Qoheleth The "riddle"163 of Qoheleth appears to go back at least to Jamnia164 if not to the apologetic epilogist of Qoheleth 12:9-13. Although he claims to have set for himself the task of investigating everything that happens "under the heavens" (1:13), he never mentions any of the enemies from
the byvx-group. Nor does he ever present friends or
family members as enemy figures.
Even when Qoheleth mentions enemies from other cate- gories the nature of his style seems to trivialize them. His style, largely prose, consists of "essays" which fly in the face of hitherto accepted conclusions. Where Qoheleth uses sayings which sound as if they might well stem from an ongoing tradition,165 he nevertheless uses them in such a way as to neutralize their heuristic function. "Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out" (8:17). Qoheleth would probably pass the same judgment on all his interpreters. At any rate, at least a minimal illumination of his occasional remarks on those who may be enemies must now be sought.
163 A. Wright, "The Riddle of the Sphinx:. The Structure of the Book of Qohelet," CBQ 30 (1968), 313-334.
164 165 Eissfeldt, p. 568. J. Loader, Polar Structures in the Book of Qoheleth (Berlin: Walter deGruyter, 1979), pp. 132f. Cf., for example, Qoh. 4:5, 13; 7:5; 9:16a, 17, 18a; 10:2, 3.