Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ecclesiastes chapter 6


Qohelet 6 is a very short chapter. Seow outlines a circular structure from 5:8 (Hebrew 5:7) to 6:9. Perhaps I will diagram it more fully in a future life. I think the problems of showing it in text make the shape unconvincing. But that is for later.

In the meanwhile, here is his / her main complaint - that the earthling that is greedy and fearful even if it lives 1000 years and has 100 children is not better than a stillborn. Reminds me of JB's instruction to the soldiers - be satisfied with your wages.

Even after the rant, we return to the same result - no knowledge of the future and again the implication of the same end for all.


יֵשׁ רָעָה אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
וְרַבָּה הִיא עַל הָאָדָם
6.1 yésh ra`ah )asher ra)yty
tàxàt hàshamesh
vràbah hy) `àl ha)adam
Here is an evil which I have seen
--- under the sun
and frequent it is with the earthling
..
אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִתֶּן לוֹ הָאֱלֹהִים
עֹשֶׁר וּנְכָסִים וְכָבוֹד
וְאֵינֶנּוּ חָסֵר לְנַפְשׁוֹ
מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר יִתְאַוֶּה
וְלֹא יַשְׁלִיטֶנּוּ הָאֱלֹהִים לֶאֱכֹל מִמֶּנּוּ
כִּי אִישׁ נָכְרִי יֹאכְלֶנּוּ
זֶה הֶבֶל וָחֳלִי רָע הוּא
6.2 )ysh )asher yiten lvo ha)elohym
`osher vunkasym vkabvod
v)éynenvu xasér lnàpshvo
mikol )asher yit)àvueh
vlo) yàshly+envu ha)elohym le)ekol mimenvu
ky )ysh nakry yo)klenvu
zeh hebel vaxaly ra` hvu)
a human such that to him this God has given
riches and wealth and glory
so it has nothing lacking in its life
from all that it desires
and this God does not give it power to eat of them
for an alien human eats them
This is futility and it is an evil sickness
I was tempted to neuter this human, but refused twice

re glory - kbod is always glory to me - says Humpty Dumpty
אִם יוֹלִיד אִישׁ מֵאָה וְשָׁנִים רַבּוֹת יִחְיֶה
וְרַב שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי שָׁנָיו
וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא תִשְׂבַּע מִן הַטּוֹבָה
וְגַם קְבוּרָה לֹא הָיְתָה לּוֹ
אָמַרְתִּי טוֹב מִמֶּנּוּ הַנָּפֶל
6.3 )im yvolyd )ysh mé)ah vshanym ràbvot yixyeh
vràb sheyihyvu yméy shanayv
vnàpshvo lo) tisbà` min hà+vobah
vgàm qbvurah lo) haytah lvo
)amàrty +vob mimenvu hànapel
if a human birth a hundred and live many years
and many there be of the days of iys years
and its being is not satisfied from this good
then even a burial is not for it
I say the miscarriage is good compared to it
Seow - a burial plot
כִּי בַהֶבֶל בָּא וּבַחֹשֶׁךְ יֵלֵךְ
וּבַחֹשֶׁךְ שְׁמוֹ יְכֻסֶּה
6.4 ky bàhebel ba) vubàxoshek yélék
vubàxoshek shmvo ykuseh
for in futility it comes and in darkness it goes
and in darkness its name is covered
I left the neuter here as with earthling for the most part.
While odd, it slows down the thinking while reading.
גַּם שֶׁמֶשׁ לֹא רָאָה
וְלֹא יָדָע נַחַת לָזֶה מִזֶּה
6.5 gàm shemesh lo) ra)ah
vlo) yada`
nàxàt lazeh mizeh
Even sun it has not seen
and it has no knowledge
There is quietness for this one over the other
Following Seow in the line break
know is used intransitively in this case
וְאִלּוּ חָיָה אֶלֶף שָׁנִים פַּעֲמַיִם
וְטוֹבָה לֹא רָאָה
הֲלֹא אֶל מָקוֹם אֶחָד הַכֹּל הוֹלֵךְ
6.6 v)ilvu xayah )eleph shanym pà`amàyim
v+vobah lo) ra)ah
halo) )el maqvom )exad hàkol hvolék
and to the other there be a thousand pulsing years
but no good has it seen?
Is it not to one place that all go?
Now we are back to the human - read he or she
כָּל עֲמַל הָאָדָם לְפִיהוּ
וְגַם הַנֶּפֶשׁ לֹא תִמָּלֵא
6.7 kal `amàl ha)adam lpyhvu
vgàm hànepesh lo) timalé)
all the toil of that earthling is in its mouth
and even that being is not satisfied
One could be more physical with nephesh -
but one could also consider that 'being' is physical as well
I find myself not wanting to emphasize the eating metaphor
כִּי מַה יּוֹתֵר לֶחָכָם מִן הַכְּסִיל
מַה לֶּעָנִי יוֹדֵעַ לַהֲלֹךְ נֶגֶד הַחַיִּים
6.8 ky màh yvotér lexakam min hàksyl màh le`any yvodéà` làhalok neged hàxàyymFor what is left to the shrewd over the fool?
What for the afflicted, knowing how to walk in front of the living?
..
טוֹב מַרְאֵה עֵינַיִם
מֵהֲלָךְ נָפֶשׁ
גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ
6.9 +vob màr)éh `éynàyim
méhalak napesh
gàm zeh hebel vur`vut rvuàx
Good are eyes seeing
over a walk of such a being.
Even this is futility and a tending of wind
..
מַה שֶּׁהָיָה כְּבָר נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ
וְנוֹדָע אֲשֶׁר הוּא אָדָם
וְלֹא יוּכַל לָדִין עִם שֶׁתַּקִּיף מִמֶּנּוּ
6.10 màh shehayah kbar niqra) shmvo
vnvoda` )asher hvu) )adam
vlo) yvukàl ladyn `im shetàqyph mimenvu
What is it that is? Already it is called its name.
And it is known that it is an earthling
And it cannot judge with one who prevails against it.
..
כִּי יֵשׁ דְּבָרִים הַרְבֵּה
מַרְבִּים הָבֶל
מַה יֹּתֵר לָאָדָם
6.11 ky yésh dbarym hàrbéh
màrbym habel
màh yotér la)adam
For there are multiple things
that multiply futility.
What is left to the earthling?
..
כִּי מִי יוֹדֵעַ מַה טּוֹב לָאָדָם בַּחַיִּים
מִסְפַּר יְמֵי חַיֵּי הֶבְלוֹ
וְיַעֲשֵׂם כַּצֵּל
אֲשֶׁר מִי יַגִּיד לָאָדָם
מַה יִּהְיֶה אַחֲרָיו
תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
6.12 ky my yvodéà`màh +vob la)adam bàxàyym
mispàr yméy xàyéy heblvo
vyà`asém kàcél
)asher my yàgyd la)adam màh yihyeh )àxarayv
tàxàt hàshamesh
For who knows what is good for the earthling
in these lives?
in the tale of the days of the lives of its futility?
And he makes them as a shadow
but who will relate to the earthing what has become after it
--- under the sun?
The 'he' is ambiguous as to antecedent
See Psalm 144:4, 102:11, 109:23
I suppose in the vagueness of my sieve-like memory,
I could see shadow as of my own making.
If so, read 'it' for 'he'


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