Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Qohelet 5, Ecclesiastes that is

This is quite an argument. You will note in my translation an odd use of 'it' as a personal pronoun and I hope only twice, 'his'. This is to focus on God and away from the generic human, whether male or female or whatever.

In the music, there is one surprising verse, a very long verse 17, 56 words, 97 syllables with no rest. Perhaps it is a metaphor for the long life, but note the punchline. The preacher recommends few words (somethings), responsible promises (vows) or none, honest admission of deliberate error without excuse to the angel - take it as you wish, fear, a candid current analysis of oppression and riches, and privilege - the king first (that is not what I was taught about business but it is common in oligarchy and kleptocracy), the reality of sleeplessness, the corruption of riches, the misery of the child born to such a state, and a contrast in the last three verses (17-19) that even commends the river Lethe, forgetfulness. Alzheimer's, here we come. Note that the verse numbering differs from English Bibles. The last verse of chapter 4 is the first verse of chapter 5 in English Bibles:
Keep 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.
Clearly the preacher, like Paul in Romans 2, and the Psalmist in the second half of Psalm 50 is not impressed with the religious. (Nor should we be.)

I admit this is a biased reading - come, argue with me.
אַל־תְּבַהֵ֨ל עַל־פִּ֜יךָ וְלִבְּךָ֧ אַל־יְמַהֵ֛ר לְהוֹצִ֥יא דָבָ֖ר לִפְנֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים
כִּ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֤ים בַּשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ וְאַתָּ֣ה עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ עַֽל־כֵּ֛ן‬ יִהְי֥וּ דְבָרֶ֖יךָ מְעַטִּֽים
1Do not be brash with your mouth or do not let your heart rush headlong to bring something forth before the face of God,
for this God is in the heavens but you are on the earth therefore let your somethings be few.
25
26
40
41
כִּ֛י בָּ֥א הַחֲל֖וֹם בְּרֹ֣ב עִנְיָ֑ן
וְק֥וֹל כְּסִ֖יל בְּרֹ֥ב דְּבָרִֽים
2For the dream comes in much business
and a dullard's voice in many somethings.
9
9
16
16
כַּאֲשֶׁר֩ תִּדֹּ֨ר נֶ֜דֶר לֵֽאלֹהִ֗ים אַל־תְּאַחֵר֙ לְשַׁלְּמ֔וֹ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין חֵ֖פֶץ בַּכְּסִילִ֑ים
אֵ֥ת אֲשֶׁר־תִּדֹּ֖ר שַׁלֵּֽם
3In that you vow a vow to God, do not delay to pay it,
for there is no delight in dullards.
What you have vowed, pay.
24
7
42
11
ט֖וֹב אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־תִדֹּ֑ר
מִשֶׁתִּדּ֖וֹר‬ וְלֹ֥א תְשַׁלֵּֽם
4Good that you do not vow
than that you vow and you do not pay.
6
9
11
13
אַל־תִּתֵּ֤ן אֶת־פִּ֙יךָ֙ לַחֲטִ֣יא אֶת־בְּשָׂרֶ֔ךָ וְאַל־תֹּאמַר֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הַמַּלְאָ֔ךְ כִּ֥י שְׁגָגָ֖ה הִ֑יא
לָ֣מָּה יִקְצֹ֤ף הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ עַל־קוֹלֶ֔ךָ וְחִבֵּ֖ל אֶת־מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָדֶֽיךָ
5Do not permit your mouth to cause your flesh to sin and do not say in the presence of the angel that it was a going astray.
Why would this God rage at your tone or pledge the deed of your hands?
28
22
46
33
כִּ֣י בְרֹ֤ב חֲלֹמוֹת֙ וַהֲבָלִ֔ים וּדְבָרִ֖ים הַרְבֵּ֑ה
כִּ֥י אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים יְרָֽא
6for in many dreams and futilities and
many somethings ...
for you, fear God.
15
8
26
13
אִם־עֹ֣שֶׁק רָ֠שׁ וְגֵ֨זֶל מִשְׁפָּ֤ט וָצֶ֙דֶק֙ תִּרְאֶ֣ה בַמְּדִינָ֔ה אַל־תִּתְמַ֖הּ עַל־הַחֵ֑פֶץ
כִּ֣י גָבֹ֜הַּ מֵעַ֤ל גָּבֹ֙הַ֙‬ שֹׁמֵ֔ר וּגְבֹהִ֖ים עֲלֵיהֶֽם
7If oppression of those in want and ravaging of judgment and righteousness you see in a province, do not marvel over the delight,
