The Book of Ecclesiastes translated by m. G. Easton introduction



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91 The Venet. ἐν ῷ, as if the text hadבַּאֲשֶׁר .

92 Regarding the distinction between שׁלטוֹן andשׁלטָן , vid., Baer’s Abodath Jisrael, p. 385.

93 Cf.וְכֵן , 2Ch. 32:31; Ewald , § 354a; Baer’s Abodath Jisrael, pp. 384, 386.

94 Cf. Zunz, Zur Gesch. u. Literatur, pp. 356-359.

95 The Midrash Tanchuma, Par. יתרו init. , uses both expressions; the Talm. Gittin 56b, applies the passage to Titus, who took away the furniture of the temple to magnify himself therewith in his city.

96 Vid., Tendlau’s Sprichw., No. 431.

97 With ג raph. in H. P. and the older edd., as also Est. 1:20; Dan. 3:16. Thus also the punctuator Jekuthiél in his En hakore to Est. 1:20.

98 Ginsburg points in favour of נעשׂה as fin. to Ex. 3:2, but there אֻכָּל is particip.; to Jer. 38:5, but there יוּכַל (if it is not to be readיכוֹל ) represents an attributive clause; and to Job. 35:15, but there the word is rightly pointedאַיִן , notאין ; and this, like the vulg. Arab. laysa, is used as an emphaticלא .

99 That גּם is pointedגם , has its reason in the disjunctive Jeth•Ñb withכי , which is not interchanged with the conjunctive Mahpach. Thus, 8:1,מִי כְּי , and 8:7,כִּי כַּי .

100 Vid., Jac. Reifmann in the Zeitsch.,המגיד , 1874, p. 342.

101 We expect these two words (cf. Gen. 31:12) with the retrogression of the tone; but as this ceases, as a rule, with Mercha before Tifcha and Pashta, Gen. 47:3, Ex. 18:5, Deut. 4:42; 19:4, Isa. 10:14 (cf. the penult. accent ofיאכַל , Lev. 22:10, 10, 19, andבֹּנֶה , Gen. 4:17, with the ult. accent Lev. 22:14; Hab. 2:12), so with Mercha sometimes also before other disjunctives, as here before Teb•Ñr.

102 Vid., Baer in Abodath Jisrael, p. 39.

103 The LXX, Syr., and Aq. have read together the end of v. 1 and the beginning of v. 2. Here Jerome also is dependent on this mode of reading: sed omnia in futurum servantur incerta(הבל) .

104 Luther translates, “for to all the living there is that which is desired, namely, hope,” as if the text wereמָה אֲשֶׁר יבֻחַר .

105 Cf. Shabbath 114a: “Bury me neither in white nor in black garments: not in white, because perhaps I may not be one of the blessed, and am like a bridegroom among mourners; not in black, because perhaps I may be one of the blessed, and am like a mourner among bridegrooms.” Semachoth ii. 10: Him who is outside the congregation, they do not bury with solemnity; the brothers and relatives of such must clothe and veil themselves in white; cf. Joma 39b . Elsewhere white is the colour of innocence, Shabbath 153a, Midrash under Pro. 16:11; and black the colour of guilt, Kiddushin 40a, etc.

106 Notודַאַת , because the word has the conjunctive, not the disjunctive accent, vid., under Psa. 55:10. The punctuation, as we have already several times remarked, is not consistent in this; cf.ודַאַת , 2:26, and ועֶרב , Psa. 65:9, both of which are contrary to the rule (vid., Baer in Abulwal•Ñdÿs Rikma, p. 119, note 2).

107 But not Jer. 9:22; this passage, referred to by Bernstein, is of a different nature.

108 Vid., Ed. König, Gedanke, Laut u. Accent (1874), p. 72.

109 Vid., Fried. Delitzsch’s Assyr. Stud. p. 129.

110 The Syr. (not the Targ.) had חטְא before it, and thus realized it, which appears to correspond better with the parall.חכמה .

111 The Targ. interprets, as the Talm. and Mid. do, deadly flies as a figure of the prava concupiscentia. Similarly Wangemann: a mind buried in the world.

112 The LXX entirely remodels 1b: τίμιον κ.τ.λ. (“a little wisdom is more honour than the great glory of folly”), i.e., יקר מעט חכמה מכבוד סכלות רב ( כבודin the sense of “great multitude”). Van der Palm (1784) regards this as the original form of the text.

