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Old Testament Essays

versión On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versión impresa ISSN 1010-9919


PINKER, Aron. A new approach to Qohelet 11:1. Old testam. essays [online]. 2009, vol.22, n.3, pp.618-645. ISSN 2312-3621.

Determination of the meaning of Qoh 11:1 has been, and continues to be, one of the many problems that we face in the interpretation of the Book of Qohelet. None of the interpretations that have been discussed can circumvent the fact that the figure presented in the MT is unrealistic and untenable. Clearly, any approach to the resolution of the textual difficulties has to be anchored in text, context, and structure. The author provides an overview of a representative sample of interpretations for Qoh 11:1. His analysis shows that the various interpretations are not solidly anchored in the text. The text per se does not exhibit a compelling preference for any particular interpretation of those that have been discussed. Moreover, each of the interpretations has a number of serious deficiencies. Facing such inadequacies it seems reasonable to reconsider the premise at the basis of the standard approaches to Qoh 11:1, namely, that Qoh 11:1 begins a new unit. The author considers Qoh 11:1 to continue the warnings against unguarded talk which Qohelet started to present in 10:20. The author suggests that the Urtext of Qoh 11:1 was, "Whisper your dream upon the water, yea, in many seas you will find it. " This can be paraphrased: whisper to your reflection upon the water your dream, and you will find what you whispered in many seas; that is, it will be heard by others in public places. No secret, once uttered, is anymore a secret. This sense for Qoh 11:1, continues and develops an idea that Qohelet began to expound in 10:20, in reaction to the many informers which were active during the Ptolemaic rule.

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