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not catch, up with them soon enough for the conventional doctrine to be credible. Following verses 12-13, he remarks on the fact that

there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous.

Qoheleth 8:14

Therefore "enjoyment" (hHmw) is recommended (8:15).

Qoheleth 8:12-13 really does speak of the conventional doctrine of the fear of God, and denies that it is true.123

Thus, Qoheleth lives in constant dread of "the God" (Myhlxh) who has given an "unhappy business" (Nynf

fr) to humanity (1:13). He affirms only this kind of

fear rather than the conventional "fear of Yahweh" known and recommended by sages both before and after him.124 He has

no vital relationship to God.125 One wonders if Qoheleth prayed. If so, to whom?

123 124 Contra Becker, p. 253. Already in the epilogue to his book, a more conven- tional soul has added, "Fear God and keep the commandments; for this is the whole duty of man" (12:13); here, the "fear of God" is being swallowed up in a Torah-piety. Cf. Becker, pp. 254-255.


His instruction to "Remember also your jyxrb

(RSV, "Creator")" is "more correctly understood as a deriva- tive of the root bare', 'to dig, cut'. The word would then be a double entendre for grave and cistern (wife; cf. Prov. 5:15-19)." Crenshaw, "The Eternal Gospel," p. 29. The plural form is certainly troubling if it refers to God, in

spite of the "plural of majesty" used in Myhlx (cf. G-K 124k). BHS proposes to emend to jrvb which would

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