Monday, April 20, 2015

Ecclesiastes chapter 4

My original Seuss-like rendering was that chapter 4 is 'out the door'. In those days the software was simpler and I had a more efficient copy and paste from web form to blog. For a while I was copying via Word, but it is painful html so now I am just omitting the table headings - pretty obvious anyway and copying directly from my software pages.

This chapter is far from obvious. Who will deal with oppression? Is it the birth of the poor king, our second (as in a duel), who will give himself for the life of the world?

Verse 17 is in this chapter in Hebrew but is 5:1 in the English. Eight of its 16 words recur in each chapter, so it could fit in either based on recurring words. It is interesting instruction, not meant, I think, for self-justification in avoiding obligations. This is the instruction that must undermine our confidence in the established religious institutions. No religious person will be glad about it - until they see just how severely 'religion' is undermined and subverted by both the Second and his interpreter, Paul. Do we see as clearly as this weird bird, Qohelet?
וְשַׁ֣בְתִּֽי אֲנִ֗י וָאֶרְאֶה֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָ֣עֲשֻׁקִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר נַעֲשִׂ֖ים תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ
וְהִנֵּ֣ה ׀ דִּמְעַ֣ת הָעֲשֻׁקִ֗ים וְאֵ֤ין לָהֶם֙ מְנַחֵ֔ם וּמִיַּ֤ד עֹֽשְׁקֵיהֶם֙ כֹּ֔חַ וְאֵ֥ין לָהֶ֖ם מְנַחֵֽם
1So I myself turned and I saw all the oppression that is done under the sun.
And note well the tears of the oppressed and there is not for them any comforter, and from the hand of their oppressors is power and there is not for them any comforter.
24
31
38
48
וְשַׁבֵּ֧חַ אֲנִ֛י אֶת־הַמֵּתִ֖ים שֶׁכְּבָ֣ר מֵ֑תוּ
מִן־הַ֣חַיִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֛ר הֵ֥מָּה חַיִּ֖ים עֲדֶֽנָה
2So I myself commend the dead that already are dead
over the living that themselves are yet alive.
14
13
21
21
וְטוֹב֙ מִשְּׁנֵיהֶ֔ם אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־עֲדֶ֖ן לֹ֣א הָיָ֑ה
אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־רָאָה֙ אֶת־הַמַּעֲשֶׂ֣ה הָרָ֔ע אֲשֶׁ֥ר נַעֲשָׂ֖ה תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ
3But what is good over both of them is the one that has not yet been,
that has not seen the evil deed that is done under the sun.
13
22
23
32
וְרָאִ֨יתִֽי אֲנִ֜י אֶת־כָּל־עָמָ֗ל וְאֵת֙ כָּל־כִּשְׁר֣וֹן הַֽמַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה כִּ֛י הִ֥יא קִנְאַת־אִ֖ישׁ מֵרֵעֵ֑הוּ
גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ
4And I myself saw all the toil and every successful deed for which each is jealous of its friend.
Even this is futility and tending of wind.
28
8
48
15
הַכְּסִיל֙ חֹבֵ֣ק אֶת־יָדָ֔יו וְאֹכֵ֖ל אֶת־בְּשָׂרֽוֹ5The dullard clasps its hands and eats its flesh.1424
ט֕וֹב מְלֹ֥א כַ֖ף נָ֑חַת
מִמְּלֹ֥א חָפְנַ֛יִם עָמָ֖ל וּרְע֥וּת רֽוּחַ
6Good is a full palm pinned down,
over fists-full of toil and tending of wind.
6
10
11
20
וְשַׁ֧בְתִּי אֲנִ֛י וָאֶרְאֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל תַּ֥חַת הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ7And I turned myself and I saw futility under the sun.1523
יֵ֣שׁ אֶחָד֩ וְאֵ֨ין שֵׁנִ֜י גַּ֣ם בֵּ֧ן וָאָ֣ח אֵֽין־ל֗וֹ וְאֵ֥ין קֵץ֙ לְכָל־עֲמָל֔וֹ גַּם־עֵינ֖וֹ לֹא־תִשְׂבַּ֣ע עֹ֑שֶׁר
וּלְמִ֣י ׀ אֲנִ֣י עָמֵ֗ל וּמְחַסֵּ֤ר אֶת־נַפְשִׁי֙ מִטּוֹבָ֔ה גַּם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֛בֶל וְעִנְיַ֥ן רָ֖ע הֽוּא
8There is one, but there is not two. Not even a child or kin is there that belongs to it. And there is no end to all its toil. Even its eye is not satisfied with riches
and for whom myself do I toil to deprive me of good? Even this is futility and it is an evil business.
29
24
52
43
טוֹבִ֥ים הַשְּׁנַ֖יִם מִן־הָאֶחָ֑ד
אֲשֶׁ֧ר יֵשׁ־לָהֶ֛ם שָׂכָ֥ר ט֖וֹב בַּעֲמָלָֽם
9Good, the two over the one,
that there is to them a good wage in their toil.
8
12
16
19
כִּ֣י אִם־יִפֹּ֔לוּ הָאֶחָ֖ד יָקִ֣ים אֶת־חֲבֵר֑וֹ
וְאִ֣יל֗וֹ הָֽאֶחָד֙ שֶׁיִּפּ֔וֹל וְאֵ֥ין שֵׁנִ֖י לַהֲקִימֽוֹ
10For if they fall, the one will raise up its companion.
But who is for the one that falls and there is no second to raise it up?
14
17
22
27
גַּ֛ם אִם־יִשְׁכְּב֥וּ שְׁנַ֖יִם וְחַ֣ם לָהֶ֑ם
וּלְאֶחָ֖ד אֵ֥יךְ יֵחָֽם
11Also if both lie together, there is warmth for them,
but for the one, how will it be warm?
11
6
19
11
וְאִֽם־יִתְקְפוֹ֙ הָאֶחָ֔ד הַשְּׁנַ֖יִם יַעַמְד֣וּ נֶגְדּ֑וֹ
וְהַחוּט֙ הַֽמְשֻׁלָּ֔שׁ לֹ֥א בִמְהֵרָ֖ה יִנָּתֵֽק
12And if someone overcomes the one, the second will stand before it,
and the three ply thread is not swiftly snapped.
15
13
26
21
ט֛וֹב יֶ֥לֶד מִסְכֵּ֖ן וְחָכָ֑ם
מִמֶּ֤לֶךְ זָקֵן֙ וּכְסִ֔יל אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־יָדַ֥ע לְהִזָּהֵ֖ר עֽוֹד
13Good is one born destitute but shrewd, over a king old but a dullard,
that does not know how to be admonished any more.
8
17
14
28
כִּֽי־מִבֵּ֥ית הָסוּרִ֖ים יָצָ֣א לִמְלֹ֑ךְ
כִּ֛י גַּ֥ם בְּמַלְכוּת֖וֹ נוֹלַ֥ד רָֽשׁ
14For from the house of obligation it emerges to reign,
for even in its kingdom it was born in want.
9
9
19
17
רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־כָּל־הַ֣חַיִּ֔ים הַֽמְהַלְּכִ֖ים תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ
עִ֚ם הַיֶּ֣לֶד הַשֵּׁנִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר יַעֲמֹ֖ד תַּחְתָּֽיו
15I saw all the living, all those that walk under the sun,
the people of the one that is born, the second that stands under it.
16
14
28
22
אֵֽין־קֵ֣ץ לְכָל־הָעָ֗ם לְכֹ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה֙ לִפְנֵיהֶ֔ם גַּ֥ם הָאַחֲרוֹנִ֖ים לֹ֣א יִשְׂמְחוּ־ב֑וֹ
כִּֽי־גַם־זֶ֥ה הֶ֖בֶל וְרַעְי֥וֹן רֽוּחַ
16There is no end to all the people, to all that were before them.
Even those that are after will not be glad about it,
for even this is futility and a tending of wind.
25
10
45
18
שְׁמֹ֣ר רַגְלְךָ֗ כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר תֵּלֵךְ֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְקָר֣וֹב לִשְׁמֹ֔עַ מִתֵּ֥ת הַכְּסִילִ֖ים זָ֑בַח
כִּֽי־אֵינָ֥ם יוֹדְעִ֖ים לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת רָֽע
17Keep your footing as you are walking to the house of God, and more ready to hear than to give an offering among the dullards,
for they haven't a clue that what they do is evil.
32
8
52
19

