii oy n-^in iioSn ncv — DnSpj]. # has ap- 
parently connected it mistakenly with the root 'r^n. — tt'cirn nwn], 


c/. 8>ntt' vn S3 nt:'N ho: Ps. 589, and niN hn-i Ps. 492° Job 3'«.— 12. Sxa .. . . 
^^xa] is a corrupt text. (6, &, 2, C, H, K, 21, all support the read- 
ing ^TSD in the second instance, while in the first instance all, except (S, 
support the same reading. The text, therefore, was Sxd SxD, anal- 
ogous to Gn. 18" and Ho. 4'. If MT. be retained, 3 must be regarded 
as 2 essenticB, cf. Ges.*^- iigi. On Sx=" protection," cf. Nu. i4« 
Je. 48" and Ps. 91'. — 13. hni], as Del. observes, is not = n^n, but means 
"thoughtfully consider," cf. ch. ii" 7"- " 99. — ]pn], an Aramaism, c}. 
on 1 16. — niv], see also on !>". — 14. 3i!02 nvn]. Del. notes that when 3it2 is 
used of persons, it carries with it the idea of 2V, cf. Je. 44" Ps. 25'*. 
(g, 'A, e, IC, and iJ" read n^n for n\i, an easy corruption of the text. 
— rip;;'?]= "corresponding to," cf. i Ch. 2431 2612. — «yn-<2TSj?], an Ara- 
maism {cf n nn^i Sj?, Dn. 2^° 4>*) for the Heb. ij?dS or ic^n y;::^. See 
K6. 396p. — hdind] was mistakenly resolved into two words by 2 and "K. 

715 22 — Uselessness of going to extremes. 

716. Both have I seen in my vain life, — 

There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, 

And there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 

". Be not greatly righteous and do not show thyself excessively wise; 
why shouldst thou ruin thyself ? ". Be not excessively wicked, nor be a 
fool; why shouldst thou die before thy time? ^^. It is good that thou 
take hold of this, and that thou refrain not thy hand from that. 


i». Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten rulers who are in a city. 

2". For there is not a righteous man in the earth who does good and 
sins not. 21. Also to all the words which they speak do not give heed, 
lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. ". Por even many times thy heart 
knows that thou also thyself hast cursed others. 

7". Both have I seen]. Qoheleth here drops the Solomonic 
mask. — Vain life] is equivalent to "short life." — Righteous man 
who perishes in his righteousness . . . a wicked man who prolongs 
hts life in his wickedness]. Qoheleth here takes issue with two 
orthodo.x OT. doctrines — (i) That the righteous have a long 
life (Ex. 2o'* Dt. 4«<' Ps. 91 '• Pr. y '« 4»o), and (2) That the wicked 
shall not live out half their days(Ps.37'<'55"58»-»73"'). — 16. Be not 
greatly righteous], probaljly a reproof of the excessive legal ob- 
servances of the Chasidim. — Do not show thyself excessively wise]. 


The world often hates its greatest men and makes marks of them. 
In one sense it is not good to be ahead of one's time. — 17. Be not 
excessively lutcked]. Some interpreters, as Del., hesitate to admit 
that Qoheleth really implies that one may sin to a moderate degree. 
That, however, is what he undoubtedly implies. It is true that 
he was led into this statement by the necessity of an antithesis, 
but there is no reason to believe that the thought was repugnant 
to him. — Nor be a fool]. Righteousness and wisdom are to Qo- 
heleth kindred terms, while wickedness and folly form a counter- 
balancmg couplet. — Why shouldst thou die before thy time?]. In 
spite of the fact that Qoheleth had seen many men prolong their 
lives in their wickedness (vs. 15), he recognizes that debauchery 
ends in premature death. — 18*. This . . . that refer to "righteous- 
ness" and ''wickedness" of the two preceding verses. Qoheleth 
here sums up his thought, advising the avoidance of extremes in 
either righteousness or wickedness. Cf. Horace, Virtus est 
medium viatorum et tUrimque reductum (Epist. I, 18, 9), and 
Ovid, Medio tutissimiis ibis {Met. II, 137). 

18^. For he that fears God shall be quit in regard to both]. This is 
a gloss added by some orthodox Jew, probably a Chasid. — 19. Wis- 
dom strengthens the wise]. It is impossible to find any intelligent 
connection for this verse with the preceding context. It is un- 
doubtedly an interpolation by the glossator who was interested 
in proverbs (so Gr., Sieg., McN. and Ha.). — Ten riders]. Gins., 
Ty. and Plumtre took "ten" as a round number, Delitzsch thought 
it referred to some definite situation, such as the archons at Athens. 
Wright, with more probability, compares the Mishna (Megilla, i^), 
which says that "every city is great in which there are ten men of 
leisure." The idea here is similar, only the "men of leisure" are 
represented as "rulers." 

20. For there is not a righteous man in the earth]. This connects 
with vs. i8a, from which it is now separated by two interpolations, 
and gives the reason for it. It is a quotation from i K. 8". There 
is no good reason for regarding the vs. as a gloss, as Siegfried and 
Haupt do. — 21. The words which they speak]. "They" is indefi- 
nite, referring to men in general. The way in which men talk about 
one another is further proof that all sin. — Lest thou hear thy servant 


cjirse thee]. One loses peace of mind and often gains nothing 
by seeing ^'oursers as ithers see us." — 22. Many times]. The 
words arc placed in the first part of the sentence for sake of em- 
phasis. — Thy heart]. The Hebrew had no word for, 
and so used ** heart," which stood for the whole inner nature. 
Conscience (o-ui/eit^T^o-t?) occurs first in the Wisdom of Solomojt, 17'". 
— Thou also thyself hast cursed others]. The verse is an appeal to 
one's conscience to enforce the maxim of the preceding verse. 
One knows how little meaning attaches to many of his own idle 
words, and should not, therefore, listen to the idle words of others. 

7'5. S3n]="both," cf. on 2".— ^'^^n ^co], cf. 612 and Job 27'2. — inNc]. 
C'n^ is to be supplied in thought as in Pr. 282. It is often expressed, 
as in Dt. 4»»- "" 5'" Jos. 24^' and Pr. 28'6. — 16. ODnnn]="to show one's 
self wise," cf. Ex. i'". See also similar use of Hith. in pinnn, 2 S. lo'^, 
2 Ch. 137; in r]iii:^r\, Dt. i^' 42', and Sojnn, Ps. 10525. Sieg. would render 
it "play the Rabbi," citing X2jnn, Ez. 13", "play the prophet," as a 
parallel. — nnv], cf. on 2'*. — DP"'i5'n], a Hithpolel. The n is assimilated 
as in uisn, Nu. 21", and nsw, Is. I's. Cf. Ges.^- §54d. — 17. inj; nS]. Dy 
with suffix means the proper or fitting time for a thing, cf. Ps. i' 1042^ 
Pr. 1523, hence ny nS means "untimely," or an unfitting time. Dv is 
frequently used like P)? in such expressions, cf. Is. 1322 Ps. 371' Job 1820. 
—18. n^'N 2^\D], cf. on 5^ — "3 IPN.'^], cf. Dt. 32<i.— nx>], as Del. has pointed 
out, is used as in the Mishna in the sense of " be quit from," or "guiltless 
of," cf. Berakoth, 2': nS inS dn. N:f> nS |;1DDN. n-\|1'^!^ prpjni 7\-\ypi n-wp n^n 
KX\ ^ renders ns", n'qeph, "to adhere" or "follow closely," but this 
is an accidental error for n'^phaq. — 19. ~S ijjn] probably = "be strong 
for the wise." Ps. 682' proves that tt>' may be used transitively. If it 
has a transitive force here, S would be used as in Aram, as sign of the 
direct object. Since try, like As. ezezu, usually means simply "be 
strong," it is unnecessary to assume an Aramaism. — nnB';] is taken 
by Gins, and PI. as a round number="many," but the parallels cited 
(Gn. 31^ Nu. i4'2 Job 19') do not bear out the interpretation. Wild, 
takes the word in the sense of "wealth," but the versions are all against 
this. — 20. pn>( ^n onN], cf. ]r\} r«< P.^, Ex. 5'*. — 21. "n^i"" •yz'n'l is re- 
garded by Zap. and Ha. as a gloss for metrical reasons. — nDT'] is im- 
personal, cf. Ges.'^- §i44f. (ft, I&, A and 01 add D>>'tt'-i, but this is 
really an unnecessary interpretation. — i^S |nn], cf. on i'^. — ^S""^] 
2 = Xoi5o0oOrre$, "revile," which is a happy rendering. On the mean- 
ing, cf. Lv. 19'^ 2 S. 16', The part is used here after a vb. of hearing, 
cf. Ko. §4iod. — N^ niTN] {cf. N^a'' of 7'<) = TP of earlier Heb. Cf. Est. 
i"2"'. — 22. DJ]. Gins, held that this belongs to nns, but because so far 


removed, another was inserted. Sieg. regards it as a dittograph. It is 
better with Wr. to take it with "i^*^, cj. Ho. 6'i Zc. 9I' Job 2'". — D''?:;'d 
ni3-^], the ace. of time. The construction has been inverted for sake 
of emphasis as in vs. 20, also 3'3 5'8. — ntni] Ha., for metrical reasons, 
regards a gl. — >n-']. (^ and 'A read p-» here, which is evidently a blunder, 
for it makes no sense. The present reading of (S is conflate, that of 'A 
having been combined with it (so Montfaufon and Wr.). — hn], Qr. 
nnx, correct. 

72''-2!'. — The search for wisdom leads to a severe judgment of 

23_ All this I have tested by wisdom. I said "I will be wise," but it was 
far from mc. 24. p^r off is that which exists and deep, deep; who can 
fmd it ? 2r,_ X turned in my heart to knovv% to search and to seek out 
wisdom and (its) sum, and to know that wickedness is foolishness; and 
folly, madness. 26. And I found a thing more bitter than death — a 
woman who is snares and nets are her heart, and her hands fetters. 

He that is good before God sh.all escape from her, but a 
SINNER SHALL BE CAUGHT BY HER. 27. gge this I have found, says 
Qoheleth, (adding) one to one to fmd the sum. 28. Which again and 
again my soul has sought and I have not found. One man out of a 
thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 


7". All this I have tested by wisdom]. ''All this" refers to the 
preceding. The writer, as he passes to a new theme, assures us 
that the preceding maxims have been tested. — / said "/ will be 
wise,^' but it was far from me]. Though Qoheleth could by wis- 
dom test some things, he declares that he had found it impossible 
to become actually wise. The verse really forms a transition to a 
new topic. — 24. Far off is that which exists]. ' ' That which exists " 
seems here to refer to the true inwardness of things, the reality 
below all changing phenomena. This is ''far off," man can never 
grasp it. — Deep, deep]. The repetition is for emphasis. — Who 
can find it?]. On the thought of the verse, compare Job ii" « 
28>2.28 BS. 2428- 29 Bar. 3'^ -23. 29-31 and Rom. 11 •^•\— 25. To search and 
seek out], cf. i". — To know that wickedness is foolishness; and 
folly, madness]. Although it is impossible to find out the ultimate 
reality, as Qoheleth has just said, he could ascertain that wicked- 
ness is folly, and that folly is madness. — 26. More bitter than death]. 


Death is frequently thus spoken of,r/. i S. 153= Pr. 5^ BS. 28-' 41'. — 
A woman who is snares and nets are her heart, and her hands fetters]. 
The Hebrews held that the sin and wretchedness of man entered 
the world through woman {c[f. Gn. 3 6'-5 BS. 25-'), but Gins, is 
wrong in thinking that is the thought here. Qoheleth is inveigh- 
ing against bad women in the vein of Pr. 5'- 22. 23 ^22. 23 221*. He 
does not mean to say that all women are destructive, for in 9'" 
he encourages honorable marriage as a source of happiness. — He 
that is good before God]. This and all that follows to the end of vs. 
McNeile regards a Chasid gloss. — 27. Adding one to one to find 
the sum]. This is an expression which impresses the reader with 
Qoheleth's laborious and thorough process of investigation. Per- 
haps Qoheleth was thinking of the experience of Solomon as de- 
scribed in I K. ii'ff. Cy. BS. 47'^ — 28. Again and again my soul 
has sought]. He does not say simply " I have sought." It was no 
mere curious inquiry of the intellect, but a heart search. — One 
man out of a thousand]. Possibly the number was suggested by 
the number in Solomon's harem (cf. 1 K. i^), but this is uncertain, 
as ''a thousand" is often used as a round number, see Ex. 2o« 
34^ Dt. I" Job 9' ;^^^^ Ps. 5010 84'" 90^ 1058 Is. 30'^ 60". — A woman 
among all these I have not found]. This implies that Qoheleth 
was something of a misogynist. He had apparently had some 
bitter experience with a member of the opposite sex. He is more 
than reflecting the Oriental view that women are more prone to 
sin than men. Chrysostom, Hom. Ad. Cor. 28, represents the 
Oriental view when he says, ''Satan left Job his wife, thinking she 
would further his purposes." Qoheleth is saying "perfect men 
are rare, perfect women are non-existent." 

29. Sieg. and McN. are right in regarding this verse as the work 
of a Chasid glossator. — God made men upright], probably a refer- 
ence to Gn. I"- 2^ — They have sought out many contrivances]. 
The point of view here is that of the writer J. in Gn. 42'" 6*^. 
Perhaps the Chasid intended to suggest that the harem was one of 
man's wicked contrivances. 

23. n?:Dn3 p^dj], cf. n::Dn3 nip, I'l. — nn^ns Tin?:?*] is omitted as a gl. 
by Zap. and Ha. for metrical reasons. — hcdhn is the only instance 
of acohortative in the book. It expresses strong resolve. — 24, n\-itr hdJ 


was misinterpreted by C6 and &. Probably their text had been cor- 
rupted to n-'nB'!:. — n">nr] usually means events or phenomena which 
exist (i9 315 6'"), but the context makes it necessary to understand it 
here as that which underlies phenomena. — pr^y pny], an ancient ex- 
pression of the superlative by means of repetition, cf. Gcs."^- §i33k and 
Ko. §309m. — 25. o'i'i] is difficult. Gins, renders "I and my heart," 
taking it as a separate subj. AE., Herz., Moses, Stuart, Del. and Wr. 
construe with what follows: "I turned and my heart was to know." 
79 MSS., S, (5, and H, however, read ''3'^3, and as Winckler and 
McN. have seen, this must have been the original text, cf. 2'. — ?i3i:'nj, 
an Aram, word =" reckoning," "sum," cf. Ja. 509a. It occurs in BH. 
only here, in vvs. 27 and g^°. On its formation, cf. Barth, Nominal- 
hildimg, §202a. — Vd3 pan]. McN., on account of & and a reading of 
Jer. and some peculiarities of Ci>, holds that the original reading was 
>'rn Sdd. MT., as it stands, gives, however, a more climactic and clearer 
thought, and should be followed. — niSSin ni'^DOn], cf. on i'^ Sieg. 
and Ha. regard the vs. as a gl., the latter as a double gl. — 26. nxic], in 
late Heb. the part, is used instead of various forms of the verb, and here 
is equivalent to a perfect, cf. Ko. §239g. In late Heb. verbs "nS are 
often confused with verbs "nS, as here {cf. Ges.^- 75rr). Del. points 
out that in the Talmud (Yebamoth, 63b) it is said to have been common 
in Palestine to inquire after a wedding nxid in nx?: — " happy or un- 
happy?" One ref. was to Pr. 18^2, the other to this passage. — n\"i] is 
here the copula, cf. Gn. 72. — om^fr] (^ read iixd (sing.). — "ic'N nc'Nn 
DniXD N^n]="the woman who is nets." Cf. nScn ""JNi, Ps. io9<. 
.Sieg. regards the vs. as genuine, while Ha. looks upon it as a double 
gloss. Ha. declares that Qoh. was no misogynist, but favored happy 
marriage, and refers for proof to ch. 9'". It is difficult to escape the 
conclusion, however, that the words here employed are sharpened by 
a bitter personal experiencie with some woman. The passage referred 
to (ch. 9'o) urges enjoyment with a woman, not the placing of trust in 
her. — 27. nSnp n-^Dx] is the only place where nSnp occurs with a fem. 
vb. Cf. I* 12* 12'". In 12* we have nSnpn -idn, and the majority of 
scholars so take it here (Grot., Houb., Mich., Durell, Van der P., Stuart, 
Elst., Heil., Wr., Wild., Ges.^- §i22r, Ko. §25 id, and Dr.).— 28. nir-N] 
Perles would change to ncs, but nothing in the versions supports this. 
Ko. (§383a) regards "\C'n far more effective. — "(i^'] as in Ru. i'^ here= 
"again and again." — din] is explained by Gr. and Sieg. as a Grajcism 
for &v6pu)iros, but as McN. has noted din is opposed to nti'N in Gn. 
222. 23. 25 08. 12. 17. 20. 21 Q )^ whcre there can be no Greek influence. — nrNJ. 
Perhaps Q. is thinking of the S^n ntrN of Pr. 31'". — 29. 12'^], "alone," 
then "only," occurs here in an unusual sense. Its occurrence in Is. 26" 
is kindred, but not quite parallel. — D^nd], generic =" mankind," as ncn 
shows. — nr"']=" honorable," "morally upright," cf. i S. 29*. — Pij3rn], 


a rare word, occurring only here and in 2 Ch. 26'5. It means "contriv- 
ances," "devices." In Ch. it is applied to engines of war. 

S^ K — Reflections on despotism. 

8'. n 7/0 /.v /i^c the loisc man f 

And who knows the interpretation of a matter? 

The wisdom of a man illumines his face 

And the coarseness of his countenance is changed. 

2. Observe the command of a king, even on account of the oath 


E\iL MATTER, for what he will he does. ^ For the word of a king is 
supreme, and who shall say to him: what doest thou? 



For the misery of man is great upon him. 

T. For there is no one who knows that which shall be, for when it 
shall be, who shall tell him ? *. No man has mastery over the wind, to 
restrain the wind, nor is he ruler in the day of death, nor is there a 
furlough in war, nor will wickedness effect an escape for its owners. 
'■'. All this I have seen and have applied my heart to all the work that 
is done under the sun , at a time when man has power over man to his hurt. 

8'. Who is like the wise man]. This verse which consists of two 
gnomic sayings, has been rightly regarded by Sieg. and McN. as 
from the hand of the Hokma glossator. — Illumines his face], 
gives it graciousness and power to inspire {cf. Nu. 6" Ps. 4«), 
enables it to express courage {cj. Job 29-'), and intelligence {cf. 
Ps. i9«). — The coarseness of his countenance is changed], such 
is the transforming power of character. 

2. On account of the oath of God], probably the oath of allegiance 
taken at the king's coronation, cf. i Ch. 11 ^ 29" Jos. Ant. xv, 
10'; xvii, 2\ McN. rightly assigns this clause to the Chasid 
glossator. Qoheleth's statements are greatly strengthened when 
the glosses are removed. Sieg. and Ha. needlessly assign the 
whole section to glossators. — 3. Do not rashly go from before him], 
rebel against him or renounce his service. — Stand in an evil matter]. 
This is ambiguous. It may mean (i) "Linger not in," (2) 
"Enter not in" (r/. Ps. i' 106" Je. 23'*), or (3) "Stand" (as king) 


(r/. Dn. 8" i i^o). Probal^ly the second meaning is nearer the writ- 
er's thought, at least the context favors the interpretation ''enter 
not into opposition to him." See, however, crit. note. — For what 
he will he does]. It is accordingly folly for a puny subject to op- 
pose him. This bears out the interpretation we have given to the 
preceding clause. — 4. For the word of a king is supreme]. This is 
given as an additional reason for the preceding exhortation. — Who 
shall say to him, what doest thou?], a thought which is several 
times expressed concerning God (cf. Is. 45 ^ Job g'^ Wisd. i2'2), 
but is here purposely used to describe the autocratic power of a 

5. A commandment-keeper shall know no harm]. This statement 
is brought in in such a way that the "commandment" seems to be 
that of the king previously referred to — a fact which has led many 
interpreters to compare it to Rom. 131-5. The word for command 
is usually applied to commands of Yahweh (see crit. note), and 
the thought contradicts vvs. 6b and 7. McNeile is accordingly 
right in regarding the vs. as from the Chasid glossator. — Kjiow no 
harm], "know" is used in the sense of "experience," as in Ez. 
25'^ Ho. 9^ — Time and judgment], i.e., the final end and de- 
termination. — The wise heart knows], cf. Ps. 90'". — 6^ For every 
matter has a time and judgment]. This remark is also from the 
Chasid annotator, and gives his reason for the preceding remark. 

6 . For the misery of man is great upon him]. This, except the 
word "for" which is editorial, is a remark of Qoheleth himself, 
and connects immediately with the statement of vs. 4, concern- 
ing the irresponsible character of the king, though it has now been 
removed from it by the glossator's interpolations. It is the be- 
ginning of Qoheleth's reflections upon the evils of tyranny. — 7. No 
one who knows that which shall he]. This is not as in 3" and 6'2 
simply a reference to the fact that the future is unknown, but to 
the fact that one never knows what an irresponsible despot will 
do. The writer blends, however, his statement of the impossi- 
bility of knowing what a despot will do with a statement of the 
inscrutable character of the future. — When it shall be]. Neither 
can one tell when the despot will choose to do it. The uncertainty 
causes misery. — 8. No man has mastery over the winds], cf. ch. 11*. 


Qoheleth illustrates the powerlessness of man to know the future 
by examples of his powerlessness in other respects. He cannot 
control the winds. The wind is one of God's grandest creations 
(Am. 4'3), and a symbol of his power (Na. i^), the control of 
which is in his own hands (Pr. 30^). — Nor is he ruler in the day of 
death], a second example of man's powerlessness. — Nor is there 
furlough in war]. This statement seems to contradict Dt. 20^-** 
25^ According to i Mac. 3*« Judas Maccabaeus conformed to 
one of these laws. John Hyrcanus (135-104 B.C.) employed 
foreign mercenaries {cf. Jos. Ayit. xiii, 8^). No soldier in such 
ranks could obtain a discharge when his employer had a war on 
hand. Such mercenaries had been employed freely in Egypt 
from the time of the XXVIth dynasty {cf. Breasted's History 
of Egypt, p. 569 ff.), and by the Persians in all periods of their 
history; so that it was in Qoheleth 's day no new thing. The 
allusion is probably to such soldiers, and thus becomes a third 
illustration of Qoheleth's point. — 9. All this I have seen\\hc power 
of the despot described in vvs. 1-8. — Applied my heart to all the 
work\ thoughtfully considered, or investigated. — When man has 
power over man to his hurt]. This is an apt description of the in- 
justices of an Oriental despotism. Such injustice has existed 
under every Oriental monarchy, the allusion accordingly affords 
no clue to the date. "To his hurt" is ambiguous, (f^, ^ and ©, 
which are followed by Kn., Gins., Zo., Del. and Wild., make it 
refer to the second man. S and Hitzig and Ha. take it to refer 
to the first man. The first of these views is the correct one. The 
retribution to which allusion is made at the end of vs. 9 is often 
delayed, and meantime the subjects of the tyrant suffer. 

