The Sceptics of the Old Testament: Job - Koheleth - Agur
Emile Joseph Dillon

Part 4 out of 4

If mine heart have been deceived by a woman,
Or if I have lain in wait at my neighbour's door,
Then let my wife turn the mill unto another
And let others bow down upon her!


For adultery is a grievous crime,
Yea, a crime to be punished by the judges:
It is a fire that consumeth to utter destruction,
And would root out all mine increase.


Had I despised the right of my man-servant
Or of my maidservant, when they contended with me,
What could I do, when God rose up?
And when he visiteth, what could I answer him?


For perdition from God was a terror to me,
And for his highness' sake I could not do such things.
Did not he that made me in the womb, make him?[247]
And did he not fashion us in one belly?


Never have I withheld the poor from their desire,
Nor caused the widow's eyes to fail;
Nor have I eaten my morsel alone,
Unless the fatherless had partaken thereof.


If I saw one perish for lack of clothing,
Or any of the poor devoid of covering;
Then surely did his loins bless me,
And he was warmed with the fleece of my sheep.


If I lifted up my hand against the fatherless,
When I saw my backers in the gate,[248]
Then let my shoulder fall from its setting,
And mine arm from its channel bone!


I have never made gold my hope,
Nor said to the fine gold: "Thou art my trust;"
Never did I rejoice that my wealth was great,
And because mine hand had found much.


Never did I gaze upon the sun, because it shone brightly,
Nor upon the moon floating in glory,
So that my heart was secretly enticed,
And I wafted kisses to them, putting my hand to my mouth.[249]


Never did I rejoice at the ruin of my hater,
Nor exult when misery found him out;
Neither have I suffered my throat to sin,
By wreaking a curse upon his soul.


Never had the guests of my tent to say:
"Oh, that we had our fill of his meat!"
I suffered not the stranger to lodge out of doors,
But I opened my gates to the traveller.


I covered not my failings after the manner of men,
By locking mine iniquity in my bosom,
As if I feared the vast multitude,
Or because the scorn of families[250] appalled me.


And I, forsooth, should keep silence, should not come forward!
Oh, that one would hear me!
Here is my signature; let the Almighty answer me,
And hear the indictment which my adversary hath written![251]


Surely I would hoist it upon my shoulder,
And weave it as a crown unto myself;
I would account to him for the number of my steps;
As a prince would I draw near unto him.



Who is this that darkeneth my counsel,
With words devoid of knowledge?
Now gird up thy loins like a man,
For I shall ask of thee, and do thou teach me!


When I laid the earth's foundation where wast thou?
Declare, if thou hast understanding!
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest,
Or who hath stretched the line upon it?


Where are its sockets sunk down,
Or who laid the corner-stone thereof?
When the morning stars exulted together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy.


Who shut in the sea with doors,
When it brake forth as issuing from the womb?
When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness for its swaddling-band.


Then I brake up for it its appointed place,
And set it bars and portals,
And said: "Hitherto shalt thou come,
And here shall thy haughty waves be stayed!"


Was it at thy prompting that I commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place?
That it might seize hold of the ends of the earth,
That the wicked might be shaken out?[252]


Then the earth changes as clay under the seal,
And all things appear therein as an embroidery;[253]
But from the wicked is withholden their hiding-place,
And the raised arm shall be shattered.


Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?
Or hast thou walked in search of the abysses?
Have the gates of death been opened unto thee,
Or hast thou seen the doors of darkness?


Hast thou surveyed the breadth of the earth?
Declare, if thou knowest, its measure!
Thou must needs know it, for then wast thou already born,
And great is the number of thy days!


Which way leadeth to the dwelling of light?
And of darkness, where is the abode?
That thou shouldst take it to its bounds,
And that thou shouldst know the paths to its house?


Hast thou entered into the granaries of the snow,
Or hast thou seen the arsenals of the hail,
Which I have laid up for the time of trouble,
Against the day of battle and of war?


By what way is the mist parted?
And the east wind scattered upon the earth?
Who hath divided its course for the rain-storm?
And its path for the lightning of thunder?


Out of whose womb issued the ice?
And who gendered the hoar-frost of heaven?
The waters are as stone,
And the face of the deep condensed like clots together.


Canst thou bind the knots of the Pleiads,
Or loose the fetters of Orion?
Canst thou send lightnings that they may speed,
And say unto thee: Here we are?


Who in his wisdom can number the clouds,
Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
That the dust may thicken into mire,
And the clods cleave close together?


Canst thou hunt its prey for the lion,
Or sate the appetite of the young lions,
When they couch in their dens,
And abide in the covert to lie in wait?


Who provideth his food for the raven,
When his young ones cry unto God?
It hovereth around nor groweth weary,
Seeking food for its nestlings.


Canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?
Canst thou number the months when they bring forth?
They cast out their burdens,
Their little ones grow up out of doors.


Who hath sent out the wild ass free,
Whose dwelling I have made the wilderness,
Who scorneth the noise of the city,
Nor heedeth the driver's cry?


Will the wild ox be willing to serve thee,
Or abide by thy grip?
Wilt thou trust him because his strength is great,
Or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?


Dost thou bestow might upon the horse?
Dost thou clothe his neck with a waving mane?
Dost thou make him to bound like a locust,
In the pride of his terrible snort?


He paws in the vale and rejoices;
Goes with strength to encounter the weapons;
He mocks at fear, and is not dismayed,
And recoileth not from the sword.


The quiver clangs upon him,
The flashing lance and the javelin;
Furiously bounding, he swallows the ground,
And cannot be reined in at the trumpet-blast.


When the clarion soundeth he crieth, "Aha!"
And sniffs the dust raised by the hosts from afar;
He dasheth into the thick of the fray,
Into the captains' shouting and the roar of battle.


Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom,
And spread her pinions towards the south?
She builds her nest on high, dwelling on the rock,
And abideth there, seeking prey.


Will the caviller still contend with the Almighty?
He that reproves God, let him answer!
Wilt thou even disannul my judgment?
Wilt thou condemn me that thou mayst be in the right?


If thou hast an arm like God,
If thou canst thunder with a voice like his,
Deck thyself now with majesty and grandeur
And array thyself in glory and splendour!


Scatter abroad the rage of thy wrath,
And hurl down all that is exalted!
The haughty bring low by a glance,
And trample down the wicked in their place!


Hide them together in the dust,
And bind their faces in secret!
Then will I, too, confess unto thee
That thine own right hand can save thee!



Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee?
I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Once have I spoken, but I will do so no more,
Yea, twice, but I will proceed no further.


I know that thou canst do everything,
And that nothing is beyond thy reach;
Hence I say: I have uttered that I understand not,
Things too wonderful for me, which I know not.


I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
But now mine eye hath beheld thee;
Therefore I resign and console myself,
Though in dust and ashes.



7 _And if was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job,
the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee,
and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me_ the thing
that is_ right, as my servant Job_ hath.

8 _Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to
my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my
servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with
you_ after your _folly, in that ye have not spoken of me_ the
thing which is _right, like my servant Job._

9 _So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the
Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord
also accepted Job._

10 _And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his
friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before._

11 _Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and
all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with
him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the
evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece
of money, and every one an earring of gold._

12 _So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning:
for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a
thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses_.

