Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Qohelet


Please turn to the book of Qohelet, chapter one, beginning in verse one. Oh, that's right, you know Qohelet as Ecclesiastes, a wisdom book of the Old Testament. The Hebrew name for this book is Qohelet and the Greek translation of this Hebrew word is Ecclesiastes.

Twice the author of Qohelet calls himself qoheleth, 1:12 and 7:27. English versions of 12:8-10 use the word twice to refer to the preacher. This Hebrew word does not appear any where else in Hebrew writings. This term does come from a stem of a verb which means, "to assemble."

Hebrew scholars seem to be divided over how the verb is used with a masculine ending and its significance. They do agree that our word probably referred to some type of "office." The idea that seems to come from this agreement is "one who collects" or "one who calls an assembly together" or even "one who speaks to an assembly."

The Hebrew word for assembly is qahal and is translated by the LXX (Greek Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) as ekklesia. This probably influenced the LXX translation of qohelet by the Greek word ekklesiastes, which we get our present day Latin and English names.

The Qoheleth, or the preacher, the speaker is none other than Solomon, the son of King David and Bathsheba. His thesis, or main point seems to be that everything in life is temporary, even empty, and can be likened to "chasing the wind." In relationship to eternity all things in this life are empty and any real lasting results of our efforts will elude us. There is nothing new to be discovered under this sun and efforts at studying the things of this life are tedious and tiresome.

Lest, you write this book and Solomon off, remember this writing is set in the literary genre of Jewish wisdom literature. Qoheleth is a God-fearer, likened unto our term "believer" so the idea that all things consist of temporary and profitless effort is the very dynamic of his writing. He has discovered and considered that nihilism, (the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated); hedonism (a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good), and even determinism (the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature) is appealing to the human mind, one must regard the ultimate value of such temporary pursuits with the pursuit of the eternal. In other words, our preacher is saying that we cannot confuse the temporary with the eternal, the physical with the spiritual, or what is of true value with that of merely temporary value.

We can eat, work, sleep, drink, and enjoy this life and the things in it as long as we do so in light of the reality of eternity. We will not take one thing we have built, bought, or bundled (accumulated) in this life into eternity with us. The square foot of our home, the number of cars, the possessions, bank accounts, vacation homes, toys and trinkets will all be destroyed and forgotten.

We are non-citizens in this world to be living under combat conditions as we are engaged in spiritual warfare as we wait on the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever invented, "Whoever dies with the most toys wins" is the 'Biggest Loser.'" Ken Holloway on his Ken Holloway and The Best of Ken Holloway CD's sings a song called Trailer Hitch - "if you have in your heart to be rich, you'll never find a hearse - with a trailer hitch."

God rules over all and will one day bring every act, attitude, and word into judgement. Qoheleth teaches us that this life is worth living even in the worst or darkest of times. We can use and enjoy what God has created. We must consider however, God, His rule, His coming judgement, and the reality of eternity and not live as if this life is all that there is.

"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, 
for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, 
with every secret thing whether good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, ESV)

2010 A-Z Challenge:  Q is for Quelle
2011 A-Z Challenge:  Q is for Qoheleth


Seams Inspired said...

The quintessential 'Q' post, Gregg! Loved it and especially loved the message. Thanks. Happy Wednesday! :o)

Ma said...

My husband love the book of Qohelet.

I was recently discussing with some people whether Solomon was saved when it was all said and done.

Any thoughts?

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A name I hadn't heard of before but none the less good to read.


Cathy M. said...

Qohelet... well, that's a new one for me! I wondered how you would get through the Q day. Well done, brother.

Anonymous said...

Very creative, educational, and inspirational Q post, Gregg!

Penned Pebbles said...

Awesome, post and message!!

Brianna said...

You are terribly clever!
I love how much I learn visiting your blog!

Anonymous said...

Every time I come here lately I learn something new. And it's FREE! :-)

Darlene said...

Another word I never knew. Great Q word. Your blog is always filled with such great information.

~Rasz~ said...

I was excited to see what you would write about for Q day as I figured it would be intriguing. Once again you have taught me something new and interesting. Your knowledge is a wonderful gift you share. Thank you.

Sharon said...

Great post. I think I'll be returning to see what else you have to say.


Anonymous said...

This was so interesting. I didn't know about this word or all those other q words. Very cool.

Thank you~