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( 272 )
BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES.
Сн АртЕR І.
This Exprefiion of the Preacher is not to be [חדש תחת השמש :
and there is no new Thing under the Sun. 5o 1989 : ] understood in any other Sense than as a general Inference from what he had said, viz. that there is nothing among the Phænomena of Nature, which happens now otherwise than it has done for some Generations before: and in the moral World, Men being subject to the same Passions and Affections now as heretofore, it is no wonder the same Causes should operate in the Production of like Effects.
V. 11. There is no Remembrance of former Things ; D'eng's ] That is, “ Many past Events are totally buried in Oblio vion, and the Circumstances of other Facts are at a distant Period “ quite forgotten."
V. 13. And I gave my Heart to seek – 09775 gb ng innsı] 'nosi here and at V.17. ought to be rendered —AND I APPLIED MY HEART.
V. 18. For in much Wisdom is much Grief; and be that increaseth Knowledge, increaseth Sorrow. nyt 7019
) : 280 FOY] What Solomon declares here may seem at first Sight contradictory to his Affertion, Prov. III. 17, 18. that the Ways of Wisdom are Ways of Pleasantness, &c. But it is evident that there he means a practical Wisdom, or Religious Life; and here the Improvements of Science, in which at least he appears to have excelled all his
Cotemporaries. Now, though every speculative Man must have experienced much Pleasure on the Discovery of Truth, yet he must confess that the Investigation of it is replete with Trouble and Anxiety, and that after long and painful Researches he frequently finds he has been pursuing a vain Phantom.
V.2. I said of Laughter, It is mad; and of Mirth, What doeth it? :— ] , most of the old Versions I SAID TO LAUGHTER, Othou fool! AND TO Mirth, WHY DOEST thou THAT? 3. I fought in mine Heart to give myself unto Wine - igba ima
] Rather perhaps I PURPOSED IN MINE HEART TO GRATIFY MINE APPETITE WITH WINE.
The Text [לי שרים ושרות-ותענגות בני האדם- שדה ושדות :
ושקים ושקות edly
V.8. – I gat me Men-Singers and Women-Singers, and the Delights of the Sons of Men, as musical Instruments, and that of all Sorts. N'WY : -] seems corrupt in the two last Words before us; for what can a Singu." lar and a Plural of the same Signification, thus joined together, mean ; as, in the Margin of our Verfion, musical Instrument and Instruments ? It is evident to me from the Agreement in all the ancient Versions, both Eastern and Greek, that they read pumat Dipeo, or contract
- AND MEN AND WOMEN CUPBEARERS. V. 12. — for what can the Man do that cometh after the King ?
which . : 777127 703 708 8] The Syriac and Vulgate read here '970y : according to them this Place may be rendered - BUT What is Man, THAT HE SHOULD GO AGAINST THAT KING, EVEN HIM WHO LONG SINCE MADE HIM? That is, “Why should Man take Pleasure in “ Madness and Folly against the positive Commands of his Creator ?'” See song thus used, Noldius, 5.
V. 16. — seeing that which now is in the Days to come shall all be forgotten : - ] THAT NOW THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN ALL SHALL BE FORGOTTEN.
Rather [בשכבר הימים הבאים הכל נשכח
and how dieth the wife Man? as the fool. Son D710 TXT Lazy Dan DDV ] Rather, I think, without Interrogation, thus THE WISE DIETH IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE FOOL. So this. Particle is used, Ruth. III. 18. and wws likewise, Joh. XI. 36.
V. 18. Yea, I hated all my Labour, which I had taken under the Sun: because I mould leave it unto the Man that mall be after me. ] This is so selfish and narrow a Principle, that we cannot suppose Solomon ever entertained it himself. I am persuaded that he is here enumerating the different Pursuits of different Men after Happiness. The Use of the first Person is common in moft Languages; and is justly deemed the most elegant and delicate Way of conveying Reproof. The Line of Distinction, which he seems to draw, is, I apprehend, at the Epiphonema, which recurs so frequently, viz. This is also Vanity.
V. 25. For who can eat, or who else can haften hereunto, more than I? : ] is, For who could eat, and who could haste to outward Things, more than I? But I much doubt whether the Words can bear either of these Senses ; and neither of them feems to be much to the Purpose. The LXX, Syriac, and Arabic read 1300; but what Verb they had instead of one I know not: they however render it drink, viz. For who can eat and drink without him, i. e. God, just before mentioned. It is not improbable that 7-789was the Lection ; for Symmachus and the Vulgate favour it. I would therefore adopt it, and render — FOR WHO CAN EAT, OR WHO CAN DISTRIBUTE ABROAD, WITHOUT HIM? that is, “ who is there that can say he has not only enough to
supply his own Wants, but also to relieve the Wants of others, “ without being indebted to Providence for it?" By admitting this Sense, we need not supply a Subject, as, our Versions do, at the Beginning of the next Verse.