13 _He had also seven sons and three daughters_.

14 _And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the
second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch_.

15 _And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of
Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren_.

16 _After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons,
and his sons' sons, even four generations_.

17 _So Job died, being old and full of days_.


[196] _I.e._, the magicians by means of incantations.

[197] Allusion to the Satan's remark in the Prologue, chap. i. to: "Hast
not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all
that he hath on every side?"

[198] The strophe which follows in Prof. Bickell's text I consider a
later insertion, and have therefore struck it out. It runs thus:

"The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,
And the teeth of the young lions are broken;
The old lion perisheth for lack of prey,
And the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad."

[199] The prophetic vision which Eliphaz now describes is relied upon by
him as the sanction for his whole discourse. To his seeming, it is a
direct revelation from God.

[200] The sons of God, sons of the Elohim. _Cf._ Genesis vi. 4. There is
no analogy between these sons of God and the angels or saints of
Christianity. _Cf._ also Prof. Cheyne, "Job and Solomon," p. 81:
Baudissin, Studien, II.

[201] The human body is likened to a tent of which the tent-pole is the
breath of life; this gone, all that remains is the natural prey
of the elements.

[202] Calumny.

[203] Allusion to his sufferings at night from elephantiasis. This
terrible malady, which was first described by Rhazes, in the ninth
century, under the name _da-l-fil_ ("disease of the elephant"), was
for a long time erroneously believed to be confined to Arabia. As a
matter of fact, it is found in an endemic state in all warm
countries, and sporadically even in Europe. In tropical and
sub-tropical lands it progresses with alarming rapidity. Every new
crisis is preceded by a shivering sensation and violent fever,
frequently accompanied with headache, delirium, and nervous and
gastric suffering. A violent attack of this kind may last seven or
eight days. The seat of the disease is generally the foot or the
reproductive organs. In the former case the foot swells to a
monstrous size, instep, toes and heel and ankle all merging in one
dense mass that reminds one of the foot of an elephant.

[204] Job feels that death is nigh.

[205] Allusion to an ocean myth. A watch had to be set upon the movements
of the monsters of the sea and the firmament.

[206] The irony of these words addressed by Job to Jehovah would be
deemed blasphemous in a poet like Byron or Shelley. As a matter of
fact, they constitute a parody of Psalm viii. 5. as Prof. Cheyne has
already pointed out ("Job and Solomon").

[207] The firmament, being a solid mass, has paths cut out along which
the stars move in their courses, just as there are channels made
for the clouds and rain.

[208] This entire speech is ironical.

[209] Allusion to a myth.

[210] In the light of my own conscience I am not an evil-doer.

[211] Ironical.

[212] _Lit_., the man of lips.

[213] Wisdom.

[214] _I.e_., God's wisdom enables him to discern the deceit of those who
appear just, and the punishment which he deals out to them makes the
result of his knowledge visible to the dullest comprehension.

[215] A name for God.

[216] The current versions of the Bible make Job say the contrary: "With
the ancient _is_ wisdom; and in length of days understanding" (Job
xii. 12, Authorised Version). _Cf. ante_, "Interpolations."

[217] _I.e_., Will ye persist in maintaining that God rewards the good
and punishes the wicked (as Zophar has just done, strophe xcvii.) in
spite of the fact that ye know it is untrue?

[218] _I.e_., not on grounds obvious to all, but because your own
particular lot is satisfactory.

[219] Compare this with the extraordinary verse in our Authorised
Version: "Thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet"! (Job
ii. 27).

[220] This is one of the very few passages in the Poem which throw light
upon the date of its composition.

[221] _I.e_., the object for which he bartered righteousness.

[222] Host of evils which has attacked me from all sides.

[223] Ironical.

[224] An allusion to the promises made by the friends on the part of God
that Job would, if he repented and asked for pardon, recover his
former prosperity.

[225] _Lit_., the pieces of his skin.

[226] Probably an allusion to elephantiasis.

[227] The personification of death.

[228] Either "the sons of the womb which has borne me," as in iii. 10, or
else "my own children," the poet forgetting that in the prologue
they are described as having been killed.

[229] _I.e_., when it is too late.

[230] Zophar discerns perfect moral order in the world.

[231] God.

[232] _I.e_., by man.

[233] _I.e_., be silent.

[234] Job's ideal of a happy death was identical with that of Julius
Caesar--the most sudden and least foreseen.

[235] Literally, "his."

[236] _I.e_., after his death.

[237] _I.e._, God.

[238] Ironical.

[239] If there be a God who rules the world, punishes evil, and rewards
good, how comes it that we descry no signs of such just retribution?

[240] About seven strophes in the same quasi-impious strain,
characterising the real reign of Jehovah upon earth as
distinguished from the optimistic delineations of Job's friends,
are lost. The verses that have taken their place in our
manuscripts are portions of a different work, which has no
relation whatever to our poem. They are not even in the same
metre as Job, but contain strophes of three lines only.

[241] Conjecture of Professor Bickell; these two lines are not found in
the MSS.

[242] I will judge ye out of your own mouths. Ye maintained, all of you,
that the principles on which the world is governed are absolutely
unintelligible. How then can ye reason as if the moral order were
based upon retribution, and from my sufferings infer my sins?

[243] The miner who descends into the abyss of the earth, and carries a

[244] Wisdom is here identified with God, of whom we know nothing and
have only vaguely heard from those who knew less, i.e., former
generations, for whom Job has scant respect.

[245] To mete out justice.

[246] Two strophes are wanting here, in which Job presumably says that
this great change of fortune is not the result of his conduct.
The LXX offers nothing here in lieu of the lost verses; but the
Massoretic text has the strophes which occur in the Authorised
Version (xxxi. 1-4), and which would seem to have been
substituted for the original verses. The present Hebrew text is
useless here. If the four Massoretic verses which it offers had
stood in the original, so important are they that they would
never have been omitted by the Greek translators, who evidently
did not possess them in their texts. They remind one to some
extent of certain passages of the Sermon on the Mount, and are
manifestly of late origin.

[247] _I.e._, my servant.

[248] The concourse of people and partisans at the gate where justice was

[249] _I.e._, I never adored them as gods.

[250] Of the nobles.

[251] This is the passage become famous in the imaginary form: "That mine
adversary had written a book!" (xxxi. 35).

[252] Daylight is hostile to criminals, and the manner in which it
operates is here compared to a tossing of them off the outspread
carpet of the earth.

[253] On a carpet, to which the earth is still compared.

* * * * *



* * * * *



I. THESIS: _Vanity of the so-called Absolute Joys of Living._

I 1.[254] The words of the Speaker, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2. Vanity of vanities, saith the Speaker, vanity of vanities: all is

3. What profit hath man of all his toil wherewith he wearies himself
under the sun?

4. One generation passeth away and another cometh; the earth alone
abideth for ever.

5. The sun riseth and the sun goeth down and panting hasteneth back to
his place where he rose.

6. The wind sweepeth towards the south and veereth round to the north,
whirling about everlastingly; and back to his circuits returneth the

7. All rivers flow into the sea; yet the sea is not full; whence the
rivers take their source, thither they return again.

