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Ecclesiastes 8:3

Context

8:3 Do not rush out of the king’s presence in haste – do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, 1 

for he can do whatever he pleases.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

Context

10:4 If the anger 2  of the ruler flares up 3  against you, do not resign 4  from your position, 5 

for a calm 6  response 7  can undo 8  great offenses.

1 tn Or “do not stand up for a bad cause.”

2 tn Heb “spirit.”

3 tn Heb “rises up.”

4 tn Heb “Do not leave.”

5 tn Heb “your place.” The term מָקוֹם (maqom, “place”) denotes a position, post or office (1 Kgs 20:24; Eccl 8:3; 10:4; BDB 879 s.v. מָקוֹם 1.c).

6 tn The noun II מַרְפֵּא (marpe’, “calmness”) is used in reference to keeping one’s composure with a peaceful heart (Prov 14:30) and responding to criticism with a gentle tongue (Prov 15:4); cf. HALOT 637 s.v. II מַרְפֵּא. It is used in reference to keeping one’s composure in an emotionally charged situation (BDB 951 s.v. מַרְפֵּא 2). The term “calmness” is used here as a metonymy of association, meaning “calm response.”

7 tn The term “response” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarification (see preceding note on the word “calm”).

8 tn The verbal root נוח means “to leave behind; to leave untouched” (HALOT 680 s.v. I נוח 2) in general, and in this passage, “to undo” or “to allay” offenses (HALOT 680 s.v. I נוח 3; BDB 629 s.v. נוּחַ 5) or “to avoid” offenses (BDB 629 נוּחַ 5). The point is either that (1) a composed response can calm or appease the anger of the ruler, or (2) a calm heart will help one avoid great sins that would offend the king. The root נוח (“to rest”) is repeated, creating a wordplay: “Do not leave” (אַל־תַּנַּח, ’al-tannakh) and “to avoid; to allay” (יַנִּיחַ, yanniakh). Rather than resigning (i.e., leaving), composure can appease a king (i.e., cause the anger of the king to leave).



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