8'. DDnn^] for the more common dd."I3. The full writing of the article 
occurs not infrequently in later Hebrew, cf. Ges.*^- §35n. — "^B'c], an 
Aram, loan word, occurring only here in BH., but frequently in Aram. 

{cf. Dn. 2^- *• •■ ''■ 9- IS. 24 25. 26. 30. 36. 45 ^4 . 6. 15. 16. 21 ^12. 16^ q^q -(^J-,] llCrC 

= " thing," "matter," as in i"* and 7^. — vjd "^"Np], cf. Nu. 6» Ps. 4^ 
Job 2924 Pr. i6'5 and BS. 13" (Heb.) for -nN with a>J^>', Ps. ly*.— d^jd t^]. 
The Versions read ?;; the adj., not v; the noun. This should be 
adopted. It is used of "shamelessness," "impudence," or "coarse- 
ness," cf. Dt. 285" i^r. 7'3 2i29 Dn. 823.— kjc-;] for n^C';. n"^ and n"^ 
verbs are often confused in the later books, cf. Ges.^- §75rr and 2 K. 


25" with Je. 52^3 and La. 4'. Some of the Rabbis interpreted this as 
fr. nj::'= "change," others fr. Nj>="hate" (so (6 and ^), see the dis- 
cussions cited by Del. and Wr. from the Tahnud, Shabbath, 30b, and 
Taanith, 7b.— 2. ^jn] is difficult, Heil., Gins., Del., Wr., Sieg. and 
Ha. supply ••m;:N as in 2'- 's, etc. These passages are, however, not 
parallel, for in the nine cases in which Q. uses this expression he presents 
the products of his observations, which is not the case here. Wild, 
conjectures that the reading was "'J2, as so often in Prov. 1-9, but 
this is purely conjectural. (&, &, ul and A, which Eur. follows, read 
nx, which is probably the correct reading. — ""fl] by metonomy for "com- 
mand," cf. Gn. 4521 Ex. 17' Lv. 24'2 Nu. 3I6 Job 39". — "i^.P], Sieg. con- 
tends, is used in Qoh., without the art., in a definite sense like /3a<ri\€us, 
but it does not seem necessary so to regard it. — mon S;'], cf. on 3I8. — 
d^iSn niV3c']= ni,-i> m;3U- of Ex. 2210 2 S. 2V i K. 2". The genitive rela- 
tion is used instead of 3, cf. Ko. §336t /3. — 3. ^.1:371], is taken by (&, & and 
A, which Dale, Sieg. and McN. follow, with the preceding verse. Two 
verbs may be combined, however, in a single idea, as is frequent in Heb., 
cf. Gn. 19" I S. 2^ 35 Zc. 8'5, etc., one of them having an adverbial force. 
Wild.'s objection that one of them must be in the inf. with V, does not 
hold for all cases. Cf. Da. §83 (c). — V^ ">3"i] Dt. i7» 2 K. 4^', etc. 

4. "irN3]="for," "because," cf. on 2^^ (~?i'?)- — pt^Sr], a noun, mean- 
ing "master," "ruler." It occurs in BH. only here and vs. 8. It is an 
Aram, loan word, occurring frequently in Jewish Aram., cf. Ja. i58ib^. 
It is here used adjeclively. — 5. msr] may be used either of a king, as 
I K. 2^3 2 K. iS^", or a man, as Je. 35'^ '^- '^ or of God, as Ezr. lo^, and 
frequently in D., e.g., Dt. 8'- 2. Cf. also Ps. 198. The Chasid intro- 
duced here a phrase coined concerning God, and made it apply ambigu- 
ously to a king. — ;n -lan], if this has the same meaning as in vs. 3, it 
means he will "know no wrong," i.e., will be innocent, but Zo. and 
Sieg. are right in taking it in the sense of >n of Ps. loi^ — 6. Von] = 
"matter," "business," cf. on 3', also Ko. §80. — nj,n], (&, 6 and A read 
p>n, but this gives no intelligible thought here, and must be an early 
corruption. — 7. hi.-it], & and ® add fliD3 or didS, but it is clearly 
an explanatory addition and not original. — itt'ND] was interpreted by 
Kn., Hit., Heil. and Zo. as "how," but Gins, and Del. rightly oppose 
this. It always means "when," even in Qoheleth, cf. 4'^ 5^ and 8'6. 
— 8. ta-'Sc'], an adj., cf. BDB. 1020b and Barth, NB. §35. Elsewhere the 
word is a noun. On the root toSr, see on 2'9. — ~^] points to a conse- 
quence, cf. Ko. §4o6a. — nnn ns nSdS] is regarded by Zap. and Ha. as 
a gl., on account of their metrical theory. — pto'^'k:'], see on vs. 4. — rn'^c::], 
a late word, occurring elsewhere in BH. only in Ps. 78^^ It is found in 
Aram, in the Midrash to Numbers, cf. Ja. 855b. — nonSc^], (& read 
nonSn dv3. Possibly this is the correct reading, though as McN. 
suggests, it may be a corruption arising from an accidental doubling of 


the D in nnnScj. — V^ya], see on 5'".— 9. jipji], an inf. abs. used as a 
finite verb, cf. ch. 9" Gn. 41", also Ges.^^- §ii3z, Da. §88(a), and 
Ko. §2i8b. — 3S ppj], cj. on i'^. — .n;'], ace. of time, cj. Je. 51" and Ko. 
§33 lb. Others, as McN., take it as the beginning of a new sentence = 
"there is a time." 

810-iJ. Results of righteousness and godlessness the same. 

8'". And then I saw wicked men buried, carried even from the holy 
place, and they used to go about and be praised in the city because they 
had done so. This also is vanity. 


•*. There is a vanity which is done upon the earth, that there are 
righteous men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked, 
and there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work 
of the righteous, — I say that this also is vanity. '\ And I praised glad- 
ness, because there is no good for a man under the sun, but to cat and 
to drink and to rejoice, and it shall attend him in his toil the days of 
his life, which God gives to him under the sun. 

10. Wicked men buried], i.e., puss away in honor. Not to be 
buried was to be greatly dishonored, cf. Je. i6^ * 22''-'. See also 
on 6\ — Carried even from the holy place]. For the reasons for this 
rendering, see critical note. These wicked men had ])assed their 
lives even in the temple, where they ought never to have been toler- 
ated. The holy place is the sanctuary, cf. Lv. 7^ — They used to 
go about and be praised], for the justification of this rendering, 
see critical note. — In the city], probaljly Jerusalem. — Because they 
had done so], i.e., had ruled over others to their hurt, cf. vs. 9, the 
end. The verse is a further confirmation of the fact that retribution 
does not always quickly overtake the ''possessors of wickedness." 

11. Sentence as to an evil deed is not accomplished qtiickly]. The 
Chasid glossator here takes up the thought of Qoheleth that retri- 
bution is sometimes delayed. So correctly, Sieg., Ha. and McN. — 
The Jieart of the sons of men is fully given to do evil], i.e., men are 
governed by childish evasions of penalty, cf. Ps. 73"". — 12. 


Although a sinner does evil exceedingly and prolongs his days], is 
not prematurely cut off from those blessings which that age re- 
garded as the peculiar rewards of the righteous, cf. on 6^ For 
the basis of the rendering ''exceedingly," see critical note. This 
vs. is also a comment of the Chasid glossator. — / know that it shall 
be well with them that fear God\. The sinner, in the view of this 
annotator, runs the risk of disastrous retribution, but the religious 
man, although his actual lot may be no more prosperous than that 
of some rich men, is nevertheless free from this risk. — Who fear 
before him]. This is, for metrical reasons, regarded by Zap. and 
Ha. as a gloss. It is probably simply a tautology of the late period 
of the language, r/.ch. 42- s and 6^ — 13. // shall not be well with the 
wicked]. This reflects the orthodox Jewish doctrine, see Pr. 
io25. 27 1427 j53i Job 526 1^32 20^- ' 22i« Is. 65^" Ps. 39« I02" Wisd. 48. 
— Nor shall he prolong his days]. This seems to contradict vs. 12. 
Probably the Chasid glossator (for the verse clearly reflects his 
hand, so Sieg., Na. and McN.) meant to state his conviction that, 
generally speaking, the wicked man did not prolong his days, and 
that the concession made in the preceding vs. represents the ex- 
ception rather than the rule. — Like a shadow]. There are three 
ways of explaining these words: (i) With RV. and McN. we 
may take them as an emblem of transitoriness, expressive of the 
rapidly fleeting life of the sinner, cf. RV., "His days which are 
as a shadow." This interpretation has in its favor the fact that 
the figure elsewhere in the OT. has this force, cf. on 6'2. (2) (B, 
#, H, followed by Hit. and others, divide the vs. differently, render- 
ing "like a shadow are those who do not fear God," taking the 
figure to indicate the transitoriness of the sinners themselves. 
(3) The rendering we have followed takes the figure differently, 
and makes the point of the illustration the fact that at evening the 
shadows become long, and implies that sinners never reach the 
evening of life. Although not used in that sense elsewhere, there 
is no good reason w^hy it may not be so used here. 

14. Righteous men to whom it happens according to the work of 
the wicked]. In Job 21' this fact is stated as in passionate grief, 
here with a calmness which indicates that it had become a part of 
the recognized order of things, though one of the proofs of the 


** vanity '-^ of life. Or is the difference one of artistic expression, 
the poet in Job speaking in the character of an acute sufferer, while 
Qoheleth speaks as a reflecting thinker? " Work " is used as the 
fruits of work, or "wages."— 15. / praised gladness]. The re- 
flections of Qoheleth bring him back to the thought expressed in 
322 and 5'». It runs like a refrain through the book. It is a mate- 
rialistic point of view, but it kept the writer from despair. Life 
is out of joint, the rewards of goodness and wickedness are often 
reversed, no ray of light falls on the future, but make the most of 
the present; eat, drink and have a good time while one can, per- 
haps on the ground that God even could not rob one of pleasures 
actually enjoyed. 

10. p3 made up of 2 and p, a combination which occurs besides in 
BH. only in Est. 4'*, but is common in Aram. {cf. BZ>B. 486a, and Ja. 
170a, 647b). It is an Aramaism. (& correctly renders it t6t€. — in3i] 
should be emended on the authority of (S, IC and &" to c^n2i::. The 
text of M. is here meaningless, as the various renderings which "in31 has 
received at the hands of interpreters prove — some having taken it to 
mean "entering into the world" (Kn., Gins, and Wr.); others, "enter 
into life" (Ew.), and still others, "enter into rest" (Zo., Wild., Sieg., 
Ha.). The emendation makes a translation possible. On the construc- 
tion of D^N3i::, cf. K6. §41 la. — --ip D i-'r] naturally means temple {cf. 
Lv. 7« Mt. 2410 • This natural meaning suits our emended text. The 
difficulty of rendering it with 1x3 has led some to render "grave" (Ew., 
Marsh.), others "Jerusalem" (Hit., Wild.), while Del. and K6. (§305d) 
rightly take it as "holy place." — oSri":] is, as the text stands, difficult. 
To take it as=a Hiph., as many do, is also unsatisfactory. Elsewhere 
the Piel is not used for the Kal. On the basis of (I, &", 'A and we 
should emend to iDS.-fi, Eor the force of the Piel, cf. ch. 4'^ ii^ and 
Job 24'". — inDPU-^i] is difficult. It, too, should be emended, according 
to (S, 'A, e, K, H, ^, &" and 20 MSS., to in2PU-M (so Kn., Winck., 
Marsh.), which is here pass, and not reflexive, cf. Ko. §101. — "t^] is 
to be taken in its ordinary sense of "thus." The difficulties of trans- 
lating MT. as it stands led Kn., Gins., Del. and Ha. to take iry p = 
"to do right," and to suppose that two classes are referred to in the 
verse, p has this meaning in 2 K. 7", but here it should be akin to p3 
in some way. The original text, as the versions testify, made allusion 
to but one class, S alone taking this as Del. does. — 11. ^f K^]' ^^-j Wild, 
and Albrecht {ZAW. XVI, 115) would point ryty}^ but Del. and Wr. 
take it as fem. part, (not 3d sing, fern.) as it stands, regarding ajnc 
a fem. as well as masc. in gender. This is probably right.— aJPo] 


is a Persian word, in old Persian patigama, late Pers. paigam, Armenian 
patgam. In BH. it occurs elsewhere only in Est. i'^", hut frequently 
in Aram., cf. Dn. 3'6 4" Ezr. 4'^ e^■ i' 6". — In post-BH. it occurs in BS. 
511 8».— n>nn n::7?:], (g, 19, ^ and A read n;nn ^tr*;?:. The analogy 
of 55 La. 42 and Ct. 72 is in favor of MT. as it stands. — nnn?;] here, 
as usually in BH., an adverbial ace, cf. Nu. 17" Dt. ii^^ Jos. 8'' lo'' 
23'*, etc. — :h nS::] is a late Heb. expression, cf. ch. 9^ Est. 7* and Ex. 
3535 (ps.). In Aram. (Targ. of On.) it means "comfort the heart," 
cf. Ja. 789b. Here it means that the thoughts (3'^) are fully occupied 
with evil plans. — nna] is a pleonasm, not uncommon in late writing. 
— 12. N^n] for Ni?n. On the mixture of verbs n""^ and n"'^, cf. on 726, — nxc], 
SI supplies D^jc*. One has to supply this, or D^c^ or a^nyo. The last 
is favored by Zo., Del., Wr. and McN. The omission of the noun is 
harsh and unusual. The Vers, had different readings, showing the text 
to be corrupt. <&, &» and H read rvs:: {cltto rdre). 'A, S and 6 read 
dw^6avev=nT2 or P''?:, while IC has a conflate of both readings. U, 
^ and (U support MT. As McN. observes (p. 148), none of these are 
satisfactory. It is necessary to presuppose an original which will ac- 
count for all readings. McN. suggests two possibilities: (i) A scribe 
began to write "inxDi, but having accidentally omitted ^, discovered 
his mistake when he had written "(xa and wrote the word again. Then 
"inNonN:: became 'n-i tn?:, and later 'ni nsD and 'ni nr:. (2) The 
original text had ind, which would similarly give rise to the variants. 
The latter seems the more probable and has been adopted above in the 
translation. — I^nd]; d-'D"' is to be understood in thought, cf. on 715. 
— OJ o]. Ko.'s " wenn auch" (§394f) does not suit the context. Heil.'s 
"tamen" or McN.'s "surely also" is much more probable. — 3ia n>r\>]. 
The thought is similar to the D. point of view {cf. Dt. 6^^) and the Chasid 
(Ps. 37"). Zap. and Ha. for metrical reasons regard v^ehr^ iNn-o ic'n] 
as a gloss. It is tautological, but not more so than the book is elsewhere. 
— 13. '"'^i], (S read Sx3. ^sd makes much better sense, and the variant 
is probably due to an early corruption. — 14. V"\Nn '^;'], a variant for rnn 
U'uja'n, which is more common. — ic'NJHa. regards as a gloss. — ~^n V^^J^ 
"to happen to," cf. Est. 9^6 Ps. 32s also Ko. §323d. (&^ read -'';* >^j:; 
here. — nryc], for the peculiar use of this word, cf. i S. 252. — orj-], cf. on 
1". — 15. Nini] begins a new clause. — iJ'i'^"'], "cling to" or "accompany" 
one, cf. BDB. 530b. It takes an ace. like r»3n in Gn. i9'9. For metri- 
cal reasons. Ha. regards w'crn mn and 0"'n'?Nn "iS jnj as glosses. — 
CN 13 = "but," cf. Ko. §372i. 

8'f' 9'. Knowledge cannot be obtained, yet Qoheleth, knowing this, 
makes the effort. 

8'6. When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the toil that is 
done upon the earth — for both day and night he sees no sleep with his 


eyes — •^ then I saw all the work of God, that man is not able to fathom 
the work that is done under the sun; for as much as man may toil to 
search, but he will not fathom it, and even if the wise man think he is 
about to know, he will not be able to fathom it. 9'. For all this I took to 
heart, and my heart saw all this, that the righteous and the wise and 
their works are in the hand of God; also men do not know love or hate; 
all before them is vanilv. 

16. When I gave my heart]. This is the protasis, the apodosis 
of which occurs in vs. 17, the last part of vs. 16 being a parenthesis. — 
Toil that is done upon the earth]. This recalls ch. i'', in which the 
toil of men is described Ijv the same graphic Hebrew word. — He 
sees no sleep]. "He" refers to man. In i''' the toil is called the 
toil of man, and the writer here presupposes that man as the 
victim of the toil is lying in the background of the reader's thought 
as in his own. "To see sleep" is an unusual figure, but is used 
by Cicero, Ad Fa mil tares, vii, 30: ^^Fnit enim mirifica vigilantia, 
qui suo toto consnlatu somnumnonvideriV^ ; also Terence, Heaiitonti- 
morumenos, HI, 1,82: ^^Somnum hercle ego hac node oculis non vidi 
meis.^^ Ordinarily in the Bible the thought is expressed differently, 
cf. Gn. 31^" Ps. 132' Pr. 6^ It is, however, simply a bold metaphor 
which anyone might employ, and no dependence on extra Hebrew 
sources need be suspected. — 17. He may toil to search, but he will 
not fathom it]. This is a stronger expression of the thought than 
that in 7-'. The unsearchable nature of divine things is similarly 
proclaimed also in Job ii"' and Rom. ii^^ — F.ven if the wise man 
think he is about to know, he will not be able to fathom it]. Qohe- 
leth had seen, apparently, the inutility of many systems and the 
inefficacy of many universal panaceas. — 9'. / gave my heart]. 
The heart, as so often, is used for the whole inner nature including 
the mind. — And my heart saiv]. For the justification of the text 
on which this translation rests, see critical notes. — The righteous 
and the wise and their works are in the hand of God]. Qoheleth, 
as so often, recognizes God's supreme sovereignty over human 
affairs. — Men do not know love or hate], probably God's love or 
hate, i.e., they can never tell, from what they do, whether God is 
going to treat them as though he loved them or hated them . The 
occurrences of life accord so ill witli character, that whether God 


loves or hates an individual is one of the inscrutal)le things men- 
tioned in the preceding vs., which man cannot fathom. — All before 
them is vanity]. For the text of this rendering, see crit. note to 
vs. 2. The meaning is, all before men is a blank, they can gain 
no knowledge of God's attitude toward them or of the future. 

16. nrvS'D]="when," cf. Gn. 12I' 18^3, etc. — ''^S nx Tnj], cf. on i". 
— Vy;r^], cf. on I '3. — DJ id], as RV., Wild., Sieg., McN., etc., have noted, 
begins a parenthesis. — njr] is the object of the act. part. nxi. — vjiya] is 
regarded by Ha. as a gl., because of his metrical theory. — 17. TiiNm]. 
■» introduces the apodosis. — dniVn."! nfyo], as Wild, notes this is = 
nt";i nrx and shows that Q. ascribes all activities to God. Ha. 
erases the words as a gl. — NVir:V] is used in an intellectual sense, cf ch. 
3" 729 Job ii7 and Je. 25.— nu'N Wd], Kn., Ew., Hit., Heil. and Dr. 
(hesitatingly) emend to Sd3 following (^. Del., Wr., Eur. and others 
hold that ^D is due to an early correction, ^'Z':i being parallel to the 
Aram. — ' '^nD, which occurs in Targ., Onk., Gn. 6^. In Jonah i^ we 
find "'^^Sco, and i'^ ^h'C'2. Such compounds are late and influenced by 
Aramaic. C/". Ja. 140a and K6. §§3890 and 2840. — as O)] corresponds 
to Ph. DN AN, CIS. No. 3", cf Ko. §394f. — "S "icx] applies to 
thought, cf. Ex. 2'^ and 2 S. 2ii«. — 9'. -113S1] is taken differently by 
different scholars. Hit., Heil., Gins, and Zo. take it as from "in, 
which in the Mishna is used as "prove," etc. (cf. Ja. 197b), and re- 
gard it as an inf. used instead of the finite verb, cf. i S. 8'2, Je. i7>'' 1912 
2 Ch. 7'^ (cf for constr. Ko. §4135). Del., Wr. and Wild, take it from 
the same root, but supply "Ti^in with it, as ^''^ is used in 3'^ with rwn^. 
Gr. and Ko. (§4i3s) emend with H, ® and A to ninSi. (S, 2C and ^, 
which are followed by Bick., Sieg., McN. and Ha., read n? Vd tn dn-i n'^i, 
which is probably right. This reading has been adopted above. — "^w n = 
"that" as in 8^^, cf. BDB. 83a. — -" '^j;.], a.X. in BH. It is an Aramaism, 
cf. Syr. '^bada and BDB. 714b. Ha.'s theory of the book leads him to 
break this vs. into four glosses and scatter it to different parts of the work. 
— '^o^], vs. 2, was read ^2n by (S, 2C, & and A, and attached to vs. i. 
This is rightly followed by Dale, Sieg. and McN., and has been 
adopted above. 

Q2-6 __xhe hopelessness of humanity's end. 

9% Inasmuch as to all is one event, to the righteous and to the wicked, 
to the clean and to the unclean, to the sacrificer and to him who does not 
sacrifice; as is the good, so is the sinner; he who swears is as he who 
fears an oath. '. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that 
one fate is to all, and also the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, 
and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after it, — to the dead! 
*. For whoever is joined to all the living, there is hope (for him), for 


verily a living dog is better than a dead lion. ^ For the living know 
that they shall die, but the dead know not anything; they have no longer 
a reward, for their memory is forgotten. «. Also their love as well as 
their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have again 
no portion forever in all that is done under the sun. 

