Title (Song 1:1-1:1)

“The Song of Songs,

That is Solomon’s.”

The title of this work is the superlative in Hebrew. Just like the holy of holies, so too the Song of Songs means the best song ever. Sometimes this is referred to as the Canticle of Canticles or the best canticle ever. There is an allusion to Solomon as in most of the wisdom literature.

The title of this work is the superlative in Hebrew. Just like the holy of holies, so too the Song of Songs means the best song ever. Sometimes this is referred to as the Canticle of Canticles or the best canticle ever. There is an allusion to Solomon as in most of the wisdom literature.

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Vanity of vanities (Eccl 1:2-1:3)

“‘Vanity of vanities!’

Says Qoheleth.

‘Vanity of vanities!

All is vanity!

What do people gain

From all the toil

At which they toil

Under the sun?’”

This book starts with a poem to vanity. This is the superlative Hebrew usage of hebel. What is the worst vanity? This hebel is vapor or something unsubstantial, futile or vain. This term “vanity” occurs over 38 times here in this biblical book that shows the futility of humans. Is everything vain and futile? What is the reward for hard work? If all you do is work hard under the sun, what is your reward. This is somewhat reminiscent of Job and his laments.