8. The all is in a never-ceasing whirl,
No man can utter it in words;
Rest is not vouchsafed to the eye from seeing,
Nor unto the ear from hearing.[255]

9. The thing that hath been is the same that shall be, and what befell is
the same that shall come to pass, and there is no new thing under the
sun. 10. If aught there be whereof one would say, "Lo, this is new!"--it
was erstwhile in the eternities that were before us.[256]

11. There is no memory of those that were; neither shall there be any
remembrance of them that are to come, among their posterity.

12. I, the Speaker, was king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13. and I set my
heart to seek out and probe with wisdom all things that are done under
heaven. 14. I surveyed all the works that are wrought under the sun, and
behold all was vanity and the grasping of wind.

15. That which is crooked cannot be straight,
Nor can loss be reckoned as gain.

16_a_. I communed with my heart, saying: Lo, I have gathered great
and ever-increasing wisdom, more than all that were before me in
Jerusalem. 17. Then I set my heart to learn wisdom and understanding.
16_b_. And my heart discerned much wisdom and knowledge, 17. madness
and folly. I realised that this also is but a grasping of wind. 18. For

In much wisdom is much grief;
Who increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.

II.1. I said in my heart: Go to, now, I will try mirth
and taste pleasure! But behold, this too was

2. Unto laughter I said: It is mad.
Unto mirth: What cometh of it?


_(a) Because Enjoyment is Marred by Possession_

II. 3. I cast about me, how I might confer pleasure upon my body--my
reason continuing to guide with wisdom the while--and how I might take to
folly till I should discern what is good for the sons of men that they
should do under heaven during the brief days of their existence. 4. I
undertook huge works, I builded me houses, cultivated vineyards, 5. laid
out gardens and orchards wherein I planted trees with all kinds of
fruits; 6. I dug out reservoirs of water wherewith to water the
tree-bearing wood. 7. I got me men slaves and female slaves and had
servants born in my house; I likewise owned horned and small cattle,
above all that were in Jerusalem before me. 8. I also piled up silver and
gold, the treasures of kings and provinces, I got me men singers and
women singers, and the delight of the sons of men, wife and wives. 9.
And I waxed great and increased more than all that had been before me in
Jerusalem; also my wisdom abode with me. 10. And what thing so ever mine
eyes coveted, I kept not from them. I withheld not my heart from any joy;
but my heart took pleasure in all my labour, for this only was my portion
of all my toil.

II. Then I turned to all my works that my hands had wrought and to the
worry wherewith I had wearied myself, and behold, all was vanity and a
grasping of wind; and there is no profit under the sun.

V.10. Whoso loveth silver shall not have joy of silver;[257]
And he who sets his heart on riches reaps nought therefrom.

This too is vanity.

11. When goods increase, they also are multiplied that devour them, and
what profit hath the owner thereof save the gazing thereon with his eyes?

12. Sweet is the sleep of the toiler; but his wealth suffered not the
rich man to slumber.[258]

_(b) Because Possession is at best but Fleeting_

V. 13. There is a sore evil which I have witnessed under the sun; riches
hoarded up by the owner thereof to his own undoing.[259] [For such an one
treasures them, spending thereby all his days in worry, vexation, grief,
and carking care without gladdening his soul;] 14. then the riches perish
by evil mishap, and if that man have begotten a son, there is nothing in
his hand.

16_a_. But this likewise is a sore evil: exactly as he came, even so
shall he go; 15. naked, as he issued from his mother's womb, must he
depart again, nor for all his labour shall he carry away aught that might
go with him in his hand. 16_b_. What profit hath he then for having
toiled for the wind, 17. and likewise passed all his days in darkness,
mourning and much grief, suffering and wrath?

_(c) Because the Capacity for Pleasure is hedged round with

V. 18. Behold what I have found to be good and beautiful: that a man eat,
drink and make merry amid all his labour whereat he striveth under the
sun during the brief days of his life which God hath allotted to him; for
such is his portion. 19. But that God should enable every man on whom he
has bestowed riches and treasures, to enjoy these, and taking his share,
to have pleasure in his labour, this is itself a gift of God.[260] 20.
For then he shall not ponder overmuch on the days of his life, since God
approveth the joy of his heart.

VI. 1. But there is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it
weighs heavy upon men: 2. that God bestows upon one riches, wealth and
honour, grudging him nought for which his soul yearns, yet permitteth him
not to taste thereof, but a stranger enjoyeth it. This is vanity and a
sore evil. 3. If such an one should beget even a hundred sons and live
many years, but his soul could not revel in bliss then I say, an untimely
birth is better off than he. 4. For it came into nothingness, and
departed in gloom and its name is shrouded in darkness; 3. not even a
sepulchre fell to its lot; 5. moreover, it had not gazed upon, nor known
the sun; this latter hath more rest than the former. 6. Yea, though one
lived a thousand years twice told, yet had not tasted happiness, must not
all wander into one place?[261]

7. All man's toil is for his mouth;
And yet the soul[262]
gets not its fill.

III. 9. What profit hath the toiler from that whereat he labours? 12. I
perceived that for him there is no good other than to eat, drink, and
make merry in his life; 13. but even this same that any one may eat,
drink, and enjoy himself during all his toil, is for him a gift of


(a) _Because of its Limitation_

III. 10. I considered the working of the world which God gave unto man as
a subject of meditation. 11. Unto their perception he made over the
universe and likewise all eternity; yet so that they are unable to
discern the work that he worketh from the beginning unto the end.[264]

(6) _From its Depressing Effects as Applied to the Order of the

III. 14. I discovered that whatever God doeth is for ever; nothing can be
superadded to it, neither can aught be taken away; and God hath so
contrived it that man must fear him.

15. What came into being had been already long before, and what will be
was long ago; and God quickeneth the past.

(c) _Because of its Depressing Effects as Applied to Human Life and

III. 16. Moreover, I saw, under the sun, in the place of equity iniquity,
and in lieu of justice crime. 18. I said in mine heart: It is for men's
sake that God should try them and show that they are beasts, they unto
themselves. 19. For men are an accident, and the beasts are an accident,
and the same accident befalleth them all: as these die even so die those,
and the selfsame breath have they all, nor is there any pre-eminence of
man above beast;[265] for all is nothingness. 20. All drift into one
place; all sprang from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21. Who
knoweth whether the breath of man riseth upwards or whether the breath of
the beast sinketh downwards to the earth?

22. And I perceived that other good there is none, save only that man
should enjoy himself in his work; for that is his portion. For who can
show him what shall become of him after his death?

IV. I. And again I saw all the oppressive deeds that are wrought under
the sun; and behold the downtrodden weep, and none comforteth them; and
they endure violence from their tyrants, and none consoleth them. 2. Then
I appraised the dead who died long since, as happier than the quick who
are yet alive; 3. but luckier than both, him who is still unborn, who
hath not yet witnessed the evil doings under the sun.