2. Inasmuch as]. For justification of this text, see critical note. 
— To all is one event], death, cf. 2'^ 3' 9. As Qoheleth had no faith 
in anything beyond death, this seemed to him to reduce good and 
bad to one level regardless of moral distinctions. — To the clean and 
to the unclean]. The words might have either a moral or ceremonial 
content, but as righteous and wicked have disposed of the moral 
class, it is probable that reference is now made to ceremonial clean- 
ness and uncleanness. — He who swears]. The analogy of the series, 
in which the bad character uniformly comes first, compels us to 
take this of profane swearing which was prohibited (Ex. 20", cf. 
Mt. 5''^),and not with Plumtre, of that judicial swearing which was 
commended (Dt. 6 '3). — He who fears an oath], he who observes 
his oath by God as in Is. 65'^ Ps. 63". — 3. This is an evil in all]. 
Many scholars regard this as equivalent to a superlative, i.e., *'the 
greatest evil among all," cf. Ob. 2 and La. i'. For details, see the 
critical note. Whatever determination one may reach about the 
Hebrew method of expressing the superlative, the writer surely 
means to say that the evil which he is about to mention, is of special 
prominence. — Hearts of the sons of men are full of evil], full of dis- 
content and unsatisfied longing. — Madness is in their hearts]. Life, 
according to Qoheleth, consists of vain strivings, fond hopes and 
wild desires, cf. i'- 2^-. — To the dead]. The broken construction 
gives dramatic vividness to Qoheleth 's gloomy outlook. — 4. Who- 
ever is joined to all the living]. The peculiar introduction of "all " 
gives emphasis to Qoheleth's lack of belief in a future life. — There 
is hope from him], hope that he may eat and drink and get some 
enjoyment out of life, cf. 2-' 5'^ — A living dog]. The dog is an 
object of contempt in the East, see i S. 24'^ 2 S. 3* 169 Mt. 15" 
Rev. 22". — A dead lion]. The lion was a symbol of regal power, 
and is used metaphorically of Jacob (Gn. 49") and of God (Job 
10" Is. 38" La. 3"' and Ho. 13^). Death reduces the kingly lion 
to a level below that of the living dog, because it reduces him to a 

t6o fxclesiastes 

state of nothingness. — 5. For the living know that they shall die]. 
The clause presents a reason for the statement of the preceding 
verse, but the reason betrays a strange mood of pessimism. — The 
dead know not anything]. To have power to perceive that one 
must die is to be greater than the dead, who have no knowledge. 
Qoheleth's eschatology is that of Ps. 88'" and 115'^ — For their 
memory is forgotten]. That a dead man would be forgotten seems 
to have been taken for granted by the Hebrews, cf. Ps. 9® 31'^ 41 ^ 
This fact constitutes for Qoheleth one of the great tragedies of 
life, cf. I" 2'^ This verse is quoted and opposed in Wisd. 2*. — 
6. Their love as well as their hate and their jealousy have already 
perished]. The strongest passions are hushed in the calm of death. 
— No portion forever . . . under the sun]. The dead are denied 
participation in the only world of which Qoheleth knows, this to 
his mind makes the pathos of death a tragedy. 

92. Sdh]. See on vs. i. -ic*nd], (g, S and 1 apparently read -*rN3 {cf. 
McN. 149). This is rightly followed by Zap. and McN., and has been 
adopted above. — ^loS] is a supernumerary in the text. Gins, held that 
it was introduced before nintaS and NDta^ to show that these referred to 
moral, not ceremonial, qualities; it not only makes awkward Heb., but the 
moral qualities have been included in the preceding pair. j&, H and A 
added >nS to make another balanced pair, but (& omits 2VjS altogether, and 
is rightly followed by Bick., Wild, and Sieg. (& has apparently preserved 
many pre-Aqiban readings in this passage, and this one has been adopted 

above. — Nn> ^''^^l, for rhetorical effect the structure of the last 

two pairs is varied. — 3. "^rii >'"(]. Kn., Hit., Gins., Ew. and Del. take this 
as a way of expressing the superlative, comparing Jos. 14'^ Ju. 6'* and 
Ct. i^ Wr. points out, however, that in these cases the adj. is accom- 
panied by the article, and that this is really parallel to Ob. 2 and La. i', 
where the adjs. do not have the art., and where it is doubtful whether 
the writers intended to express a superlative or not. — "inx ^"^pr:], cf. 
on 2" and 9^. — xSr;] may, as Del. and Wr. note, be either an adj. or a 
verb, but is probably a verb. Everywhere, except in Je. 6", it takes an 
ace. of material as here, cf. Dt. 6" t^t^''^^ 34^ — ."n'^Sm], cf. on i'^ Perhaps 
to be pointed niS(:'in. — inns], (g read onnnx, using the pi. suf. to refer 
to D">\s. 2 read DPnnN. The suffix of MT. need not, however, be 
altered. — D^nn Sn], Gins, insists that in translation Di^Sn must be added, 
but it is better with McN. to regard the expression as an abbreviated 
and forceful exclamation. — 4. -\Ci< t] is, as Del. observed, = " whoever." 
Cf. Ex. 32" 2 S. 20". Ko. (§39oe) regards it as="when." — "^na"'] 


does not fit the context. The Qr., 20 MSS. and (g, i&, Iff, QI, read n^n^, 
which should undoubtedly be adopted into the text, as has been done 
above. — pn'j3], an r- formation from ni33, occurring elsewhere in 
BH. only in 2 K. i8»9= Is. 36^ but found also in the Mishna and Talmud, 
cf. Ja., 156b. — 2Sd^], S may be taken as the prep, standing before the 
casus pendens (K6. §27ib), or as an emphatic particle=Ar. "la," 
As. "lu" (cf. Haupt, Johns Hopkins Circular, XIII, 107; Budde, ZAW., 
IX, 156; Ges."^- §i43e and Ko. §35id). The analogies are very evenly 
balanced, but seem to me slightly to preponderate in favor of the latter 

view. — 5. "^yc] forms a paronomasia with "iDf. — 6. aj di dj], cf. 

Is. 488. — -^^^J^" already," cf. on !•". 

Q7.16. — A restatement of Qoheleth's philosophy of life. 

97. Come eat thy bread with joy and drink thy wine with a glad heart, 
for already God has accepted thy works. ". At all times let thy garments 
be white, and let not oil be lacking for thy head. ^ Enjoy life with a 
woman whom thou lovest all the days of thy vain life which he gives 
thee under the sun, for it is thy lot in life and in thy toil whicli thou toilest 
under the sun. •". All that thy hand finds to do, do with thy might, for 
there is no work nor reckoning, nor knowledge nor wisdom in She'ol 
whither thou art going. ". And again I saw under the sun, that the 
race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the valiant; also there is no bread 
for the wise as well as no wealth for the intelligent and no favor for those 
who have knowledge; for time and chance shall happen to them all. 
'^ For even man knows not his time; like fish which are caught in an 
evil net, or like birds taken in a snare, — like them are the sons of men 
taken at an evil time, when it falls upon them suddenly. '^ Also this 
I have seen as wise under the sun and it appeared great unto me. ^*. There 
was a small city and few men in it, and there came against it a great king 
and surrounded it and built siege-works against it. ^s. And one found 
in it a poor, wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom, but no 
man remembered that poor man. '». And I said wisdom is better than 
might, but the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words are 
not heard. 

'^ The words of the wise heard in quiet (arc better) than the cry of a 
prince among fools. 

1*. Wisdom is better than implements of tear, but one sinner greatly 
destroys good. 

lO'. Dead flies corrupt the perfumer s ointment : 

More valued is a little wisdom than the ji^reat ,i^lo7y of folly. 
2. The heart of a wise man is for his rii^ht hand. 
But the heart of a fool is for his left. 

3. Also when a fool walks in the way his heart is lacking and he says 
of every one, he is a fool. 


9^ Come eat thy bread with joy\. The sudden transition leads 
Siegfried to find the hand of another author here. That, how- 
ever, seems unnecessary. Qoheleth, Hke other men, could come 
under the influence of various moods or various systems of thought. 
Each could possess him in turn without preventing the return of 
the other. Life has no outlook, its problems are insoluble, death 
will end all, but enjoy sensation and the sunshine while it lasts, 
this is his philosophy, cf. 2^* y^- 22 ^is gia^ When a modern man 
realizes how many different conceptions and moods he can 
entertain, he finds fewer authors in a book like Qoheleth. — Bread 
. . . and li'ine]. These are often taken as the means of subsistence 
or of hospitality, cf. Gn. 14' « 27=8 Dt. 3328 i S. 1620 25-8 Neh. 5^ 
La. 2'2 Tobit 4'5-i7. — Already God has accepted thy works]. The 
thought apparently is, God, by the constitution of the world, has 
left this as the only source of enjoyment, and this is evidence that 
such a course is acceptable to Him. As Hubert Grimme pointed 
out {Orient. Literaturzeitnng, VHI, col. 432^.), vvs. 7-9 are strik- 
ingly paralleled in a fragment of the Gilgamesh epic, published by 
Meissner in the Mitteiliingen der vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft, 
1902, Heft I. The passage (col. HI, 3^.) reads: 

Since the gods created man, 

Death they ordained for man, 

Life in their hands they hold, 

Thou, O Gilgamesh, fill indeed thy belly, 

Day and night be thou joyful. 

Daily ordain gladness, 

Day and night rage and make merry. 

Let thy garments be bright, 

Thy head purify, wash with water; 

Desire thy children, which thy hand possesses, 

A wife enjoy in thy bosom. 

Peaceably thy work (?).... 

The argument here is so closely parallel to that of Qoheleth that 
one can scarcely doubt but that he was influenced by the passage. 
The Gilgamesh epic can have been influenced neither by Stoic 
nor Greek thought. This passage shows that the combination of 
pessimism and brightness which we find in Qoheleth, is thoroughly 
Semitic, and, to the Semitic mind, congruous. See further above, 
Introduction, §6 (2). 


8. Let thy garments be white]. "White" corresponds to 
' ' bright " of the Babylonian epic. Bright colors and white were the 
colors for the clothing of courts, cf. Est. 8'*, and of festivals (see 
the Gilgamesh fragment above). Horace {Sat. II, 2"-«') shows 
that white garments were also in Rome the attire for enjoyment : 

file repot ia, natales, aliosve dienon 
Festos albatus celebrct. 
(Clothed in white he celebrates banquets, 
Birthdays or any other festal days.) 

The Talmud {Sabbat Ji 1 14a) lays a similar stress on white garments. 
— Oil . . .for thy head]. This takes the place of "thy head purify " 
in the Babylonian epic. Among the Hebrews oil was also a symbol 
of joy, cf. Ps. 235 45^ 104'* Pr. 27 » Am. 6«. The verse is quoted 
and opposed in Wisd. 2^-\ — 9. Enjoy life with a woman whom thou 
lovest]. Interpreters have noticed the absence of the definite 
article before "woman" and have drawn various inferences from 
it. Gins, saw in it a command to embrace whatever woman 
pleased one, and so gain the "delights of the sons of men" alluded 
to in 2« — a view which Plumtre opposes. The analogy of the 
Babylonian, which seems to be freely reproduced here, tends to 
confirm Ginsburg's view (see crit. note). Moreover, the passage 
was quoted and opposed in Wisd. 2 \ where it seems to have been 
understood of voluptuousness {cf. Wisd. 3'M')- Viewed thus, the 
passage presents no contradiction of ch. 726-28. — // is thy lot], cf. 
5' 8 8»*. The author of Wisdom was, however, a fierce opponent 
of Qoheleth (see above, Introd. §12), and possibly found in his 
words a more sinister meaning than Qoheleth intended. — 10. All 
that thy hand finds to do]. This context refers to methods of en- 
joyment. — Do with thy might], earnestly, or to the extent of thy 
ability, cf. Gn. 31". — For there is no work . . . in Sheol], cf. Is. 
i4»-" Ez. 32'* 32^ and the Babylonian poem of "Ishtar's Descent 
to the Underworld." This last describes it as: 

A place where dust is their food, their sustenance, clay, 
Light they do not see, in darkness they dwell. 
Its clothing, like birds', is a covering of wings; 
Over door and bolt dust is spread. 

For the full poem, see Babylonian and Assyr. Lit., Aldine ed., p. 
40S ff., or KB., VI, p. 80^., or Dhorme, Choix de textes religieux, 


p. 326^. — 11. Again I saw]. This introduces a new phase of the 
subject. In vs. i Qoheleth declared that righteous and wise are 
subject to the same fate as the wicked. He has proved it for the 
righteous, and now turns to take it up for the wise. — Under the 
sun], in this writer a frequent synonym of ''in this world." — The 
race is not to the swift\ Here are examples of the fact that the re- 
wards of this life are not given in accordance with ability or merit. 
Plumtre believes that this illustration indicates a late date, when 
Greek exercises had been introduced into Jerusalem. This was 
done in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, 174-164 B.C. (r/. 
I Mac. i'^ 2 Mac. 4^-'^. He forgets, however, that there were 
occasions in every age for competition in running, cf. 2 S. 18' 'J«. 
— No bread for the wise]. Three terms are used to describe intel- 
lectual power, "wise," "intelligent," and "those who have knowl- 
edge." — Time], a reference to 3'-«. The seasons appointed by 
God roll over humanity relentlessly, among them the time of death. 
— Chance] is here "evil chance" or "misfortune." It is not quite 
the thought of 2'^ ^^ y^ and 9^, for a different Hebrew word is used 
(see crit. note), but it borders closely upon it. — 12. Knows not his 
time]. "Time" is here ambiguous, it may mean the time of mis- 
fortune or the time of death. For similar uses, see Ct. 2^- Ez, 30^ 
The similes of fish caught in a net and birds taken in a snare make 
it probable that the time of death is meant. — 13. / saw as wise]. 
"I noted as an instance of wisdom." " Wisdom "=" wise act," 
just as "vanity" =" vain pursuit." 

14. A small city and a few men in it, and there came against it a 
great king]. Various conjectures have been made concerning this 
city. Hit. thought the siege of Dor by Antiochus III in 218 B.C. 
(Polybius, V, 66) was meant; PI., the siege of Dor by Antiochus 
VII (Sidetes), (Jos. Ant. xiii, 72); Wr., the siege of Abel-Beth- 
Maacah (2 S. 20'^ -22) 5 and Ha., the siege of Beth-sura by Antiochus V 
(i Mac. 6=" 2 Mac. ly). Ewald thought reference was made to 
Athens and Themistocles, and Friedlander to the siege of Syra- 
cuse by the Romans in 212 B.C. There is no certainty that any 
of these conjectures is right, and the conjectures of PI. and Ha. are 
ruled out by the dates, and that of Friedlander by the fact that 
Syracuse was taken; but more can be said in favor of Abel-Beth- 

PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE [Ch.9'-10^ 165 

Maacah than of any of the others, for we do not know why the 
other sieges were raised, but Abel-Beth-Maacah was reheved be- 
cause of the action of a wise woman. Wr. believes the "wise 
woman" was changed to "poor man," because it fitted better the 
sentiment of vs. 1 1 . — Siege-works]. For the reasons of this rendering, 
see critical note. — 15. One found in i/],for "there was found in it." 
— He delivered the city by his wisdom]. PI. admits that the parallel 
to Abel-Beth-Maacah (2 S. 20) is particularly strong, but the 
"poor wise man " instead of the "wise woman " strangely seems to 
him an insuperable oljjection to the identification. — N'o man re- 
membered that poor man]. The popular fancy is fickle, and })ublic 
servants, then as now, were often unrewarded. — 16. The wisdom of 
the poor man is despised and his words are not heard]. McN. holds 
that this contradicts vs. 15 if that is rendered as we have trans- 
lated it, and consequently takes the preceding vs. to mean "he 
would have delivered the city by his wisdom." Such a view at- 
tributes to Qoheleth too exact a use of language. In vs. 15 he 
was describing some actual, though to us unknown, incident; here 
he is stating the ordinary attitude of the world toward words of 
wisdom. See also critical note. The writer has established his 
assertion (9') that the wise as well as the righteous meet an un- 
worthy fate. 

9''-10^ are interpolations of the Hokma glossator, suggested 
by the "wise man" of the closing incident of the section. 
17. The verse is, as Sieg., Ha. and McN. have ]3erceivcd, clearly a 
proverb. — Words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of 
a prince among fools], — a strong contrast between the quiet strength 
of wisdom and the loud pretense of sham. PI. is reminded of the 
English proverb, " Great cry and little wool." — 18. Wisdom is better 
than implements of war], — a proverb suggested by the anecdote 
with which the preceding section closed. — One sinner greatly de- 
stroys good]. "Sinner" comes from a root which means "to 
miss" or "go wrong," and probably refers here to intellectual or 
moral slips. It is the contrary of the Hebrew ideal of "wisdom." 
Perhaps Qoheleth thought of some incident like that of Achan 
in Jos. 7. Many illustrations of the principle will readily occur 
to any one. Often the brilliant plans of a leader, faithfully fob 


lowed by many, have been brought to nothing by the stupid in- 
competence of one man. — 10'. Dead flies corrupt the perfiimer^s 
ointment]. FHes in the East are a great pest, they penetrate every- 
where. Entangled in oil, they would of course die, and decaying 
would spoil the ointment's odor. The proverb continues the idea 
of the preceding utterance. — More valued is a little wisdom]. 
The connection of this with the preceding aphorism is not very 
obvious. If the reading adopted is right, a contrast with the 
first part of the verse is presented. Perhaps, however, the text is 
corrupt; see critical note. The verse is to be regarded with Sieg. 
and McN, as from the hand of the Hokma glossator. 2. The 
verse is another proverb introduced as a gloss. — The heart of a 
wise man]. "Heart" is used for "inteUigence," "moral percep- 
tion" or "will." Perhaps it includes all three. — Is for his right 
hand], i.e., tends toward the right or fortunate direction or issue. 
"Right hand" has this moral meaning in the Talmud. See crit- 
ical note. — Heart of a fool is for his left], i.e., tends in the wrong 
direction. — 3. When a fool walks in the way], i.e., when he goes 
out for a walk. — His heart is lacking], i.e., his sound intelligence 
or right judgment. — He says of everyone, he is a fool]. In his 
jaundiced view all other men are wrong. 

7. 3ito 3':'] ="glad heart," cf. Est. 5^ and cf. i*^ 3.D\ ch. 7^ i K. 21^ 
It is the opposite of >"» :3^, Pr. 26-^. It is probable, from the contrast 
with this last expression, that there is an element of "good conscience" 
in the phrase. 

9. v:»n nN-i]= "enjoy life," cf. 2'. c-'n is left indefinite as in Ps. 
3413. — nariN nirN nrN] seems like a translation of the Bab. mar-hi-tum, 
"wife," perhaps from rlhu, "to love" {cf. MA. 588a). The line of 
the Babylonian epic runs: mar-hi-tum li-ih-ta-ad-da-am i-na su-ni-ka, 
"A wife enjoy in thy loins," — which favors Ginsburg's understanding of 
the passage. It does not indicate that Qoh. was more sensual than other 
Semites of antiquity, that with such frankness he alludes to such things. 
— "li^'N], after I'^^n, probably refers to ''C as its antecedent, as in 5'^ and 
8'*. If, as some have supposed, it refers back to nrN, Gn. 2" was in the 
writer's mind. That is not so probable. — iS^n id'' Sd], where it oc- 
curs the second time, is omitted by &, and is with Eur., Sieg., McN. and 
Ha. to be regarded as an accidental gloss. — sin ••o]. Oriental MSS. 
read N"»n ^d, which might make it refer back to nu'N. Cf. on the point 
K6. §35ob.— 10. ^•^'\ cf. on its use, Ju. 9" i S. lo^ 25*.— inr3] (g read 


tHDo, but the reading is not so good, inoa is best construed with 
nry, contrary to the Massoretic accents. — p^rn], cf. on 7". — pac'ni 
n::3ni np"ii] is for metrical reasons regarded by Zap. as a gloss. — '^"inco], 
on its use as a proper name, cf. Ko. §293c. — DC* ")'^n nnx nc'N] Ha. re- 
gards as gl., for metrical reasons. On the vs. as a whole, cf. Heb. text 
of Ben Sira 14" '2. — 11. nsni tiju-], a Heb. idiom for "again I saw," cf. 
on 4' and also Ko. §369r. — nsni] is an inf. absol. used instead of the 
finite verb, cf. Ko. §2i8b. So most interpreters, Sieg. would emend 
on the analogy of 4' to -"iNnxi. — rn::], this masc. form is used only 
here. The usual form is nxn-, cf. 2 S. iS^^ Je. 8^ 22'^. Wr. thought 
that the masc. form might indicate a late date, but the fem. form is 
used in NH. (see Ja. 839). — >*)'?]= "accident," occurs in BH. only 
here and in i K. 5'*, though found in NH. {cf. Ja. 1135). It may rep- 
resent either a good or bad occurrence. In i K. ^^^, >"« is added to it 
to express the meaning " misfortune." Here it has that meaning without 
>"^. n-\|->"'] is masc. to agree with yjfl. — 12. 0">C'|''v] is generally taken 
as a Pual part., the "^ being omitted, and the vowel lengthened to com- 
pensate the absence of the doubled consonant {cf. Ges.*^- §52s and 
Ko., Vol. I, p. 408). Other examples are Srx Ex. 32, n'?v Ju. 13^, and 
n;^^ 2 K. 2'". Dr. suggests DTpu as the original reading. — '^iDnr^] 
= ^i£3n nc'N:). n>n mixn]. Sieg. regards n>-\ as a dittograph from the 
succeeding n;n. Ha. regards the same n;n, as well as '3 at the be- 
ginning of the verse and Dvsro at the end, as glosses, which mar the 
metrical form of the vs., but see above, Introd. §9. With reference to 
the vs. Rabbi Aqiba remarks {Ahoth, 3>5), "-"? nono n-^ixci p3->y3 jinj Son 
:D>>nn Sd, i.e., "All is given on pledge, and a net is spread over all the liv- 
ing." — 13. nr], fem. Put in the same gender as no^n, cf. 51*. — n^nj 
"Sn N-n], cf. dv-i*^n'? nSnj Jon. 33, and omrr'S •rh^•^^ Est. lo'. S 
correctly renders fieydXr] doKc? /xol. — 14. r\yop n">j;], r*- or n.nin must be 
supplied in thought. — "^nj I'^r]. Del. thinks this a reference to the 
king of Persia. The phraseology is that used of Persian kings, but it 
lasted on into the Greek period. It might be used by the writer to desig- 
nate king David or any other powerful monarch. — 33D] means "sur- 
round" as in 2 K. 6'% not "walk around" as in Jos. 6^ — Dnixc] evi- 
dently means "siege-works," a meaning which it has nowhere else in 
BH. Two MSS. read omxD, and this reading is supported by <S, ^, 
2, V, A. This reading we adopt with Winck., Dr. and McN. — 15. N3(r] 
is here impersonal, so Kn., Hit., Heil., Wild., and Sieg., cf. also Ko. 
§3 23c. Wr.'s contention that ^nj i^^c of the preceding vs. must be 
the subject, does not commend itself. It is not grammatically necessary, 
and does not give good sense. — i^D?^], sec on 4'3. Dale's contention 
that it means a wage-worker and not a beggar does not seem well 
founded, for it occurs in BH. only here, in the fol. vs. and in 4'3, but often 
in Aram., and in the Sin. Syr. of Lk. 16" is used of Lazarus. — sin-a'7r;i], 


as Del. observes, - of the Piel reverts to its original -- on account of the 
following Maqqef. Another instance occurs in i29. Del. also notes 
that in the earlier language this vi^ould have been — taS?;-'. McN. 
would rendei this "would deliver" on the analogy of Ex. p'* and i S. 
1 3 13, taking the clause as an apodosis with protasis suppressed. The 
contradiction which seems to him to render this necessary, does not 
seem to me to exist. See above. — din], as Del. says, would in the older 
language have been c-^n. Perhaps it is used here because t^a im- 
mediately precedes, but in 720 we find din. Zap., for metrical reasons, 
would follow IB and supply "ins after D"in. — 16. nv^j] and cyn;:':] 
are participles of continuous or customary action, cf. Da. §97, rem. i. 
Ha. regards — nma ^jn] and all that comes after nnoj] as glosses. On 
the sentiment, cf. BS. (Heb.) 1322"!. 

