The wise ones and the fools both die (Eccl 2:14-2:17)

“Yet I perceived

That one fate befalls all of them.

Then I said to myself.

‘What happens to the fool

Will happen to me also.

Why then have I been so very wise?’

I said to myself

That this also is vanity.

There is no enduring remembrance

Of the wise

Or of the fools.

In the days to come,

All will have been long forgotten.

How can the wise die just like fools?

So I hated life,

Because what is done under the sun

Was grievous to me.

All is vanity.

All is a chasing after wind.”

Having accepted the importance of wisdom, Qoheleth then realizes that he, the wise one, and the fools also will both die. They share the same fate. What then is the advantage to being a wise person? No one remembers the fools, but everyone will also forget about the wise ones. Even this wise life is in vain. Why do they both share the same result as dead forgotten people? Now he begins to hate life itself, as an element of despair like Job. He thought that this was injurious to him, since all was futile. He and the wise ones were just chasing after that unattainable wind.

Thanksgiving to Yahweh (Ps 116:12-116:15)

“What shall I return to Yahweh

For all his bounty to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation.

I will call on the name of Yahweh.

I will pay my vows to Yahweh

In the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of Yahweh

Is the death of his faithful ones.”

The psalmist wants to know what he can offer to Yahweh for all the goodness that he has shown him. He was going to lift up the cup of salvation and call on his name. This was picked up later by the Christians who emphasized this cup of salvation. He was going to pay his vows to Yahweh in the presence of all the people. He realizes that the faithful ones were precious in the sight of Yahweh.