113 מִכָּבוֹד ; thus in the Biblia rabb. 1525, 1615, Genoa 1618, Plantin 1582, Jablonski 1699, and also v. d. Hooght and Norzi. In the Ven. 1515, 1521, 1615, וּמִכָּבוֹד is found with the copulat. vav, a form which is adopted by Michaelis. Thus also the Concord. cites, and thus, originally, it stood in J., but has been corrected toמִכָּבוֹד . F., however, hasמִכָּבוד , with the marginal remark: מכבוד כן קבלתי מני שמשון (Simson ha-Nakdam, to whom the writer of the Frankf. Cod. 1294 here refers for the readingמכי , without the copul. vav, is often called by him his voucher). This is also the correct Masoretic reading; for if וּמִכּי were to be read, then the word would be in the catalogue of words of which three begin with their initial letter, and a fourth has introduced a vav before it (Mas. fin. f. 26, Ochla veochla, Nr. 15).

114 Christ. Fried. Bauer (1732) explains as we do, and remarks, “If we translate: the heart of the wise is at his right hand, but the heart of the fool at his left, it appears as if the heart of the prudent and of the foolish must have a different position in the human body, thus affording to the profane ground for mockery.”

115 Accordingly, v. 2 has become a Jewish saying with reference to the study of a book (this thought of as Heb.): The wise always turn over the leaves backwards, repeating that which has been read; the fool forwards, superficially anticipating that which has not yet been read, and scarcely able to wait for the end.

116 Luzz. readsנתַן : “Folly brings many into high places.” The order of the words, however, does not favour this.

117 Vid., above, p. 639.

118 The Midrash understands the whole ethically, and illustrates it by the example of Rabsake [we know now that the half- Assyr., half-Accad. word rabsak means a military chief], whom report makes a brother of Manasseh, and a renegade in the Assyrian service.

119 Thus rightly Carl Lang in his Salom. Kunst im Psalter (Marburg 1874). He sees in vv. 8-10 a beautiful heptastich. But as to its contents, v. 11 also belongs to this group.

120 Regarding the two roots, vid., Fried. Delitzsch’s Indogerm.-Sem. Stud. p. 91f.

121 Also the twofold Haggadic explanation, Taanith 8a, gives to hachshir the meaning of “to set, à priori, in the right place.” Luther translated qilqal twice correctly, but further follows the impossible rendering of Jerome: multo labore exacuetur, et post industriam sequetur sapientia.

122 Cf. Büchmann’s Feglügelte Worte, p. 178, 5th ed. (1868).

123 Vid., Gesch. d. jüd. Poesie, p. 188.f.

124 הַמְּקָרֶה , with mem Dageshed (Masora:לית דגש ); in Psa. 104:3, on the contrary, the mem has Raphe, for there it is particip. (Michlol 46a; Parchon’s Lex. f. 3, col. 1).

125 Hengst., not finding the transition from scientia to conscientia natural, gives, after Hartmann, the meaning of “study- chamber” to the wordמַדָּע ; but neither the Heb. nor the Aram. has this meaning, although Psa. 68:13 Targ. touches it.

126 = הכְּנָי with unpointed He, because it is not read in the Ker•Ñ; similarly החֲנִית (1Sa. 26:22). Cf. Mas. fin. f. 22, and Ochla veochla, No. 166.

127 Vid., Tendlau’s Sprichwörter, No. 861.

128 The Midrash tells the following story: Rabbi Akiba sees a ship wrecked which carried in it one learned in the law. He finds him again actively engaged in Cappadocia. What whale, he asked him, has vomited thee out upon dry land? How hast thou merited this? The scribe learned in the law thereupon related that when he went on board the ship, he gave a loaf of bread to a poor man, who thanked him for it, saying: As thou hast saved my life, may thy life be saved. Thereupon Akiba thought of the proverb in Ecc. 11:1. Similarly the Targ.: Extend to the poor the bread for thy support; they sail in ships over the water.

129 The Greek phrase σπείρειν πόντον, “to sow the sea” = to undertake a fruitless work, is of an altogether different character; cf. Am. 6:12.

130 Vid., Baer, Abodath Jisrael, p. 290.

131 Otherwise Ewald, § 192b:יהוּא , Aram. of הוּא (asבּוֹא ) =הֲוָא .

132 The Targ. readsבעצי , and construes: What the way of the spirit in the bones, i.e., how the embryo becomes animated.

133 Cf. on the contrary, at Gen. 3:6 and Pro. 10:26, where it has the Kametz; cf. also Michlol 53b .

134 The Mishna, Nedarim iii. 8, jurist. determines that שׁחורי הראשׁ denotes men, with the exclusion of women (whose hair is covered) and children. It is disputed (vid., Baer’s Abodath Jisrael, p. 279) whetherתִּשְׁחֹרֶת , Aboth iii. 16, Derech erez c. II., Midrash under Lam. 2:11, is =שׁחֲרוּת , but without right; ben-tishhoreÔth is used for a grown-up son in full manly strength.

