procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Ecclesiastes 5.13-6.12

Again, this is another passage I won't be able to preach this time through, but with 1.12-2.26 and 3.16-4.16 before it, it marks a return to first person narrative and observation with the threefold ראיתי (I saw) structuring Qohelet's observations at 5.13,18 and 6.1. This continues until the second wisdom collection beginning in chapter 7.

Section 1: 5.13-17
5.13 begins with Qohelet seeing a 'sickening tragedy' under the sun, and concludes with the 'sickening tragedy' in 5.16-17. In between  (13b-15) he tells the story of the cruel master wealth.

Section 2: 5.18-20
The bookends to this section are positive, what Qohelet sees to be 'good' (5.18a), the 'gift of God' (5.19d). In between is a description of the good life as received and enjoyed as a gift of God.

Section 3: 6.1-12
This returns to the negative of the first section, with האדם (humanity) bookending the section. The tragedy under the sun which weighs heavily on humanity (6.1) raises three questions about humanity in 11c,12a,c. The discussion in between is one we've heard before in various places, but it is interestingly punctuated by some challenges to enjoy life - to fail to do so is our own problem (6.3b,6,9).

The broader structure of the whole section is A-B-A'; negative-positive-negative. Within them they share that same structure of a-b-a'; I saw x - discussion - x.

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