Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ecclesiastes - a new sort of problem

He says there is nothing new under the sun - or does he? Just who is this declaiming son of David? Does the king have any credibility in his declamations? [Update - see this rendering here also. Nice layout of 1-11 and great post title.]

John raised the issue of translation of the bathroom commode, vanity, as 'crock'. I wonder if either works today. Is concordance on this word possible given the potentially ironic tone of this book?  But there is worse - what do we do with wisdom?  Wisdom occurs 25 times in the book - is it 'wisdom' or 'shrewdness'? Or a combo?

Here is my first cut at chapter 1. It is not possible at this stage to know if I can stick with these glosses or not - or if as in the design of a garden I will have to morph from one style to a second - like shrewdness to wisdom with a note - before I am finished. (To put it bluntly after reading Bruggemann, I can't say I trust Solomon's preaching. This may be an example of a bad sermon.  (Sounds a little too negative for me in my New Testament clothing - for sure.)
Things declaimed by the son of David
king in Jerusalem
A futile futility, says declaimer,
a futile futility,
the whole futility.
What is left to an earthling
in all its toil that it toils
under the sun?
An age comes and an age goes
and the earth forever stands.
And the sun rises and the sun goes
and to its place it strives
raising itself there.
Coming north, and circling south
circling a circuit - comes the wind
and to its circuits the wind turns.
All the torrents come to the sea
and the sea is not full
to a place that the torrents come
there they turn to go.
All these things work
It is not up to a human to work them.
Eye is not satisfied seeing
and unfilled is ear hearing.
what is that is? it's that that is
and what is that is done? it's that that is done
and all-new there is not under the sun.
There is a thing of which it may be said
see - this is new
this already is in the forever and ever
that is from before us.
There is no remembrance of those heady things
and even of the subsequent that will be
there will not be for them remembrance
with those to whom are the subsequent.

I, declaimer, I have become king over Israel in Jerusalem
And I gave my heart to seek and explore in shrewdness
concerning all that is done under the heavens.
This is an evil business God has given
to the children of earth to be busy with.
I have seen all the deeds that are done under the heavens
and note well - the whole is futility and a tending of wind.
The perverse cannot be straightened
and the defective cannot be fathomed.
I arranged - myself - with my heart saying
'Note - I have made myself great and I have increased shrewdness
concerning all that were before me
concerning Jerusalem'.
and my heart saw great shrewdness and knowledge.
And I gave my heart to know shrewdness
and to know madness and foolishness
I know that even this - this is a tending of wind.
For in much shrewdness is much grief
and the one who increases knowledge increases pain.
Something new - a primitive fern