247 This "enjoyment" which Qoheleth counsels, however, is not to be construed as "delight" or "glee." Rather, this "enjoyment" is tempered by the "vanity" of existence. The counsel to enjoyment in Qoheleth 9:7-8 is preceded by polemic against an overly hopeful view of life and followed by the observation that "time and chance" happen to every- one, "so the sons of man are snared at an evil time" (9:11- 12). Indeed, all of Qoheleth's admonitions to rejoice are tempered by some somber note in the context.102 This joy of Qoheleth's is tempered by his testing of enjoyment which he found to be vanity.103
Qoheleth 9:9-10 gives another hint that the counsel to enjoyment is not quite as delightful as it first appears.
Enjoy (hxr) life with the wife whom you
love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever you hand finds to
102 In 3:12 joy is tempered by the inability to "find out what God has done" (v. 11); 3:22 concludes a passage on the one fate of beasts and humans (vv. 18-22); 5:18-20 calls this enjoyment a "gift of god," but is followed by 6:1-6 which speaks of "a man to whom God gives wealth, posses- sions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he
desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy (lkx) them, but a stranger enjoys (lkx) them; this is vanity;
it is a sore affliction" (v. 2); 11:8 reminds of the many "days of darkness" while 11:9 warns that God will bring a young man into judgment for "all these things" which must include Qoheleth's counsel.
2:1-2; cf. 2:10-11, 24-26; 7:4.