referring to the security which conventional wisdom found in the fear of Yahweh.121 Yet this is the concluding statement
in the recommendation to avoid both excessive vice and virtue which makes nonsense of the conventional wisdom theme of the fear of God. Qoheleth still means a numinous fear in this passage. Indeed,
The deepest ground for the rejection of the extremes recommended here is the instinctive feeling, those ways may be merely human and thereby anti-God--ubrij! Whoever fears God
will avoid both extremes and thereby their menacing consequences. . . . 122
The other passage where Qoheleth seems to speak of the fear of God in the conventional way is in chapter 8:12-13. He indicates a recognition of the doctrine that "it will be well with those who fear God" (v. 12) while the wicked will not be blessed with longevity "because he does not fear before God" (v. 13).
This conventional knowledge, however, is set in the midst of passages which deny this very thing. Qoheleth 8:10-11 records his (amused?) observation of the wicked being buried with pomp and eulogy. Their wickedness does
121 122 Prov. 3:7; 14:27; Job 4:6. "Der tiefste Grund fur die hier empfohlene Ablehung der Extrerme ist das instinktive Gefuhl, jene Wege seien nur- menschliche und damit anti-gottlich—ubrij! Wer Gott
furchtet, wird beiden Extremen, und damit auch ihren. . . angedronten Folgen, entgehen." Hertzberg, pp. 137:755.