Qoheleth (Eccl 1:1-1:1)

“The words of Qoheleth,

The son of David,

King in Jerusalem.”

Who is Qoheleth? At the heart of his biblical book is the question of authorship. This author says that these are the words of Qoheleth, the son of David, who is a King in Jerusalem. The automatic response is, of course, that this is another name for King Solomon, the Jerusalem King who was the son of King David. However, here is the problem. The authorship and themes represent a 3rd century BCE time as probably one of the last books of the Hebrew Bible. Qoheleth, the term that I will use, is a Hebrew word qahal that means something to do with an assembly or congregation. Thus the Greek translation title of έκκλασία was translated into Latin and English Ecclesiastes, refers to one pertaining to a congregation. In this association with an assembly, was this person a preacher or teacher? Many have translated Qoheleth as a teacher. I prefer to use the original Hebrew title as in the Bible of Jerusalem, just as I have done with the term “Yahweh.” Thus we have a 3rd century Jewish individual presenting what he believes to be the words of King Solomon of the 10th century BCE. This book fits in the Bible right behind the Proverbs of Solomon.

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