The Words of Qoheleth – Ecclesiastes 1:1

Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 Verse 1

“The words of Qoheleth son of David king in Jerusalem.”  This single sentence forms the complete introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes.

As the book begins with “Words of”, it ends in a similar way, with “words of” mentioned three times in chapter 12:10-11. There in the last chapter, Qoheleth sought to find “words of pleasing” (pleasant words); “words of truth”; and lastly the “words of the wise” with which he was well acquainted.

The genre for the book of Ecclesiastes seems to be “words of”, not just any words.  But  words carefully chosen. (See my article on Proverbs 16:1, which explores man’s responsibility to organize his heart and God’s role to provide the answer of the tongue).  Truly the words in this book are the “words of” a wise man as is attested in Chapter 12:9, where it says “In addition to being a wise man . . . “.  So in further establishing this style of writing we find that this first sentence of Ecclesiastes is very similar to the first sentence of the book of Proverbs where it reads “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel.”  Dr. Bruce Waltke writes “Proverbs distinguishes two forms of its content: ‘proverbs’ and ‘sayings of the wise’ (1:6). .. . In sum, there is no uniform formal distinction between ‘proverbs’ and ‘sayings’.” B. K. Waltke, “The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15” Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmanns, (2004), p. 57.  It appears then that the author of Ecclesiastes is announcing in his introduction that the contents of the book will be “The sayings of the wise.”  Which takes us to the second carefully chosen word of this six word introduction to the Book of Ecclesiastes, “Qoheleth”, often translated “Preacher”.  This word will be considered in the next article.  Until then the Lord bless you, JD.

Posted in Chapter 1, Ecclesiastes | Leave a comment

“The organizings of the heart” – Proverbs 16:1

The answer came from a Jewish Rabbi, “Oh that means, the organizings of the heart”. This was in response to my question: What does the 2nd phrase of Proverbs 16:1 mean?

I had been studying Proverbs 16:1 and came to a similar conclusion, but I was having difficulty making my findings simple, so his answer, “organizings of the heart” was the perfect phase that captured my thinking, and I believe clearly  communicates the intent of this compound word.  The one who is responsible for this activity of the mind is Man.  It says:  “To man” the organizings of the heart.   So I thought that this would be a good name for my blog, simplfied: “tomantheorg”.

God has given to Man the responsibility to organize his thinking.  To help your understanding of this phrase “organizings of the heart” I have gathered together a few places in Scripture where the root of this Hebrew word is used:

  • Genesis 22:9: Where Abraham arranged the wood to sacrifice his son Isaac.
  • Judges 6:25 When Gideon was instructed by the Lord to build an altar in an orderly manner.
  • Leviticus 24:1-5 : When the priests set in order (arranged) the loaves of bread and the lampstands in the sanctuary.
  • I Chronicles 12:35-36: When the armies drew up in battle formation (arranged for warfare).
  • Job 37:19 When Job’s comforters where unable to arrange their case because of darkness.
  • Psalm 5:3:  When David ordered (arranged) his prayer in the morning.
  • Proverbs 9:2: When Lady Wisdom  set (arranged) her table to invite those in need of wisdom to a feast.
  • Psalms 23:5: When the Lord prepared (arranged) a table to feast and fellowship with Him.
  • II Samuel 23: When the Lord made a covenant with David ordered (arranged) in every way and secure.

Notice with me, that this three letter Hebrew root, ARAK, used in Proverbs 16:1 is used in the following settings:

  • Worship, in coming into God’s presence in an orderly manner.
  • Warfare, in arranging in rows and ranks for battle.
  • Wisdom, in preparing ahead of time: one’s case, one’s prayers, a table to serve others.  And in our text, Proverbs 16:1, the God given responsibility to organize, to arrange, to prepare our words and our thoughts before we speak and act.

I will return to this article later.  This is my very first blog.  I am excited to be doing this, yet  humbled by the opportunity.  I see this as a delight, yet a burden, a task that I have been challenged with for so time now.  My wife, of 33 years, Peg, has often shared a verse with me.  Today is the first day that I understood what it says.  Talk about, being slow to understand.  Here is the verse, it is Matthew 11:39 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”  “Pleasant” is a good word to translate “easy”.  “Kind” or “gracious” are also good choices to translate “easy”.  In the Hebrew New Testament, “Naem” is used.  It means pleasant, sweet, or delightful.  That is my attitude towards the “Yoke” of studying God’s Word.  Yet it is still a Yoke, a Task, that is ours to do for Him.  It is with His adequacy that I plan to continue to write and share with you, the “organizings” of my heart.  I will write both from the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, each of which, push the reader into all of Scripture.  Until then, the Lord bless you.  JD

Posted in Proverbs 16:1 | Leave a comment