Qohlat (Ecclesiastes)

Qohlat 1

1. The oracle of Qohlat, son of David, King of Jerusalem.
2. "Vanity of vanities," said Qohlat, "vanity of vanities, all is vanity."*
3. What benefits the human being with all the work he does under the sun?
4. A generation* goes and a generation comes, and the earth remains* to the end of the universe.*
5. The sun rises and the sun sets and in the country that she sets, that is where she stays, so as she may rise from there again.
6. She goes to the south and she circles* to the north, and circling she goes around,* and there the spirit* goes, and in her travels there the spirit settles.
7. All the torrents empty out into the sea, and the sea does not fill up; to the country that the torrents go, that is where they are wont to go.
8. All the expressions have been belabored,* no one* wishes to repeat them, there is no eye that wishes to see them, nor an ear can bear* to hear them.
9. What there was, it is, and what had to be done, was done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
10. Whoever speaks and says, "Look, this is new;" perhaps it was forever from the beginning.
11. There is neither a memorial for the first ones, nor for the last ones who came later; there is no memorial for them together with the ones who came last.
12. And I, Qohlat, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13. And I gave my heart to seeking and clarifying wisdom, with respect to everything that is done under the sun, a bad travail that Maryah* has given humanity to struggle with.
14. I saw every act that was performed under the sun, and, behold, everything is vanity and the turmoil of the spirit.
15. The agitator* cannot be controlled and the loser cannot be contained.*
16. I spoke to my heart, who said that, behold, I have mastered and increased in wisdom, [more than] anyone that was in Jerusalem, and my heart came to see an increase in wisdom and knowledge.
17. I gave my heart to know wisdom, proverbs, and prudence, and I [came to] know that this too is the turmoil of the spirit.
18. Because with more wisdom, there is more anger, and whoever increases his knowledge, increases his grief.

Translated by Victor Alexander ©2013

*1:2 Lit. Aramaic: "Vain," or "empty."
*1:4.1 Lit. Ar. id.: Or: "Centuries."
*1:4.2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Stands."
*1:4.3 Lit. Ar. id.: "L'allam." or "forever."
*1:6.1 Lit. Ar. id.: Or: "Climbs."
*1:6.2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Circling she circles."
*1:6.3 Lit. Ar. id.: Also: "Wind."
*1:8.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "Overused."
*1:8.2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Man."
*1:8.3 Lit. Ar. id.: "Is filled."
*1:13 Lit. Aramaic retained: Reference is to Eashoa the Messiah.
*1:15.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "Confuser."
*1:15.2 Lit. Ar. id.: "Counted."

Mar. 3, 2013

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