The wicked are most often found in antithesis to the "righteous" (qydc).166 They are also found in antithesis
to those who "fear before God" (Myhlx-ynplm xry).167
Quite simply, Qoheleth is denoting by these terms the same religious and ethical types already noted in Proverbs.168
In one example the righteous and the wicked stand at the head of a series of antithesis.
. . . one fate comes to all, to the righteous (qydc) and the wicked (fwr), to the good
(bvF) and the evil (fr),169 to the clean (rhvF) and the unclean (xmF), to him who sacrifices (Hbvz) and him who does not sacrifice (Hbvz-vnnyx). As is the good man (bvF) so is the sinner (xFvH); and he who swears (fbwn) is as he who shuns an oath (xry-hfvbw).
Qoheleth 9:2 These persons are not synonymous, of course, but they do form two coherent groupings for Qoheleth. His point in this series of antitheses is simply to drive home the contention
166 167 168 3:17; 7:15; 8:14; 9:2. 8:12, 13. R. Whybray, "Qoheleth the Immoralist," in Israelite Wisdom: Theological and Literary Essays in Honor of Samuel Terrien, ed. by John G. Gammde, Walter A. Brueggemann, Humphries and James M. Ward (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1978), p. 195.
frlv has fallen out of MT, but the LXX read kai t& akaqart&. 169