17. nnj:i], not ("heard) in wisdom," but ("uttered) in wisdom," the 
reference being to the speaker, so Wr. and Wild. — D-iynt-j] is erased 
by Bick., who renders: 

Der Weisen Wort ist ruhig ; 
Die Thoren uberschrei'n es. 

This is arbitrary. MT. is supported by all the versions. — ripvir:]. 
DOiiO is understood before p as in 4", cf. Ges.'^- §i33b and Ko. 
§3o8c. — D^^-'Doa Sc*ir5]="an arch fool," wrongly considered by some 
a Graecism. Cf. 2 S. 23^ Job 412* and Pr. 3030. — 18. 2ip], in the older 
language, would have been r^izrhi:. The word occurs in Zc. 14^ Ps. 55'' 
6831 789 14^1 Job 3823. It is found in Aram., Dn. 721 and frequently 
in the Talmud, cf. Ja. 141 1. Cf. also the Syr. stem and As. garabu, 
all with the same meaning. The substitution of i-^p for ncn^n was 
probably due to Aramaic influence. — N^''n] is pointed like a "n'^ stem, 
as in other parts of Q. & read am, which better corresponds to ri:::;^. 
This reading is favored by Kn., Del., Sieg., Winck. and Dr. — ^^'}^], 
used adverbially, cf. Ko. §3i8e. Ha. regards — i-ip •'Sod neon] as a 
genuine phrase of Q., and all the rest of the verse as a gloss. This is 
arbitrary, and spoils a good proverb. — 1. mo ^nnr] is taken by (§ (un- 
less that is corrupt, as McN. thinks) and by Del. and Wr. as= "death 
bringing" or "poisonous flies." The last claims "dead flies" would 
be DTiD 0"'3UT, niD ""San in Ps. 18^ ii63 shows by analogy that this 
can="dead flies," which suits the context much better. — r-'Nn-'], a 
sing, with a pi. subject has been explained in various ways. AE., whom 
Gins, and Del. follow, held that the vb. was sing, because Qoheleth 
thought of each fly. Winck., McN. and Dr. emend to )C'in3\ while 
Ko. (§349g) holds that the sing, nir makes the idea sing. Each of 
these solutions is possible. It is also possil)le that Qoheleth was careless 
and wrote bad grammar. — ""'i'-] is omitted by (6, &, 2, U, and should, 
as McN. and Dr. have seen, be erased. — npn], on the meaning, cf. 
Ex. 3088 372». Beginning with — np^], the text is probably corrupt. 


(S suggests that the original reading was :n ^"730 11330 ncDn i2';n ipv 
This was transformed in & into !0>*o r^3D ni -<i3r::i n-ono ->p\ 
B read the same except that it omitted 2n, while MT. went a step 
further and omitted \ The original reading of (S presented an antithe- 
sis to the first half of the verse, the Rabbinic revisers present in &, 19 
and MT. a thought in harmony with the first half verse. (C/. McN., 
p. 150/., who has worked this out). — 2. a"^] was taken by Mich, in an 
anatomical sense. He held the verse to mean that wisdom is as rare 
as a man with the heart on the right side of the body. It is better with 
Del. to take a^=" thought" or "will" (cf. ch. 7^ and Ho. 4'0- — V^'] 
is taken by Del., Wr. and Wild, correctly to have a moral significance 
kindred to that in the Talmud, where P" is used as a vb., which in 
some forms means "to do the right thing," cf. Ja. 580b. There is no 
need with PI. to call in Greek influence to explain the figure. — '^Ncr] 
is similarly used with a moral significance -=" errors." Cf. Ja. 1591b 
for kindred Talmudic usage.— 3. I^n S^Dro '\'^-^2 dji] is inverted for 
emphasis from -|^in -]^i2 ^ddc'd dji, cf. 3'».— l"*"'] is rightly taken 
by Kn., Hit., Gins., McN., etc., in the literal sense="when the fool 
takes a walk." Wr., with less probability, takes it to mean "the com- 
mon path of life." — -•J'j]=->U'ND, a temporal particle, cf. 8^ and Ko. 
§^87f. — non] is a verb (so Del., Wr., McN.), and not an adj. (Gins.). 
It occurs with 2^ eleven times outside of this passage, cf. Pr. 6" f. 
— icn] is taken by Del. and No. to mean "he (the fool) says to every 
one by his actions that he is a fool." This gives to ir:N an unusual 
meaning. This renders— ^3^] "to every one." It is better with McN. 
to take S3':' = "concerning every one," and so give to ics its usual 
meaning. — '^pp], a noun, not an adj. 

iQi 2". — Advice concerning one's attitude toward rulers. (Largely 
interpolated.) The genuine portions are 10'^ i^'' "^ '' and -">. 

10^. If the anger of the ruler rise against thee, do not leave thy place, 
for soothing pacifies great sins. ^. There is an evil that 1 have seen under 
the sun like an unintentional error which proceeds from the ruler. 

'^. He places the fool in high positions often, 

But the nobles dwell in low estate. 
^. I have seen slaves upon horses, 

And princes, like slaves, walking on the ground. 
*. He who digs a pit shall fall into it. 

And he %vho breaks through a 7vall, a serpent shall bite him. 
». He 7vho quarries stones shall be hurt by them. 

And he who cleaves wood shall be endangered thereby. 
»o. If the iron be dull. 

And he do not sharpen its edge. 

Then he must strengthen his force ; 

But the advantage of wisdom is to give success. 


". Iftke serpent bite for lack of enchantment. 

Then there is no advantage to the charmer. 
'2. The words of the mouth of the wise are favor. 

But the lips of the fool shall devour him. 
•^. The beginning of the words of his mouth is folly. 

And the end of his speech is wicked madness. 

". The fool multiplies words: — 

[Man does not know that which shall be, and what shall be after him 
who can tell him ?] 

'^ The toil of fools shall 70cary him 

Who knows not how to go to town. 
'^ Woe to thee, O land, whose king is a child. 

And whose princes feast in the morning ! 
'^ Happy art thou, O land, whose king is well born, 

And whose princes feast at the (proper) time. 

For strength, and not for drinking! 
'**. Through great idleness the beam-xuork sinks, 

And through falling of hands the house drips. 
•". For laughter they make bread. 

And 7oine to make life glad ; 

And money answers both. 
2". Do not even in thy thought curse the king, 

Nor in thy bed-chamber curse a rich man ; 

For the bird of heaven shall carry the voice. 

And the owner of wings shall tell a thing. 

10^ The section begins with genuine words of Qoheleth. It 
is the beginning of his advice concerning one's conduct before 
rulers. — The anger of the ruler], an oft recurring calamity under 
a despotic government. — Do not leave thy place], i.e., throw up 
thy post. — Soothing pacifies great sins], pacifies the anger aroused 
by great errors. The cause is here })ut for the effect. Qoheleth 's 
advice is the wisdom of the under man, but, as Genung says, it 
nevertheless has the virtue of the idea, ''Blessed are the meek." — 
5. There is an evil], a favorite expression of Qoheleth's, cf. 5'^ 6'. 
— Like an unintentional error], as if it were an unintentional error. 
Qoheleth here exhibits some of the pacifying spirit which he has 
just advised. He does not excite the anger of a despot by suggest- 
ing that his errors are intentional. Underneath his expression we 
detect a deeper note, it is revealed in the word "evil." One must 
bow to the despot, but the despot is not always right. This is a 
blot on the government of the world. — 6. He places the fool in high 


positions], another example of the evils of despotic government. 
Plumtre thinks it a reference to Agathoclea and her brother, who 
were favorites of Ptolemy Philopator (B.C. 222-205), (Justin, 
XXX, i); Haupt, of the officers appointed by Antiochus IV and 
his successors, who betrayed Jewish interests (i Mac. 79 9" 2 Mac. 
48. 13. 19. 25)_ -^Q doubt, many examples of this fault could be found 
in every period of Oriental government, but the date of the book 
(see Introduction, §13) makes Plumtre's view probable. — Often], 
is a free rendering of the Hebrew, see crit. note. — The nobles], lit- 
erally "the rich," i.e., men of ancestral wealth, who were regarded 
as the natural associates of kings, and the holders of offices. — 
7. Slaves upon horses], another example of the way a despot often 
reverses the natural positions of his subjects. Justin (XLI, 3) 
tells how, among the Parthians, one could distinguish freemen 
from slaves by the fact that the former rode on horses, and the 
latter ran on foot. An instance of the exercise of such arbitrary 
power in later times is found in the decree of the Fatimite Caliph 
Hakim, that Christians and Jews should not ride horses, but only 
mules or asses (see Chronicle of Bar Hebraius, p. 215). As 
Siegfried points out, the mention of horses here is an index of late 
date, as in early Israel kings and princes rode on asses or mules, 
cf. Ju. 5'" 10^ 2 S. i8'J I K. i'8 Zc. 99. The sentiment corresponds 
to that of Pr. 19'". Such a result of tyranny reminds Del. (Hohes- 
lied imd Koheleth, 222) of the career of the Persian Bagoas, in the 
mind of Graetz it points to the reign of Herod {cf. Jos. Ant. xvi, 
7 and 10), but almost any period of Oriental history must have 
afforded such examples. 

8. He who digs a pit shall fall into it]. This is clearly, as Sieg- 
fried and McNeile have seen, a proverb introduced by a glossator. 
It has no connection with the preceding, and occurs in varying 
forms in Pr. 26" and BS. 27". The thought of the first half is 
that a man who digs a pit for another shall fall into it himself, 
cf. Ps. 7'« 57" BS. 2729. — He who breaks through a wall], to rob a 
garden or a house. — A serpent shall bite him]. Serpents in Pales- 
tine often lurk in the crannies of a wall, cf. Am. 5'9. — 9. He who 
quarries stones]. This is a proverb which has no reference to the 
preceding. As Sieg. and McN. have seen, it is a gloss introduced 


by the Hokma glossator. Plumtre, in order to find a connection 
with the preceding, makes the "stones" the stones of landmarks, 
as he had made the ''wall" of the preceding verse, but this arbi- 
trarily reads a meaning into it. It is clearly a common proverbial 
saying on the danger of the homely occupations of quarrying and 
wood-cutting. It is perhaps the same proverb which underlies 
the saying attributed to Jesus in the Oxyrhynchus papyrus, 

Raise the stone and there thou shalt find me, 
Cleave the wood and there am I. 

(See Grcnfell and Hunt's Sayings of our Lord, 1897, p. 12.) The 
proverb was probably introduced here because, with its mate 
which follows, it illustrates the value of wisdom. — He who cleaves 
wood]. This may be fire-wood, cf. Lv. i^ 4'2. — Shall be endangered 
thereby]. For an illustration of the danger, cf. Dt. 195. — 10. // 
the iron he dull], the axe be dull, cf 2 K. 6^ where RV. translates 
''iron" by "axe-head." — And he do not sharpen]. The "he" is 
no doubt intended to refer to the wood-chopper of the preceding 
verse. This gnomic saying was probably introduced by the hand 
which introduced the preceding. — Then he must strengthen his 
force]. He must accomplish by brute strength what he might 
have done more easily by the exercise of intelligence. — The ad- 
vantage of wisdom is to give success]. Wisdom, by enabling a man 
properly to prepare bis tools, helps to ensure a successful issue to 
his work. For the basis of this rendering, see critical note. — 
11. // the serpent bite for lack of enchantment]. This is another 
proverb, introduced by the Hokma glossator, because it has a 
bearing on wisdom, or the use of wisdom. Plumtre thinks that 
it was suggested by the serpents mentioned in vs. 8. — llicre is no 
advantage to the charmer]. A charm, in order to protect from a 
serpent's bite, must be exercised before he bites. If it is not, it is 
of no value to its owner. The proverb strikes the same note as 
that of vs. 10. Success depends upon foresight. Wisdom that 
comes afterward is useless in producing results. Snake-charming 
is not uncommon in the East, as in ancient Israel, cf. Je. 8'^ 
Ps. 58* BS. 12''. — 12. The words of the mouth of the wise are favor]. 
As Hit., Gins., and Zo. have noted, they obtain favor {cf. Pr. 22"). 
This proverbial gloss begins by praising the results of effectual 


wisdom. It teaches positively what the preceding vs. taught 
negatively. — The lips of the fool shall destroy him]. This presents 
the antithesis. Ineffectual wisdom is equal to folly. — Him], the 
fool. — 13. The vs. is another proverbial gloss, which interrupts 
Qoheleth's reflections on rulers. — The beginning of the words.] 
''Beginning" contrasts with "end" in the next clause. The ex- 
pression is kindred to the Enghsh "from beginning to end." — Of 
his month], the fool's. The proverbs continue to treat of him. — 
Folly . . . wicked madness]. There is progression even in fool- 
ishness, that which begins as mere folly may end in criminal mad- 
ness. Possibly Qoheleth meant simply grievous madness, for the 
word employed by him is ambiguous, see critical note. — 14*. The 
fool multiplies words]. Empty talk is a characteristic of folly. 
This is a fragment of another proverb which was introduced by the 
Hokma glossator. The rest of the verse has no connection with 
it, and evidently the concluding member of the parallelism is lost. 

14**. Man does not know that which shall be]. McN. is right in 
seeing in this a genuine fragment of the thought of Qoheleth, it is 
so like 6'2 7'^ and 8^ He is also right in regarding it as out of place 
here, for it interrupts the reflections on the evils of despotic gov- 
ernment. Rashi, Ginsburg and Wright take the verse to mean 
that the fool talks a great deal about the most unknown of sub- 
jects — the future; but Ginsburg and Delitzsch are then puzzled 
to know why an equivalent to "although" is omitted. The so- 
lution of McNeile already presented is far more probable. Some 
glossator clumsily brought disjecta membra together here. 

15. The toil of fools shall weary him, who knows not how to go 
to town]. Another proverbial gloss which is very obscure. Gins- 
burg rendered "because he does not know," and took it to mean 
that in his doings as well as in his sayings the folly of the fool mani- 
fests itself. Ewald thought it a reference to bad government, in which 
the toil of fools (i.e., heathen rulers) wearied the poor countryman 
who did not know how to go to the city. Graetz, whom Renan 
followed, thought it a reference to the Essenes, who lived by them- 
selves, and avoided cities (Jos. Ant. xviii, i^"). Wildeboer thinks 
the meaning to be "he who asks the fool the way to the city will 
be disappointed," and similarly Genung, "one cannot make out of 


a fool's voluble talk the way to the nearest town." These varieties 
of opinion serve to illustrate the difficulty of the passage. The 
rendering adopted above makes it mean the folly of fools wearies 
the most ignorant. The expression, "does not know the way to 
town," was no doubt proverbial Hke the English, "He doesn't know 
enough to come in when it rains," which is frequently applied to 
one whom the speaker wishes to stigmatize as especially stupid. 
Perhaps the mutilation of the preceding proverb has made this more 
obscure. For other ways of rendering parts of it, see critical note. 
16. Woe to thee, O land]. This verse should follow io\ The 
original remarks of Qoheleth upon rulers, which the glossator 
has interrupted by his interpolations, are now resumed. — Whose 
king is a child]. This is an expression which was probably called 
forth by some bitter experience in Qoheleth's own time. Hitzig 
and Genung think of Ptolemy Epiphanes, who came to the throne 
of Egypt in 205 B.C., at the age of five years. The word used 
does not necessarily mean child (see critical note), but was ap- 
pHed to Solomon at his accession (i K. 3-). It primarily, how- 
ever, has that meaning as in i S. 3', etc., and no doubt has it here. 
Haupt thinks it refers to Alexander Balas. See above, on 4^^^. 
The considerations there adduced lead us to agree with Hitzig. — 
Whose princes feast in the morning], an act which both Hebrew 
and Roman condemned. Cf. Is. 5". Cicero, Phil, ii, 41, says. 
Ah hora tertia bibehatiir, liidehatur, vomebatiir. Juvenal, Satire, 
i, 49, 50: 

Exul ab octava Man us hihit ct fniitur dis 

Catullus, Carmen, xlvii, 5, 6: 

Vos cotjvivift lauta sumtnose 
De die facitis. 

That it was not common to feast in the morning. Acts 2^'", where 
it is argued that the Apostles cannot be drunk because it is only 
the third hour, shows. This implication that the "youth" who 
is king is given to revelry, strengthens, in Haupt's opinion, the 
view that the writer has Alexander Balas in mind, for Justin says 
of him, qnem insperatcc opes et alienee felicitatis ornamenta velnt 
captiim inter scortorum greges desidem in regia tenahant. It could, 


however, as well apply to courtiers of Ptolemy Epiphanes. — 17. 
Happy art thou . . . whose king is well born]. The prevailing 
regime is not only negatively condemned, but by way of contrast 
an ideal government is pictured. "Well born" is used here as 
a compHment to the able king in Qoheleth's mind. It does not 
necessarily imply an ignoble birth for him who is condemned. 
Perhaps Qoheleth is paying a comphment to Antiochus III, who 
gained Palestine in 198 B.C., and was enthusiastically received by 
the Jews. See Jos. Ant. xii, y. — Feast at the (proper) time]. This 
reminds us of ch. 3' -^ where everything is said to have its time. — 
For strength and not for drinking], that they may be real heroes, 
and not "heroes for mingling strong drink," such as are described 
in Is. 5". 

18. Through great idleness the beam-work sinks]. As Sieg., 
Ha. and McN. have seen, this is a proverb introduced as a gloss. 
Doubtless, the glossator intended to hint by it that when the 
princes of a state gave themselves to revelry, the structure of gov- 
ernment would fall into ruin. "Beam-work" is equivalent to 
"roof," for Palestinian houses are made of stone and, if they con- 
tain any wood at all, it is in the roof. — Falling of hands], a syno- 
nym for idleness, cf. Pr. lo^ — The house drips], the roof leaks. 
— 19. For laughter they make bread]. McNeile attributes this to the 
same Hokma glossator, but it does not seem like a proverb. It 
probably comes, however, from the hand of this glossator. "They 
make })read," seems to refer back to the feasting princes of vs. 16. 
The })hrase is probably not a part of Qoheleth's works, for he 
would have introduced it immediately after that vs. "Make 
bread" means to prepare a meal, cf. Ez. 4'^ — And wine to make 
life glad]. Many commentators have seen in this the influence of 
Ps. 104'^ As Delitzsch noted, however, the thought is not like 
that of the psalm. It is rather similar to vs. 17; they use eating 
and drinking not to gain strength, but for sport and revelry. — 
Money answers both]. Money is squandered to secure both. The 
glossator probably intended to suggest that the feasting of the 
princes of vs. i6 dissipated public funds. 

20. Do not even in thy thought curse the king]. The genuine words 
of Qoheleth reappear once more. He counsels caution and self- 


control as in vvs. 4, 5. His thought is "treason will out." — Nor 
in thy bed-chamber], in thy most private moments. One is re- 
minded of the proverb ''walls have ears." — Curse a rich man]. It 
is taken for granted, as in vs. 6, that the wealthy are natural rulers. 
— The bird of heaven]. As in the English saying, "a little bird told 
me"; the mysterious paths by which secrets travel, are attributed 
to the agency of birds. 

104. nn]= "anger" sometimes, cf. Ju. 8^ Is. 25^ t,t,^^ Zc. 68. — nS;] 
is regularly used of anger, cf. 2 S. ii^o Ez. 3818 and Ps. 78=1 3i, — ir2ipc]= 
"place" in the sense of "post," c/. i S. 20". — njn]^ fr. mj=" leave," 
cf. 5DB. 629a. — s'D"ic] means "healing." McN. rightly renders it 
"soothing." BDB.'s "composure" (p. 951b) does not suit so well. 
The root is used in Ju. 8^ of assuaging anger. — n''j:']=" quiets" or 
"relaxes," cf. 71^ ii^. — 5. \"'''Ni], nu'N is implied before it.^~r] was 
called by the older grammarians " Kaf veritatis." It is in reality = " as," 
cf. Neh. 72 and Ges.^- §ii8x. — -r] is omitted by C5, but as Eur. ob- 
serves, this is probably accidental. Its omission in one authority would 
be more likely due to accident than its insertion in all the others, to 
design. — njrj']= "unintentional error," cf. Lv. 5'^ Nu. 15^5. — nx'*], 
fern, part., instead of nNS- — another example of a n"'' verb, treated by 
Qoheleth as ■"'""'. — 6. ^"1J], as often means "set," "place," cf. Dt. 17'' 
Est. 68.— ^.7p], (S, g>, A, 'A, 2, all read "-dd. They, no doubt, had an 
unpointed text before them. Ra., Gins., Del., and Wr. read Sdd, and 
explained the abst^. as used for the concrete, but it is better with Eur. 
and Dr. to read ^^d. — □'cnr;]= "exalted positions" or "posts," cf 
Is. 24^ Job 5". — D"'3"i] is an appositive to D''cnr:="high positions — 
many of them." It is rendered freely above to preserve more nearly 
the metrical form. — D"'"i^r;'] was thought by Houb. and Spohn not to 
form a good contrast, they accordingly emended the text; but, as explained 
above, it fits both the literary form and the historical fact. Gins, and 
Del. compare vy>^' in the sense of "liberal" in Job 36'^ and Is. 32^. — 
7. y-\nri h-;] is equal, as Del. noted, to "^.nn. 

8. I'C-iJ], an Aramaic loan word, cf. Barth, Nominalbildung, §45n i, and 
Noldeke, Mandcean Gram. §44. The word is used in the Targ. on 
Pr. 22>< for the Heb. nnv^'. It occurs in the same form in Targ. on 
Pr. 26"; in Targ. to Is. 241^ '» and Je. 48"- " it is written VD>d, while 
the Targ. on 2 S. 181^ writes it r^ip. — "^"'J] is not a hedge, it is built of 
stones, cf. Pr. 24". Ha. arbitrarily regards the word as a gl. Not even 
his metrical theory demands it. — l^j] is used of the bite of a serpent, 
cf. Gn. 49'^ Wr. and Wild, held that the imperfects here implied 
simply possibility, but to render "may fall" and "may bite" would rob 
the couplet of force. — 9. j.''>Dr!]="to break up" or "quarry," c/". i K. 


