Fear God (Eccl 12:13-12:14)

“This is the end of the matter.

All has been heard.

Fear God!

Keep his commandments!

That is the whole duty of everyone.

God will bring every deed into judgment,

Including every secret thing,

Whether good or evil.”

The final message is a call to fear God. The deed is done. This is the end. Everything has been heard. Fear God! Obey his commandments! That is the whole purpose of life, the duty of everyone. God will judge everything, even secret things. He will decide whether it was good or evil. So ends the message of Qoheleth and this epilogue writer.

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The wicked (Eccl 8:10-8:14)

“Then I saw the wicked buried.

They used to go in to the holy place.

They used to go out of the holy place.

They were praised in the city

Where they had done such things.

This also is vanity.

Because sentence against an evil deed

Is not executed speedily.

The human heart is fully set to do evil.

Though sinners do evil a hundred times,

They still prolong their lives.

Yet I know

That it will be well with those who fear God,

Because they stand in fear before him.

But it will not be well with the wicked.

Neither will they prolong their days like a shadow,

Because they do not stand in fear before God.

There is a vanity which takes place on earth.

There are righteous people

Who are treated according to the conduct of the wicked.

There are wicked men

Who are treated according to the conduct of the righteous.

I said that this also is vanity.”

The wicked people die. However, they too went in and out of the holy place, the Temple. Everyone praised them for this, but it still was useless, vanity. The problem is that the sentence against an evil person is not carried out quickly. Humans see this, so that they continue to do evil deeds a hundred times more. This is the problem of the criminal justice system that takes too long to punish people. Thus the wicked continue to live a long life. However, Qoheleth knows that those who fear God will be okay. Those who do not fear God will only have a shadowy life, not the full life of those who fear God. However, there are vain or useless things here on earth. Sometimes the righteous are treated as if they are wicked. Vice versa, some wicked are treated as if they were righteous. This whole life is vanity or futile.

Don’t be too wise or too wicked (Eccl 7:15-7:18)

“In my vain life,

I have seen everything.

There are righteous people

Who perish in their righteousness.

There are wicked people

Who prolong their life

In their evildoing.

‘Do not be too righteous!

Do not act too wise!

Why should you destroy yourself?

Do not be too wicked!

Do not be a fool!

Why should you die before your time?’

It is good

That you should take hold of this,

Without letting go of the other.

Whoever fears God

Shall succeed with both.”

In a strange admonition, Qoheleth wanted people to be neither too wise nor too wicked. There is no ultimatum extreme here, since this is a centrist view. He admits that he has had a vain life, but he has seen everything. He has seen the righteous perish, while the wicked have prolonged their life of evildoing. So he warns us not to be too righteous or wise, because you might destroy yourself. At the same time, he warns against being too wicked or foolish, because you also might die before your time. He says that you should be a little righteous and a little wicked, some of each. The most important thing was to fear God. That way you would succeed, whether being wise or foolish.

Dreams (Eccl 5:7-5:7)

“With many dreams

Come vanities.

With many dreams

Come a multitude of words.

But you should fear God.”

Dreams are useless, like most everything else. Even dreams with a lot of words are in vain. This is opposed to the view that God spoke to people in their dreams. Instead Qoheleth wants you to fear God and everything will be all right.

 

 

Sing to the Lord a new song (Jdt 16:13-16:17)

“I will sing to my God a new song!

O Lord, you are great and glorious!

Wonderful in strength!

Invincible!

Let all your creatures serve you!

You spoke, and they were made.

You send forth your Spirit.

It formed them.

There is none that can resist your voice.

The mountains shall be shaken to their foundations with the waters.

Before your glance,

The rocks shall melt like wax.

But to those who fear you,

You show mercy.

Every sacrifice as a fragrant offering is a small thing.

The fat of all whole burnt offerings to you is a very little thing.

But who ever fears the Lord is great forever.

Woe to the nations that rise up against my people!

The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them

In the Day of Judgment.

He will send fire and worms into their flesh.

They shall weep in pain forever.”

Now this canticle switched back to Judith praising God. Judith was going to sing a new song to the great and glorious God who has invincible strength. Once again there was an illusion to creation as she said that all creatures got their life from God. Therefore, they should praise God, who sent forth his Spirit to form the world. No one can resist the voice of God. He controls the mountains and the rocks. Sacrifices are trifling matters before God. The most important thing is to fear God. The Lord almighty will take vengeance on anyone who rises up against his people. The Day of Judgment is coming where there will be eternal weeping as fire and worms will eat flesh and cause eternal pain. Here we see the eschatological sense of a final judgment day, a post-exilic theme.