for haughtiness shelters haughtiness from above and those who are haughty are over them.
24
17
41
25
וְיִתְר֥וֹן אֶ֖רֶץ בַּכֹּ֣ל ה֑וּא
מֶ֥לֶךְ לְשָׂדֶ֖ה נֶעֱבָֽד
8And of what remains of earth, in all of her,
the king of the field is served.
8
8
15
11
אֹהֵב כֶּסֶף לֹא יִשְׂבַּע כֶּסֶף
וּמִי אֹהֵב בֶּהָמוֹן לֹא תְבוּאָה
גַּם זֶה הָבֶל
9One who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver,
and who loves snarling without progress?
This is futility.
9
11
4
15
18
7
בִּרְבוֹת֙ הַטּוֹבָ֔ה רַבּ֖וּ אוֹכְלֶ֑יהָ
וּמַה־כִּשְׁרוֹן֙ לִבְעָלֶ֔יהָ כִּ֖י אִם־רְא֥וּת עֵינָֽיו
10When the good increases, the ones eating it multiply,
so what is success for its owner
except for its eyes to see.
10
14
19
27
מְתוּקָה֙ שְׁנַ֣ת הָעֹבֵ֔ד אִם־מְעַ֥ט וְאִם־הַרְבֵּ֖ה יֹאכֵ֑ל
וְהַשָּׂבָע֙ לֶֽעָשִׁ֔יר אֵינֶ֛נּוּ מַנִּ֥יחַֽ ל֖וֹ לִישֽׁוֹן
11Sweet the sleep of a servant, whether it eats a little or thoroughly,
but the satiation of the rich, there is not any leave from it for it to sleep.
17
16
28
26
יֵ֚שׁ רָעָ֣ה חוֹלָ֔ה רָאִ֖יתִי תַּ֣חַת הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ
עֹ֛שֶׁר שָׁמ֥וּר לִבְעָלָ֖יו לְרָעָתֽוֹ
12There is a sick evil I have seen under the sun:
riches kept for its owner to its evil.
13
11
21
18
וְאָבַ֛ד הָעֹ֥שֶׁר הַה֖וּא בְּעִנְיַ֣ן רָ֑ע
וְהוֹלִ֣יד בֵּ֔ן וְאֵ֥ין בְּיָד֖וֹ מְאֽוּמָה
13But these riches perish in an evil business,
and a child is born, and there is nothing whatever in its hand.
12
12
19
21
כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר יָצָא֙ מִבֶּ֣טֶן אִמּ֔וֹ עָר֛וֹם יָשׁ֥וּב לָלֶ֖כֶת כְּשֶׁבָּ֑א
וּמְא֙וּמָה֙ לֹא־יִשָּׂ֣א בַעֲמָל֔וֹ שֶׁיֹּלֵ֖ךְ בְּיָדֽוֹ
14As it was brought forth from its mother's belly, naked it will return to walk off as it came on,
and nothing whatever will it take away in its toil that will walk off in its hand.
20
16
30
24
וְגַם־זֹה֙ רָעָ֣ה חוֹלָ֔ה כָּל־עֻמַּ֥ת שֶׁבָּ֖א כֵּ֣ן יֵלֵ֑ךְ
וּמַה־יִּתְר֣וֹן ל֔וֹ שֶֽׁיַּעֲמֹ֖ל לָרֽוּחַ
15And even this is a sick evil: totally, exactly as it came in so it will walk off,
and what remains to it that has toiled for the wind?
15
12
25
19
גַּ֥ם כָּל־יָמָ֖יו בַּחֹ֣שֶׁךְ יֹאכֵ֑ל
וְכָעַ֥ס הַרְבֵּ֖ה וְחָלְי֥וֹ וָקָֽצֶף
16Furthermore all its days, it eats in the darkness,
and more grief and its sickness and rage.
9
11
16
17
הִנֵּ֞ה אֲשֶׁר־רָאִ֣יתִי אָ֗נִי ט֣וֹב אֲשֶׁר־יָפֶ֣ה לֶֽאֶכוֹל־וְ֠לִשְׁתּוֹת וְלִרְא֨וֹת טוֹבָ֜ה בְּכָל־עֲמָל֣וֹ ׀ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹ֣ל תַּֽחַת־הַשֶּׁ֗מֶשׁ מִסְפַּ֧ר יְמֵי־חַיָּ֛יו‬ אֲשֶׁר־נָֽתַן־ל֥וֹ הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־ה֥וּא חֶלְקֽוֹ17Note well, that I myself have seen goodness that is beautiful, to eat and to imbibe and to see good in all its toil that it toils under the sun in the record of the days of its life that this God gives it for he is its share.5697
גַּ֣ם כָּֽל־הָאָדָ֡ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָֽתַן־ל֣וֹ הָאֱלֹהִים֩ עֹ֨שֶׁר וּנְכָסִ֜ים וְהִשְׁלִיט֨וֹ לֶאֱכֹ֤ל מִמֶּ֙נּוּ֙ וְלָשֵׂ֣את אֶת־חֶלְק֔וֹ וְלִשְׂמֹ֖חַ בַּעֲמָל֑וֹ
זֹ֕ה מַתַּ֥ת אֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽיא
18Furthermore, every earthling to whom this God gives riches and material wealth and faculty to eat from them and to lift up its share and to be glad in its toil.
This, from the giving of God it is.
43
7
67
13
כִּ֚י לֹ֣א הַרְבֵּ֔ה יִזְכֹּ֖ר אֶת־יְמֵ֣י חַיָּ֑יו
כִּ֧י הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים מַעֲנֶ֖ה בְּשִׂמְחַ֥ת לִבּֽוֹ
19For it will not thoroughly remember the days of its life,
for this God answers with his heart's gladness.
11
13
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20


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