4. And I saw that all striving and all painstaking in the working of men
is but the jealousy of one with another; this too is vanity and the
grasping of wind. 5. True,

The fool foldeth his hands,
And eateth up his own flesh.

6. And yet better is a handful of quietness than both fists filled with
drudgery and the grasping of wind.

7. And again I beheld a vain thing under the sun: 8. one who toileth
restlessly without enjoying his riches. For whom do I wear myself out and
bereave my soul of pleasure? This too is vanity and irksome drudgery.

II. 12. For what manner of man will he be who shall come after me? 18.
Then I loathed all my toil, wherewith I had wearied myself under the sun,
in order that I should leave it to one who shall come after me. 19. And
who knoweth whether he be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have sway
over all the fruits of my labour which I have gained by toil and wisdom
under the sun; this likewise is vanity. 20. And I turned away to let my
heart abandon itself to despair because of the pains wherewith I laboured
under the sun. 21. For here is a man who hath performed his work with
wisdom, knowledge and painstaking, and to one who hath not laboured
thereat he must leave it, as his portion. This also is vanity and a sore

22. For what hath man of all his striving and of the worry of his heart
wherewith he labours under the sun? 23. For all his days are sorrows and
his work grief; yea, even at night his heart taketh no rest; this too is

24. There is no good for man, save that he should eat and drink and make
glad his soul in his labour. Yet I saw that even this lieth in the hand
of God.[266] 25. For who can eat and who can enjoy except through him?
26. For on the man who findeth favour in his sight he bestoweth wisdom,
knowledge, and joy; but to him who is not pleasing in his sight[267] he
giveth drudgery, to gather and to heap up in order to make it over to him
in whom he is well pleased. This also is vanity and a grasping of wind.


_(a) Because in the Chances of Life and Death the Just are Nowise

II. 12_a_. Then I turned to behold wisdom, madness and folly, 13.
and I saw that wisdom excelleth folly as much as light surpasseth

14. The wise man hath eyes in his head;
But the fool walketh in obscurity.

But I perceived that the same fate overtaketh them all. 15. Then I said
in mine heart: As it happeneth to the fool, so shall it happen also unto
me; and why then have I been so very wise? Whereupon I said in my heart
that this too is vanity. 16. For there is no more remembrance of the wise
man than of the fool for ever; because in the days to come all shall have
been long since forgotten, and how the wise man perisheth like the fool!

17. Then I loathed life; because the turmoil under the sun weighed upon
me as a calamity, for all is vanity and a grasping of wind. III. 1. To
everything there is a season and each thing under heaven hath its
hour.[269] 2. There is a time to be born and a time to die; a time to
plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3. a time to kill and
a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; 4. a time to
weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5. a time
to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to
embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; 6. a time to seek and a
time to throw away; a time to keep and a time to destroy; 7. a time to
rend and a time to repair; a time to be silent and a time to speak; 8. a
time to love and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace. VIII.
6. For every thing hath its season and its destiny,[270] for the bane of
man presses heavily upon him. 7. Because he knoweth not what shall be;
for who can tell him how it will come to pass?

8. No man swayeth the storm-wind,
None controlleth the day of his death;
There is no discharge in war,
Nor can riches rescue their possessor.

_(b) Because the Just are very often Treated worse than the Wicked_

VIII. 9. All this have I seen, and I have applied my heart unto every
event that happens under the sun, at the time when one man ruleth over
another to his undoing. 10. And so I beheld the evil-doer honoured, even
in the holy place, while they who had done uprightly must go away and
were forgotten in the city. This also is vanity.

11. Because sentence against misdeeds is not executed forthwith,
therefore the heart of the sons of man is fully set to work evil. 12. For
I know that many a miscreant hath committed bad deeds for a protracted
time past, and yet lives long, 13. while the God-fearing prolongeth not
his shadow-like days.

14. There is a vanity which is done upon earth: to righteous men that
happeneth which should befall wrong-doers; and that betideth criminals
which should fall to the lot of the upright. I said: This too is vain.

16a. When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to consider the goings on
upon earth, 17a. then I perceived that no man can find out the whole work
of God that is carried on beneath the sun.[271] How much soever he may
labour in seeking, he will not discover it; 16_b_. even though by
day and by night he should keep his eyes from seeing sleep; 17_b_.
yea, though a wise man set himself to fathom it, yet shall he not find it

IX. 1. For all this I laid to heart, and my heart beheld it all; that the
righteous and the wise and their doings are in the hand of God; neither
love nor hatred doth a man know in advance;[273] everything lies before

2. All things come alike to all indiscriminately;[274] the one fate
overtaketh the upright man and the miscreant, the clean and the unclean,
him who sacrifices and him who sacrifices not, the just and the sinner,
him who swears as him who dreads an oath. 3. This is an evil amongst all
things that are done under the sun, that one chance betideth all;
therefore the sons of men pluck up courage for evil, and madness abideth
in their heart.

VIII. 15. Then I commended mirth, because for man there is no good under
the sun save only to eat, drink, and make merry, and that abideth with
him in his toil during the days of his life which God hath given him
under the sun.


_(a) Because Success is Contingent upon Circumstances beyond the
Control of Man_

IX. 11. Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor
the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of
understanding, nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance overtake
them all. 12. For man knoweth not even his own time; like the fishes that
are taken in the evil net, and like the birds that are caught in the
snare, so are the sons of men entrapped in the season of misfortune, when
it breaks in upon them unawares.[275]

_(b) Because of the Difficulty of obtaining recognition for it, and of
the Ease with which it may be Thwarted by Folly_

IX. 13. This also have I seen under the sun, as wisdom, and it appeared
great unto me. 14. There was a little city and few soldiers therein, and
there came a mighty king against it, and besieged it, and built great
bulwarks against it. 15. Now he found in it a poor wise man who, by his
wisdom, delivered the city; but no one remembered this poor man
afterwards. 16. Thereupon I said:

Wisdom is better than strength;
Yet the poor man's wisdom is despised.

17. The words of the wise are gently uttered;
But the clamour of fools is deafening.[276]
18. Wisdom is better than war weapons;
Yet a single oversight bringeth ruin.
X. 1. A dead fly causes balsam to putrefy;
So a little folly destroys much happiness.

VI. 8. For what hath the wise more than the fool? What, the poor who
knoweth how to walk before the living? 10. That which is happening was
long ago named, and it is known beforehand what a man shall be; neither
can he join issue with him who is mightier than he. 11. For there is much
prattle that only augmenteth vanity. Of what avail is it to man? 12. For
who knoweth what is helpful to man in life during the brief vain days of
his existence which he spendeth as a shadow? For who can tell a man what
shall come to pass after him under the sun?



_(a) Of Claims to Happiness_

VII.1_a_. Better is a good name than choice unguents,

X.1. But better wisdom than glory;
[Better not being than existence,][277]

VII.1_b_. And the death-day than the birthday.

2. Better to enter the house of mourning
Than to go into the tavern;
Because there is the end of every man,
And he who survives will lay it to heart.

3. Better is sorrow than laughter;
For a cheerless face makes a blithesome heart.
4. The heart of the wise is in the mourning-house;
The heart of fools in the house of mirth.