5" and 5DB. 652b. — 2>'>;:] frequently means "be grieved," as in Gn. 
455 I S. 20', but it also means "be pained," as in i S. 20" 2 S. 19', then 
as here "be hurt," cf. 5DB. 780b. — \yo<\ was a great perplexity to the 
commentators of the first half of the nineteenth century, but as Del. 
pointed out, it is a NH. word= " be in danger" {cf. Berakoth, i^). It also 
occurs in Aram, and is no doubt an Aramaism, cf. 5DB. 698 and J a. 
991b. — 10. This is, as Wr. observed, linguistically the most diflficult verse 
in the book. — nnj^] occurs here as Piel — the only instance in BH., it 
is found as Kal in Je. 31"- ^o Ez. 182. The Kal is common in NH., 
cf. Ja. 1321b. (& read Sdj, but that gives no sense. — D"'jD]="face" 
or "forepart," here used instead of id or ^d for "edge," cf. BDB. 8i6a. 
In Ez. 2i2» it is also used for the "edge" of a svi^ord. — ^p'^p], Pilpel of 
'^^■5. Cf. '7^P r-.:'nj]=" polished bronze," Ez. i^ Dn. io«. A "polished 
edge" is a "sharpened edge." — naj^. D''S''n]="to make mighty (one's) 
power," see Job 21^ and cf. i Ch. y^- 7. u and <". — ncDn n>t:'Dn], should 
probably with Winck., Ha. and Dr. be transposed, as we have done 
above in translating. McN. follows (^, & and B in reading "^^^^^ 
"the successful man." This has better textual authority, but gives 
doubtful sense. — -»^'.:''on], is Hiph. Inf., cf. BDB. 506b. Zap. omits h-dh, 
to make the metre more symmetrical. — 11. {:'nS]="to whisper," used in 
Is. 26i« of a whispered prayer, elsewhere in BH. is used of the whispered 
utterances which charm a serpent, cf. Je. 8'^ Is. 3^ Ps. 58^. The root 
has the same meaning in the Talmud, cf Ja. 704 (i.e., J.Ar.), and in 
Syr. — Ni'^s] is used before nouns in the sense of "for lack of," "without" 
and in kindred meanings. Cf. Is. 55'- ^ Job 15'^ and K6. §402r. — S>'3 
7VMSn]="lord of the tongue," was taken by Hit., on the analogy of S^a 
1^3= "bird," to mean "a human being," but o^rnSo SipS ';vt'> in 
Ps. 58* shows that in "charming" stress was laid on the use of language, 
and this, taken in connection with the context here, makes it clear that 
Gins., Del. and Wr. were justified in rendering it "enchanter," "wiz- 
ard." — 12. tn], cf Ps. 453 Pr. 22". The metaphorical statement makes 
the sentence emphatic. — -irior], instead of DTicr, is poetical and late, 
cf. Is. 59' Ps. 453 59S Ct. 43- " 513. — njpSan], fern, imperf., the subj. 
is PiPDt:'. The suffix refers to S^D3. — 13. nSnn] occurs only here in 
Qo. In 3" he has trsn and in 78 n^tt>N-). n'?nn is, however, good BH., 
cf Gn. 133 (RJE.) and Ho. i^. — ^n>D] in 13b is used by metonomy for 
-\}1, or some synonym of it as in Is. 2913 Ps. 49'^ Gins, and Sieg. are 
wrong in thinking it necessary to supply "l^-t before it. Q. varied the 
expression for the sake of variety. — niSSin], cf on i''. — n;n], as Del. 
suggests, may have only the force which it has in n>n >^n (6^) and 
n^in n;7n (512), where it means "disagreeable" or "serious," but it 
may also stand for ethical evil as in Dt. 30" 2 S. 141^ Is. 5" Am. 5'<. 
— 14. n\-i^t:*]. The versions, except 2J, read nvTj», but this was probably be- 
cause the passage was obscure, and a contrast of tenses seemed to help 


it. Analogy of other passages in Q., where the sentiment occurs, supports 
MT. — 15. ijyJT] seems to take Soy as a fem., which is without parallel. 
This has caused scholars much discussion. The true solution has, how- 
ever, been found by Albrecht {ZAW., XVI, 113), who emends the verb 
to i:p"i\ This is supported by Ko. (§249m) and Sieg. The suffix 
"»:- is ambiguous. Does it refer to □'«':^"'D3n, a sing, to a pi., as so often 
happens in Deut. ? So, Hit., Gins, and Wr. Does it refer back to 
O-iN in vs. 14? So, Ko. (§348v). It seems better to make it point for- 
ward to the relative. — "\C'n] is taken by Kn. and Gins, and Gr. = " be- 
cause." It seems better with Heil. to m.ake it a rel. pro. referring to 
i:". — "1''>~Sn], a colloquial expression, like the English "to town," 
for "i^vn Sn. pi. thinks that it points" to a boyhood near Jerusalem. 
It is probably, however, a proverbial expression, with no local reference. 

16. ""n], a late form used in the Talm, In BH. usually "'IN, as in Is. 
6^; sometimes ''•i. as in Ez. 2'°. — "^p IdSdc'], as Del. observes, would in 
earlier Heb. be hdSd n;j nu'N. — -\]!:] was held by Dod., Van der P., 
Spohn and Gr. to= "slave." Gr. believed it to be a reference to Herod 
the Great, who is called in the Talm. {Baba Batra, 3b, and Ketuhoth, 24) 
"the slave of the Hasmonaeans." If slave had been intended, probably 
"^y; would have been used. "*>: is not necessarily a child; it is used 
of Solomon at his accession (i K. 3^) and of Ziba, who had sons and 
slaves (2 S. 19'^), but nevertheless is often used to mean "child," 
cf. Ex. 2* Ju. 135- ■^ I S. 4^'. — '^3N'']="eat," but here in the sense of 
feast, cf. Is. 5'^. — 17. 1"'?>'n] varies from the ordinary pointing "l^.i^'N. 
Ko. (§3 2 if) says the variation is because it is used here as an inter- 
jection. — 2"'-<in p], an Aramaism = "'"(n -\2 = " freeman" {cf. S. A. Cook, 
Glos. of Aram. Inscr., 56). Driver {Introd. 5i9ni) says D^nn is an 
Aram, word used in northern Israel, but never applied to the nobles 
of Judah except in Je. 272° 39^, passages which are not in (S and are later 
than Je.'s time. — n-(UJ3], on 3, cf. Ges.'^- §1191. — "'nt:'']=" drinking" or 
"drinking-bout." It is a a.X. in BH. 

18. D\nSs;], dual of nSx>:. AE., Hit., Ew., Heil., Gins, and Zo. take 
the dual to refer to a pair of hands. Del., Wr., 5DB. (p. 782a) and 
Ko. (§275c) take the dual form as intensive. Bick. emends to niSxj?, 
after Pr. 31", Sieg. and McN. emend to o^^^ t^M. Dr. hesitates be- 
tween the two emendations. In the text, we have followed Del., Wr., 
BDB. and Ko. The last cites as parallel Dv^ycn Ju. 3* 'o and DinnD Je. 
50^'. To these might, perhaps, be added opnif = " midday," though Ges.*^- 
(§88c) casts doubt on the reality of such duals, and it may be better to adopt 
one of the emendations. — "ID^], Niph. of "l^::. The verb occurs but twice 
elsewhere in BH.,Ps. io6"in Kal,and Job242<inHoph. Thestemoccurs 
in Aram., Syr., and Ar. It is to be regarded as an Aramaism. — n:?i^pr'] 
is a a.X. The word is usually nnp, cf. Gn. 198 and Ct. i'% cf. also 
BDB. 900a. Baer, p. 68, observes that the o is here pointed with 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. ll'-12s 179 

Daghesh to distinguish the noun from the part, which occurs in Ps. 
104'. — ni'^cc>] is also a.X., cf. 5DB. 1050b. It is used for slackness of 
hand like ci^ jrfji, Je. 47'. It is the opposite of n>r:n t^^^ Pr. lo^. — 
l'?n"|], r|''-i = "to drip" and so "to leak." It occurs but twice besides 
in BH., Job 1620 and Ps. iig^s, where it is used figuratively for weeping. 
In Aram, it is found in the Targ. to Pr. iq'^ and also in the Talm. In 
the latter it is more often I'?!, cj. Ja. 402a. — 19. pinrS], as Del. and Wr. 
observe, ^ denotes purpose. — on*? D''U7]="to prepare a meal" {cj. Ez. 
4>»), as DnS '^DN means "to eat a meal" {cf. Gn. 315^ Ex. i8>2 Je. 4i»). 
— ncu'""] is difficult. It is better, as McN. has proposed, to follow (6 
and emend to nou'V, making it parallel to pinu**^, — p|Do,-i], silver stood for 
money throughout the ancient world, except in Egypt in early periods 
of its history. The ordinary man saw no gold. — nj;""i]. As Del. and Wr. 
observe, there is no reason with Gins, to regard this as a Hiph. " Money 
can procure (answer) to both," is the thought. — Vrn]. For this in the sense 

of "both," see on 2". — 20. Sx Oj] = we quidem,cf. Ko. §34iu. — ;;id], 

"knowledge" is here used for "mind" or "thought." It is a late Ara- 
maized form occurring elsewhere in BH. only in 2 Ch. ii"- "■ '^ and Dn. 
I*- ". It occurs in the Targ. on Je. 3" Ps. 34' and Pr. i^. In Aram. 
it frequently appears ynjc; cf. Dn. 2" 431- 33 ^12 and Targ. to Job 333. 
— n^D] is in Q. definite without the art., cf. 58 S^-* 914 and Ko. §294d. 
— na3-.i'D mnn], cf. 2 K. (y'K—"r\ t^y;] is not individualized, cf Ko. §254f.— 
D^DJo S;-j], syn. for a bird, cf. 1J3 Vya, Pr. i'^. Cf. also a^np S>"d, in 
Dn. 8«- 20. — T'J J is one of the few jussives in the book. Why a jussive 
should appear here is a puzzle. Ko. (§i9ia) says the reading is uncer- 
tain, and Dr. does not hesitate to read '^^i\ Probably this is right, 
though Baer (p. 68) adduces a parallel to i\Jl (the jussive with cere 
followed by ') in i\Jni, Ex. 193. Ges.*^-, however (§53n), declares 
T'J! both here and in Ex. 193 to be an error. This is probably correct. 

ll'-128.— Qoheleth's final advice. 

11'. Cast thy bread on the face of the waters, 

For in many days thou shalt find it. 
*. Give a portion to seven and also to eight, 

For thou knowest not what evil shall be on the earth. 
3. If the clouds are filled with rain, 

They empty it over the earth ; 

If wood fall southward or northward, 

The place where wood falls — there it shall be. 
*. A wind-observer will not sow, 

•And a cloud-watcher will not reap. 
*. As thou knowest not what the path of the wind is. 

Nor the bones in the womb of a pregnant woman, 

So thou mayest not know the work ot Goa, 

Who makes the whole. 


*, In the morning sow thy seed, 
And till evening rest not thy hand, 
For thou knowest not which shall succeed, this or that. 
Or both alike shall be good. 

^ The light is sweet, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. ». For 
if a man shall live many years and rejoice in them all, yet let him re- 
member the days of darkness, for they will be many. All that is coming 
is vanity. 

9. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, 

And let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy prime. 

And walk in the ways of thy heart and the sight of thy eyes, 


»". Put away vexation from thy heart 
And remove misery from thy flesh, — 
For youth and prime are vanity. 


While the evil days come not, 

Nor approach the years of which thou shalt say 

I have in them no pleasure; 
*. While the sun be not darkened. 

Nor the light and moon and stars. 

Nor the clouds return after rain, 
s. In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble 

And the men of valor bend themselves, 

And the grinding-maids cease because they are few. 

And the ladies who look out of the windows are darkened, 
*. And the doors on the street are shut 

When the sound of the mill is low. 

And he shall rise at the voice of the bird. 

And all the daughters of song are prostrate, — 
s. Also he is afraid of a height. 

And terror is on the road. 

And the almond-tree blooms, 

And the grasshopper is burdensome. 

And the caper-berry is made ineffectual, 

For the man goes to his eternal house. 

And the mourners go around the street; — 
«, While the silver cord is not severed, 

Nor the golden bowl broken, 

Nor the water-jar be shattered at the spring, 

Nor the wheel broken at the cistern, 
•. And the dust shall return to the earth as it was, 

And the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. 

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, all is vanity. 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. 11'-12'' i8i 

11 1-12" contains Qoheleth's final advice. This he utters in full 
consideration of all that he has said before. The discourse is 
often enigmatical, but with the exception of two glosses from the 
hand of the Chasid {ii'^^ and 12'='), which have given much trouble 
to interpreters, it flows on uninterruptedly. He urges prudent 
kindliness and industry, combined with j)leasure, before old age 
makes all impossible. 

11'. Cast thy bread on the waters]. This is evidently a figurative 
expression, but what does the figure mean? At least four inter- 
pretations have been suggested, (i) It has been taken by Geier, 
Mich., Dod., Mendelssohn, Hit., Del., Wild., Ha. and McN. to 
apply to trading. "Commit your goods to the sea and wait for 
your returns until long voyages are over." (2) Van der P. and 
Bauer took it to refer to agriculture, meaning "Sow thy seed on 
moist places near water, and thou wilt obtain a rich harvest." 
(3) Graetz, in the same way, takes "bread" as equivalent to 
"seed," but interprets it of the "seed" of human Hfe, and so finds 
in the verse a maxim bordering on the licentious. (4) It is taken 
by Kn., Gins., Zo., Wr., No., Sieg. and Marsh, as an exhortation 
to liberality. Of these interpretations the second and third are 
undoubtedly wrong, for "bread" never means "seed." The first 
seems, on the whole, less probable than the fourth, for "bread" 
does not mean "merchandise." In favor of the fourth expla- 
nation is an Arabic proverb, which Heiligstedt, Ginsburg, Plumtre 
and Wright quote from Diaz' Denkw'urdigkeiten von Asien. The 
proverb forms the culmination of a story which relates how Mo- 
hammed, son of Hassan, had been daily in the habit of throwing 
loaves into a river, how the life of an adopted son of Caliph Mu- 
tewekkel, who had escaped drowning by climbing upon a rock, 
was thus preserved, and how Mohammed saw in it the proof of 
the truth of a proverb he had learned as a boy, "Do good, cast 
thy bread upon the waters, and one day thou shalt be rewarded." 
The story suggests that this proverb may be an echo of Qohe- 
leth himself. One may compare another Arabic saying (see 
Jewett's "Arabic Proverbs," JAOS., XV, p. 68): 

'Ihc generous man is always lucky. 

If this be the meaning of the verse, its thought is kindred to the 


exhortation of Jesus, "Make to yourselves friends by means of 
the mammon of unrighteousness," Lk. i6«. — 2. Give a portion to 
seven and also to eight]. There has naturally been given to this 
verse the same variety of interpretations as to vs. i, each inter- 
preter explaining the vs. as completing his view of that. The two 
most popular explanations, however, are (i) that which makes 
it refer to merchandise, and (2) that which makes it refer to liber- 
ality. According to (i), the verse advises the merchant to divide 
his venture between seven or eight ships, because he does not know 
which may be overtaken by disaster. According to (2), the giver 
is advised to give to seven or eight people, because he does not 
know what evil may overtake him or whom he may need as friends. 
Cf. Lk. lb!), last clause. According to the meaning which we found 
in the first verse, the second of these interpretations seems most 
probable. Such an arrangement of numbers in a literary figure 
is frequent in BH. Thus ''once" and "twice" occur in Job T,y* 
Ps. 62^^ "twice" and "thrice" Job ^t,^% "two" and "three" 
Is. 17% "three" and "four" Am. i^- e. a. n. u 21- '• e Pr. ^qh. is. 21 
Ex. 205 34% "four" and "five" Is. 17% "seven" and "eight" 
Mi. 55. Such figures are vivid ways of conveying the idea of "a 
few," or "some" or "many." 

3. This verse is loosely connected with the closing words of vs. 
2, since it shows man's powerlessness in the presence of the laws 
of fate. Human helplessness is illustrated by two examples, 

If the clouds arc filled with rain, 
They empty it over the earth, — 

i.e., man is })owerless to prevent it. Nature goes on in accordance 
with inflexible laws, which man cannot alter. This is one ex- 
ample. The other is, 

If wood falls southward or northward, 

The place where wood falls — there it shall be. 

The word here rendered "wood" has usually been rendered 
"tree." It has both meanings. If we understand that a tree is 
meant, the illustration as McNeile has noticed is a weak one. Man 
cannot prevent the rain, but, though a tree felled by a tempest may 
be unable to move itself, man can move it. If this were the 
meaning, the illustration is inapt, and the verse forms an anti- 

FINAL ADVICE. [Ch. ll'-128 183 

climax. McNeile's suggestion that the clause refers to divination 
by means of a rod or staff, such as that to which Ho. 4" alludes, 
has accordingly much to commend it. The half verse would then 
mean, " If a stick is tossed up in the air, that a man may guide his 
action by the direction in which it comes to rest, he has no control 
over the result." This meaning gives a climax and is probably 
correct. — 4. A wind-observer will not sow\ One who waits till 
there is no wind to disturb the even scattering of his seed. — A 
cloud-watcher will not reap]. One who wants to be sure that his 
grain, when cut, will not get wet. The thought of the verse is, " If 
one waits for ideal conditions, he will lose his opportunity and ac- 
complish nothing." vSiegfried objects that this verse could not have 
been written in Palestine, because it never rains there in harvest- 
time, and he cites i S. 12^^ as proof. The passage in vSamuel, 
however, proves, not that it never rained in harvest, but that rain 
was sufficiently rare at that time to make people think that when 
it came, it was sent as a punishment for wickedness. In later times 
it was regarded as out of place, though not impossible, see Pr. 261. 
Seasons vary greatly, but in years of exceptionally heavy rains it 
often happens that rain continues to fall well into April, and inter- 
feres with the cutting of the earlier-ripening grain. Cf. Barton, 
A Year's Wandering in Bible Lands, 185 ; Bacon, Amer. Jour, of 
Arch., Supplement to Vol. X, p. 34 ff., and Ewing, Arab and 
Druze at Home, 1907, p. 127, cf. p. 2 ff. and 10 ff. — 5. Thou knoioest 
not what the path of the 7vind is]. Qoheleth now passes on to point 
out that man does not know and cannot know the ways and works 
of God. The " path of the wind " reminds one of Jn. 3**. This 
last passage is perhaps a reminiscence of Qoheleth, though the 
resemblance is too vague to make the reminiscence certain. — Nor 
the bones in the womb]. The mystery of birth filled also a Psalmist 
— probably of the Maccabaean period — with awe, cf. Ps. 13913-18. — 
So thou mayest not know the work of God]. Man's inability to 
penetrate the works of God is a favorite topic with this writer {cf. 
3" 8^' 9^2^. Qoheleth is, however, a theistic agnostic, though his 
idea of God's goodness is not exalted {cf. 3". — The whole]. Ac- 
cording to Delitzsch, this does not mean " the universe," but all 
such things as have been mentioned. The phrase might b^ 


rendered ''who makes both," i.e., the way of the wind and the bones 
in the womb, cf. critical note on 2". 

6. In the morning sow thy seed]. It is clear that the verse is 
figurative, but what does the figure mean? Like verse i it has 
received widely different interpretations, (i) Graetz, following 
a Jewish Midrash and a Talmudic passage (Yebamoth, 62b), takes 
it to mean "Beget children in youth and even to old age, whether 
in or out of wedlock." Indeed, it is from this verse that he obtains 
the meaning for vs. i noted above. There is no reason, however, 
for taking "seed" in this sense in either vs. Qoheleth was not 
averse to such pleasures of sense {cf. 2^ g^), but he never revels 
in fihh. He is thoroughly healthy-minded. (2) Plumtre takes it 
to mean that one is to sow the seed of good and kindly deeds, and 
await the harvest which is hidden from him. This, it is true, 
would harmonize with the meaning which we have found in vs. i, 
but the context indicates that the writer has now passed away 
from that topic. (3) Most recent interpreters rightly take it to 
mean that from youth till the evening of life, one is manfully to 
perform the full round of life's tasks, that he is not to hesitate be- 
cause of the uncertainties which were set forth in vs. 5, and that he 
is to take the losses which come in a philosophical spirit. — Thou 
knowest not which shall succeed]. Try your hand at every right task, 
for you cannot tell in advance which will bring success. AsGenung 
observes, the verse is evidence of Q.'s sturdy sense and manliness. 

7. Light is sweet]. The pessimistic mood of ch. 4', which had 
passed away from Qoheleth when he wrote 9', has not returned. 
He recognizes in this verse the primal delight of mere living. — 
S. If a man live many years and rejoice]. Life is good — to behold 
the sun is sweet, but Qoheleth is oppressed by its brevity and the 
dread of death, as Horace was (cf. Odes, I, 4^^; IV, 7'«). — Re- 
member], if used of future things, is equivalent to "ponder," 
"reflect upon." — The days of darkness], i.e., the days in Sheol, 
which is several times described as the land of darkness, cf. Ps. 
88'2 1433 Job io2' "_ — All that is coming is vauity], the whole 
future — the days in Sheol — is an unsubstantial reality. No positive 
joy can be counted on there.— 9^ Rejoice, O young man, in thy 
youth]. As a result of the brevity of life and the darkness of the 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. ll'-123 185 

future, Qoheleth urges young men to make the most of youth and 
of manhood's prime. It is a natural argument which has occurred 
to others also. Herodotus (2'») tells how the Egyptians at their 
feasts had the image of a dead body in a cofhn carried about and 
shown to each of the company who was addressed thus, "Look on 
this, then drink and enjoy yourself, for when dead you will be like 
this." That it had also been used by the Babylonians has been 
shown in the notes on g^«. — Walk in the ways of thy heart]. Grat- 
ify thy desires. From these come all the pleasures man is ever 
to receive, so self-denial is self-destruction. Cf. i Cor. 1532. 
This verse is controverted in Wisdom, 2«. — 9^. But know that for 
all these things God will bring thee into judgment]. This is so out 
of harmony with the context, but so in accord with the Chasid point 
of view, and especially with y, which we have already recognized 
as a Chasid gloss, that there is no doubt but that McNeile is right 
in regarding this phrase here as the work of the Chasid glossator. 

10. Put away vexation from thy heart]. Take the easiest course 
both mentally and physically. — For youth and prime are vanity]. 
Youth and the prime quickly flee. The vs. is a restatement of the 
thought of vs. 9a. If we are right in seeing in 12'" another Chasid 
gloss, the argument to make the most of swiftly passing youth is 
continued in 12"' -^ 

12^*. Remember now thy creator in the days of thy prime]. This 
is as McNeile has pointed out an insertion of the Chasid glossator. 
As Cheyne has suggested, it contains exhortation based on psy- 
chological principles, for as age advances it is less easy to remem- 
ber one's creator unless it has been done in youtli. It is needless 
to point out how unlike Qoheleth it is. For efforts to bring it into 
harmony with his prevailing thought, see critical note. 

1^ While the evil days come not]. This is the continuation ii'", 
from which it has been severed by the gloss inserted in 12". Qohe- 
leth urged: 

Put away vexation from thy heart 
And remove misery from thy flesh, — 
For youth and prime are vanity, — 
While the evil days come not, etc. 

^^The evil days" do not refer to the days of darkness in Sheol 
mentioned in ii", but to the period of old age which he now goes 


on to describe. They are "evil" in the sense of "miserable" 
because less full of pleasure than youth and prime. This is the 
meaning of / have no pleasure in them. 

