Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ecclesiastes chapter 2, who's who in Qohelet ville

Here we are again at chapter 2 -
with some changes from its first release.
Discover who's who in the land of Qohelet.
(See this note on the transcription here)

I remind you that v is often omitted
So v-u is just u and v-o is just o
and as well as this I forgot to say
the + is a tet that sounds like 't'.

And if it was queer that a b was a v
a c is a tsade and sounds like ts.

Chapters 3 to 8 are on the drawing board and hopefully won't be derailed when I do chapters 9 to 12. Of course it is only accidental that we read about this greedy king today while the markets panic. (There's no way the king would have written some of the later chapters - I think we will find they are too critical of monarchy unless they be mistranslated to protect a power base.)
אָמַרְתִּי אֲנִי בְּלִבִּי
לְכָה נָּא אֲנַסְּכָה בְשִׂמְחָה
וּרְאֵה בְטוֹב
וְהִנֵּה גַם הוּא הָבֶל
2.1 )amàrty )any bliby
lkah na) )anàskah bsimxah
vur)éh b+vob
vhinéh gàm hvu) habel
I said, I did, in my heart, go on,
I will prove you with happiness,
and you - see the good.
And I note even this is futility.
note that ')any' = 'I' the stand alone pronoun, is frequent but not a requirement for normal grammar. It was this repetition as well as Joel Hoffman's complaint about Seuss-like translations that got me thinking about this approach
לִשְׂחוֹק אָמַרְתִּי מְהוֹלָל
וּלְשִׂמְחָה מַה זֹּה עֹשָׂה
2.2 lisxvoq )amàrty mhvolal
vulsimxah màh zoh `osah
Of laughter I said, madness
and of happiness - what does it do?
..
תַּרְתִּי בְלִבִּי
לִמְשׁוֹךְ בַּיַּיִן אֶת-בְּשָׂרִי
וְלִבִּי נֹהֵג בַּחָכְמָה
וְלֶאֱחֹז בְּסִכְלוּת
עַד אֲשֶׁר אֶרְאֶה אֵי זֶה טוֹב לִבְנֵי הָאָדָם
אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשׂוּ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם
מִסְפַּר יְמֵי חַיֵּיהֶם
2.3 tàrty bliby
limshvok bàyàyin )et-bsary
vliby nohég bàxakmah
vle)exoz bsiklvut
`àd )asher )er)eh
)éy zeh +vob libnéy ha)adam
)asher yà`asvu tàxàt hàshamàyim
mispàr yméy xàyéyhem
I explored in my heart
to draw my flesh into wine,
my heart, of course, conducting itself with shrewdness,
and to seize into foolishness
till I could see
what is this good for the children of earth
that they do under heaven
in the tale of the days of their lives.
Draw me, we will run, after thee... (Song 1:4)
הִגְדַּלְתִּי מַעֲשָׂי
בָּנִיתִי לִי בָּתִּים
נָטַעְתִּי לִי כְּרָמִים
2.4 higdàlty mà`asay
banyty ly batym
na+à`ty ly kramym
I made myself great from deeds
I built for me houses
I planted for me vineyards
for me 'ly', is a significant repeated sound
(like the of/for you 'lak' in the Song)
עָשִׂיתִי לִי גַּנּוֹת וּפַרְדֵּסִים
וְנָטַעְתִּי בָהֶם עֵץ כָּל פֶּרִי
2.5 `asyty ly gànvot vupàrdésym
vna+à`ty bahem `éc kal pery
I made for me gardens and paradises
and I planted in them every type of fruit tree
paradise is a Persian loan word
עָשִׂיתִי לִי בְּרֵכוֹת מָיִם
לְהַשְׁקוֹת מֵהֶם יַעַר צוֹמֵחַ עֵצִים
2.6 `asyty ly brékvot mayim
lhàshqvot méhem yà`àr cvoméàx`écym
I made for me blessing pools of water
to irrigate from them the forest that sprung from the trees
blessing is added since the word for pool contains it
ז קָנִיתִי עֲבָדִים וּשְׁפָחוֹת וּבְנֵי בַיִת
הָיָה לִי גַּם מִקְנֶה בָקָר וָצֹאן