5. Better to hearken to the rebuke of the wise,
Than to listen to the song of the foolish.
6. As the crackling of thorns under a pot,[278]
Is the inane laughter of the fool.

VI.9. Better look with the eyes than wander with desire;
This too is vanity and a grasping of wind.
VII.7. For extortion maketh the wise man foolish,
And bribery robs understanding.

8. Better the end of a thing than the beginning thereof;
Better is patience than haughtiness.
9. Let not thy spirit be hurried into anger,
For anger lurketh in the bosom of fools.

10. Say not: Why were old times better than these? For it is not from
wisdom that thou askest thus.

13. Contemplate the work of God! Who can straighten what he hath made
crooked? 14. In the day of prosperity be of good cheer, and in the evil
day bethink thee: the latter God hath made even as the former, to the end
that man at his death shall have left nothing unaccomplished.

_(b) As Renunciation of Reputation for Perfect Justice and Wisdom_

VII. 15. All things have I witnessed in my vain days; there are just men
who perish through their righteousness, and there are wicked men who
prolong their lives by means of their iniquity.[279] 16. Be not righteous
overmuch, neither make thyself overwise; why wouldst thou ruin thyself?
17. Do not allow thyself too much liberty, and be not a fool: why wouldst
thou die before thy time? 18. It is well that thou shouldst hold fast to
the one and also not withdraw thy hand from the other, for he who feareth
God compasseth all this.

19. Wisdom is a stronger guard for the wise man than ten mighty men who
are in the city.

11. Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
Yea, better yet, to them that see the sun;[280]
12. For wisdom and wealth afford shade,
And wisdom, besides, keeps its possessors alive.

_(c) As Renunciation of One's Claims to the Respect and Consideration
of Others_

VII. 21. Likewise, take not all the gossip of people to heart, lest thou
hear that thy friend hath reviled thee! 22. For thy heart is conscious
that thou thyself hast often-times made little of others. 20. For:

There is no just man upon the earth
Who worketh good and never faileth.

_(d) Of One's Claims to Act Independently of their Counsel and Aid_

IV. 9. Two are better off than one; 10. for should one of them fall, the
other lifts him up again. Woe to him that is alone, if he fall, and there
be not another to raise him up. 11. Likewise, if two lie down together,
they become warm; but how can one grow warm alone? 12. Moreover, if a man
would overpower the single one, two can keep him at bay, and a threefold
cord will not easily give way.

13. Better is the youth, needy and wise, than the king old and foolish,
who can no longer take a warning to heart. 14. For the former went forth
from prison to govern, though born poor in the realm of the king. 15. I
saw all the living who walk under the sun, in attendance on the youth who
was to take his place. 16. There was no end to the multitude....[281] who
were before them; nor did those who lived afterwards glory in him. For
this likewise is vanity and a grasping of wind.


_A Warning: (a) Against Outward and Sacrificial Worship_

V. 1. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God! And to draw near
him, in order to obey, is better than the offering of sacrifices by
fools: for they know not....[283] to work evil.

_(b) Against Mechanical Prayer_

V. 2. Be not rash with thy mouth, nor let thy heart be hasty to utter
words before God! For God is in heaven, and thou art upon earth;
therefore let thy words be few! 3. For

Dreams proceed from much brooding,
And the prattle of fools from a multitude of words.

_(c) Against Rash Vows_

V. 4. If thou makest a vow unto God, fail not to fulfil it, for fools are
displeasing. Carry out that which thou hast promised. 5. It is better
thou shouldst not vow at all than vow and not perform. 6. Suffer not thy
mouth to render thy body punishable, neither utter thou the plea before
the messenger:[284] "it was rashness." Why cause God to be wroth at thy
voice and destroy the work of thy hands?

_(d) Against Arbitrary Religious Speculations_

V. 7....[285] For in the multitude of fancies and prattle there likewise
lurketh much vanity. Rather fear thou God!


_(a) In Public Life_

V. 8. When thou witnessest oppression of the poor and the swerving from
right and equity in the land, marvel not thereat. For a higher one
watcheth over the high, and still higher ones over both.[286] 9. But a
gain to the country is only a king--for tilled land.

X.16. Wo, land, to thee whose king is a child,
And whose princes feast in the early morning!
17. Hail to thee, land, whose king is noble,
And whose princes eat in due season!

18. Through sloth the rafters give way;
Through idleness the roof lets in the rain.
19. They misuse food and drink for feasting:
And gold putteth all things in their grasp.

20. Even in thy privacy curse not the king,
Nor in thy bed-chamber the wealthy;
The birds of heaven might divulge it,
And the feathered ones might report the word.

_(b) In Private Life_

XI. 1. Send forth thy bread over the surface of the waters, for after
many days thou shall find it again. 2. Divide thy possessions into seven,
yea, into eight portions! For thou knowest not what evil may befall the
land. 3. If the clouds fill themselves with rain, they discharge it upon
the earth; and whether the tree falleth towards the south or towards the
north, in the place where it falleth, there shall it abide.

6. In the morning sow thy seed,
And until evening let not thy hand repose.[287]

For thou knowest not which one shall thrive, this or that, or whether
they shall both prosper alike.

4. He that observeth the wind shall not sow;
He that watcheth the clouds shall not reap.

5. As thou knowest not the way of the wind, nor the growth of the bones
in the womb of the mother, even so, thou canst not fathom the work of God
who compasseth everything.


_(a) In our Dealings with Women_

VII. 23. All this have I tried with understanding; I was minded to
acquire wisdom, but it remained far from me. 24. Far off is that which
is,[288] and deep, deep; who can fathom it?

25. I turned away, and my heart was bent upon understanding, sifting, and
seeking the outgrowth of wisdom and knowledge, madness, and folly. 26.
Whereupon I found that more bitter than death is woman--that snare whose
heart is a net, whose arms are fetters: the God-favoured shall escape
her, but the sinner shall be entangled by her.

27. Lo, this have I found, saith the Speaker, piecing one thing with
another in order to discover a result: 28. What my soul hath ever sought
for, yet never fallen upon, is this: I have discovered one man, among
thousands; and of all these there was not one single woman. 29. Behold,
this only have I found: that God made men upright, but they go in search
of many wiles.

_(b) In our Relations to the Monarch_

VIII.1. A man's wisdom brightens up his countenance.
And transforms the coarse rancour of his face.
2. The wise man hearkens to the king's command,
By reason of the oath to God.

3. Steer clear of evil causes![289]
For he[290] doeth even what he listeth.
4. Mighty is the word of the monarch;
Who dares ask him: "What dost thou?"[291]

X.2. The wise man's heart straineth to the right,
The heart of the fool to the left.
3. Even out of doors he lacketh sense,
Saying unto every one: "I am a fool."[292]

4. Though the wrath of the ruler should swell against thee, yet forsake
not thy post. For composure avoids grave mistakes.

5. There is an evil which I beheld under the sun, like unto a blunder,
proceeding from the ruler!

6. Folly is set in high places,
The great ones must sit low down;
7. Slaves have I beheld on horseback,
And princes trudging on foot.

