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reassert itself."117 numinous dread.118 With him the expression is filled with

This fear before God also comes to expression in Qoheleth’s extreme caution in cultic activities. "God is in heaven and you are upon earth; therefore let your words be few" (5:1). Especially is this true when it comes to vows.

If a "mistake" (hggw) be made, God might well be "angry"

(Jcq) and "destroy (lbH) the work of your hands"

(5:5).119

Twice Qoheleth seems to indicate that fearing God is a positive virtue (much in the old style) rather than a numinous fear with little ethical content. Once he con- cludes that one who fears God "shall come forth from them all" (7:18b). This has been taken as a pious gloss,120

117 118 Gordis, Koheleth, p. 233. So J. Fichtner, Die Altorientalische Weisheit in ihrer Israelitisch-Judischen Auspragung: Eine Studie zur Nationalisierung der Weisheit in Israel (Giessen: Verlag von Alfred Topelmann, 1933), p. 53, n. 7; Crenshaw, "The Eternal Gospel," p. 25; Becker, p. 250, writes, "Fenner ist dem Begriff der Gottesfurcht im Prediger mehr als in der ubrigen Weisheitsliteratur ein Zug numinoser Furcht beigegeben in Form eines starken Abhangigkeitsbewussteins des Menschen."

119 Evidently, Qoheleth does not place much stock in the sacrificial rites which were specifically ordained in the

event of an unintentional error (hggwb); cf. Lev. 4:1-35; 5:14-19.

120 G. Barton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1908), p. 114.

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