Monday, February 14, 2011

Ecclesiastes 5-12

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

5:15 - "As they came from their mother's womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands."

Ecclesiastes 6 - No mention of any women.

7:26-29 - "I found more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, those heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters; one who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these, I have not found. See, this alone I found, that God made human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes."

Ecclesiastes 8 - No mention of any women.

9:9 - "Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun."

Ecclesiastes 10 - No mention of any women.

11:5 - "Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in your mother's womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything."

12:3-4 - "[Remember your creator] in the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; when the doors on the street shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low."

My Comments

Okay... Sometimes I'm pretty sure these translators are just pulling words out of their ass because the text they have isn't all that complete or is just jumbled from years of translations because does the last half of 7:26-29 make any sense to anyone? I get the first part, a woman (presumably an adulteress or prostitute) is a fate worse than death and the faithful will resist her while the sinful will fall into her trap.

But what is all that nonsense about adding sums and a woman isn't among them and God has made humans straightforward so it is humans who brought in deceit? Does that mean women are not counted about the people because of their ability to ruin man so handily, and in the next sentence the divisors of schemes are women? Since God made MAN perfect but had to create Eve to suit Adam and she is the one who "devised a scheme" that got them kicked out of paradise? That is the only way I can make all three of those verses together make sense. First verse: Women are the downfall of man. Second verse: A woman cannot be found that can add up to a sum (a Godly sum perhaps?). Third verse: God created humans (man) perfect, but they (women) devise schemes. It just seems odd for that last verse to move from being women specific to suddenly being a general thought on humans. It would be like telling someone that cats are evil and do not fit into the scheme of the world, so I have found that all animals are mischievous and up to no good. That does work. You cannot say a subset is all this way therefore the group that subset comes from is all that way. Logic goes the other way around, if all of a group is a specific way then you can conclude logically that a subset of that group must all be that way.

So going from women to all humans is just weird and does not flow logically, which is why I do believe that last verse is actually about God's perfect creation being man (because God created Adam first and Eve was a mutation of God's perfection) and women being the deceivers of his creation.

Of course that may not be what the last parts of those verses are about. I swear, that math verse in the middle is ridiculous. From what I can tell it is saying women do not add up in God's plans, but really it could be something completely different. That is just a mess of words that happen to be in English. Reminds me of my days in Latin classes, when I'd get to a sentence that I had no clue about, and I would just translate the words and try to arrange them in a way that made sense. It usually came out as jumbled up nonsense that was completely unreadable. That is what that math verse reminds me of. Ridiculous.

Anyone have any other thoughts as to what those verse may actually be trying to say?

Also, Ecclesiastes 11:5 just seems silly now. We do know how breath comes to the baby in the womb, so does this now mean that we can understand the workings of an invisible all powerful creator? Or does this mean we can apply the same things we use to determine how a baby grows in the womb (science) and use it to determine the nature of God? Because when we use science (and logic) to determine the nature of God his nature turns out to be nonexistent, so... case closed?

... no, I guess not.

Wednesday: Song of Solomon

Let's get ready for Bible porn! :D


  1. You dropped a partial line in 7:28 - "which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found."

    It still didn't make much sense to me, so I scanned through a couple of Bible commentaries to get the gist of it.

    If you accept Solomon as the author (and the four I checked all did), then verses 27 and 28 become commentary on 1 Kings 11 where Solomon took as wives and concubines all those foreign women. The count of a thousand women in verse 28 exactly matches the count of his wives and concubines, but could also just be a large number (see what I get for checking more than one?). The commentaries seem to agree that he's declaring his own situation unwise rather than saying that in all humanity there's one wise man and no wise women.

    The last verse they take to mean that God made humans perfect, but after the Fall humans have been imperfect.

    I look at all that analysis and think, damn, you look at something long enough and maybe you can wring sense out of it.

  2. Ah, thank you. I wrote most of this post at work and meant to check to make sure I hadn't let something out when I got home. Seems Valentine's night (or just me lounging with the bf to watch Invader Zim and play Little Big Planet 2 night) got in the way of that. -_-;

    I always find that you can come up with bullshit that makes sense if you try hard enough. Especially when you're reading a text where the author(s) is dead and you basically can put whatever meaning you want on it with no one to really tell you otherwise.

