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"Hope" this may be, but one would scarcely write a "theology of hope" starting from here. Although caution is the watchword with Qoheleth's linguistic usage,94 the word

translated "hope" (NvHFb) in this passage may well be a

signal of Qoheleth's true intent. The only other appearance of this word in the Hebrew scriptures is in the Rahshakeh's speech before the walls of Jerusalem (II Kgs. 18:19=Isa. 36:4). He said to Hezekiah's envoys.

Say to Hezekiah, "Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this

confidence (NvHFb) of yours?"

Clearly the Rabshakeh used the word to indicate false, illusory "hope" or "confidence." He went on to ridicule Egypt as a source of confidence, and even denied Yahweh as a hope for Judah. He asked, "Is it without Yahweh that I have come up against this place to destroy it?" (II Kgs. 18:25). Perhaps Qoheleth Intends the same kind of "hope"

by his use of the word NvHFb.

Another linguistic factor may also be significant. The normal Hebrew word for "hope" (hvqt) never appears in

Qoheleth. Neither does the verb hvq (pi., "hope, wait")

appear, nor any nouns derived from that root. Furthermore, none of the words which appear in synonymous parallelism

94

Cf. Gordis, Koheleth, pp. 59-62.

243

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