[b-hebrew] Ecclesiastes 3:11

Martin Shields enkidu at bigpond.net.au
Fri Nov 16 07:40:59 EST 2007

Hi Karl,

> You are assuming that (LM עלם = "eternity" but it lacks the waw of
> (WLM עולם. With the root meaning of being unknown, this noun could
> just as well mean "unknown thing" or "unknown knowledge".

In practice I don't assume this, I think there are good grounds for  
reading it with this meaning in the context. Elsewhere we do find  
עולם written עלם (usually in the form לעלם) and the context  
links העלם here with "from beginning to end." But there are  
problems with this reading as well.

> But more importantly, is there a single instance where there is a
> double negative where the negatives are separated by a )$R אשר? If
> not, does it not make better sense to read it like the example that
> you found from Solomon's speech in 1 Kings 8:46 where we find
> [negative] )$R [negative] = [positive]?

No, as I think I've said before, I can find no examples which include  
אשר. Indeed, I do think it should be read as "without which people  
cannot find..." as I've argued previously. Of course, it is not quite  
true that this is exactly the same as saying "with which people can  


Martin Shields,
Sydney, Australia.

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