Ecclesiastes 11


שַׁלַּח לַחְמְךָ עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם כִּי־בְרֹב הַיָּמִים תִּמְצָאֶנּוּ׃   11:1

Eccl. 11:1   Cast your bread on the surface of the waters,

                               that in the abundance of days you can find it.

I believe this verse advises us to take risks.  No risk, no return.

תֶּן־חֵלֶק לְשִׁבְעָה וְגַם לִשְׁמֹונָה כִּי לֹא תֵדַע מַה־יִּהְיֶה רָעָה עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃   11:2

Eccl. 11:2   Give a portion to seven, and even to eight,

                               for you cannot know what evil will be upon the earth.

And this one must say be generous, to make others obligatory to you in bad times.

אִם־יִמָּלְאוּ הֶעָבִים גֶּשֶׁם עַל־הָאָרֶץ יָרִיקוּ וְאִם־יִפֹּול עֵץ בַּדָּרֹום וְאִם בַּצָּפֹון מְקֹום שֶׁיִּפֹּול הָעֵץ שָׁם   11:3


Eccl. 11:3   Should the clouds be full of rain,

                               over the land they can empty out;

                      and should a tree fall to the south or if to the north,

                               the place where the tree will have fallen, there it will be.

Does this verse mean that nature takes care of itself without our help?  Sounds like it to me.

שֹׁמֵר רוּחַ לֹא יִזְרָע וְרֹאֶה בֶעָבִים לֹא יִקְצֹור׃   11:4

Eccl. 11:4   A watcher of the wind will not sow,

                               and one looking at the clouds will not reap.

I believe the message of this verse is a worrier gets less done.  Verse 11:3 must be introductory to this verse, first observing the independence of nature, now informing us that worrying about the weather can diminish our efforts.

כַּאֲשֶׁר אֵינְךָ יֹודֵעַ מַה־דֶּרֶךְ הָרוּחַ כַּעֲצָמִים בְּבֶטֶן הַמְּלֵאָה כָּכָה לֹא תֵדַע אֶת־מַעֲשֵׂה הָאֱלֹהִים   11:5

 אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה אֶת־הַכֹּל׃

Eccl. 11:5   As is not knowing for you what is the way of the wind,

                               as the bones in a full womb,

                       like that you cannot know the work of God, Who can do anything.

בַּבֹּקֶר זְרַע אֶת־זַרְעֶךָ וְלָעֶרֶב אַל־תַּנַּח יָדֶךָ כִּי אֵינְךָ יֹודֵע אֵי זֶה יִכְשָׁר הֲזֶה אֹו־זֶה וְאִם־שְׁנֵיהֶם   11:6

 כְּאֶחָד טֹובִים׃

Eccl. 11:6   In the morning sow your seed,

                               and toward the evening you must not set down your hand,

                      for there is no knowing for you which in this matter will succeed,

                               this or that,

                      or whether the two of them will be better than one.

Is this verse suggesting that we should anticipate all contingencies?

וּמָתֹוק הָאֹור וְטֹוב לַעֵינַיִם לִרְאֹות אֶת־הַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃   11:7

Eccl. 11:7   So the light would be sweet,

                               and it would be good for the eyes to behold the sun.

כִּי אִם־שָׁנִים הַרְבֵּה יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם בְּכֻלָּם יִשְׂמָח וְיִזְכֹּר אֶת־יְמֵי הַחֹשֶׁךְ כִּי־הַרְבֵּה יִהְיוּ כָּל־שֶׁבָּא הָבֶל׃   11:8

Eccl. 11:8   For should a person live many years,

                               in all of them he should rejoice.

                     Yet he should anticipate days of darkness,

                               for they may be many

                      -- everything that comes is vanity.

שְׂמַח בָּחוּר בְּיַלְדוּתֶיךָ וִיטִיבְךָ לִבְּךָ בִּימֵי בְחוּרֹותֶךָ וְהַלֵּךְ בְּדַרְכֵי לִבְּךָ וּבְמַרְאֵי עֵינֶיךָ וְדָע כִּי   11:9

עַל־כָּל־אֵלֶּה יְבִיאֲךָ הָאֱלֹהִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט׃

Eccl. 11:9   Rejoice, young man, in your youth,

                               and let your heart make you glad in the days of your youth,

                      and walk in the ways of your heart and in the visions of your eyes.

                               But know that concerning all of these,

                      God will bring you into judgment.

The fourth word in his verse, which I translate as and let ... make you glad, is a rare exception to my rule of reversing vavs.  This verb’s vav prefix should be reversing, but is non-reversing.

וְהָסֵר כַּעַס מִלִּבֶּךָ וְהַעֲבֵר רָעָה מִבְּשָׂרֶךָ כִּי־הַיַּלְדוּת וְהַשַּׁחֲרוּת הָבֶל׃   11:10

Eccl. 11:10   So remove anger from your heart

                               and make evil pass away from your flesh,

                         for youth and virility are vanity.


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