הַרְבֵּה הָיָה לִי
מִכֹּל שֶׁהָיוּ לְפָנַי
בִּירוּשָׁלִָם
2.7 z qanyty `abadym vushpaxvot
vubnéy bàyit
hayah ly gàm miqneh baqar vaco)n hàrbéh hayah ly
mikol shehayvu lpanày
byrvushalaim
I got me slaves and slave-girls
and children of the house
I had even livestock, cattle and sheep
the more there were to me
than all who were before me
in Jerusalem
children of the house - could be slave children?
כָּנַסְתִּי לִי גַּם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב
וּסְגֻלַּת מְלָכִים וְהַמְּדִינוֹת
עָשִׂיתִי לִי שָׁרִים וְשָׁרוֹת
וְתַעֲנֻגוֹת בְּנֵי הָאָדָם
שִׁדָּה וְשִׁדּוֹת
2.8 kanàsty ly gàm keseph vzahab
vusgulàt mlakym vhàmdynvot
`asyty ly sharym vsharvot
vtà`anugvot bnéy ha)adam
shidah vshidvot
I heaped up for me even silver and gold
and treasure of kings and the provinces
I made for me singers male and female
and the delights of the earthling children,
choir and orchestra
No one agrees on שִׁדָּה וְשִׁדּוֹת so I chose my own phrase of what I take as delight. Last night's Shostakovich was proof - the first slow movement from the piano quintet.
וְגָדַלְתִּי וְהוֹסַפְתִּי
מִכֹּל שֶׁהָיָה לְפָנַי
בִּירוּשָׁלִָם
אַף חָכְמָתִי עָמְדָה לִּי
2.9 vgadàlty vhvosàpty
mikol shehayah lpanày
byrvushalaim
)àph xakmaty `amdah ly
So I was great and I had increased
above all that were before me
in Jerusalem
Also my shrewdness stood with me
..
וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר שָׁאֲלוּ עֵינַי
לֹא אָצַלְתִּי מֵהֶם
לֹא מָנַעְתִּי אֶת לִבִּי מִכָּל שִׂמְחָה
כִּי לִבִּי שָׂמֵחַ מִכָּל עֲמָלִי
וְזֶה הָיָה חֶלְקִי מִכָּל עֲמָלִי
2.10 vkol )asher sha)alvu `éynày
lo) )acàlty méhem
lo) manà`ty )et liby mikal simxah
ky liby saméàxmikal `amaly
vzeh hayah xlqy mikal `amaly
And all that my eyes pined for
I did not withhold from them
I did not deny my heart from any happiness
for my heart was happy in all my toil
for this was my share of all my toil
..
וּפָנִיתִי אֲנִי בְּכָל מַעֲשַׂי
שֶׁעָשׂוּ יָדַי
וּבֶעָמָל שֶׁעָמַלְתִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת
וְהִנֵּה הַכֹּל הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ
וְאֵין יִתְרוֹן תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
2.11 vupanyty )any bkal mà`asày
she`asvu yadày
vube`amal she`amàlty là`asvot
vhinéh hàkol hebel vur`vut rvuàx
v)éyn yitrvon tàxàt hàshamesh
Then I faced, I did, in all my deeds
that my hands had done
and in the toil that I toiled in the doing
and note - total futility and a tending of wind
for there is nothing left of it under the heavens
..
וּפָנִיתִי אֲנִי
לִרְאוֹת חָכְמָה וְהוֹלֵלוֹת וְסִכְלוּת
כִּי מֶה הָאָדָם שֶׁיָּבוֹא אַחֲרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ
אֵת אֲשֶׁר כְּבָר עָשׂוּהוּ
2.12 vupanyty )any
lir)vot xakmah vhvolélvot vsiklvut
ky meh ha)adam
sheyabvo) )àxaréy hàmelek
)ét )asher kbar `asvuhvu
Then I faced, I did,
to see shrewdness and madness and foolishness
for what about the earthling
that comes after the king?
Exactly what has already been done.
..
וְרָאִיתִי אָנִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ יִתְרוֹן
לַחָכְמָה מִן הַסִּכְלוּת
כִּיתְרוֹן הָאוֹר מִן-הַחֹשֶׁךְ
2.13 vra)yty )any sheyésh yitrvon
làxakmah min hàsiklvut
kytrvon ha)vor min-hàxoshek
But I saw, I did, that there is something left
in shrewdness over foolishness
like what is left of the light over darkness.
