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His responses to life include "quietism," hatred and enjoy- ment. He has only a single response to God: fear.

"Quietism"

The characterization of Qoheleth's response to life as "quietism" may not be entirely felicitous, but it does seem to fit his attitude in some passages. Thus, he once argues,

"Better is a handful of quietness (tHn) than two hands

full of toil and a striving after wind" (4:6). Qoheleth evidently makes this statement in order to counter the opinion in the popular saying immediately preceding:89

"The fool (lysk) folds his hand, and eats his own flesh"

(4:5). The recommendation then is that "rest" (tHn is

better than the "toil" (lmf) and "skill" (Nvrwk)

proceeding from "envy" (hxnq) which is "vanity and a

striving after wind" (4:4). Qoheleth's responses to civil government are likewise "quietistic" and "non-activist." Faced with oppression

(qwf) of the poor he advises against being "amazed"

89 K. Gordis, Koheleth--The Man and His World: A Study of Ecclesiastes (3rd aug. ed., New York: Schocken, 1968), pp. 160, 241; Scott, pp. 224-225; C. Ginsburg, Coheleth Commonly Called the Book of Ecclesiastes: Translated from the Original Hebrew with a Commentary Historical and Critical 2 vol. in one (New York: K'AV, 1970, first pub- lished in 1861), pp. 324-326, takes v. 5 somewhat differ- ently: "the sluggard foldeth his hands and yet eateth his meat."

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