Vvs. 2-6 have been variously interpreted. All have agreed that 
the passage is allegorical, but as to the details of the allegory there 
are wide differences of opinion. These opinions may be grouped in 
seven divisions, (i ) The verses are believed to describe the failing 
of an old man's physical powers, the various figures referring to 
anatomical details. This was the view of early Jewish commen- 
tators beginning with Tobia ben Eliezer, and of many modern 
ones. (2) The verses represent under the figure of a storm an 
old man's approaching death. So, Umbreit, Ginsburg and Plum- 
tre. (3) The approach of death is here pictured under the fall of 
night. Thus, Michaelis,Spohn,Nachtigal and Delitzsch. (4) Mar- 
shall thinks it the closing of a house at the approach of a sirocco. 
(5) The passage is a literal picture of the gloom in a household 
when the master has just died. So Taylor. (6) The verses are 
to be explained by the "seven days of death," or days of cold 
wintry weather, which immediately precede a Palestinian spring- 
time. These days are thus named because tliey are peculiarly 
dangerous to aged and sickly persons. This is the view of Wetz- 
stein and Wright. (7) The verses are in general a picture of old 
age, but one line of thought is not followed throughout. The 
metaphors change and intermingle in accord with the richness of 
an Oriental imagination. This is the view of McNeile. The 
last of these explanations is but a slight modification of the first. 
It seeks to avoid, by the exercise of a little ])lain sense, the vagaries 
to which excessive zeal for anatomical identification has led, and 
in so doing strikes the right path. Green, Expositor (1895), 
p. 77 j/., points out that in Icelandic poetry the parts of the body 
are often alluded to under similar figures, and that such allusions 
are known as kennings. 

2. While the sun be not darkened, nor the light and moon and 
stars]. This may be taken in two ways: it may either refer to 
failing eye-sight, so that the lights of all sorts become dim, or it 
may refer to the fact that, as age advances, the brightness (i.e., the 
enjoyment) of life becomes less. The context both before and 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. ll'-12« 187 

after the phrase favors the latter view. The speaker says, " I have 
no pleasure in them," because the brightness of his joy is decreas- 
ing. The Talmud (Sabbath, 152a) explained the ''sun" as fore- 
head, "hght" as nose, "moon" as soul, and "stars" as cheeks. 
Haupt explains them thus, "the sun is the sunshine of childhood 
when everything seems bright and happy, the moon is symbolical 
of the more tempered light of boyhood and early manhood, while 
the stars indicate the sporadic moments of happiness in mature 
age." The anatomical application is so far-fetched as to be ab- 
surd, Haupt's explanation seems too esoteric to be probable, and 
it has the disadvantage of leaving "light" (which Haupt does not 
erase from the text) unexplained. Earlier interpreters explained 
this "light" to be "twihght" or "dawn" — a period of light when 
none of the orbs of light were visible. Such detailed explanations 
are, however, unnecessary. The poet is describing the lessening 
brightness of advancing life. Its characteristic is fading light. 
To express his thought, he has with Oriental richness of imagi- 
nation and carelessness in exact use of metaphor mingled "light" 
and the various orbs of light in one figure. — For the clouds 
return after rain]. When clouds follow rain they cut off brightness. 
The frequency of gloomy storms happily figures the increasing 
gloom of age. Vaihinger thought it referred to winter, as the rainy 
time or time of gloom, Palestine having but two seasons, winter 
and summer. In Palestine the "winter of life" might well be 
opposed to our "springtime of life." 

3. In the day when], a fuller way of saying "when," cf. Ct. 8«. 
From a general description of the darkening of life's joys in ad- 
vancing age, tlie poet now passes on to picture the decay of the 
body under the picture of a house. The figure is loosely used, 
perhaps with no thought that all its details were to be literally 
applied to the members of the body, though the figure itself is, as 
a whole, appropriate and forcible. Whether the house is portrayed 
as undergoing the changes described, because of an approaching 
storm, or because night has come, is open to discussion. Those 
who favor the storm, find an argument for it in the "clouds" and 
the obscuring of all the heavenly bodies in vs. 2. It is really un- 
wise to press the figure too far, either as a description of the decay 


of the body, or the closing of a house. In speaking of the former 
in terms of the latter, the poet has mingled the features of the two in 
pleasing and suggestive imagery, which, though poetically vague 
in details, does not mislead. — The keepers of the house shall 
tremble]. The "keepers" correspond, as Ginsburg saw, to the me- 
nials or guards of a palace. When we come to applications to 
definite parts of the body, there is more difficulty. Rashi thought 
it meant "ribs" and 'loins," Plumtre the "legs," Delitzsch the 
"arms," Haupt the "hands." The last is probably right. — The 
men of valor bend themselves]. In the figure, as Ginsburg saw, 
"men of valor" are the superiors of the house, each palace con- 
taining masters and servants. In applying the figure to the body, 
there are again differences. The Targum and Plumtre think of 
the "arms," Ra., Rashbam, AE., Knobel, Hitzig, Zockler, De- 
Htzsch, Wright and McNeile of the "legs," "knees," or "feet," 
Haupt of the "bones," especially the spinal column. The refer- 
ence is probably to the legs. See the description of the feet of old 
me:i in 3 Mac. 4^. — The grinding maids shall cease because they 
are few]. It is generally agreed that this refers to the teeth, which 
are called "maids," because grinding in the East is usually done 
by women {cf. Is. 472 Job 31'" Mt. 24^' Odyssey 2o'«^- '"«). — The 
ladies who look out of the windows]. These are with much una- 
nimity taken to be the eyes. For the figure, cf. Ju. 5281. The 
figures represent the two classes of women in a house — ladies and 
serving maids — just as the two classes of men were represented. 
— Are darkened], that is, the eyes lose their lustre and their sight. 
4. The doors on the street are shut]. In applying this part of 
the figure, there are again diversities of opinion. The Talmud, 
Ra. and Rashbam thought the pores of the skin were referred to, 
the Targum the feet, AE., Dod., Ros., Kn., Ew., Hit., Vaih., Zo., 
Wr. and Sieg. the lips, which, when the teeth are gone, shut 
more closely; Kimchi, Grotius and Cleric thought of the literal 
shutting of the street door, so that the old man could not go out; 
Hengstenberg of the eyes, Lewis of the eyes and ears, Wildeboer 
of the ears, Haupt of the anus and bladder, the man beginning to 
suffer from retention {ischuria) and intestinal stenosis. It is 
probable that the reference is to the lips, the figure of a door being 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. ll'-12s 189 

elsewhere applied to them (see Mi. 7* Ps. 141^). — When the sound 
of the mill is low]. Again there are differences of opinion. The 
Talmud, Ra., Rashbam and AE. and Haupt hold it to refer to 
the impaired digestion; the Targum, to the appetite; Grotius, 
Doderlein, Knobel and Hitzig to the voice of age, which is broken 
and quavering; Zockler and Delitzsch to the rustle of the toothless 
mouth. The last is, perhaps, right. — And he shall rise at the voice 
of the bird]. This phrase has been variously translated, and even 
more variously interpreted. Kn., Wr., Wild, and Ha. think that 
it means that the old man awakes early just as the birds begin to 
twitter, and so refers to the loss of sleep in old age; Ew., Hit., Heil., 
Zo., Del. and PI. hold it to refer to the childish treble of age. 
Probably the first of these interpretations is the right one. — The 
daughters of song are prostrate]. Kn. and Heil. thought that this 
refers to the failure of the old man's singing voice, which is lost, 
though Kn. held that possibly it might refer to the notes of birds, 
which the old man could not hear. Del., who is followed by Wr., 
Wild., McN. and Ha., interprets it by 2 S. 19", where the aged 
Barzillai can no longer hear the voice of singing men and singing 
women, and so takes the line to refer to the deafness of age. With 
this Ges.*^- and Ko. seem to agree, for they show that "daughters 
of song" mean the various notes of music, these all seem low to 
the old man. The line accordingly refers to deafness. 

5. Also he is afraid of a height]. The figure of the house is now 
dropped, and four additional statements of growing incapacity are 
added. Interpreters generally agree that the reference here is 
to the shortness of breath which comes in old age, and makes the 
ascent of a height difficult. For the rendering "he fears" instead 
of "they fear," see critical note. — And terror is on the road]. This 
is almost a synonym of the previous clause. A walk is full of 
terrors, because the old man's limbs are stiff and his breath short. 
— And the almond-tree blooms]. According to Kn., Ew., Zo., Wr., 
Marsh., Gen., and Ha., it is a poetical reference to the white hair 
of old age. The almond-tree blooms in January, and at the time 
it has no leaves. The blooms are pink at the base, but soon turn 
white at the tips, giving the tree a beautiful white appearance, 
which makes the landscape in January and February most 


attractive (see Post, in Hastings' DB., I, 67a). This, then, is a 
natural symbol of the gray-haired man. It is used allegorically 
by Philo, Life of Moses, 3". Probably this is the correct interpre- 
tation, though others are urged by some. Since the Hebrew word 
for almond-tree is derived from a stem which means ''to waken," 
and that is the use made of it in Jer. i"ff,Hengstenberg and Plumtre 
take it to mean that "sleeplessness flourishes." De Jong, Wilde- 
boer and McNeile render the verb "despised," and take it to refer 
to the old man's faihng appetite, because "the almond is rejected" 
(see critical note). This view is not so probable. — The grass- 
hopper is burdensome]. The rendering "grasshopper" is disputed 
by some. Delitzsch and Wildeboer, following the Talmud, render 
it "hips" and the verb "drag themselves along," thinking the 
phrase a reference to an old man's walk. Kn. rendered "breath," 
making it refer to labored breathings. Graetz thought it a poetical 
reference to coitus, while Moore (JBL., X, 64) thinks that a melon 
instead of a grasshopper was intended. Of the interpreters who 
translate "grasshopper," Heiligstedt understands it to mean that 
the old man is too weak to cook and masticate the grasshopper for 
food (r/. Mt. y), Zockler that the old man's form is emaciated 
like that of a grasshopper, Plumtre that the grasshopper is an 
emblem of smallness (Is. 40" Nu. 13"), so that the smallest thing 
becomes burdensome; Wetzstein and Wright, that the grasshopper 
springs up in the days when spring begins, i.e., just after the seven 
days of death (see above, after vs. i), and Genung takes it to 
refer to the halting walk of age — the old man like a grasshopper 
halts along. Biblical analogy would lead one to agree with Plum- 
tre and take it as a symbol of smallness, though there is no reason 
to regard it, as he does, as a Greek symbol, and so to find an ex- 
ample of Greek influence here. The passage then means that the 
smallest weight is a burden, which the old man drags along. — The 
caper-berry is made ineffectual]. The caper-berry was a plant 
used to excite sexual appetite. There can be little doubt that the 
Hebrew word here used refers to it, since it is the singular of the 
word which designates the same product in the Talmud (see 
Moore, JBL., X, 55 ff., and Ja. 5b). Most interpreters rightly 
take it to mean that stimulants to appetite are rendered ineffectual 

FINAL ADVICE [Cii. ll>-12s 191 

by the failing of vital power. Graetz, however, takes ''caper- 
berry" as a figure for the glans penis, but, as Renan remarks, 
Qoheleth is never obscene. Wetzstein and Haupt, taking a hint 
from 2, connect the word rendered " caper-berry " with the Hebrew 
root for "poor," and think it a figurative expression for the soul. 
Haupt renders the word for "grasshopper" "chrysalis," making 
"inert lies the chrysalis, till the soul emerges." This is very im- 
probable, though beautiful. For the rendering "is made inef- 
fectual," see critical note. — The man goes to his eternal hotise]. 
Here first the writer speaks of death itself. "Eternal house" 
is a reference to the tomb; cf. Tobit 3" and the Talmudic and 
Coranic usage cited in crit. note. — Mourners go around the street]. 
According to Hebrew custom, cf. Am. 5'* Je. 91* -20. 

6. While] is a repetition of the opening word of vs. ib, and like 
it connects the thought with ii'", urging the young man to enjoy 
himself. — While the silver cord is not severed, nor the golden howl 
broken]. This last is a poetic picture of death, to which the thought 
was led in vs. 5b. The imagery by which this is expressed is, as 
several critics have seen (PL, No., Wr., Wild, and McN.), borrowed 
from Zc. 42 ^, where a golden bowl fed oil to the seven lamps. 
Here, however, the golden bowl is, with that richness of imagery 
common to the Orient {cf. Pr. 25"), represented as hanging by a 
silver cord. The cord is severed, the lamp falls, the bowl is broken 
(or more literally crushed, the objection that a golden bowl cannot 
be broken, is without force), the oil lost and the light goes out — a 
fit emblem of the sudden dissolution of the body and the escape of 
the spirit. Probably Qoheleth used this imagery with poetic 
freedom without thinking of special applications of details, but it 
has been otherwise with his commentators. The Targum makes 
the silver cord, the tongue; the golden bowl, the head; Del. makes 
them, respectively, the soul and the head; Haupt, the spinal column 
and the brain. — And the water-jar he shattered at the spring]. By 
another common figure life is likened to a fountain {cf. Ps. 36»). 
That figure is now employed. The individual body is made the 
water-jar, such as women in the East still use in carrying water 
home {cf. Gn. 24>< '^ " Ju. 7'" " 2°); when the jar is broken it can 
contain no more water, and so the life ends. — While this meaning 


is clear, some contend that the bucket does not represent the whole 
body, but some special organ, Del., Sieg. and Ha. think of the heart. 
— The wheel broken at the cistern]. This is another application of 
the same figure. Some wells are fitted up with a wheel to assist in 
drawing water. Sometimes this is small and can be worked by 
hand, as that seen to-day at ''Jacob's well," near Nablous, or on 
one of the wells at Beersheba, sometimes large enough to be 
worked by a camel or a donkey, like that pictured in Barton's 
A Yearns Wanderings in Bible Lands, p. 205. When the wheel is 
broken, the water can no longer be drawn. The "wheel" in this 
line is again a metaphor for the whole body. Some, however, 
make a special application of the "wheel," Del. and Sieg. regard- 
ing it as symbolizing the breathing process. Haupt thinks its 
"breaking" refers to paralysis of the heart. All the symbols of 
the verse picture death as coming suddenly — the lamp is crushed, 
the jar shattered, or the wheel broken. — 7. The dust shall return 
to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it\ 
As Tobia Ben Eleazar in the eleventh century and, in modern 
times, Plumtre and Wildeboer have noted, this is a definite refer- 
ence to Gn. 2^ Qoheleth pictures death as undoing what the 
creative act of God had accomplished. Siegfried holds that the 
first clause cannot come from Q', — the pessimist, — for he believed 
the spirit of a man to be no more immortal than that of a beast 
(31 9- 20); he therefore assigns 7a to Q^; 7b he denies to Q^ because 
that writer did not trouble himself about the dead, but rejoiced 
in life (5'^ 9*- ^-'^ ii^"), and assigns it to Q% the Chasid glossator. 
Such an analysis makes no allowance, however, for the moods of 
human nature. No man's thought — especially the thought of an 
Oriental — is as clear-cut as Siegfried supposes. One may have 
his pessimistic moods in which he questions whether anybody 
knows whether a man's spirit differs from a beast's; he may hold 
that man's only good comes from enjoying the sunshine of this 
physical existence, brief though it be, and still, holding Qoheleth's 
idea of God (see e.g., on 9'), write "the spirit shall return to God 
who gave it." Even a pessimist may quote Scripture without read- 
ing into it all the hopes of an optimist. Qoheleth's thought is not 
out of harmony with the later development of OT. Judaism on 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. ll'-12« 193 

this subject (see Schwally, Lehen nach dem Tode, 104 jf.)- — 8. Van- 
ity of vanities]. The book concludes with the dirge with which 
it opened. Qoheleth's concluding sentence reiterates his opening 
declaration. He has, from his point of view, proved his thesis and 
closes by reiterating the sad words with which he began: All 
is vanity. — Saith Qoheleth] is probably an insertion of the late 
editor, who added vvs. 9, 10, and who praises Qoheleth. 

11'. Sieg. arbitrarily denies the vs., as he does those which follow, toQ. 
The appropriateness of the whole passage, with the exception of 11"'' 
and i2i»toQ.'s thought, is too evident to need demonstration. — 2. p^^n], 
probably Sdn is to be supplied, cf. BDB. 324a.— njicirS dji n;3f-], 
on such rhetorical use of numbers, cf. Ges.'*^- §i34s. — ^>"^ ^^^'' ^-], on 
the form of expression, cf. Ko. §41 4q. 

3. "in'??".], Niph., cf. BDB. 570a. — orj] is to be taken with iNSr:> as 
ace. of material (so Wild.), not with i|~'"''>"' (Ha.). — D^^yn], the mistake 
in the accent of this word in the older printed Bibles, to which Del. called 
attention, has been corrected in the texts of Baer, Kittel (Driver), and 
Ginsburg. — am], cf. on i*. — Dypr:]=loco, cf. Ko. §33oky and 337g. 
— -Z'' Dipc], cf. ">t^N DipD, Ez. 6'3 Est. 4' S". — Nini], on the root, see 
above on 2^. The root is nin, used here as a synonym of ryr\. The n 
has caused trouble. Wr. regarded it as an orthographic addition such 
as in certain cases is found in Arabic, Ges.^- (§75s) wouid emend to 
i,T> (=z>7\>), while Bick. and Sieg. would emend to Nin. One of 
these emendations appears to be necessary. It will be noticed that in 
both the conditional sentences in this vs. the imperf. is employed in both 
protasis and apodosis. This points to ri'' rather than Nin as the true 
reading of the final word. Del. notes that in the earlier language such 
conditions would have employed the perfect in both clauses, cf. Dr. §12. 
— 4. "<r:c'], this part, and nvn express the continuity of the action = *he 
who habitually watches" ... "he who habitually looks." — 5. nu'NrJ 
begins a correlative sentence as in Je. 19", cf. Ko. §37 if. (S and & read 
•^•i'i<2, but that is evidently a mistake.— in'^dh ]\D22 u^12t;d] is an 
abbreviated comparison =" as thou art ignorant of the formation of the 
bones in the womb," etc. For a fully expressed comparison, see Dt. 
32'. — HN^r^n], in the sense of pregnant woman, occurs nowhere else in 
BH., though found once in the Mi9,\\na. {Vehamolh, 16'). Assyrian had 
the same usage, thus '^" I star kima wa////="Ishtar like a pregnant 
woman" {cf. Haupt, Nimrod Epos, p. 139, line 117, variant). In Latin 
Plena was sometimes used in the same sense, see Ovid, Metam. x, 465. 

Zap., for metrical reasons, would erase the word as a gloss. — >nn J''"'^"], 

note the delicate use of the part, and imperf. = " as thou continuously 
dost not know ... so thou mayest not know." — CD^fyDJ, 40 MS.S. and 


Ul read o^!:2«p3, but that is an error. — ^:) pn nrpi nrs] reminds one 
of Am. 38, but the context shows that the thought is not so general as 
that of Amos. — 6. "^P^d] is not used with n-^;' as Kn. thought poetically to 
include all time, but figuratively for youth. — 2->y':'i], not 2i;*3, as some 
MSS. of (&. Q. does not advise working "in evening," for that was 
resting-time {cf. Ps. 10423), but rather "till evening," cf. Job 42". — n^n], 
cf. the use of this verb in 79. Cf. also T]'«n> rjn^ Sn in Jos. lo^. — ni >^] = 
"which of two" or more — a late usage confined to Q. (2^ only besides 
this vs.), cf. BDB. 32a. — nr in nrn], on this disjunctive question, cf. 
Ko. §379b. Ha., for metrical reasons, erases the words as a gloss. It 
is here a tempting emendation. — ^hnd] occurs only in late books, as 
Is. 6525 2 Ch. 513 Ezr. 2*^ 33 620 ]\je_ ^ee, n is an Aramaism, occurring 
in Dn. 2^^, 01 on Gn. 13^ and on Job 31'*. 

7. pmn] is used of material substances like honey (Ju. 14" Pr. 24^^) 
and then figuratively as here and 5", where it is applied to sleep. — 
"^ixn], not the "light of life" as Kn. held, but the ordinary light of day. 
The expression is almost identical with i]8i> yap r6 0ws (Euripides, 
Iphig. in Aulis, 1219). — 0"'J''>:^J, "^ is here (as in i S. 16") pointed with 
— as though '^ received Daghesh forte implicitum, but in Gn. 36 and Pr. 
io2« it is pointed with t, cf. Baer, p. 68. — 8. ""o] is not here to be con- 
strued with ON, as in 312 and 8'^, but is = "for," and gives the reason for 
the preceding statement (so Hit. and Del.). — ^??"?], an adv. See on 
I '6 and cf. Ko. §3i8e. — satr-SD], Del. compares the expression N^nSi ^x^rj 
= "from the present even to the future" {Sanhedrin, 27a), used for the 
more frequent ndS i\-i;'^. — 9. mn2]= "chosen one," regularly used for 
a young man in the prime of manhood, cf. BDB. 104b. — nnSi], a late 
form which occurs but three times in BH., here, in vs. 10, and in Ps. 
iio3. It occurs also several times in the Talm., cf. Ja. 578b. Accord- 
ing to its etymology it should mean "childhood," but it is clearly here 
employed of the time of life called nina, and accordingly=" youth." 
— 13^ 13"'£0"'i], Del. observes that "i^S 3'»i3"'i would have expressed the 
thought. The pleonastic expression is a sign of lateness. — nnina], 
for the ordinary onin^. The ending m- is found in BH. only here 
and in 12K Has it not been approximated to the Aram. rnn3 = 
"youth" (cf. Dalman, Aram.-Neuhehr. Worterbuch, 49b)? Perhaps it 
should be pointed nnina. — nVn], the Piel is not uncommon, cf. Ps. 
i3i». — "'Nina], the Qr. and some 100 MSS. read ns-ica. It is difficult 
to decide between the two readings. ^^"^^ occurs in 6^, and it may be 
argued with Gins, that it has been changed to a plural here to make 
it conform to "'3">^. On the other hand, the plural occurs in Ct. 2>^ and 
Dn. I '5, and it maybe argued with Eur. that that was the original reading, 
because ."in"id is so natural that, if that had stood there, no one would 
have thought of changing it. 

10. djjd], see on i'^. — rij,n], here not ethical, hut physical evil, hence 

FINAL ADVICE [Ch. lli-12« 195 

"misery" or "wretchedness." — r^nnc'], not as Kn. and Hit. held from 
-\nz', dawn {cf. nntt'C=" morning," Ps. no'), but a NH. word, from "^ntr, 
"be black." Such a root occurs in Job 3030 and in BS, 25'«. It occurs 
in the Talm. (cf. Ja. 1551), in Syr. with the meaning="coal," and in 
As. as 5MrM="coal." This view is probably represented by (8, &, 
51, was held by Ra., Rashbam, and AE., and among recent interpreters 
is upheld by Gins., Del., Wr., Eur., Wild., Ha. and McN. nnnc' on 
this view="time of black hair," as opposed to ^:i''t', "the time of gray 
hair" or "old age." Wild, compares the Ar. wz^=" youth," in which 
the last two radicals are reversed. — '^^n], cf. on i^. 