..
הֶחָכָם עֵינָיו בְּרֹאשׁוֹ
וְהַכְּסִיל בַּחֹשֶׁךְ הוֹלֵךְ
וְיָדַעְתִּי גַם אָנִי שֶׁמִּקְרֶה אֶחָד יִקְרֶה אֶת-כֻּלָּם
2.14 hexakam `éynayv bro)shvo
vhàksyl bàxoshek hvolék vyadà`ty
gàm )any shemiqreh )exad yiqreh )et-kulam
The eyes of one who is shrewd are in the head
but one who is foolish walks in darkness
and even I, I knew that one event meets them all.
..
וְאָמַרְתִּי אֲנִי בְּלִבִּי
כְּמִקְרֵה הַכְּסִיל גַּם אֲנִי יִקְרֵנִי
וְלָמָּה חָכַמְתִּי אֲנִי אָז יֹתֵר
וְדִבַּרְתִּי בְלִבִּי שֶׁגַּם זֶה הָבֶל
2.15 v)amàrty )any bliby
kmiqréh hàksyl gàm )any yiqrény
vlamah xakàmty )any )az yotér
vdibàrty bliby shegàm zeh habel
Then I said, I did, in my heart
As it meets the foolish it will meet even me
so why then (I myself am shrewd) is anything left to me?
Then I thought in my heart that even this is futility.
..
כִּי אֵין זִכְרוֹן לֶחָכָם עִם הַכְּסִיל לְעוֹלָם
בְּשֶׁכְּבָר הַיָּמִים הַבָּאִים הַכֹּל נִשְׁכָּח
וְאֵיךְ יָמוּת הֶחָכָם עִם הַכְּסִיל
2.16 ky )éyn zikrvon lexakam `im hàksyl l`volam
bshekbar hàyamym hàba)ym hàkol nishkax
v)éyk yamvut hexakam `im hàksyl
For there is no remembrance of the shrewd or of the foolish for ever.
In that already in the days to come the whole will be forgotten
and so it is that the shrewd dies with the foolish.
..
וְשָׂנֵאתִי אֶת הַחַיִּים
כִּי רַע עָלַי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
כִּי הַכֹּל הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ
2.17 vsané)ty )et hàxàyym
ky rà` `alày hàmà`aseh shenà`asah
tàxàt hàshamesh
ky hàkol hebel vur`vut rvuàx
So I hated those lives
for evil to me was the deed that was done
--- under the sun
for it is total futility and a tending of wind.
..
וְשָׂנֵאתִי אֲנִי אֶת כָּל עֲמָלִי
שֶׁאֲנִי עָמֵל
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
שֶׁאַנִּיחֶנּוּ לָאָדָם שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אַחֲרָי
2.18 vsané)ty )any )et kal `amaly
she)any `amél
tàxàt hàshamesh
she)ànyxnvu la)adam sheyihyeh )àxaray
And I hated, I did, all my toil
that I myself was as toil
--- under the sun
that I must leave it to the earthling that comes after me.
..
וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ הֶחָכָם יִהְיֶה אוֹ סָכָל
וְיִשְׁלַט בְּכָל עֲמָלִי
שֶׁעָמַלְתִּי וְשֶׁחָכַמְתִּי
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
גַּם זֶה הָבֶל
2.19 vumy yvodéà`hexakam yihyeh )vo sakal
vyishlà+ bkal `amaly she`amàlty vshexakàmty
tàxàt hàshamesh
gàm zeh habel
And who knows if that one will be shrewd or foolish?
Yet he will take power over all my toil
which I toiled and in which I was shrewd
--- under the sun.
So this is futility.
..
וְסַבּוֹתִי אֲנִי לְיַאֵשׁ אֶת לִבִּי
עַל כָּל הֶעָמָל שֶׁעָמַלְתִּי
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
2.20 vsàbvoty )any lyà)ésh )et liby
`àl kal he`amal she`amàlty
tàxàt hàshamesh
So I circled, my heart in despair,
over all the toil that I toiled
--- under the sun.
circling and heart will repeat - it could be abstracted into a more pious word but the concrete image of the mind in turmoil is appropriate
כִּי יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁעֲמָלוֹ בְּחָכְמָה
וּבְדַעַת וּבְכִשְׁרוֹן
וּלְאָדָם שֶׁלֹּא עָמַל בּוֹ
יִתְּנֶנּוּ חֶלְקוֹ
גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל וְרָעָה רַבָּה