Eight words recur exactly 4 times. You will recognize them all as parts of several refrains in this book, under the sun, tending or shepherding the wind or spirit, the preacher's constant reference to its own experience.
אני myself
1אני
ואראה and I saw
1ראה
נעשׂים is done
1עשׂה
תחת under
1תחת
השׁמשׁ the sun
1שׁמשׁ
להם for them
1הם
להם for them
1הם
אני myself
2אני
ראה has seen
3ראה
המעשׂה the deed
3עשׂה
נעשׂה is done
3עשׂה
תחת under
3תחת
השׁמשׁ the sun
3שׁמשׁ
וראיתי and I saw
4ראה
אני myself
4אני
עמל toil
4עמל
המעשׂה deed
4עשׂה
מרעהו its friend
4רעה
הבל is futility
4הבל
ורעות and tending of
4רעה
עמל toil
6עמל
ורעות and tending of
6רעה
אני myself
7אני
ואראה and I saw
7ראה
הבל futility
7הבל
תחת under
7תחת
השׁמשׁ the sun
7שׁמשׁ
עמלו its toil
8עמל
אני myself
8אני
עמל do I
8עמל
הבל futility
8הבל
להם them
9הם
בעמלם -
9עמל
להם for them
11הם
ראיתי I saw
15ראה
תחת under
15תחת
השׁמשׁ the sun
15שׁמשׁ
תחתיו under it
15תחת
הבל futility
16הבל
ורעיון a tending of
16רעה
לעשׂות that what they do
17עשׂה


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