Solomon or Qohelet?

*This post was originally posted in two languages (Korean and English) back in 2017, and now I separated it into two. For a Korean version of the post, see this

Ecclesiastes. . . . A problematic biblical text that entails many intriguing questions. Among them, the real identity of the protagonist of the book is, perhaps, the reader’s very first task that should be carried on to understand the text. If you have learned that the main speaker of the book is Solomon if you believe it with no doubt whatsoever, and if you have never been curious about the identity of the protagonist of the book, you might probably have never thought how many intriguing questions the text generates. If you are like this type of reader, this article may be able to open your eyes to see very different or maybe shocking aspects of the book. But don’t be afraid. We are simply going one step closer to this text’s historical aspects.

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Ecclesiastes Translation Series (9): Qohelet’s Gender (Eccl 7:27)

Tim Mossholder님의 사진:

The Hebrew language has a well-developed system of gender differentiation. English also distinguishes gender in some cases, such as the third person pronouns, but they don’t require gender-specific verbs when functioning as a subject. In Hebrew, however, the verb’s gender should agree with its subject, not to mention its number.

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Where is the treasury of the house of the LORD (YHWH)?

Raising a question: an anachronism

source: original painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer (1665). This modified painting shows an anachronistic digital camera in the hand of a 17th-century girl.

One of the most famous stories in the book of Joshua is the narrative about the battle of Jericho. Israelites marched around the city once every day for six days. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times and shouted out. Then the wall fell down, and Israel occupied the city. Everyone knows this much.

But there is a small portion of the story, rarely known to those familiar with the story. That is, there appears the mention of “the treasury of the house of the LORD (literally YHWH). Joshua commanded the people not to take spoils of metal, such as silver and gold (which means money), and vessels of bronze and iron, as those items should be taken into the treasury of the LORD (v. 19). So, according to the text in v. 24, the people put the metal spoils in “the treasury of the house of the LORD.”

Here, we need to pay attention to the expression, “the treasury (אוֹצַר) of the house of the LORD (בֵּית־יְהוָה)” (otsar bet-YHWH). If the text just said “the treasury of the LORD” as in v. 19, it is fine. But “the house of the LORD (YHWH)” seems an anachronism because there was no “house” of the LORD when they arrived in Canaan.

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솔로몬인가 코헬렛인가?

*이 포스트는 지난 2017년에 우리말과 영어 버전을 묶어 하나로 게시했었고, 지금은 두 개로 나누었습니다. 영어 버전은 여기를 참고해 주세요

1. 전도서. . . . 흥미로운 해석의 난제들이 참 많은 책이다. 그 중에서도 이 책에 나오는 주인공의 진짜 정체가 무엇인지는 이 글의 독자로서 가장 먼저 풀어야 할 숙제라고 할 수 있다. 하지만 이 주인공의 정체가 당연히 솔로몬이라고 믿고 쭉 그렇게만 생각을 해 온 사람이라면 이 글의 주인공의 정체가 궁금하지도 그리고 어떤 면에서 이 글이 그렇게 흥미로운 난제를 담고 있는 책인지 아마 잘 느끼지 못할 수 도 있다. 만일 당신이 그런 사람들 중 하나라면 이 글은 전도서에 대한 새로운 눈을 뜨게 해줄 수 있을 것이다. 그렇다고 너무 겁먹을 것은 없다. 단지 우리는 성경 본문의 역사에 한 발짝 다가갈 뿐이다.

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