2.21 ky yésh )adam she`amalvo bxakmah
vubdà`àt vubkishrvon
vul)adam shelo) `amàl bvo
yitnenvu xlqvo
gàm zeh hebel vra`ah ràbah
For here is an earthling whose toil is in shrewdness
and in knowledge and in success
and to an earthling that did not toil for it
he will give it as its share.
This also is futility and great evil.
..
כִּי מֶה הֹוֶה לָאָדָם בְּכָל עֲמָלוֹ
וּבְרַעְיוֹן לִבּוֹ שְׁהוּא עָמֵל
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
2.22 ky meh hoveh la)adam bkal `amalvo
vubrà`yvon libvo shhvu) `amél
tàxàt hàshamesh
For what is there to an earthling in all its toil
and of its heart's tending that it has of toil
--- under the sun?
..
כִּי כָל יָמָיו מַכְאֹבִים
וָכַעַס עִנְיָנוֹ
גַּם בַּלַּיְלָה לֹא שָׁכַב לִבּוֹ
גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל הוּא
2.23 ky kal yamayv màk)obym
vakà`às `inyanvo
gàm bàlàylah lo) shakàb libvo
gàm zeh hebel hvu)
For all its days are pain
and its business vexation
Even in the night there is no lying down for its heart
Even this is futility for it
..
אֵין טוֹב בָּאָדָם שֶׁיֹּאכַל וְשָׁתָה
וְהֶרְאָה אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ טוֹב בַּעֲמָלוֹ
גַּם זֹה רָאִיתִי אָנִי
כִּי מִיַּד הָאֱלֹהִים הִיא
2.24 )éyn +vob ba)adam sheyo)kàl vshatah
vher)ah )et nàpshvo +vob bà`amalvo
gàm zoh ra)yty )any
ky myàd ha)elohym hy)
There is no good for the earthling that eats and drinks
and makes itself see good in its toil.
Even this I myself saw
for it is from the hand of God
The word 'except' is not in the text and it is not needed. Qohelet comes to the conclusion that there is no good - he may change his mind later but here - he is considering all vexatious. And you can read the except elliptically if you like (as does Seow).
כִּי מִי יֹאכַל וּמִי יָחוּשׁ חוּץ מִמֶּנִּי2.25 ky my yo)kàl vumy yaxvush xvuc mimeny For who eats or who hastes outside more than I?..
כִּי לְאָדָם שֶׁטּוֹב לְפָנָיו
נָתַן חָכְמָה וְדַעַת וְשִׂמְחָה
וְלַחוֹטֶא נָתַן עִנְיָן לֶאֱסֹף
וְלִכְנוֹס לָתֵת לְטוֹב
לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים
גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ
2.26 ky l)adam she+vob lpanayv
natàn xakmah vdà`àt vsimxah
vlàxvo+e) natàn `inyan le)esoph vliknvos latét l+vob
lipnéy ha)elohym
gàm zeh hebel vur`vut rvuàx
For to an earthling that is good in his presence,
he gives shrewdness and knowledge and happiness.
But to a sinner he gives business to gather
and to heap up to give to the good
--- in the presence of God.
There you have it:
this is futility and a tending of wind.
..


2 comments:

  1. Hi, Bob, this was really interesting, I'm enjoying especially the big picture comments :)

    A detail in 2:3 you render sepher as "tale" but I think if the oral and relatively informal telling was in view it would read "divre" - a sepher, as writing, means rather a (formal) record, more like a government file than a camp fire tale. (I think.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Tim - thanks for the note. This word recurs twice more each time in the same phrase (5:18, 6:12) and I think it can be the word as related to 'tally' - BDB page 709 allows tale as a gloss. I admit it is light hearted. I am at the regional SBL meeting this weekend - some nice presentations this afternoon on the scrolls.

    ReplyDelete