121. iiNin], many interpreters — Kn., Hit., Gins., Del., PI. and Wr. — 
held this to be a pi. majestatis like d-tiSn, D^chp, etc. The Versions read 
it as sing., and Baer, Eur., Ges.^- (§i24k) and Sieg. so read it, though 
Dr. and Gins, still keep the pi. in their editions of the text. The sing. 
is to be preferred. Gr., who is followed by Bick., Che. and Haupt, 
emends ■IN"(13 to T^o^" cistern," and by comparison with Pr. 5'* 
takes it to refer to one's wife. On this view the exhortation is "Do not 
neglect thy lawful wife." The emendation, however, reads into the 
book a lower note, Davidson has observed (Eccl. in EB.), than any 
which the book touches. The one passage (9^) which seems to con- 
tradict Davidson's view, was influenced by the Babylonian epic. Gr.'s 
theory does not commend itself. 

2. x^ nrN i>'], cf. n*^ ny, Pr. S^s. The phrase of Q. borders on the 
idiom of the Mishna, cf. N^tt' -i;-, Berakoth, 35. Cf. Ko. §3870.-3. >v] 
= "tremble," "shake," occurs but twice beside this in BH., Est. 5' and 
Hb. 2^ It occurs frequently in Aram., cf. Dn. s'^ 627. For Talmudic 
references, see Ja. 388a. — ^imynn], cf. on j^K — Sian], a pure Aram, 
word occurring nowhere else in BH. It is found in the Mishna {Botah, 
99), in the Aram, of Ezr. 4"- 24 5*. For Talmudic references, see Ja. 
157. Cf. also S. A. Cook, Glos. of Aram. Inscr., p. 29, and G. A. 
Cooke, North Sent. Inscr., p. 335. — vjd>t], Bick. and Sieg. erase with- 
out sufficient reason. The Piel occurs only here, but with an intransitive 
force, cf Ges.^- §5 2k. — 4. Sotto], the inf. with 3, is taken by Gins, and 
Wr. as temporal, but Ko. (§403a) regards it as causal. Either gives a 
good meaning. — D'>p"'i], a jussive form without a jussive force, cf. 
Ges.^- § 72t. — Sip'^], ^ is temporal="at the time of the bird's voice," 
cf. Ko. §33 if. — "^S^^], the particular for the general, cf. Ko. §254^ — 
^^'yn P^J3], probably the "notes of song." P'or many examples of the 
figurative uses of p and P3, see Ges.'^- §i28vand Ko. §3o6m. — 5. nj)] 
is a noun, cf. i S. 16^ (so Del.). — wn^^], the pi. is unexpected. Kn. re- 
garded it as an example of the ease with which the Heb. passes from 
the sing, to the pi. Dr. and AIcN. suggest that the i is a dittograph of 
the following 1 - a probable explanation. — D\"'nr'ni], this noun is re- 
duplicated from the stem PPr\. The formation is similar to d"'D>d>' = 


eyelids. piSdSd = baskets, □"•SnSn = palm-branches, o-^rprp^ scales. — 
"»NJ''i], the stem Vnj=" reject," does not, in the opinion of most in- 
terpreters, give a satisfactory meaning. Ki. regarded the n as quiescent 
(see Baer, p. 69). Del. held it to be an orthographic variation for 
yy\ as osp is for op in Ho. 10" and vn-\ for c^n Pr. 1323, and in this 
he is followed by Ges.'^- §73g and BDB., 665a. Dr. would correct the 
reading toV^'"'- — ^^^], Kn. connected with the Ar. hagaba, " to breathe," 
Del. and Wild., following the Talm., with the Ar. hagabat= caput femoris, 
or hip; Moore (JBL., X, 64) connects with Ar. hagb, a " kind of 
melon," but most interpreters take it for grasshopper, as in Is. 40". — 
':'3rD^i], 28 MSS. read Sdpdm. Cf. Dr. — nfjm], some emendation is 
necessary. The simplest is to follow the Versions, and make it a 
Hophal, as BDB. (p. 830b), Dr. and McN. do. This has been done 
above. Moore objects that "»">5 in BH. is always used of making cov- 
enants or judgments ineffectual, and never, in a physical sense; he would 
accordingly follow 'A and take it from the root h-^d. In a late writer, like 
Q., however, earlier usage may have been violated. — n.ji'>pNn]=" caper- 
berry," the sing, of r^r>3N, which occurs in the Mishna and Talmud 
(see e.g., Ma^aseroth, 4«). So Moore, JBL., X, 55jf. and Ja. 5b. For 
a description of the fruit, see Moore. Wetz. and Ha. point nji"i:3N = 
"poor" and understand it as an epithet of rsj. Vrss., with the possible 
exception of S, 01, support "caper-berry." — oSiy n'-D], cf. Sanhedrin, 
19a, where a cemetery is T'^'^V ^''^ and dar ul-huldi, Qur'an, 41^8. — 
D-iioiDn] might be men as in Am. 5'8, or women as in Je. 9i«-2o. — 
6. nS Ti»N -li'], cf. on 12'. — priyX the Kt. = ''he put far away." — pnn% the 
Qr. = "to close up," or "bind," neither of which gives a satisfactory 
meaning. (&, &, U, S, read pnr., which is adopted by Ges., Ew., Eur., 
Sieg., Wild, and McN., and has been adopted in the rendering given 
above. — V^~\ ace. to Del., a metaplastic form of the imperf. of 1^"^= 
"break" {cf. Ges.^- §§67q, 67t and 5DB. 954b). Sieg., Wild, and McN. 
emend to x^"»ni. — -^j], the very word used in Zc. 4^ ^. Gins, and Zo. 
would make it mean fountain {cf. thi Jos. 15*' Ju. i'^, and Sj Ct. 4>2), 
but later interpreters have rightly rejected this. — "^^J, a fem. sing., with 
pi. in O"-", cf. Ko. §252k. — >'"t3c]="a fountain opened in the desert" — a 
rare word occurring, besides in BH., only in Is. 35^ and 49*''. It is found 
also in J.Ar., cf. Ja. 725a. — 7. ^r^i], a jussive form, according to 
Del. it is suited to nS tj'n ij? of vs. 6 as a subjunctive, according to 
Ges.*^- §io9k and Ko. §366u it does not differ in force from the ordinary 

imperf. — nnn] = u*0J or ncrj, cf. Gn. 2' Is. 42* Job 2,2>^. — Sn ^;-] in 

late writing are used interchangeably. Vs. 6 furnished an example of 
this also. 8. a^S^n S^n], cf. on i^. — nSnpn nns] some would emend 
to nSnp nnnN after 'j^, but probably that passage should be emended 
to this. On n'?np see on i'. 

PRAISE OF QOHELETH [Ch. 129-'* 197 

129 12. — A late editor's praise of Qoheleth, and of Hebrew Wisdom, 
to which is added a Chasid's last gloss (12'^ '^). 

123. ^fj^ besides that Qoheleth was wise, he still taught the people 
knowledge, and tested and examined and arranged many proverbs. '". Qohe- 
leth sought to find pleasant words, but he wrote uprightly words of truth. 
". The words of the wise are as goads, and as driven nails are the members 
of collections; they are given by one shepherd, i^. ^^^^ besides these, my 
son, he warned. Of making many books there is no end, and much study 
is a weariness of the flesh. ^\ End of discourse. All has been heard. 


12 ^ Besides that Qoheleth was wise]. This praise of Qoheleth 
is unlike anything in the book, and sounds as many interpreters, 
from Doderlein down, have noted, like a later editor. The 
language in which this editorial addition is written differs, if possible, 
even more widely from Biblical Hebrew (see critical notes) than 
the language of Qoheleth. — Slill taught the people knowledge], 
through his wise writings. — And tested and examined and arranged 
many proverbs]. Probably, as Hitzig and Wildeboer say, this is a 
reference to our book of Proverbs, which the editor attributed to 
Qoheleth, whom he identified with Solomon. — 10. Qoheleth sought 
to find pleasant words]. He tried to give his composition a pleas- 
ing or elegant form. This is also a part of the editor's testimony 
to Qohelcth-Solomon. He claims that Qoheleth sought to give 
literary finish to his compositions. — But he wrote uprightly words 
of truth]. He never sacrificed matter to form. Perhaps this is the 
editor's apology for some of the statements in the book before us. 
For a justification of the above translation, see critical note. — 
11. Tlie words of the wise are as goads]. They prick and stimulate 
to activity. Plumtre recalls that the words of Pericles were said 
to have a sting. — ^6- driven nails]. It is difficult to tell whether 
the editor is thinking of the appearance of written words in a row, 
like a row of driven nails, as Delitzsch suggests, or whether he is 
thinking of the permanent effect of a written word embodied in a 
collection in comparison with the goad-like effect of a spoken 
word. The latter seems the more probable. Haupt contends that 


the contrast here is between disjointed sayings, such as the book 
of Proverbs, and more connected thought such as is contained in 
Qoheleth's book — a less probable view. — Members of collections]. 
Utterances that have been embodied in a collection of sayings. For 
the translation and for different renderings, see the crit. note. — 
They are given by one shepherd]. Haupt, for metrical reasons, re- 
gards these words as a gloss, but there is no proof that the editor 
attempted to write poetry, and the words seem a natural part of his 
thought. The "one shepherd " was thought by Heiligstedt to refer 
to Qoheleth, and by Delitzsch and McNeile to Solomon. This 
makes it an assertion that all the contents of the preceding book (or 
books) come really from Solomon. As Knobel, Ginsburg, Plumtre, 
Wright and Wildeboerhave seen, "Shepherd" in the OT. is usually 
an epithet of God (Ps. 23' 80' 95% cf. Is. 40" Ez. S3^^)) ^.nd is prob- 
ably so here. On this view the editor means to say, the words of 
the wise may be uttered by different men, but they all come 
from God. Krochmal, who is followed by Graetz, thought that 
the last three verses of the book applied not to Qoheleth alone, but 
were the closing words of the whole Hagiographa, dating from the 
council of Jabne, A.D. 90. If this were true, one would be tempted 
to include the book of Job in the "words of the wise," to which 
allusion is made here, but external evidence proves Krochmal's 
view to be impossible, see above. Introduction, §§ii, 13. — 12. And 
besides these]. Besides these inspired words of the wise, just re- 
ferred to in the preceding vs. — My son\ a common address to a 
pupil in the Wisdom Hterature, see Pr. i*"- '»• '^ 2' 3'- "• ^i 41. — Be 
warned]. This refers, as the following clause proves, to other col- 
lections of books than "the words of the wise," described in the 
preceding vs. Interpreters differ as to whether the editor was 
warning against heathen writings (so Plumtre), or against rival 
Jewish writings, such as Ecclesiasticus (so Wright), or the Wis- 
dom of Solomon. If our view of the history of Qoheleth's writing 
be true (see above, Introduction, §§7, 11), references to BS. and 
Wisdom would be here impossible. — Of making many books there 
is no end]; a continuation of the warning against other literature. 
Possibly the writer was thinking of heathen libraries when he com- 
posed this hyperbolical statement. — Much study is a weariness 

PRAISE OF QOHELETH [Ch. 12^'2 199 

of the flesh]. This is, perhaps, suggested by Qoheleth's own words 
in i'». The editor would deter his pupil from unorthodox or 
heathen literature by the thought of the weariness of study. 
13^ End of discourse], the end of the book. — All has been heard]. 
These words probably formed the conclusion of the editor's 
work, and once formed the end of the book. 

13^ Fear God and keep his commandments]. These begin the 
Chasid glossator's final addition. It is in harmony with his pre- 
vious insertions, cf. y 8« ii'"^. This is every tnan]. A Hebrew 
metaphorical way of saying, "this is what every man is destined 
for and should be wholly absorbed in." For parallels, see crit. 
note. — 14. For every work God will bring into the judgment concern- 
ing every secret thing]. This echoes the words of the Chasid in 1 1 «. 
With this note of judgment the book, as the Chasid left it, closes. 
The Massorets thought the ending too harsh, and accordingly re- 
peated vs. 13 after it, to make the book close with a more pleasant 
thought. They made similar repetitions at the end of Isaiah, 
the Minor Prophets and Lamentations. 

129. nn'^] was taken by Heil., Zo. and Dale to mean "as to the rest," 
or "it remains'* (to speak of). The word is, however, an adv. as in 
2i5 ^16 In those passages it means "excessively," here, "besides," 
cf. 5DB. 452b. This approaches the Mishnic meaning of "additional," 
given to a kindred form, see Ja. 605a. — ipS] Piel with causative force 
of nnS="to learn," cf. BDZJ. It takes two objects, cf. Ko. §327r. — D;r,]. 
<&, A, read o^xn, which Gr. preferred. — fm] was connected by the Ver- 
sions with ]iJ<="ear," either as noun or verb. It is in reality the only 
survival in BH. of irN = "to weigh" {cf. Ar. wazan), from which comes 
D"'JTN)2= "scales." Here it seems to mean "weigh" in the sense of 
"test" {cf. Ges.«"- p. 23a and 5DB. 24b). — "»;?n]="to search out," 
occurs in Piel only here. Zap. would erase it on metrical grounds as a 
gl- — ii?.0] is used by Q. only in the sense of "making straight the 
crooked," cf. i'^ 7". Here it means "set in order," "arranged," as in 
the Targ. and Tal. {cf. Ja. 1692). This difference from the usage of 
Qoheleth confirms our suspicion that the verse is from a later editor. 
— n3">n], on the use of this word with nouns, see Ko. §3i8e. <6 takes 
it with the following vs. — 10. Yon n3i]=" words of pleasure," i.e., that 
give pleasure. Ha. is right in thinking that it refers to elegance of form. 
Marsh. 's rendering, "words of fact," on the ground that Vcri in Q.= 
"matter," "business," overlooks the fact that in this very chap. (12') 
Vcn=" pleasure." — ^"i-"^?'"] (ft=Kai -yeypaix^vov, supports this reading. 


Ginsburg held that the pass, part., when it follows a finite vb., has the 
distinction of that vb. implied. Del., PI., Wr., held to the text, taking it 
in the sense of "writing" as in 2 Ch. 30% but this makes a harsh and 
awkward sentence. Hit. emended to 3^rr, and thought the inf. abs. 
was used like inf. const, after c'pn; Bick. and Sieg. emend to=aTiDSi, 
making it parallel to NXrS in form as Hit. did in thought. McN. 
emends to 3in>i, taking it as "writing." &, Ul, 'A, "B, read aTir (hist, 
inf.) or, as 5 MSS. read, 3nD, to one of which we should, with Dr., emend 
the text. — "lu*"'], as Wr. and Wild, have seen, is an adverbial ace, cf. 
Ges.^- §ii8m. — pdn], cf. for the meaning Ps. 13 2I'. — 11. niji-ii] oc- 
curs only once besides in BH., that in i S. 13^', a hopelessly corrupt 
passage (cf. Budde, SBOT., and Smith, Inter. Crit. Com.). As this 
last occurrence may be due to late editing in S., and as the word is fairly 
common in Aram. {cf. J a. 320b), and the formation is an Aram, one, 
the word is probably an Aram, loan word (see BDB. 201b). It is from 
3m= " to train " {cf. Ar. dariha, Eth. darhaya). nc^D, from ncS, is often 
used in Heb. for "goad." — nncr::] is spelled elsewhere nncor:, c/. Je. 10* 
2 Ch. 39 and oncDoIs. 41^ i Ch. 22', sing. "i?:pp, see Sabbath, 6'", Kelim, 
12S and the references in Ja. 809a. Wild, regards it as an Aram, loan 
word, but inasmuch as it is found in Je. and Is.^ that can hardly be. 
— >'VJj], usually "plant," as of trees, etc., but in Dn. ii« of tent-pegs, 
as here of nails. — ■''7>2], not "masters (of assemblies)," nor "masters 
(of collections)," but as Del. pointed out="a participant of," as in Gn. 
14" and Ne. 6'*, cf. Ko. §3o6g. As. has the same use of the word, cf. 
bel adi u mantit "sa "^"'"'A'ssur^'= " participator in the covenant and oath 
of Assyria," Sennacherib, Taylor, Cyl. II. 70. — ■'^''fipN], a late word found 
elsewhere only in Ne. 12^5 and i Ch. 26^5 n^ and there masc. In those 
passages it refers to collections of people; here, according to Heil., Del., 
Wr., Gen., Ha. and McN., to a collection of sayings or a written work. 
Sieg. still holds to the older and less probable view that it refers to an 
assembly of people. — 12. i.i"'], adv. as in vs. 9, but here with the addition 
of p= English: "in addition to these." According to Ko. (§3o8f) it is 
= plus quant. — .iiu'>], with its object, is the subject of the sentence, cf. 
Ko. §233d. (& apparently read mtr-yS. — xp px] is virtually an adj.= 
"endless," like S.lj; r^^ in Dt. 32*, so Del. — jnS]=with n^nn, to "de- 
vote oneself to prolonged study," is a.X. Analogy is found only in the 
Ar. lahiga= " be devoted (or attached) to a thing." Cf. No., ad. loc. and 
BDB. S29b. — 13a. -(an l^o] is an Aramaism. Cf. piDfi r\\0. r^\D oc- 
curs in a few late writings — Jo. (22"), Chronicles and Qoheleth in the 
sense of "i? {cf. BDB. 693a), but is the regular word in J.Ar. {cf. Dn. 
4«- *» 7", and for post-Biblical references, Ja. 968a). The use of im 
without the art. shows that we cannot here translate "the end (or con- 
clusion) of the matter." It is probably a technical expression like I'D 
P1DD, with which the editor marked the end of his work. This 

PRAISE OF QOHELETH [Ch. 12^-'^ ^01 

expression makes the impression that wlien these words were penned, the 
Chasid's gloss had not been added, and these words formed the con- 
clusion of Qohelcth. Cf. Ko. §277v.— ^crj]. Gr. and Sieg. hold that 
(6 read >?r, and Sieg. would so emend the text, but Eur. points out 
that &Kove may be an itacism for d/coyerai, so that no other reading is 
necessarily pre-supposed. >crj is taken by Gins., Del., Wr., Marsh., 
and McN. as perf. Niph., Karnes being due to the Athnah. Wild, 
and Ha., among recent interpreters, still regard it as an imperf. first pers. 
cohortative. There is an evident reference to this final word of Qo.'s 
editor in BS. 43^': ^^n Nin n3i spi '\o^: nV hSnd ii>'. This quotation 
confirms our view that when it was made the Chasid gl. had not yet 
been added. 

13»>. D-iNH ^3 ht], as Del., No., Wr. and McN. have seen, can only mean 
"this is every man." As Del. pointed out, it is a bold metaphor like 
ra-^j ■ic>'="thy people are a free-will offering," Ps. iio^, n^ijp >jn = 
"I am prayer," Ps. ioqS and D-tNn >j3 nnpc = " f ate are the children of 
men," Qo. 3i9._mNn Sd can only mean "every man," cf. 3" 518 72.— 
14. aoroD N3^] are the very words used by the Chasid in ii'. — ^^orca], 
without the article, as Gins, saw, is further defined by 'J Sd *?>•=" the 
judgment concerning every secret thing." (So Del., Wr. and McN.) 
Cf, Je. 235.— aSy.i], McN. observes, has Daghesh in S to insure the pro- 
nunciation of the quiescent guttural; it occurs, however, in i K. io» 
without Daghesh. On dn 2n], cf. Ko. §37 ir. 




•13N, 104. 

njV2N, 52, 196. 

DIN, ;^^, 148, 167. 
nOO JHN, 33, 131. 
"I1N, 194. 

?^<, 93- 

nn^ Tx, 32. 

m, 199- 

ins,, 93, 118. 

THN, 89, 

-a THN, 144. 

nosHN, 147. 
nnns, 142. 
□"•nnN, 76, 122. 
^N, 52, 178. 

HT ••N, 194. 
1>N, 94. 
iS^N, 118. 
?^N, 106, 145. 

Khn hj ]-'n, 75. 
VP ?^N, 200. 
nr r>N, 53. 
lirni '^DN, 132. 
-luo Sdn, 117, 

i^N, 135- 
aS Sn, 141. 
^'V ':»«, 178. 
nnxn Sn, 125. 

D1PD Sn, 73. 

O^-^D Sn, 160. 

DN, 134. 

tDN, 88, III, 148. 

-S nCN, 158, 169, 196. 

PDN, 200. 

^JN, 86, 88, 92, 152. 
omDvS-, 121. 

Pi2pN, 200. 
IN, 92. 

nn T\N, 142. 
D"'::"' 1->N, 145. 


150, 166, 178. 
nS ^rN, 145. 
nrnS -^rN, 107. 
nu-vN, 178. 

-3, 125, 131, 132, 

178, 196. 
'^2, 73- 

t'H2, 168. 

■\U'N3, 141, 152, 160, 

^n3, 152. 

N13, 113, 201. 

TN-^13, 195. 
n>iiD, 168. 
"\in3, 194. 
pn-jj, 161. 
^03, 195. 
n'^iy n>a, 196. 

]^^, 155- 
oSa, 88. 

N^3, 177. 

pSi, 177. 
-\"'C'n nua, 195. 
amn p, 178. 

PO •'J3, 90. 



"^yn, 131, 132, 177, 179, 

''Sya, 200. 
Sx3, 143. 

Vp2, 104. 

T3, 194. 

ni2-^3, 89. 
-?3, 53, 94- 
-irN Vr3, 158. 
□v'^3, 89. 

n2J, 142. 

D\-13J, 130. 

143, ' "^^^ ^78. 
T1J, 176. 

r?ij, 52, 176. 

n'?J, 196. 

DJ, 93, 118, 122, 135, 

145, 169- 
^>< 2', 179- 

DNDJ, 158. 
>JN DJ, 93. 
P, 89. 

nnp, 142. 
j?nj, 106. 

-^2n, 75, 142. 
nan, 75, 145. 
^'fjn '•nai, 199. 
ona-i, 137. 
n ■^31, 152. 
aS or ''mai, 86. 

^^ 137- 



^^^ 179- 

n;;Dn, ii6. 
nn, 87. 

niJ3-n, 52, 200. 
an-T, 74. 
11-', 169. 

-•?, 112/. 

i>< -V, 94. 

onsn, 113, 135. 

inNH, 118. 

Sjn, 52, 72, 158. 

TiflDini ^nSijn, 86. 

Nin, 32, 87, 96, 106, 141, 

mn, 95, 193. 
n^in, 141. 
niShn, 54, 87. 
"'Pn, 141. 

N>n, 17, 133, 148, 166. 
^'^» 75. 90, 106, 107, 

117, 177. 
^n^^^, 85. 
"•jrn nS-'H, 32. 

^^^,33,93,145, 158,179- 
n^rDH, 177. 

1^^, 73, 135, 136, 155- 

rcj iSn, 33, 168. 

SSn, 88, 142. 

onSnon, 112. 

•^DH, 169. 

njin, 86, 90, 168, 199. 

jnn, 104. 

"jc^n, 118. 

a^nnn, 145. 

1, in apodosis, 158. 
I'NJ'i, 196. 
'^anoii, 196. 

ot:T^i, 33, 138. 
n3nr>i, 155. 
nN-\"i n.nri, 106. 

niD o^iT, 168. 

^h 75, 87, 135, 201 

! nr, 53, 96, 167. 
nr IN nr, 194. 
n? nr, 135. 

