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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

We come back to Revelation, though we are gonna hop down a bunny trail to get there... Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 54

 Go to Part 14    Go to Part 12  Go to Part 11   Go to Part 1

©2022, David E. Robinson: At the Gates of Yerushalayim Ministries

 Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 54

…This is a thought experiment, part 1…

Revelation: A Search for Truth at 

the End of the Age Part Thirteen  [i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v]




Ecclesiastes 3:1–22 (NET)

A Time for All Events in Life

3:1 For everything1 there is an appointed time,2 and an appropriate time3 for every activity4 on earth:5

3:2 A time to be born,6 and a time to die;7 a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted.

3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

3:5 A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

3:6 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost;8 a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

3:7 A time to rip, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.

3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

3:9 What benefit can a worker9 gain from his toil?10

3:10 I have observed the burden that God has given to people11 to keep them occupied.

3:11 God has made everything fit beautifully12 in its appropriate time, but13 he has also placed ignorance14 in the human heart15 so that16 people17 cannot discover what God has ordained,18

from the beginning to the end19 of their lives.20

3:12 I have concluded21 that there is nothing better for people22 than23 to be happy and to enjoy

themselves24 as long as they live, 3:13 and also that everyone should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all his toil, for these things25 are a gift from God.

 3:14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it. God has made it this way, so that men will fear him.

3:15 Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be, has already been; for God will seek to do again26 what has occurred27 in the past.28

 3:16 I saw something else on earth:29 In the place of justice, there was wickedness, and in the place of fairness,30 there was wickedness.

3:17 I thought to myself, “God will judge both the righteous and the wicked; for there is an appropriate time for every activity, and there is a time of judgment31 for every deed.

3:18 I also thought to myself, “It is32 for the sake of people,33 so God can clearly34 show35 them that they are like animals.

3:19 For the fate of humans36 and the fate of animals are the same: As one dies, so dies the other; both have the same breath. There is no advantage for humans over animals, for both are fleeting.

3:20 Both go to the same place, both come from the dust, and to dust both return.

3:21 Who really knows if the human spirit37 ascends upward, and the animal’s spirit descends into the earth?

 3:22 So I perceived there is nothing better than for people38 to enjoy their work,39

because that is their40 reward; for who can show them what the future holds?41 [vi]



                We are returning now to the Book of Revelation. Yes, it has been quite a while since I posted, but we are here now.  In May of 2021, I finished the first twelve parts of our study in Revelation. Why has it taken so long to get back to it you may wonder. In my last set of posts, I was dealing with the loss of loved ones, then life had a way of taking hold of the direction of things, but here we are. I know I had gone through several verses in those twelve parts but, truthfully? What has transpired in the past year or so has been a transformation of my studies -  or should I say how I study – and that has led to my opening of my eyes and ears to hear first - what the Spirit has to say, and second – to take my studies outside my normal lanes of traffic, and sometimes into the weeds, to look, to search, to see what I have missed, or what I lacked understanding in. The doors have opened wide on this subject, from many sources and much research. I tell you, I do not wish to handle God’s word carelessly, and come up with my own interpretations; I wish to follow exegesis and not eisegesis; I want my hermeneutics to follow a path of principles that fit the Scriptures and the doctrines contained within, not based upon what the “church” or the “Church fathers” have declared should be the way.

 These are not just bold statements; I want to return to the old path, to the boundaries of the Creator. I no longer wish to move the boundary stones He has laid out, for to do so moves the foundations upon which lie the chief cornerstone, Yeshua. There is a sense of urgency in the spirit realm – a sense that something dark this way comes, and for HaShem’s people to survive the coming storm, we MUST be in line with Him – nothing else will do. Now, if this sounds all too familiar, or if you sense it also, then hear me out. If it sounds like every other “gloom and doom” Soothsayer out there, and you are tired of hearing it, ignore it – but the cost may be at your own peril.

 That said, I also must caution you, my beloved; do your own research also – just do not take my word or the word of others to tell you what something means. The Spirit will lead you into truth – but you must also be a searcher, a Berean.