135 It finds these things expressed in it, partly directly and partly indirectly: rememberבארךְ , thy fountain (origin);בורךְ , thy grave; andבוראיךְ , thy Creator. Thus, Jer. Sota ii. 3, and Midrash under Ecc. 12:1.

136 Vid., “Sterne” in Schenkel’s Bibl Lex. and Stud. u. Krit. 1874.

137 Thus the five senses are called, e.g., Bamidbar rabba, c. 14.

138 This hamses is properly the second stomach of the ruminants, the cellular caul.

139 Vid., Friedr. Delitzsch’s Indogerm.-Sem. Stud. p. 65f.

140 We find a similar allegory in Shabbath 152a . The emperor asked the Rabbi Joshua b. Chananja why he did not visit בי אבידן (a place where learned conversation, particularly on religious subjects, was carried on). He answered: “The mount is snow (= the hair of the head is white), ice surrounds me (= whiskers and beard on the chin white), its (of my body) dogs bark not (the voice fails), and its grinders (the teeth) grind not.” The proper meaning ofבי אבידן , Levy has not been able clearly to bring to light in his Neuhebr. u. Chald. W.B.

141 Cf. Berachoth 61b: The stomach (קורקבן) grinds. As hamses is properly the caul of the ruminant, so this word קוּרְקְבָן is the crop (bibl.מֻרְאָה ) of the bird.

142 Vav with Cholem in H. F. Thus rightly, according to the Masora, which places it in the catalogue of those words which occur once with a higher (יקוֹם) and once with a lower vowel(יקוּם) , Mas. fin. 2a b, Ochlaweochla, No. 5; cf. also Aben Ezra’s Comm. under Psa. 80:19; Zachoth 23a, Safa berura 21b (where Lipmann is uncertain as to the meaning).

143 The Jewish opinion of the incorruptible continuance of this bone may be connected with the designation os sacrum; the meaning of this is controverted, vid., Hyrtl’s Anatomie, § 124.

144 Abulwal•Ñd understands שקר and חגב sexually, and glosses the latter by jundub (the locust), which in Arab. is a figure of suffering and patience.

145 The caper-bush is called in the Mish.צְלָף , and is celebrated, Beza 25a, cf. Shabbath 30b (where, according to J. S. Bloch’s supposition, the disciple who meets Gamaliel is the Apostle Paul), on account of its unconquerable life-power, its quick development of fruit, and manifold products. The caper-tree is planted, says Berachoth 36a, “with a view to its branches;” the eatable branches or twigs here meant are called (שותי) שיתי . Another name for the caper-tree isנצפה , Demai i. 1, Berachoth 36a, 40b; and another name for the bud of the caper-blossom isפרחא דבוטיתא , Berachoth 36b (cf. Aruch, under the words aviyonoth and tselaph).

146 In his Dictionary of Roots (kitaÑb el-usåuÑl), edited by Neubauer, Oxford 1873-4.

147 Vid., Fried. Delitzsch’s Indogerman.-Sem. Stud. I p. 62f. Also the Arab. aÑby in the language of the Negd means nothing else.

148 The Syr. renders beth ‘olam by domus laboris sui , which is perhaps to be understood after Job. 3:17b .

149 Given in full in Wiss. Kunst Judenth. p. 230ff. Regarding the lament for the dead among the Haurans, vid., Wetzstein’s treatise on the Syrian Threshing-Table in Bastian’s Zeitsch. für Ethnologie, 1873.

150 The Arab. funeral dirge furnishes at once an illustration of “and the mourners go about the streets.” What Wetzstein wrote to me ought not, I believe, to be kept from the reader: “In Damascus the men certainly take part in the dirge; they go about the reservoir in the court of the house along with the mourning women, and behave themselves like women; but this does not take place in the villages. But whether the ‘going about the streets’ might seem as an evidence that in old times in the towns, as now in the villages, the menasåsåa (bed of state) was placed with the mourning tent in the open street without, is a question. If this were the case, the soÑphdim might appear publicly; only I would then understand by the word not hired mourners, but the relatives of the dead.” But thenמִטָּה , as at Psa. 26:6מזבח , ought to have been joined to סבב as the object of the going about.

151 Similarly the LXX understandsונרץ , και συντροχάση (i.e., as Jerome in his Comm. explains: si fuerit in suo funiculo convoluta), which is impossible.

