Sunday, 19 September 2010
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - A Time for Everything
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
1 All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. 6 A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. 8 A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes is a book of the Hebrew Bible. It is variously transliterated as Kohelet, Qoheleth, Koheles, Koheleth, or Coheleth. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title. The author, or speaker, of the book is identified by the name or title ‘Qohelet’. He introduces himself as “son of David, and king in Jerusalem.” This does not necessarily make him Solomon (a.s.). This should not all be taken literally. Scholars of the Bible as a whole may explain this book in a very technical sense. But to know this Book is to have knowledge of taswawwuf. This book speaks of the rejection of the apparent since the world is a façade. Whilst it seems that Qohelet endorses wisdom, what he is really speaking of is the Recognition of Realities.
According to the Talmud, the point of Qohelet is to state that all is futile under the Sun. One should ignore physical pleasures and put all one’s efforts towards that which is above the Sun - God. The second to last verse sums this up:
Ecclesiastes 12 13-14
13 Let us all hear together the conclusion of the discourse. Fear God, and keep His Commandments: for this is all man: 14 And all things that are done, God will Bring into Judgment for every error, whether it be good or evil.
Interestingly, the root word of the book means “to gather”. But there is khilaf as to whether it means “one who gathers” or the “one among the gathering.” The participle is feminine but there is no dispute that the author is male. The English title of the book originates from the Septuagint translation of Qohelet. It is related to the Greek noun originally referring to a secular gathering, although later used primarily of religious gatherings, thus the New Testament meaning of “church”. Greek translators used ‘ecclesia’ to render ‘qahal’ of the same Hebrew root.
The entire Book of Ecclesiastes has been adapted into a song by Peter Seeger. It is an anti-war song. The song was made famous by The Byrds in the1960s. It was on the soundtrack of Forrest Gump.