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Ecclesiastes 6:5


6:5 though it never saw the light of day 1  nor knew anything, 2 

yet it has more rest 3  than that man –

Ecclesiastes 7:11

Wisdom Can Lengthen One’s Life

7:11 Wisdom, like 4  an inheritance, is a good thing;

it benefits those who see the light of day. 5 

Ecclesiastes 11:7

Life Should Be Enjoyed Because Death is Inevitable

11:7 Light 6  is sweet, 7 

and it is pleasant for a person 8  to see the sun. 9 

1 tn Heb “it never saw the sun.”

2 tn The word “anything” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 sn The Hebrew term translated rest here refers to freedom from toil, anxiety, and misery – part of the miserable misfortune that the miserly man of wealth must endure.

4 tn Or “Wisdom with an inheritance, is good”; or “Wisdom is as good as an inheritance.” This use of the preposition עִם (’im) may denote: (1) accompaniment: “together with,” or (2) comparison: “as good as; like; in comparison to” (HALOT 839–40 s.v. עִם; BDB 767–69 s.v. עִם). BDB 767 s.v. 1 suggests the accompaniment nuance “together with,” while HALOT 840 s.v. 2.c suggests the comparative sense “in comparison to.” The translations are also divided: “wisdom with an inheritance is good” (KJV, ASV margin, RSV, NASB, YLT); “wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing” (NIV); “wisdom is as good as an inheritance” (ASV, NRSV, MLB, NJPS, Moffatt); “wisdom is better than an inheritance” (NEB). Because v. 12 compares wisdom with money (i.e., an inheritance), v. 11 is probably making a comparison as well: “Wisdom, like an inheritance, is good” (7:11a) = “Wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection” (7:12a). The “good thing” that wisdom – like an inheritance or money – provides is protection.

5 tn Heb “see the sun.”

6 tn The term “light” (הָאוֹר, haor) is used figuratively (metonymy of association) in reference to “life” (e.g., Job 3:20; 33:30; Ps 56:14). By contrast, death is described as “darkness” (e.g., Eccl 11:8; 12:6-7).

7 tn The Hebrew term מָתוֹק (matoq, “sweet”) is often used elsewhere in reference to honey. The point is that life is sweet and should be savored like honey.

8 tn Heb “to the eyes.” The term “eyes” is a synecdoche of part (i.e., eyes) for the whole person. Used with the idiom “to see the sun” (i.e., to be alive), Qoheleth is simply saying that the experience of a life is a pleasant thing that should be savored.

9 tn The idiom “to see the sun” (both רָאָה הָשָּׁמֶשׁ, raah hashamesh, and חָזָה הַשָּׁמֶשׁ, khazah hashamesh) is an idiom meaning “to be alive” (e.g., Ps 58:9; Eccl 6:5; 7:11; 11:7); cf. BDB 1039 s.v. שֶׁמֶשׁ 4.b. The opposite idiom, “the sun is darkened,” refers to the onset of old age and death (Eccl 12:2).

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