•i'^^ 53- 

DIN VdHT, 201. 

JI'iT, 195- 

v^y, 76. 

IDT, 103. 

p2n, 104, 117. 

3jn, 196. 

mn, 179. 

N-jm, 168. 

na'in, 97. 

nVin, 132. 

JO r^n, 97. 

a>->in, 52, 178. 

t:-in, 97. 

N:on, 125. 

n*jn, 168. 

^n, 141. 

D^-in, 135, 166. 

□>V>n, 177. 

asn, 145, 147, 151. 

naon, 177. 

Di^n, 125. 

>'i ^^n, 134. 

pSn, 113, 193. 

P, 177- 

•^D'?, 134. 

rnon, 86. 

D-'jsn, 118. 

van, 103, 125, 131. 

npn, 199. 

'^^f^, 53- 

n^rn, 52, 53, 149. 
nij3rn, 148/. 
D>nnnn, 195. 

3v^, 89, 96, 121, 131, 143. 
n£3> nrx :3v^, ^:„ 52, 132. 
naia, 135, 141. 
■^rND :3ii3, 113, 

Vi<\ 95. 
y^3% 168. 
-^'V., 179- 
>J% 178. 
nan>, 145. 
11% 166. 
>n% 134, 146. 
'?':'^r^\ 142. 
crpv, 167. 
13Si3>:o>, 194. 
2C'\ 141. 
nS;, 121, 141. 
n';;"'., 103, 121. 
i^''"'''% 52, 53, 194- 
1^^*^% 155- 
V^n ^D"', 145. 

rD>, 169. 

10% 178. 

^ID^ 106. 

"0% 105- 

NX>, 53, 145. 

oho PN Ni% 33. 
D1p>, 195. 
•\p\ 168. 
Nn% 195. 

'^'\ 75, 134- 

NAif% 151 J/: 

"IT"', 200. 

irT", 94, 199, 200. 
V^^\ 54, 72, 105, 132. 

-p, 143, 151, 152, 156, 
158, 160, 193, 194. 

inN3, 194. 

■yvi<D, 17, 152, 158, 160, 

^33, 52, 75, 93- 

ID, 196. 

DDnnr, 151. 

HD, 166/. 

CX ^D, 106, 156. 

Q3^D, 121, 156, 158. 

"•3, 33, 93, 145, 158, 169, 



Q-^H ^3, 133. 

-V n?:y ^2, 132. 
n^'^ Sd, 194. 
=^-T ?3, 155- 

DJD, 90. 
D^DJD, 179. 

na? 0^*^03, 124. 
103, 131. 

DJ'D, 87, 96, 133, 142. 
^X3, 143, 156. 
-p, 169. 

•^rj, 177. 

iniro, 95, 117, 131. 
"^lonc-D, 167. 
JiPD, 199/. 

-S, 161, 169, 179. 
2S, 86, 87, 169. 
210 3S, 166. 
laS, 148. 
jnV, 200. 
mj?:n^, 86. 
Nilpn'r, 125. 

^iS 155- 
rnV, 177. 
nj?t3^, 103 /. 
n-i^^, 103. 
ncS, 94. 
pc^'S, 132. 
■loS, 199. 
np^i', 143- 
TIB'S, 177. 
IpnS, 17, 86. 

HNC, 134. 
DDWC, 143. 
yDC' C'"'NC, 142. 

Ssy^jD, 156. 

ynn, 94. 

nj^t::, 52, 90, 130. 

ptD, 52, 179. 

HD, 113, 142, 193. 

OIN HD, 92. 

-W ?T2, 75. 

n>ni:> n?:, 33. 147/. 

SSmD, 88. 
d-'dSh::, 122. 

DHD, 92. 

n-ino, 119. 

NS1D, 150. 

D>Nai::, 155. 

o^S^DDa Srir, 168. 

-^mn, 112. 
I nDDnr;, 142. 
i '^, 53, 131- 

h'^'x^j^, 53, 160/. 

j D"'n'^Nn n>::, 96. 
DONo::, 96. 

130, 178. 

n':'^, 74, 118, 160. 
2S n'^o, 156. 
nxSc, 193. 
IN^D, 125. 
toSo, 167. 

iSd, 152, 178, 179. 
Snj -jSc, 167. 
hn•^t'^ S, ^^n, 85. 
moS?:, 121. 
njo, 86. 
irjcVo, 76. 
P, 75> 96, 142. 
yjo, 92. 

TDO, 176. 
PDD, 121, 167. 
•>£3D0, 89, 133, 137. 

njjjr, 86. 
tayo, 195. 

•■•JPC, 33 » 52, 133- 
ntrj?c, 117, 156 '"»• 
Nxn, 167. 
D-'iis?:, 149, 167. 
nsix::, 167. 

^><^'^, 53, 136, 194. 
oipc, 74, 135, 192. 

cHp DlpO, 155. 

'^'^pC, 145. 

^?i7P, 32, 90. 93, 112. 

.-i->|-ip, 178. 

D^ono, 176. 

rnn, 167. 

Ni3">C, 176. 

Pi"ict;'c, 200. 

33ro, 179. 
rS-^T, 119. 
nnSrc, 152. 
ycrn, 75. 
:odb'd, 130, 201. 
nru'D, 141. 
njPO, 142. 
pins, 194. 

iJJ, 179. 

jnj, 89. 

mj, 142, 176. 

I'^u, 121. 

■^nrj, 121. 

nconj, 142. 

^nj, 74. 

'''^p nrnj, 177. 

pnj, 135, 168. 

r^:, 103^, 200. 

D^DDJ, 52, 133, 134. 
nDJ, 134. 
HDJ, 88. 
>DJ, 176. 

dS;*;., 201. 
^>J, 178. 
nr>'J, 155. 

U-DJ, 135, 156. 

r^j, 196. 
ntij, 107. 
irj, 176. 

yorj 201. 

DU'Orj, 168. 

iPj, 86, 97, 124, T42. 
Pi^J, 153- 

32D, 05, 167. 

n'^jD, 90. 
"^30, 196. 
331D, 74. 

n">D, 105, 200. 

i n^l n'lC', 200. 



ona^D, 196. 
DniD, 121. 
on-iD, 142. 

^DO, 95, 169, 176, 196. 

niSoD, 53, 89. 
PD, 52, 177. 

1DD, 104. 

^y;, 131 ff. 

t3J?, 158. 
■15;*, 131/. 

nu-N n;', 89. 

nS -^u^n ^^•;, 53, 195. 

■"'J"^>, 117. 

1U*, 179. 

my, 86, 143. 

»>, 145- 

D"'JO T>, 151. 

O'i'V, 194- 
n^>', 167, 178. 
H', 86, 106, III. 
':'N . . ^;, 196. 
nn3nS>', III. 
-^•nninS;.^ 52, 143. 
^shy, 125. 
-r nc;; S*, 52, 132. 
d"??., 105. 
ah'y, 72, 105. 

o^'2'^>, 75/. 

D>', 93, 122. 

"^^y, 73. 92, 122. 

n-in>', 73. 

^yy, 33, 133, 179- 
r-3>, 52, 85. 

3x>', 177- 
D^Ci7, 193. 

3-\;, 194. 

^'I'V, 32, 33, 75, 85. 88, 

93, 105, 106, 116, 155, 

onS ncy, 179. 
iniiry, 93. 
nvi'v, 200. 

3"ito>', 32, 106. 

O^TSy, 90. 

o^n'^xj;, 178. 

PC7, 142. 
D"';?u7^, 116. 
nicT, 145. 
Dn>U7, 176. 
nj7, 144. 

PC, 167. 

^0, 135, 152, 177. 

njfj, 92. 

a^jfl, 177. 

^'^>s, 135, 146. 

DT^O, 32, 52, 89. 
V^i3, 104. 

nrc, 52, 151. 

2J-^S, 33, 52, 154. 
^i-, 143. 

?isx, 74. 
■is?, 195. 

D"'j::np, 76. 

'■^^^IP, 67/., 148, 196. 

^V, 142. 

cip, 195. 

^•?P, 177- 

r^top, 167. 

HNJ,-!, 117. 

njp, 90. 

2-^p, 52, 124, 168. 

HN^, 87, 88, 113, 116, 

134, 142, 167, 176. 

ns^, 167, 176. 
a>jc-Nn, 76. 
^'^\ 134- 

DO-i, 176. 
^J-^, 17, 124. 
I"'"^, 107. 

nn, 85, 176, IOC. 
np^'\, 168. 
pn-\, 196. 

n, 141- 

^33 >•■», 160. 

'"^y i'-^, 94- 

npi, 132, 177, 193, 194/. 
nin, 53, 85. 
rvpn, 96. 

rxi, 196. 
"ip"^, 104. 
?r->, III. 

pn->, 196. 

';tz', 134. 
Pr^''i'\ 179- 

D>B', III. 

'•^i*^^-^', S3, 87. 
Sncu', 169. 
n:Dt:*, 92, 179. 
mnsr, 177. 

"?' 53, 72/., 96, 106, 
112, 119, 134, 169, 176, 

177, 178, 194- 
VNr, 92. 
^y Snu-, 142. 

^M<'C\ 167. 

nNir, 73. 
n^r, 52, 94, 116 
DJr, 87. 
njjr, 176. 
nyiw', 193. 
pi>3r, 152. 
miuh nnr, 91 j^ 
1>pnnr, 137. 
nnnr, 195. 
Sc^r, 119. 

Pts^J^S 52, 53, 151- 
to^Vr, 152. 

I'-r, 104. 

DC-, 74, III, 134, 141. 

nsr. III. 

nji?:;:^ 193. 

ycr, 75, 168, 20I. 



^r^', 193- 

rtu-, 134. 
nju* (noun), 134. 
n:u- (verb), 151/. 
■•jr, 32, 118, 122. 

r"i2-i D':u-, 134. 

'^cr, 195. 
'•^"''^c-S 53, 179- 

nir, 85. 

r^np, 176. 

ircrn rn-, 32, 73. 

ncn, 131, 

niji:j?n, 91. 

icr, 104, 196. 

Ipr, 17, 52, 86, 143, 199- 

n^"5P, 52, 137- 

scirr, 145. 


AroKA, 27. 

Adam, James, 42. 

Albert, Georg, 42. 

Albrecht, K., 155, 178. 

Alexander Balas, 30, 61, 119^., 174. 

Alexander Jann^eus, 3, 29. 

Alexander the Great, 43, 59. 

Antiochus III, 61 jf., 120^., 164. 

Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), 29, 61. 

Antiochus V, 164. 

Antiochus VII, 164. 

Aqiba, Rabbi, 5, 17, 167 

Aquila, 11, 17. 

Aristophanes, 74. 

Aures, A., 42. 

Bacon, B. W., 183. 

Baer, S., 8, and Comm. passim. 

Ben Buta, 3. 

Ben Sira, 2, 53, 59 ?/"., and Comm. 

Bennett, W. H., 22. 
Berger, S., 15. 
Bevan, E., R., 63, 121. 
Bickell, G., 22, 25^., 32, and Comm. 

Bloch, J. S., 3. 
Bomberg, Daniel, 2. 
Breasted, J. H., 151. 
Briggs, C. A., 6, 7, 22^., and Comm. 

Burkitt, F. C, 9, 11. 

Caird, Edward, 42. 
Catullus, 174. 
Cheyne, T. K., 22, 185. 
Ciasca, A., 13. 
Cicero, 114, 174. 
Clement of Alexandria, 7. 
Collitz, Hermann, 89. 
Cook, S. A., 178, 195. 
Cooke, G. A., 32, 86, 195. 

Cornill, H., 22jf., 44, 59, 61. 
Cowley, A. E., 7. 
Cox, Samuel, 22. 

Dathe, J. A., 21, and Comm. pas 

Davidson, A. B., 22, 59, and Comm. 

De Jong, P., 190. 
Delitzsch, Franz, 22, and Comm. 

Desvoeux, A. V., 50. 
De Wette, W. M. L., 22. 
Dhorme, Paul, 163. 
Dillmann, A., 9. 
I Dillon, E. J., 22, 26, 27. 
Doderlein, J. C, 21, and Comm. 

Driver, S. R., 8, 22, 51, and Comm. 
; passim. 
j Dupuis, J., 42. 

ElCHHORN, J. G., 21, 23. 

Elcazar ben Azariah, 5. 

Epicurus, 38 jf. 

Eshmunazer, 32. 

Euringer, Sebastian, 14, and Comm. 

Euripides, 34. 
Ewald, H., 22, 51, and Comm. 

Ewing, William, 183. 

Field, F., ii, 13. 
Frederick William IV, 83. 
Frey, J., 109. 
Friedlander, M., 34, 164. 

Gamaliel, 3. 

Genung, J. F., 22, 31, 61, and 
Comm. passim. 



Ginsburg, C. D., 6, 8, 17, 22 jf., 32, 

and Comm. passim. 
Gottheil, R. J. H., 15. 
Graetz, H., 9, 22, 24 ff., 2,3, and 

Comm. passim. 
Gregory, C. R., 10, 27. 
Gregory bar Hebraeus, 171. 
Gregory of Nyssa, 20. 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, 20. 
Grenfell, B. P., 27, 172. 
Grimme, Hubert, 39, 162. 
Grotius, Hugo, 21, 22. 
Guyan, M., 42. 

Harxack, Adolf, 13, 20. 

Harris, J. R., 5. 

Haupt, Paul, 5, 22 /f., 27 jf., 29 jf., 

34 ff., 44, 49 jf., and Comm. 

Heiligstedt, A., 22, and Comm. 

Hengstenberg, E. W., 22, and Comm. 

Heraclitus, 34, loi. 
Herder, J. G., 23. 
Hermas, 7. 

Herod the Great, 3, 178. 
Herodotus, 43, 127. 
Hillel, 5, 6. 
Hilprecht, H. V., 42. 
Hitzig, F., 22, 61 ff., and Comm. 

Hommel, F., 68. 
Horace, 81, 112, 127, 163, 184. 
Hunt, A. S., 27, 172. 

Ibn Ezra, 27, and Comm. passim. 

Jahn, H., 21. 

Jerome, 15, and Comm. passim. 

Jesus, son of Sirach, see Ben Sira. 

Jewett, J. R., 98, 181. 

Johanan ben Joshua, 5. 

John Hyrcanus, 151. 

Jose, Rabbi, 5. 

Joseph, son of Tobias, 63. 

Judah, Rabbi, 5. 

Judas Maccabaeus, 151 

Justin, 120, 174. 

Justin Martyr, 7, 40. 

Juvenal, 174. 

Kautzsch, E., 60. 
Kennicott, Benjamin, 8. 
King, L. W., 135. 

Kittel, R., 8, 50. 

Kleinert, P., 23/., 32/. 

Knobel, August, 22, and Comm. 

Kuenen, A., 22, 59. 

Leclerc, v., 42. 
Levy, Alfred, 15. 
Lidzbarski, Mark., 7. 
Louis XIV, 85. 
Lowth, Bishop, 15, 50. 
Lucretius, 108. 
Luther, Martin, 21. 

McFadyen, J. E., 22. 

McNeile, A. H., 2 ff., 4, 6, 17, 18^ 

22/., 30^., 32/., 41/., 53/-, 59^ 

65, and Comm. passim. 
Marcus Aurelius, 36, 99, loi. 
Margouliouth, D. S., 22, 53, 59, 67. 
Marshall, J. T., 22. 
Martin, T. H., 42. 
Mazarin, Jules, 82. 
Meissner, Bruno, 39. 
Mendelssohn, Moses, 181. 
Middledorpf, H., 14. 
Montfaufon, B., 11, 13. 
Moore, G. F., 194. 
MiiUer, W. M., 43. 

Nachtigal, J. C. C, 186. 
Nathan, Rabbi, 115. 
Nathan ben Jehiel, 16. 
Noldeke, T., 2, 53, 59. 
Noyes, G. R., 22. 

Origen, 7, 13. 
Ovid, 103, 144. 

Paul, Saint, 3, 40. 

Peake, A. S., 22, 59. 

Pericles, 197. 

Pfleiderer, Otto, 24, 2,2,, 34, loi. 

Philo Judaeus, 5, 40. 

Plato, 42. 

Plumtre, E. H., 4, 22/., 24, 32/.,, 

Poly bins, 122. 

Ptolemy IV (Philopator), 61, 120. 
Ptolemy V (Epiphanes), 61, 120 ffy 

122, 174. 
Ptolemy IX (Euergetes II), 60. 
Pyrrho, 43. 

Rashbam (Rabbi Samuel ben 
Meir), 20. 



Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac), 

Reinsch, Leo, 68. 
Renan, E., 22, 34, and Comm. 

Ryle, H. E., 2, 6. 

Sabatier, Peter, 14. 

Samuel of Vitry, i. 

Sanday, Wm., 60. 

Sayce, A. H., 7. 

Schechter, S., 53. 

Schiirer, E., 11, 12, 13. 

Schwally, F., 104, no, 130, 193. 

Scrivener, F. H, A., 10. 

Sellin, E., 34. 

Shammai, 5, 6. 

Siegfried, C., 22/., 24, 28/., 32/. 

34 ff., 44#-, and Comm. passim 
Simeon, Rabbi, 5. 
Simeon ben Onias, 60. 
Simeon ben Shetach, 3. 
Smith, V. A., 27. 
Smith, W., 12. 
Smith, W. R., i, 6. 
Solomon, 19, 21, 46, 47, 58, and 

Comm. passim. 
Sophocles, 114, 129, 137. 
Spohn, G. L., 21, 186. 
Strack, H., 22, 68. 
Swete, H. B., 10, 11. 
Symmachus, 12, and Comm. passim. 

Tabnith, 32. 

Tannery, Paul, 42. 

Taylor,' C, 11, 53. 

TertuUian, 7. 

Themistocles, 164. 

Theodotian, 11, and Comm. passiin. 

Theognis, 114. 

Tobia ben Eleazar, 20, 67, 186. 

Toy, C. H., 60. 

Tyler, Thomas, 22 ff., 24, 32 ff.^ 
2)4 jf., 59, and Comm. passim. 

Umbreit, F. W. C, 73, 186. 

Vaihinger, J. C, 22, and Comm. 

Van der Palm, J. G., 25, and Comm. 

Vincent, A. J., 42. 
Vlock, W., 22, and Comm. passim. 

Wage, Henry, 12. 

Wallace, J., 42. 

Wangemann, Dr., 22, and Comm. 

Weber, F., no. 
Wetzstein, J. G., 186. 
Wildeboer, D. G., 6, 22 /"., 32 ff.y 

and Comm. passim. 
Winckler, Hugo, 22, 61, 119, and 

Comm. passim. 
Wright, C. H. H., 3, 22/., 32/., 59. 

and Comm. passim. 
Wright, Wm., 68. 

Xenophox, 127. 
Xenophanes of Colophon, 43, 

Yeard, F., 23. 

Zapletal, v., 29, 49.f-, and Comm. 

Zeller, R, 35/., 43/- 

Zeno, the Stoic, 41. 

Zirkel, G., 22 /., 32 ff., and Comm. 

Zockler, Otto, 22 ff., and Comm. 



Abortion, advantages of an, 

Abstract nouns, 53. 
Additions, Editor's, 46, 197. 
Advice, Qoheleth's, i79#. 
Arabic Version, 15. 
Aramaic words in Qoh., 52. 


Babylonian Influence on Qo- 

heleth, 40 Jf. 

on Epicurus, 41 Jf. 

Books, when they supplanted rolls, 

Buddhism, supposed influence on 

(Joh., 27, 42. 



Canonicity of Ec, 2ff. 
Chasid glossator, 45 ff. 
Confusion of verb N"'' and ~"*^, 53. 

of N""? and ';'";, 53. 

Coptic Version, 13. 
Coran {QuWan), 80, 197. 

Date of Ec, 58/. 
Despotic government, 12^ ff., 148^. 
Dislocations, theories of, 25 jf. 
Documentary theory of Ec, 28 jf. 

EccLESiASTES, the name, i, 6"] ff. 
Ecclesiasticus and Ec, 53 jf. 
End, humanity's, 158^. 
Epicurean influence on Ec, 38 jf. 
Experiments of Qoh. in character of 

Solomon, ']6ff. 
Extremes, uselessness of, 143/". 

Fate, 35, 109, 112, 136. 

GiLGAMESH Epic and Ec, 39, 129, 

and 162. 
Greek influence on Qoh., 23 jf. 

linguistic, 32 /. 

philosophical, 34 jf. 

idiom in Qoh., 53. 

Hagiography, I, 198. 
Helplessness of man, 97,^. 
Hendiadys, 95. 
Hokma editor, 44 ff., 197 jf. 

Inhumanity, Man's, 113/. 
Integrity of Ec, 43 jf. 
Interpretation, history of, 18 ff. 
Ishtar^s Descent, 163. 

Kingship, Advantages of, 126, 

Knowledge, Qoh.'s efi"orts for, 155 ff. 

Latin, Old, Version, 14/. 

Latin Vulgate, 15. 

Linguistic character of Qoh., 52. 

Manuscripts, Hebrew, yff. 

of Septuagint, loj/". 

Megilloth, iff. 

Metrical theories of Ec, 29, 49^. 

Midrashim, 19. 

Midrash Yalkut, 85. 

Mishna, Eccl. in, ^ff. 

New Testament, 4. 

Old Age like a Storm, 186/. 
Oppression, 124^. 

Parks, 80 jf. 

Participial constructions, 53. 

Persian words in Qoh., 52. 

Personal pronouns in Ec, 53. 

Peshitta Version, 13 jf. 

Pharisees, 6. 

Philosophy, Greek, 2,4 ff. 

of life, Qoheleth's, 161/. 

Platonic number, Bab. origin of 

Polyglots, 15. 

Popularity, transitory, iigff. 

Praise of Qohelcth, Editor's, 197. 

Private life of Qoh., 64. 

Proof of man's equality with ani- 
mals, lO"] ff. 

Proverbs, variety of, 37 jf., 138 /., 

Religion, Sincerity in, i22jf. 

Riches, 124 ff. 

Righteousness, same as godlessness, 

Rulers, advice concerning, 169^. 

Sadducees, 6, 65. 
Septuagint, 8jf. 

MSS. of, 10. 

Shams in religion, 122 ^. 

Sheol, 161, 163. 

Stoic influence in Ec, 34^. 

Syncope, 53. 

Syntax, late developments, 53. 

Syriac Versions, i^ff. 

Syro-Hexaplar Version, 14. 

T.^LMUD, 16 ff. 
Targum, 15/., 19. 
Text of Ec, 'J ff. 

recensions of, 17. 

Thought, outline of Qoh.'s, 46 /T. 
Title of Ec, 67/. 

Verbal Adjectives, 53. 
Versions, ?>ff. 
Vows, 122^. 
Vulgate, Latin, 15. 

Waw Consecutive, 53, 87, 116, 118. 
Wisdom, relation to Ec, 57/". 
Women, Qoh.'s judgment of, 146. 

Barton, G. A. BS 

Eccliastes. ^91*