_(c) In the Conditions of Everyday Life_

X. 8. He that diggeth a pit may fall into it; him who breaketh down walls
a serpent may sting. 9. Whoso removeth stones may be hurt therewith; he
who cleaveth wood may be endangered thereby.

10. If the axe be blunt it demands more strength:[293]
Only through intelligence doth exertion avail.
11. If the serpent bites before the spell,
Then bootless is the charmer's art.

12. Speech from the wise man's mouth is grace,
The lips of a fool swallow him up;
13. The first words of his mouth are folly.
And the end of his talk rank madness.

II.15. For in self-conceit babbles the fool,[294]
X.14_a_. The silly man multiplieth his words;
15. The fussiness of the fool jadeth him.
Who knows not yet the way citywards.[295]

_Exhortation to enjoy Life_

X. 14_b_. Man knoweth not what shall come to pass, and who can tell
him IX. 3. during his life, what shall befall after his death? Afterwards
they go down to the[296] [dead, and there none can tell him aught nor can
he apprehend anything. Even could he take it in, it would avail him
nothing, for in _Sheol_ there is no participation in life]. 4. For
whosoever may enrol himself in the company of all the living, can rest
content, seeing that a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5. For the
living know at least that they shall die, whereas the dead know not
anything at all, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of
them is forgotten. 6. As well their love as their hatred and jealousy has
long since passed away, neither have they any more a portion for ever in
anything that is done under the sun.

7. Go, eat thy bread with joy,
And quaff thy wine with merry heart.

For God hath countenanced beforehand this thy doing. 8. Let thy garments
be always white and let thy head lack not ointment. 9. See life with a
woman whom thou lovest throughout all the days of thy empty existence
which he hath given thee under the sun, during all thy vain days! For
that is thy portion in life[297] and in thy labour which thou takest
under the sun. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do that with thy
might. For there is no work, nor cogitation, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in
the _Sheol_[298] whither thou goest. XI. 7. But sweet is the light
and pleasant it is for the eyes to gaze upon the sun. 8. For how many
years soever a man may live, he should enjoy himself during them all, and
bear in mind the days of darkness that they shall be many. Everything
that is to come, is vain.

9. Rejoice, young man, in thy youth![299]
And let thy heart make thee glad!
And walk in the ways of thine heart,
And according to the seeing of thine eyes!

_10a._ Drive sorrow from thy heart;
And put away care from thy flesh!
XII._1a._ And bethink thee of thy fountain,[300]
In the days of thy youth!

XI. _10b._ For youth and dawn are fleeting.

XII._1b._ Dreary days are drawing near,
And years approach devoid of joy.
2. Then darkened shall be sun and moon,
And clouds come after rain alway.

3. The keepers of the house[301] shall quake,
The sturdy ones[302] shall bend themselves;
Darksome shall the windows[303] be,
4. And closed shall be the portals.[304]

The roar of the mill[305] shall be as the sparrows twitter,
The daughters of song[306] shall bow low;
5. Likewise of heights shall they be afraid,
For dread shall lie in wait.

3. The grinding maids[307] shall leave off work,
5. The almond-tree[308] shall shed its blooms;
The grasshopper[309] shall be burdened,
And the caperberry[310] unavailing.

For man goeth to his everlasting home and the mourners are in readiness
in the street.

6. Asunder snaps the silver chain;
Shivered is the golden lamp;
The pitcher shattered at the brook;
The scoopwheel falls into the well.

8. O Vanity of Vanities, saith the Speaker; all is vanity![311]


[254] For the convenience of the reader I give the chapters and verses as
they are in the ordinary Hebrew Bible, so that they can be found
at once in the Authorised Version. The letter _a_ after the
verse number indicates the first half of that verse, the letter
_b_ the second half.

[255] The meaning is almost the opposite of that of the Authorised
Version. Eye and ear are wearied and bewildered by the incessant
whirl of the vast machinery of the universe. _Cf._
Schopenhauer, ed. Grisebach, vol. v. p. 295, Sec. 144. The metre of
the strophe is identical with that of the "Poem of Job."

[256] It is interesting and instructive to compare this with the
identical doctrine of Buddha, as set forth in the canonical book,
"Samyuttaka-Nikayo," vol. i. vii., 2 P, 2 Suttam. It is
accessible to most readers in the admirable German translation of
Dr. K. E. Neumann, Leiden, 1892. Pp. 156, 157.

[257] The Authorised Version has "shall not be satisfied with silver."
The meaning is that he who loves silver shall not enjoy the good
things it can purchase.

[258] _I.e_., The care and anxiety which accompany the possession of
wealth. The Authorised Version has: "The sleep of a labouring man
is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the
rich will not suffer him to sleep." The Hebrew word _saba'_
can signify both wealth and repletion. Here it manifestly means
the former; but some well-intentioned person whose ideas of
physiology were defective, having taken it to mean repletion,
confirmed his view by interpolating the words: "whether he eat
little or much."

[259] Here a portion of the original text has been lost, as is evident
from the passage beginning "What profit," two sentences lower
down, which sums up the troubles of the rich man and makes them
consist not merely in the loss of what he actually possessed, but
likewise in the hardships and privations which he endured in
order to produce his wealth. I give in brackets the words which
Professor Bickell conjecturally supplies in lieu of the lost

[260] And therefore extremely doubtful. When Koheleth wishes to express
the idea of inexorable law, or Fate, he has recourse to the
notion of God.

[261] It is only on earth that one can hope for some approximation to
happiness. If we fail to obtain it here--and the odds are very
much against us--there is no hereafter to look forward to; for we
_all_--the miserable as well as the fortunate--are drifting
steadily into one place--the dreary _Sheol_, where there is
no pleasure, no striving, no life.

[262] _I.e._, not merely, as commentators generally suppose, that
desire is not satiated; but that the enjoyment for the sake of
which alone we desire life, and toil to sustain it, is never
attained. The aim of labour is enjoyment, without which existence
is a burden; but the real result of it all is the mere support of
life without its redeeming pleasures. _Cf._ Schopenhauer,
vol. v. pp. 300, 301.

[263] That is to say, is a very uncertain outlook.

[264] This is a remarkable sentence, which, if it could be supposed to be
the fruit of the writer's own speculations, would entitle him to
a high place in the Pantheon of speculative philosophers. This
proposition, which underlies all Buddhistic doctrines, would be
formulated by Kant or Schopenhauer somewhat as follows: Time,
space, and causality are given to man as the _a priori_
conditions of all thought; they are the stuff his mind is made
of. As they are likewise the three ingredients of which the
universe is composed, it follows that the world is the web of his
own intellect, and, in so far as it is knowable, exists for the
intellect alone. That which underlies all the shadows of
existence, the one eternal force or will, he never beholds.

[265] Schopenhauer would express it thus: Our sources of knowledge--inner
and outer observation--are identical with those of animals, the
difference consisting in that faculty of imparting to our
intuitions the form of abstract ideas.

[266] That is to say, is highly uncertain; for, as we learn in the
following lines, happiness and misery depend upon chance or luck.
God gives his favourites an agreeable life, leaving the drudgery
to all the rest. And his choice is not determined by any ethical
acts of man.