The Tranilation of the old Verfion [כי מי יאכל ומי יחוש חוץ ממני :
גם את העלס נתן בלנס-can find out the Work that God naketb -Ra [מבלי אשר לא ימצא האדם - את המעשה אשר עשה האלהים
- also he hath set the World in their Heart, so that no one
) ther BUT HE HATH SET THEIR YOKE ON THEIR HEART, so THAT &c. that is (I apprehend) “ God has so circumscribed the Fa. “culties of Man, that he cannot thoroughly comprehend the Nature
Rather [ אם לשמוח ולעשות טוב בחייו :
“ of final Causes :” the Heart as often denoting the Faculties of the Mind as the Affections. The Phrase-to set a Yoke on the Heart - occurs I believe nowhere else in Scripture ; neither do we meet in any
other Place with the Expression of setting the World in the Heart: besides that this Place is the only one where y signifies the World, according to the Hebrew Writers; in all other Places it means Time or Eternity. In our Version indeed it is thus rendered, Isaiah LXIV.4. roke in this Verse seems to imply the same as Weight, causing an Obstacle; thus the roke of my Transgresions ; Lam. I. 14. V. 12. - but for a Man to rejoice, and to do good in his Life.
BUT FOR A MAN TO REJOICE, AND TO PROCURE HAPPINESS IN HIS LIFE. The next Verse, relating to sensual Gratifications, seems to confirm this Sense. - as the one dieth, so dieth the other
I ) These Infinitives are used for Preters: fee Prov. XXV. 3. &c. The Antecedents are Man and Beasts, which Solomon says have all one Breath, so that a Man hath no Preeminence above a Beast. Here he doubtless personates those minute Philosophers, who, like the Sadducees, denied a Resurrection, and took Pleasure in degrading human Nature.
V.21. All go unto one Place, all are of the Dust, and all turn to Dust again.] So the Poets,
Παντα κονις, και παντα γελως, και παντα το finder Epig. incerti.
Sed omnes una manet Nox,
[כמות זה כן מות זה
והנה דמעת העשקים - ואין להם מנחם
.but they had no Comforter Rather – AND BEHOLD THE [ ומיד עשקיהם כח - ואין להם מנחם :
V. I. and behold the Tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no Comforter ; and on the Side of their Oppressors there was Power,
. : ] — TEARS OF THE OPPRESSED, FOR THEY HAD NO COMFORTER, NOR STRENGTH AGAINST THE HAND (or, PowER) OF THEIR Op
M m 2
Rather [ וטוב משניהם את אשר עדן לא היה
הכסיל חבק את ידיו - ואכר -Ra [את בשרו : טוב מלא כף נחת - ממלא חפנים עמל ורעות רוח :
PRESSORS, FOR THEY HAD NO COMFORTER. This is an Epizeuxis, not unlike the following Instance, Virg. Buc. Ecl. VIII. 89.
Talis amor Daphnim, qualis, cum fefa juvencum
Talis amor teneat, nec hit mihi cura mederi.
- BUT BETTER is HE THAN BOTH THEY WHO DOTH NOT EXIST : or thusWHOM PLEASURE HATH NOT BEEN &c. For 17y is nowhere used for yet : but it signifies Delight or Pleasure; i. e. who has neither experienced Pleasure nor Pain. The Character which Solomon introduces here seems to be that of the querulous, who habitually complains
every Thing, and delights in using this Paradox, that Nonentity is preferable to Existence. V.
5, 6. The fool foldeth his Hands together, and eateth his own Flesh. Better is an Handful with Quietness, than both the Hands full with Travail
, and Vexation of Spirit. 1987 ::] ther --- THE INACTIVE FOLDETH HIS HANDS TOGETHER, AND CONSUMETH HIS own FLESH, saying, Better is An HANDFUL &c. bog is sometimes used for dull, unactive, Heaviness. See Taylor. Solomon draws here the Portrait of Envy and Laziness. Then follows Covetousness. Thus Homer represents Bellerophon consuming his own Soul; Iliad. z. 202.
ον θυμον κατεδων, πατον ανθρωπων αλεεινων: So Horace, Epift. I. ii. 57:
Invidus alterius macrescit rebus opimis. V. 8. There is one alone, and there is not a second; 309 789 778 W] Rather --- THERE IS ONE WITHOUT A SECOND, or ANOTHER,
neither faith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave iny Soul
? :] lators understood this as spoken by the covetous Man : but may it not with as much Propriety be supposed to be a Reflection, by way of Epiphonema, made by the Author of this Book on what he had observed, as the Words that immediately follow? thus BUT FOR WHOM WOULD I thus LABOUR, AND BEREAVE MY SOUL OF GOOD ?
V. 9. Two are better than one ; because they have a good Reward for their . : ]
-Our Tranf [ולמי אני עמר - ומחסר את נפשי מטובה: of good Q
[טובים השנים מן האחד-אשר יש להם שכר טוב בעמלס: