[b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Fri Nov 2 20:06:41 EDT 2007


Dear Karl,

[Karl]
 "...He even placed the hidden things in their hearts, without which they would
not know ..."

[Bryant]
Thank you, Karl. I will have to think your translation through a bit. It does
give a different nuance to the negatives. I know that in English the double
negative would turn a phrase into a positive, while Greek intensifies it or
turns it to a positive (OU MH vs MH OU), but would Hebrew do the same as the
English here is a good question.

Martin, et al, what do you think?

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
To: "Bryant J. Williams III" <bjwvmw at com-pair.net>
Cc: "Martin Shields" <enkidu at bigpond.net.au>; "Jonathan Bartlett"
<jonathan at newmedio.com>; <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11


> Bryant:
>
> Thanks for a very interesting question. I didn't respond right away
> because I wanted to think about it for a while.
>
> Every commentary I read on this indicates that this was written by
> Solomon late in life after he realized the futility of his life apart
> from God (no I have not read any commentaries based on higher critical
> religion). While it has a more informal style than most of the rest of
> Tanakh, it has stylistic markers I've learned to associate with
> pre-Exile writing.
>
> Concerning this verse:
>
> Does (LM refer to eternity (plenty of good reasons to question that),
> or could it possibly refer to unknown things that God put in men's
> hearts so that they know things instinctively? The lack of the waw
> opens the possibility that it does not refer to a span of time of
> indeterminate length (e.g. eternity).
>
> MBLY, or more accurately BLY with a prefixed M-, how does the M-
> change the meaning so that it is not a simple negation?
>
> )$R really throws a monkey wrench in the works, I'll come back to it.
>
> L) is this a double negative, emphasizing the negative?
>
> The rest of the verse is pretty straightforward.
>
> After analyzing this verse a bit, I am leaning towards translating it
> as "...He even placed the hidden things in their hearts, without which
> they would not know ..."
>
> The )$R looks like it splits the negative apart, so that it is no
> longer a double negative.
>
> Karl W. Randolph.
>
> On 11/1/07, Bryant J. Williams III <bjwvmw at com-pair.net> wrote:
> > Dear Martin,
> >
> > I read that you had a book published on Ecclesiastes, _The End of Wisdom. A
> > Reappraisal of the Historical
> > and Canonical Function of Ecclesiastes_.
> >
> > Ecclesiastes 3:11
> >
> > NIV - "He had made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set
eternity in
> > the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning
to
> > end."
> >
> > My question is, "What is your take on the phrase in the second half of the
> > verse, "et-olam natan bilbam milbam asher lo-yimtza hadom et-hammaaseh
> > asher-asah...?
> >
> > Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
>
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