Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Ecclesiastes 12:8

Context
NET ©

“Absolutely futile!” 1  laments the Teacher, 2  “All of these things 3  are futile!” 4 

NIV ©

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is meaningless!"

NASB ©

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "all is vanity!"

NLT ©

"All is meaningless," says the Teacher, "utterly meaningless."

MSG ©

It's all smoke, nothing but smoke. The Quester says that everything's smoke.

BBE ©

All things are to no purpose, says the Preacher, all is to no purpose.

NRSV ©

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity.

NKJV ©

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All is vanity."


KJV
Vanity
<01892>
of vanities
<01892>_,
saith
<0559> (8804)
the preacher
<06953>_;
all [is] vanity
<01892>_.
NASB ©
"Vanity
<01892>
of vanities
<01892>
," says
<0559>
the Preacher
<06953>
, "all
<03605>
is vanity
<01892>
!"
HEBREW
lbh
<01892>
lkh
<03605>
tlhwqh
<06953>
rma
<0559>
Mylbh
<01892>
lbh (12:8)
<01892>
LXXM
mataiothv
<3153
N-NSF
mataiothtwn
<3153
N-GPF
eipen {V-AAI-3S} o
<3588
T-NSM
ekklhsiasthv {N-NSM} ta
<3588
T-NPN
panta
<3956
A-NPN
mataiothv
<3153
N-NSF
NET © [draft] ITL
“Absolutely
<01892>
futile
<01892>
!” laments
<0559>
the Teacher
<06953>
, “All
<03605>
of these things are futile
<01892>
!”
NET ©

“Absolutely futile!” 1  laments the Teacher, 2  “All of these things 3  are futile!” 4 

NET © Notes

tn Heb “futility of futilities.” The phrase “absolutely futile” (הֲבֶל הֲבָלִים, havel havalim) is a superlative genitive construction (GKC 431 §133.i). See note on “futile” at 1:2.

tn Elsewhere in the book, the author is identified with the anarthrous term קֹהֶלֶת (qohelet, Eccl 1:1, 2, 12; 7:27; 12:9, 10); however, in 12:8 it is used with the article, indicating that it is a professional title rather than a personal surname: הַקּוֹהֶלֶת (haqqohelet, “the Teacher”). Numerous English translations render קֹהֶלֶת as a professional title: “the Speaker” (NEB, Moffatt); “the Preacher” (KJV, RSV, YLT, MLB, ASV, NASB); “the Teacher” (NIV, NRSV); “the Leader of the Assembly” (NIV margin); “the Assembler” (NJPS margin). Others render it as a personal surname: “Koheleth” (JPS, NJPS) and “Qoheleth” (NAB, NRSV margin).

tn Heb “Everything.” The term is rendered “all of these things” for clarity. Although כֹּל (kol, “everything; all”) is often used in an absolute or comprehensive sense (BDB 481 s.v. כֹּל 1), it is frequently used as a synecdoche of the general for the specific, that is, its sense is limited contextually to the topic at hand (BDB 482 s.v. 2). This is particularly true of הַכֹּל (hakkol, BDB 482 s.v. 2.b) in which the article particularizes or limits the referent to the contextual or previously mentioned topic (e.g., Gen 16:12; 24:1; Exod 29:24; Lev 1:9, 13; 8:27; Deut 2:36; Josh 11:19 [see 2 Sam 19:31; 1 Kgs 14:26 = 2 Chr 12:9]; 21:43; 1 Sam 30:19; 2 Sam 17:3; 23:5; 24:23; 1 Kgs 6:18; 2 Kgs 24:16; Isa 29:11; 65:8; Jer 13:7, 10; Ezek 7:14; Pss 14:3; 49:18; 1 Chr 7:5; 28:19; 29:19; 2 Chr 28:6; 29:28; 31:5; 35:7; 36:17-18; Ezra 1:11; 2:42; 8:34-35; 10:17; Eccl 5:8). Thus, “all” does not always mean “all” absolutely or universally in comprehension. In several cases the context limits its reference to two classes of objects/issues being discussed, so הַכֹּל means “both” (e.g., 2:14; 3:19: 9:1, 2). Thus, הַכֹּל (“all; everything”) refers only to what Qoheleth characterizes as “futile” (הֶבֶל, hevel) in the context. This does not mean that everything is futile. For example, fearing God is not “futile” (2:26; 3:14-15; 11:9-10; 12:1, 9, 13-14). Only those objects/issues that are contextually placed under כֹּל are designated as “futile” (הֶבֶל).

tn The term הֶבֶל (hevel, “futile”) is repeated three times within the six words of this verse for emphasis. See footnote on “futile” at 1:2.

sn Absolutely futile!…All of these things are futile! This motto is the theme of the book. Its occurs at the beginning (1:2) and end of the book (12:8), forming an envelope structure (inclusio). Everything described in 1:2—12:8 is the supporting proof of the thesis of 1:2. With few exceptions (e.g., 2:24-26; 3:14-15; 11:9–12:1, 9), everything described in 1:212:8 is characterized as “futile” (הֶבֶל, hevel).



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