              Maybe, just maybe, I am wrong. But the world is upside down right now; good is evil, right is wrong, and it is getting so not even the saints can tell the sacred from the profane anymore. Our children and grand-children are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and “Woke-ism”; has the enemy of our souls opened the gates of hell and released his army of blackness and shadows? Truthfully? The answer to that is “Yes” and “No”. Some things are influenced by the darkness as Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:

10 Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand against the schemes21 of the devil.

 12 For our struggle22 is not against flesh and blood,23 but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness,24

against the spiritual forces25 of evil in the heavens.26 ([vii])

Yes, there are forces at work in the Unseen Realm[viii] - forces that are at odds with Elohim and His Messiah. There are also forces at work in the earthly realm of man – men and women who have given themselves over to championing a culture of death, hate, and misdirection, all with an eye for the lust of fame and power. You see it. In two short years, this culture has turned America (and the world) into a shadow of itself. But let us be honest. It has not been just the last two years, but decades of moving the boundary stones of God, of encroachment of the sancta[ix], and a tearing down of morality and decorum. We are now living in boiling water; for years like a frog, the heat has slowly been turned up under our pan of water, and now it is in a full rolling boil, and we are being cooked alive in the folly of our own making – the fault rests with us. YHVH has always had a line drawn in the sand, saying “This far and no more”, but we have rushed in and erased that line, and let it be pushed back farther and farther till we now stand on the edge of the cliff with no place to go – except down.

Has it gone too far? Is it possible to push the line back? Yes and no. Yes, we can but only if we are willing to fight. No because there aren’t enough who are willing to go to the extreme. By extreme, I am not talking about violence, or returning hate for hate. If we go that route, we are as the writer of Ecclesiastes says that we are truly no better than animals. Love can win the battle, but we must push the line back to its original boundary and defend it at all costs.

 There are times in my blog spots that I have used music lyrics to highlight trends I have seen. The trend is obvious, yet hidden by twisted words, by repeated lies. When words are redefined, when what is right is declared wrong – what truth can stand in the cacophony of strident voices where nothing is what it was? How can up be down, in be out? How is it the differences between us are accentuated by the mob, cast down and re-defined? “Doublethink”, “cults of personality”, dystopian views leading to “thoughtcrimes”[x]… The strong take the weak…

The sparks of the tempest rage a hundred years on
The voice of the dreamer screams, the cause of the pawn
The King and the Queen are gone, each piece is the same
The difference between us is a part of the game

Darkness is spreading like a spot on the sun
The dead are the living in age of the gun
While everyone clamors for the justice they seek,
The world is corrupted and the strong take the weak

They mold you and shape you, they watch what you do
The sparks of the tempest are burnin' you through
Spreading like wildfire, fallin' like rain
Though they may promise, they only bring pain

The future is managed, and your freedom's a joke
You don't know the difference as you put on the yoke
The less that you know, more you fall into place
A cog in the wheel, there is no soul in your face

Run for the cover, Millennium's here
Bearing the standard of confusion and fear
Spreading like wildfire, fallin' like rain
Though they may promise, they only bring pain

Blood in the sand, cry in the street
Now the cycle is nearly complete
Ten thousand years, nothing was learned
No turning back, now the wheel has turned

Big brother is watching, and he likes what he sees
A world for the taking, when he's ready to squeeze
King and the Queen are gone, each piece is the same
The difference between us is a part of the game

Soothsayer saying now tell me no lies
What is the madness that is filling the skies
Spreading like wildfire, fallin' like rain
Though they may promise, they only bring pain

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Steve Walsh / Kerry Livgren

Sparks of the Tempest lyrics © Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Don Kirshner Music

Sometimes music mirrors what we see. Sometimes the prophet has written in songs of our youth, truth is spoken through the airwaves from the past, the books that were written, the poetry of bards, and the pages of Scripture which few wish to read today. Truth and facts are immaterial today, lies are manipulated and repeated by complacent media – all for the suppression of discourse and dissent. Freedom of speech is outlawed or curtailed, mass surveillance is encouraged, totalitarianism and repression are touted as the only cure for a “systemic racist society”. Open borders, lawless governments. No law. No order. All that was exploited in the pursuit of naked power and unsustainable greed has become the bellwether of the present age.

