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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621

Abstract

PINKER, Aron. Aspects of demeanour in Qohelet 8:1. Old testam. essays [online]. 2013, vol.26, n.2, pp. 401-424. ISSN 2312-3621.

A novel approach is being suggested for the interpretation of Qoh 8:1, which views Qoh 8:1-3a as dealing with a person's demeanour. In particular, it is shown that these verses provide advice regarding one's facial and oral expression when in an audience with a high ranking official. Qohelet 8:1-3a consists of four parallel lines anchored on the two keywords: and Recognition of the underlying structure of 8:1-3a, and similarities with Elephantine Ahiqar and Sir 13:26, points to some minor scribal errors. Correction of these errors restores the contextual sense of the verse. In particular, it is being suggested that in 8:1 the impossible should be emended to read "speak well," and the two rhetorical questions in 1a refer to facial and oral expression. A parallel line is obtained in 1b, if instead of one reads or "his mouth," assuming the ligature or an extra respectively. The proposed interpretation suggests that the population of Yehud had considerable access to higher officialdom during the Ptolemaic period, making the advice in 8:1 rather useful.

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