2 tn <i>Hebi> “and their ears will be deaf.” Apparently this means the opposing nations will be left dumbfounded by the <span class="smcaps">Lordspan>’s power. Their inability to respond will make them appear to be deaf mutes.
5 tn Or “Why should you ruin yourself?”; or “Why should you destroy yourself?” The verb <span class="hebrew">שָׁמֵםspan> (<span class="translit">shamemspan>) is traditionally taken as “to destroy; to ruin oneself.” For its use here <i>HALOTi> 1566 s.v. <span class="hebrew">שׁמםspan> 2 has “to cause oneself ruin”; BDB 1031 s.v. <span class="hebrew">שָׁמֵםspan> 2 has “cause oneself desolation, ruin.” Most English versions take a similar approach: “Why destroy yourself?” (KJV, ASV, NEB, NRSV, MLB, NIV); “Why ruin yourself?” (NAB, NASB). However, in the Hitpolel stem the root <span class="hebrew">שׁמםspan> never means this elsewhere, but is always nuanced elsewhere as “to be appalled; to be astonished; to be dumbfounded; to be confounded; to be horrified” (e.g., <data ref="Bible:Ps 143:4">Ps 143:4data>; <data ref="Bible:Is 59:16">Isa 59:16data>; <data ref="Bible:Is 63:5">63:5data>; <data ref="Bible:Da 8:27">Dan 8:27data>); cf. BDB 1031 s.v. <span class="hebrew">שָׁמֵםspan> 1; <i>HALOTi> 1566 s.v. <span class="hebrew">שׁמםspan> 1. It is taken this way in the English version of the Tanakh: “or you may be dumbfounded” (NJPS). Likewise, Cohen renders, “Why should you be overcome with amazement?” (A. Cohen, <i>The Five Megillothi> [SoBB], 154). If a person was trusting in his own righteousness or wisdom to guarantee prosperity, he might be scandalized by the exceptions to the doctrine of retribution that Qoheleth had observed in <data ref="Bible:Ecc 7:15">7:15data>. D. R. Glenn (“Ecclesiastes,” <i>BKCOTi>, 994) notes: “This fits in nicely with Solomon’s argument here. He urged his readers not to be over-righteous or over-wise ‘lest they be confounded or astonished.’ He meant that they should not depend on their righteousness or wisdom to guarantee God’s blessing because they might be confounded, dismayed, or disappointed like the righteous people whom Solomon had seen perishing in spite of their righteousness [in <data ref="Bible:Ecc 7:15">7:15data>].” See GKC 149 §54.<i>ci>.