[267] "Sinner" is not the correct translation of the Hebrew word
_khote_ here; otherwise the author could not say that this
too (_i.e._, the punishment of the sinner) is vanity.

[268] The Jews frequently give to piety and morality the name of wisdom.

[269] The sense of this passage, which has become proverbial, is
generally misunderstood. What it means is that man's work, be he
never so skilful, be it never so easy, is absolutely dependent
for success upon conditions which are wholly beyond his control,
and that undertaken under any other conditions is inevitably
doomed to failure.

[270] Here Professor Bickell supplies the words: "Against this no man can

[271] The utmost that physical science can teach us is the where, the
when and the why of the appearance of the forces of nature. The
_what_ remains for ever a mystery.

[272] Wisdom here is taken to mean the one eternal reality which
underlies the shadowy appearances that we see and know. The same
use of the word and exactly the same thesis occur in Job.
(_Cf_. A.V. Job xxviii. 21, 22.)

[273] He cannot answer even for his own sentiments, completely though
they may seem to be under his sway.

[274] _I.e._, without ethical distinctions between the good and the

[275] It is curious to note that a comparison strikingly similar to this
occurs in the ancient Indian collection of fables entitled
"Pantschatantra." (Ed. Kosegarten, p. 105.)

[276] Literally: tyrannical.

[277] This line is no longer found in the Hebrew or Greek texts. It is
required, however, by the sense and metre, and is inserted by
Professor Bickell.

[278] Here the Hebrew text contains a play of words which cannot be
reproduced in English.

[279] "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall." ("Measure for

[280] _I.e._, for mankind.

[281] Here a portion of the text is evidently lost. Professor Bickell
suggests that it ran somewhat as follows: "Who received him with
applause and reviled the old king. For inasmuch as he had spurned
the counsel of the wise, in order to misgovern and grind down the
people, therefore they hated him as those had hated him" who were
before them.

[282] As an antidote to the so-called "piety" founded upon the scrupulous
observance of the law, which had become a very Upas tree of
self-complacency. Mankind is already encompassed by so many and
such terrible evils, that it would be sheer madness to turn
religion into a means of multiplying them.

[283] Another passage is wanting here, which most probably was to the
effect that they know not that God asks no sacrifices at their
hands but only works of justice; and that therefore they take
courage "to work evil."

[284] Various commentators have offered various explanations of this
obscure passage. As none of them is convincing, I prefer to leave
them unnoticed. It is not impossible that it may contain an
allusion to some popular tale or fable, analogous to that of the
man who called upon death in his despair, and when the grim
visitor made his appearance, asked him merely to help him to
carry his burden.

[285] Professor Bickell supposes that here some words have fallen out,
such as: "Brood not over that which is too marvellous and too
lofty for thee, neither say of the dreams of thy heart and the
babbling of thy lips, 'I have found the knowledge of the Holy

[286] This passage is a bitterly ironical onslaught on bureaucracy.

[287] This distich is rhymed in Hebrew.

[288] What Kant would call _das Ding an sich_. Everything we see and
know is but appearance. The underlying substance, "that which
is," is unknowable.

[289] Political plots.

[290] _I.e._, the king.

[291] Ironical.

[292] By his unconsidered acts.

[293] Literally, "it must be the more lustily wielded."

[294] This line is found only in the Septuagint.

[295] Probably a proverbial way of saying that a man knows nothing.

[296] The words in brackets are supplied conjecturally by Professor

[297] The Authorised Version has "in this life." But it deviates from the
Hebrew original.

[298] The nether world where the dead are but shadows.

[299] This and the following quatrain are rhymed in the original; as is
also the preceding distich.

[300] Thy wife.

[301] The arms.

[302] The legs.

[303] The eyes.

[304] The ears.

[305] The voice.

[306] The tones.

[307] The teeth.

[308] The white hair.

[309] Fascinum.

[310] [Greek: Kreis].

[311] The epilogue forms no part of the original text.

* * * * *



* * * * *



_On God_


Sentence of the man who has worried himself about God:
I have worried myself about God and succeeded not;
For I am more stupid than other men,
And in me there is no human understanding.
Neither have I learned wisdom,
So that I might comprehend the science of sacred things.


Who has ascended into heaven and come down again?
Who can gather the wind in his fists?
Who can bind the waters in a garment?
Who can grasp all the ends of the earth?
Such an one would I question about God: What is his name?
And what is the name of his sons, if thou knowest it?[312]


_On Four Insatiable Things_

There be three things which are never satisfied,
Yea, four exclaim: "It is not enough!"
The Ghoul hath two daughters:
"Give, give!"--the grave and the womb.[313]
The earth is not filled with water,
And the fire sayeth not, "It is enough!"


_On Four Inscrutable Things_

There be three things too wonderful for me,
Yea, four which I fathom not:
The way of the eagle in the air,
The way of the serpent upon a rock,
The way of a ship amidst the ocean,
And the way of a man with a maid.[314]


_Four Insupportable Things_

Under three things the earth quakes,
And under four it cannot stand.
Under a slave when he seeks to reign,
And under a fool when he is filled with meat;
Under an odious woman when she gets a husband,
And under a handmaid who is heir to her mistress.[315]


_Four who stride majestically_

There be three things which go well,
Yea, four are comely in going:
A lion--the hero among beasts,
Who turneth not aside for any one;
A greyhound and a bell-goat,
And a king who riseth up for his people's sake.


_Exhortation to denounce ambition_

Whether thou hast acted foolishly in exalting thyself,
Or whether thou hast done wisely, lay thy hand upon thy lips![316]
For pressure of milk produces butter,
And pressure of vanity produces anger;
Pressure of the nose[317] produces blood,
And pressure of wrath produces strife.


[312] To this and the following Sayings, Agur's orthodox opponent replies

Every word of God is purified:
He is a shield to them that put their trust in him.

Add thou not unto his words,
Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Two things have I demanded of thee, O Jahveh,
Deny me them not before I die:

Frivolity and blasphemous words
And negation remove far from me.

Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with food suitable for me.

Lest I be sated and deny thee,
And say, Who is the Lord?

Or lest I be poor and yield to seduction
And offend against the name of my God.

Accuse not a servant to his master,[312a]
Lest he curse thee and thou be found guilty.

There is a bad generation that curses its father
And doth not bless its mother,[312b]

A bad generation which is pure in its own eyes,
And yet is not washed from its filthiness.

A bad generation, how lofty are its eyes!
And how uplifted its eyelids!

A bad generation whose teeth are as swords,
And whose jaw-teeth are as knives

To devour the poor from off the earth,
And the needy from among men.[312c]

[312a] As if Agur were an aristocrat from blind unreasoning sympathy for
the heathen aristocracy. Allusion to Agur's 4th Saying.

[312b] Against Agur's 2nd and 3rd Sayings.

[312c] Against Agur's 4th Saying.

[313] _I.e_., birth and death. (_Cf. Agur, the Agnostic_, pp.
139, 140.) The champion of orthodoxy evidently took the passage
literally and consequently condemned Agur as guilty of a lack of
filial respect for his mother, venting his feelings in the
following lines:

"The eye that scoffeth at the grey hair of the father
And that despiseth the old age of the mother,

The ravens of the valley shall pick it out
And the young eagles shall devour it."