    And that's weird because my Bible doesn't mention Solomon at all. At the start it mentions the Teach, the son of king David, whom I assume is the "author" of this bit. Where do these commentaries get Solomon from? I don't even think he's mentioned.

    But I guess if you take that as true then yes, those verses may make more sense. But what does "one man among a thousand I have found, but a woman I have not" then mean? If it's Solomon as the one and the women as the thousand, then why can't he find any women? Or does this verse not count foreign women as women or people? I mean, this verse is pretty insular. There isn't anything before or after it that helps you understand its context, really.

    I agree, it is probably meant to be read as some people suck and some are awesome, but it really doesn't help itself much with those two random lines about the women. In the rest of the "subchapter" it talks about how people can be righteous and people can be sinners (people of course being men because we know the direct audience of the Bible and the generic person is pretty much always men) and then suddenly it shifts subjects and starts talking about women. I guess because women are a major source of sin for men.

    So it can just as easily be interpreted by a casual reader of the Bible as either saying, "all people are capable of good and evil," or, "men are good and women are evil."

    Knowing what the rest of the Bible has to say on the matter, I'm just as inclined to go with the second interpretation as I am the first.

  3. 1 kings 3:5-12 names Solomon as David's son and tells of God granting Solomon "a wise and discerning mind". Solomon was later King and so fits the description "the Teacher [also rendered Preacher], the son of David, king in Jerusalem. "

    The phrase "One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found." is rendered in other translations as:

    "I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all."
    New International Version

    "one upright man among a thousand have I found, but an upright woman among all those [one thousand in my harem] have I not found."
    Amplified Bible

    So he was looking for someone virtuous and, taken in its kindest light, found it rare among men and not at all amongst the women of his household. It's not kind, just the best spin I can put on it.

    Funny how Solomon is said to have great wisdom - granted by God! - and yet shows his own ways to have been folly. Maybe God being non-existent means that Solomon's wisdom was as well, which makes his inability to find a virtuous woman understandable.

  4. Ah, I guess that works out then. Seems a lot of the books lately have had Solomon and David as a focus. Maybe the Bible should have just been called "The Book of David and Solomon (and some other people too)"

    Again I wonder how the translations can be so very, very different and yet it's all the word of God somehow. I almost feel like I have to read 5 different Bibles at once to even vaguely understand what it might be trying to say. I guess I just refuse to put THAT much work into this project. -_-

    And maybe God just isn't powerful enough to overcome our inherent awfulness and that's why even Solomon had flaws (and a weakness for foreign women). We are so flawed that even God in all his majesty and power cannot make us better.

    You know, or something. Believing you're the scum of the earth and can never be anything better must get tiring after a while.

  5. "Believing you're the scum of the earth and can never be anything better must get tiring after a while." No way! It's the license to sin and yet be the beloved darling of the omnipotent creator of the universe. Everything forgiven on request!

  6. IN HOC SIGNO + VINCES: Crux Sacre Sit Mihi Lux!! Nomen Jesu quod est super omne Nomen! Fidelis Usque Ad Mortem!! God bless you.

  7. In this sign we conquer: The cross is holy for me!! The name of Jesus is that which is above all names! Faithful even to death!!

    Yeah, I can read Latin, troll face. And it's "crux sacra" not "crux sacre" just fyi. Crux is a singular feminine nominative and the word for holy or sacred is sacer, so to make that a singular feminine nominative it would be "sacra." "Sacre" is not a word. Seems copying and pasting generic Latin Christian phrases doesn't do you any justice.

    And you look less lazy if you bothered to translate all of that. Why leave God bless you in English? Go all the way, man! You ain't gonna get no respect if you half ass stuff like this!

    I hope this short lesson in Latin has been helpful. :)

    Deus te benedicas. :P

  8. Also:

    Life of Brian: Romans Go Home

    Just because Monty Python is always appropriate and should be used whenever possible. :D


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