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Pengkhotbah 7:2-6

Konteks

7:2 It is better to go to a funeral 1 

than a feast. 2 

For death 3  is the destiny 4  of every person, 5 

and the living should 6  take this 7  to heart.

7:3 Sorrow 8  is better than laughter,

because sober reflection 9  is good for the heart. 10 

7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,

but the heart of fools is in the house of merrymaking. 11 

Frivolous Living Versus Wisdom

7:5 It is better for a person to receive 12  a rebuke from those who are wise 13 

than to listen to the song 14  of fools.

7:6 For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns 15  under a cooking pot,

so is the laughter of the fool.

This kind of folly 16  also is useless. 17 

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[7:2]  1 tn Heb “house of mourning.” The phrase refers to a funeral where the deceased is mourned.

[7:2]  2 tn Heb “house of drinking”; or “house of feasting.” The Hebrew noun מִשְׁתֶּה (mishteh) can denote (1) “feast; banquet,” occasion for drinking-bouts (1 Sam 25:36; Isa 5:12; Jer 51:39; Job 1:5; Esth 2:18; 5:14; 8:17; 9:19) or (2) “drink” (exilic/postexilic – Ezra 3:7; Dan 1:5, 8, 16); see HALOT 653 s.v. מִשְׁתֶּה 4; BDB 1059 s.v. שָׁתַה.

[7:2]  sn Qoheleth recommended that people soberly reflect on the brevity of life and the reality of death (It is better to go to a house of mourning) than to waste one’s life in the foolish pursuit of pleasure (than to go to a house of banqueting). Sober reflection on the brevity of life and reality of death has more moral benefit than frivolous levity.

[7:2]  3 tn Heb “it”; the referent (“death”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

[7:2]  4 tn Heb “the end.” The noun סוֹף (sof) literally means “end; conclusion” (HALOT 747 s.v. סוֹף 1; BDB 693 s.v. סוֹף). It is used in this context in reference to death, as the preceding phrase “house of mourning” (i.e., funeral) suggests.

[7:2]  5 tn Heb “all men” or “every man.”

[7:2]  6 tn The imperfect tense verb יִתֵּן, yitten (from נָתָן, natan, “to give”) functions in a modal sense, denoting obligation, that is, the subject’s obligatory or necessary conduct: “should” or “ought to” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 31-32, §172; IBHS 508-9 §31.4g).

[7:2]  7 tn The word “this” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for smoothness.

[7:3]  8 tn NEB suggests “grief”; NJPS, “vexation.”

[7:3]  9 tn Heb “in sadness of face there is good for the heart.”

[7:3]  10 tn Or possibly “Though the face is sad, the heart may be glad.”

[7:4]  11 sn The expression the house of merrymaking refers to a banquet where those who attend engage in self-indulgent feasting and riotous drinking.

[7:5]  12 tn Heb “hear.”

[7:5]  13 tn Heb “rebuke of the wise,” a subjective genitive (“the wise” administer the rebuke).

[7:5]  14 tn Or “praise.” The antithetical parallelism between “rebuke” (גַּעֲרַת, gaarat) and “song” (שִׁיר, shir) suggests that the latter is figurative (metonymy of association) for praise/flattery which is “music” to the ears: “praise of fools” (NEB, NJPS) and “flattery of fools” (Douay). However, the collocation of “song” (שִׁיר) in 7:5 with “laughter” (שְׂחֹק, sÿkhoq) in 7:6 suggests simply frivolous merrymaking: “song of fools” (KJV, NASB, NIV, ASV, RSV, NRSV).

[7:6]  15 tn The term “thorns” (הַסִּירִים, hassirim) refers to twigs from wild thorn bushes which were used as fuel for quick heat, but burn out quickly before a cooking pot can be properly heated (e.g., Pss 58:9; 118:12).

[7:6]  16 tn The word “kind of folly” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

[7:6]  17 tn It is difficult to determine whether the Hebrew term הֶבֶל (hevel) means “fleeting” or “useless” in this context. The imagery of quick-burning thorns under a cooking pot is ambiguous and can be understood in more than one way: (1) It is useless to try to heat a cooking pot by burning thorns because they burn out before the pot can be properly heated; (2) the heat produced by quick-burning thorns is fleeting – it produces quick heat, but lasts only for a moment. Likewise, the “laughter of a fool” can be taken in both ways: (1) In comparison to the sober reflection of the wise, the laughter of fools is morally useless: the burning of thorns, like the laughter of fools, makes a lot of noise but accomplishes nothing; (2) the laughter of fools is fleeting due to the brevity of life and certainty of death. Perhaps this is an example of intentional ambiguity.



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