“With you is wisdom.
She knows your works.
She was present
When you made the world.
What is pleasing in your sight.
What is right
According to your commandments.
Send her forth
From the holy heavens.
From the throne of your glory
Thus she may labor at my side.
Thus I may learn what is pleasing to you.
She knows all things.
She understands all things.
She will guide me wisely in my actions.
She will guard me with her glory.
Then my works will be acceptable.
I shall judge your people justly.
I shall be worthy
Of the throne of my father.”
Wisdom (ἡ σοφία) was present with God when he made the world (ἐποίεις τὸν κόσμον). She understands what is pleasing and what is right according to the commandments. She was sent from the holy heavens (ἐξ ἁγίων οὐρανῶν) and the throne of glory (θρόνου δόξης σου). Thus she labors on earth. She knows and understands all things. She guides and guards this author. Then the author as King Solomon declared that he would judge his people fairly so that he would be worthy of the throne of his father (θρόνων πατρός μου), presumably David.
“There were some who pleased God.
They were loved by him.
While living among sinners,
They were taken up.
They were caught up
So that evil might not change their understanding.
Thus evil guile did not deceive their souls.
The fascination of wickedness
Obscures what is good.
Roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Being perfected in a short time,
They fulfilled long years.
Their souls were pleasing to the Lord.
Therefore he took them quickly
From the midst of wickedness.
Yet the peoples saw.
They did not understand.
They did not take such a thing to heart.
God’s grace is with his elect.
God’s mercy is with his elect.
He watches over his holy ones.”
Even those who were pleasing to God (εὐάρεστος τῷ Θεῷ) were taken up at an early age. They were living among sinners (ἁμαρτωλῶν) when they were taken up from earth. They were loved (ἠγαπήθη), so that no evil (μὴ κακία) was able to change their understanding or their souls. There is a fascination with wickedness that obscures good things. Sometimes, a roving desire perverts an innocent mind. Some people are perfect in a short time, as if they had lived many years. Thus the Lord takes them quickly. They are pleasing to him (ἀρεστὴ γὰρ ἦν Κυρίῳ). People see this, but they do not understand it or take it to heart. God’s grace and mercy is with his chosen ones (χάρις καὶ ἔλεος ἐν τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς) since he watches over these holy ones.
“I found that the woman,
Who is a trap,
Is more bitter than death.
Her heart is snares.
Her hear is nets.
Her hands are fetters.
‘One who pleases God escapes her.
But the sinner is taken by her.’
This is what I found,
Adding one thing to another
To find the sum.
My mind has sought this repeatedly,
But I have not found it.
‘One man among a thousand
But a woman among all these
I have not found.’
This alone I found.
God made human beings straightforward.
However they have devised many schemes.”
In this anti-feminine diatribe, Qoheleth believed that women were a trap, more bitter than death. Female hearts were like a snare and a net, while their hands were like chains. If you were pleasing to God, you escaped from this woman. However, the sinner could be taken by her. Qoheleth could find only one good man among 1,000, but he could not find even one good person among the women. He had found out that God made humans straight forward, but humans just devised many schemes.
“There is nothing better for mortals
Than to eat and drink.
They should find enjoyment in their toil.
Is from the hand of God.
Apart from him,
Who can eat?
Who can have enjoyment?
To the one who pleases him,
God gives wisdom.
God gives knowledge.
God gives joy.
However to the sinner,
He gives the work of gathering.
He gives the work of heaping.
He only gives to one who pleases God.
This also is vanity.
This is a chasing after wind.”
Qoheleth continues his comments with the philosophical argument of Epicurus (341-270 BCE). You should enjoy your life in eating, drinking, and working. Qoheleth claims that this is from the hand of God. How can anything happen without God? God is the one who gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy. This was the typical idea that the sinner worked and gathered but was not pleasing to God. Therefore the poor sinner did not get rich. The poor person gave his harvest over to those who pleased God. Once again, this is vanity and like chasing the wind for the poor person.
“May the glory of Yahweh endure forever.
May Yahweh rejoice in his works.
He looks on the earth.
He touches the mountains.
I will sing to Yahweh
As long as I live.
I will sing praise to my God
While I have existence.
May my meditation be pleasing to him.
I rejoice in Yahweh.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth!
Let the wicked be no more!
O my soul!
This long psalm of thanksgiving ends with a shout out praise for Yahweh as the creator of all people and things. The glory of God endures forever so that Yahweh should rejoice in his works. If he looks at the earth, it trembles. If he touches the mountains, they start to smoke. This psalmist will sing praise to Yahweh as long as he lives and breathes. He wanted his mediation to be pleasing to Yahweh. He rejoiced in Yahweh. However, he wanted the sinners consumed and the wicked wiped away. Finally, he wanted his soul to bless and praise Yahweh. The phrase “praise Yahweh” is another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.”