152 Vid., my treatise, Psyciol. u. Musik, u.s.w., p. 31.

153 The LXX, unsuitably, τὸ ἀνθέμιον, which, per synecdochen partis pro toto, signifies the capital (of a pillar). Thus, perhaps, also are meant Symm. τὸ περιφερές, Jerome vitta, Venet. τὸ στέφος, and the Syr. “apple.” Among the Arabs, this ornament on the capital is called tabaryz (“prominence”).

154 Vid., Noldeke’s Poesien d. alten Araber, p. 190.

155 Many interpreters (lately Ewald, Hengst., Zöckl., Taylor, and others) understand the silver cord of the thread of life; the spinal marrow is, without any figure, this thread of life itself.

156 Wetzstein remarks, that it is translated by “cylinder” better than by “wheel,” since the galgal is here not at a river, but over a draw-well.

157 Geiger in the Deut. Morg. Zeitsch. xxvii. 800, translates 12:6 arbitrarily: and the stone-lid

( גלגלin the sense of the Mish.-Targ.גולל ) presses on the grave.



158 In the Rig-Veda that which is immortal in man is called manas; the later language calls it aÑtman; vid., Muir in the Asiatic Journal, 1865, p. 305.

159 Hoelemann, in Abth. II of his Bibel-Studien (1860), draws a parallel between these two epilogues; he regards them as original formal parts of the Solomonic Koheleth and of the Johannean Gospel, and seeks to prove that they stand in more than external and accidental relation to the two works respectively.

160 Thus Joh. Miller, in his Commentary on the Proverbs (New York, 1872), regards Solomon as the author of the entire Book of Proverbs and also of Ecclesiastes. His interpretation of Scripture proceeds on the fundamental principle, in itself commendable, that the Scripture never expresses trivialities (“each text must be a brilliant”); but it is not to be forgotten that the O.T., in relation to the high school of the New, is in reality a trivium, and that the depth of the words of Scripture is not everywhere the same, but varies according to the author and the times.

161 Cogn. in the meaning “verfassen” = to compose, isיסד ; vid., Zunz’ Aufs.: “To compose and to translate,” expressed in Heb. in Deut. Morg. Zeitsch. xxv. p. 435ff.

162 Harbeh beÔcheÔh, Ezr. 10:1, which signifies “making much weeping,” makes not exception in favour of the scribe. Cf. hatsne’a lecheth, Mic. 6:8; haphleÝ vapheÔleÔ, Isa. 29:14.

163 The Kametz is the Kametz gadhol (opp. Kametz chatuph), and may for this reason have the accent Munach instead of Metheg. Vid., Michlol 153b, 182 b . The case is the same as at Gen. 39:34, where mimmachoÔraÝth is to be read. Cf. Baer’s Metheg-Setz. § 27 and § 18.

164 Regarding this omission of the mudåaÑf [the governing noun], where this is naturally supplied before a genitive from the preceding, cf. Samachschari’s Mufasåsåal, p. 43, l. 8-13.

165 Vid., my Heb. Römerbrief, p. 97.

166 J. F. Reimmann, in the preface to his Introduction to the Historia Litterarum antediluviana, translates, v. 11: “The words of the wise are like hewn-out marble, and the beautiful collectanea like set diamonds, which are presented by a good friend.” A Disputatio philologica by Abr. Wolf, Königsberg 1723, contends against this παρερμηνεία.

167 Vid., Fleischer’s Abh. ü. einige Arten der Nominalapposition, 1862, and Philippi’s St. const. p. 90ff.

168 Hitz. thus rendersהִיא , Jer. 45:4b, predicat.: “And it is such, all the world.”

169 Cf. Jer. Nedarim ix. 3: “Thou oughtest to love thy neighbour as thyself,” says R. Akiba, is a principal sentence in the Law. Ben-Azzai says: “The words zeÔh...adam (Gen. 5:1) are it in a yet higher degree,” because therein the oneness of the origin and the destiny of all men is contained. Aben Ezra alludes to the same thing, when at the close of his Comm. he remarks: “The secret of the non-use of the divine name יהוה in Gen. 1-2:3 is the secret of the Book of Koheleth.”

170 Thus rightly pointed in F. with Dagesh in lamed, to make distinct the ע as quiescent (cf. 1Ki. 10:3; and, on the other hand, Neh. 3:11, Psa. 26:4). Cf. תֶּחְשַּׁי with Dagesh in shin, on account of the preceding quiescent guttural, likeיחְי , 9:8;חַתַּי , Lev. 11:16;נחְי , Num. 1:7, etc.; cf. Luth. Zeitsch. 1863, p. 413.


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