[314] Verse 20 A.V. is an addition inserted by a later writer who having
misunderstood the last line of the fourth sentence, deemed it his
duty to give it a moral turn.

[315] The Sentence following (vv. 24-24 A.V.) dealing with Four Cunning
Ones is probably not from Agur's pen; for not only has it five
distichs, but it lacks the point which characterises his Sayings,
besides which it does not begin, as his "numerical" Sentences do,
with _three_ before proceeding to _four_.

[316] Keep silence.

[317] In Hebrew the same word signifies "nose" and "strife."

* * * * *


* * * * *


Adversary, the, "a son of God"
Agur, the Sayings of--
their literary place
character of
their position in Proverbs
their present form
Agur and his orthodox opponent
blunders of the latter
Oriental influence traceable in the Sayings
the mystery of generation
date of composition
Agur shows no respect for the doctrine of retribution, for
Messianism, revelation, &c.; no belief in a personal God
his antagonism to Jewish theologians
his views of right conduct
Animals, the tenderness of Buddhism towards
Aryans and Semites, contrast of mental characteristics
Asterisks, Origen's, in the Hexapla
Authorship of Job

Bickell, Professor, and the laws of Hebrew metre
discovery of the Saidic version of Job
on the theophany in Job
theory as to the chaotic state of Koheleth
and the "Praise of Wisdom"
textual conjectures
"Book, That mine adversary had written a"
Book of Job (see Job)
Buddhism and the theology of Job
and Job's moral system
influence of, on Koheleth
Buddhism, spread of, into Syria, Egypt, &c.
influence of, on Agur
and the doctrine of Renunciation
its tenderness towards animals and plants
Byron's "Cain" and Job

"Cain" (Byron's) and Job
"Canticles of Scepticism," Heine's description of Koheleth
Cheyne, Prof., and the date of Job
and the laws of Hebrew metre
and Prof. Bickell's theory of the plan of Koheleth
on the "theism" of Koheleth
Job, strophe liii. and Ps. viii. 5 compared.
Christ and the doctrine of Renunciation
Christianity not incompatible with Koheleth's scepticism
Clement of Alexandria and a lost version of Job
Cornill, Dr., and the date of Job
Council of Constantinople and the historical truth of Job
Critical apparatus applied to text of Job

Date of Job
of earliest extant MS. of Job
of Koheleth
of the Sayings of Agur

Ecclesiastes (_see_ Koheleth)
Ecclesiasticus, dropped leaves causing transposition of chapters in
Eternal justice, Job's belief in
Koheleth's belief in
Evil (_see_ Good and Evil)
Ewald and the laws of Hebrew metre

Firmament, the
Free-will and the origin of evil
Future life, Job knows nothing of
Koheleth knows nothing of

Ghoul, the (_Tanha_)
Good and Evil, problem of
free-will and the origin of evil
the Oriental theory of
Gregory the Great and the Book of Job

Hebrew metre, Prof. Bickell and the laws of
Heine and the "Canticles of Scepticism"
Hitopadeca, the, and the Sayings of Agur

Inspiration of Job not affected by reconstructive changes
Interpolations in Job, examples of
Isaac of Antioch, transpositions in poems caused by dropped leaves

Jesus Sirach and the Book of Proverbs
Job, the Poem of--
compared with Lucretius, _De Nat. Rerum_
its inclusion in the Canon
its appeal to all ages
opinion of Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Tennyson,
its place in literature

the problem of
traditional theology
the mystery of good and evil
no conception of a future life
nor of the Resurrection or Atonement
the poet's view of the problem
free-will and the origin of evil
the Oriental theory of these
Brahmanism and Buddhism
Job's illumination the same as Buddha's

authorship of
date of
the question of historicity
date of earliest extant MS. of
a lost version of
various causes for changes in text
the chief cause, a horror of blasphemy
apparatus for detecting these changes
laws of Hebrew metre
evidence of the Septuagint
Theodotion's version of the Old Testament
the Hexapla
the Saidic or Thebaic version of Job

examples of interpolations
reconstructive changes do not affect inspiration
Job's natural philosophy
his dynamic theory of the Universe
his monotheism not Jewish
his moral system, based on pity, found in Buddhism, and here
first preached in the Old Testament
belief in eternal justice
the secret of Job's resignation

the ancient legend of Job, use of it by the poet
analysis of the Poem
the appearance of Jehovah not literal
but symbolical of Job's illumination
Judaism, the influence of Buddhism on

Kant and Koheleth
its inclusion in the Canon
the literary problem of
its metaphysical basis the same as that of the philosophy of
Buddha, Kant, and Schopenhauer

chaotic and conflicting character of text
Prof. Bickell's theory as to the confusion of the book
instances of similar confusion in other works
the proposed re-arrangement
illustrations in support of Prof. Bickell's theory

Koheleth's theory of life
source of happiness not wealth
nor wisdom
nor virtue
Koheleth's system
relation of God to man
the practical moral
the view of "moral order"
the world all Maya, illusion
Koheleth's theory not inconsistent with Christianity
the reach of our knowledge; happiness the only true good
Koheleth knows nothing of future life or of divine promises or

his belief in eternal justice
renunciation, the great doctrine
wisdom the great boon
content and moderation the golden rule
the sources of his philosophy
opposition of Jewish orthodoxy to the book
admission of the book to the Canon
its incompatibility with Messianic hopes of Israel
disbelief in a personal God
in retribution and immortality
Greek influences questioned; probable influence of Buddhism
date and locality of Koheleth

Life to come (_see_ Future Life)
Lucretius compared with Job
Luther and the Book of Job

Magicians mentioned in Job
Maya, illusion, the teaching of Koheleth
Metre in Hebrew, laws of

Nirvana, Koheleth's only real good
view of

Old Testament, untrustworthiness of historical books
Origen and the Hexapla

Parallelism in Hebrew poetry
Paul, St., and a lost version of Job
"Praise of Wisdom," its place in "Proverbs," Prof. Bickell's discovery
Priests' Code, the
"Proverbs," analysis of
not written by Solomon
their history
date of
Plants, tenderness of Buddhism towards

Renunciation, the teaching of Koheleth, Buddha, Christ, etc.
Resurrection, the (in Job)
"Redeemer liveth, I know that my"

Saidic or Thebaic version of Job
Sariputto, and the desire for life (_tanha_)
Satan, "a son of God"
Scotus Erigena and free-will
Schopenhauer and Koheleth
and Renunciation
and the four things insatiable
Semites, remains of ancient speculation among
and Aryans, contrast of mental characteristics
Septuagint, the value of, in regard to text of Job

Tanha, the terrible Ghoul
Tennyson's opinion of Job
Thebaic or Saidic version of Job
Theodore of Mopsuestia condemned for declaring Job to be fiction
Theodotion's version of the Old Testament
Thomas Aquinas on Job
Transmigration of souls

Veda, the
Vedanta, the
Vowel points in Hebrew

"Wisdom, Praise of," its place in "Proverbs," Prof. Bickell's discovery

* * * * *


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