 Ecclesiastes tells us that this is nothing new though.

15 Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be, has already been; for God will seek to do again what has occurred in the past.”

                 Paul said we do not war against flesh and blood. We find ourselves at times doubting these words, because we only have eyes that see in part – we do not see or even perceive of the darkness behind those who rage in the streets. To be sure, not all who take to the streets are driven by dark forces – the youth of Tehran a driven by the desire to unshackle themselves from the tyrannical rule of the Republican Guard and the mullahs that seek to control their lives. There are those who fight for the rights of children in the womb – innocents who have no voice save our own. There are causes that are righteous, and those that take on the mantle of “righteousness and justice” but are driven by the underlying culture of death that permeates society today. It is in this context that our thought experiment proceeds.


 12 For our battle is not against flesh n and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, o against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil p in the heavens. q[xi]

                     Flesh and blood. Rulers; authorities; the world powers of [this present] darkness; the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Sounds like the beginning of a script for a horror movie does it not? But this is the reality. There are two realms: the finite and the unseen, infinite realm. Which is more real? The finite has a beginning, and it will have an end. The infinite is eternal, so I ask again, which is more real? Do you, dear reader, have an eye for the eternal? Do you even know what that means? Look again at the first and second sentences of this paragraph. Can you conceive the message behind those words? I go this route because your understanding of Revelation, of Scripture in the whole, hinges upon your understanding of what may be the most important theological doctrine most are not even aware of:

A Supernatural Worldview.

 Shall we begin?


                    For the next few posts, we will explore this unseen realm. I will be accessing the Scriptures, extra-biblical literature [i.e. the Apocrypha and others], and the research of Dr. Michael S. Heiser, who describes himself thusly:

 “…I’m a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., Ancient History) and the University of Wisconsin- Madison (M.A., Ph.D., Hebrew Bible and Semitic Studies). I have a dozen years of classroom teaching experience on the college level and another ten in distance education. I’m currently a Scholar-in-Residence at Logos Bible Software, a company that produces ancient text databases and other digital resources for study of the ancient world and biblical studies. You can get a more detailed answer to my academic background by reading through my CV…” [xii]

                 I will be making my own opinions known, but if I present any view that conflicts or is different than those expressed by the authors or source material I cite – do not blame them! Sometimes I will confess, I tend to bite off more than I can chew – I may arrive at the same conclusions, but via a different route. Hence, I’ll be brief in this and consequent posts.

 As I walk through this sanctification process, I only achieve growth as I “connect the dots”. YHVH is leading me down this path by His Spirit of Truth and by and through my Messiah Yeshua. May your journeys be as fulfilling as mine have been.

 

Till next time

May YHVH bless you and keep you all, my beloved.



[i]NOTICE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: Unless otherwise cited, all material found on this blogsite (original text, opinions, conclusions, and other material not related to cited sources remains the collected intellectual property of the author of this site, David E. Robinson, Elder Teacher, and are owned and controlled by myself and are protected by copyright and trademark laws and various other intellectual property rights and unfair competition laws of the United States, foreign jurisdictions, and international conventions. Any errors found within, rest solely upon me; please do not blame the Father for my mistakes. I am teachable and correctable, not infallible. 😊

[ii] FAIR USE DISCLAIMER: This blog site may contain content that is not authorized for use by its owner. All such material will be cited back to its original source. According to Section 107 of the Copyright Act: “…the fair use of a copyrighted work […] for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright…” I have made and will continue to make every effort to stay within all ethical and moral guidelines in the use of material presented here, and the use of these materials is solely intended for educational purposes only, and all efforts to obtain or sustain fair use of non-owned material will be made.

[iii] Author’s note: This site is for education only and is not affiliated with any institution, organization, or religious group. It is the sole production of its editor. Use of information from Jewish-themed websites (or any other source material) should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed.

[iv] Author’s note:  Throughout this study I will be using the NET Bible® and the NET Notes®: within the notes you will see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NET Bible® for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NET Bible®) used in translating the New Testament. Please go to https://bible.org/netbible/ and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.

[v] Author’s Note: In these studies, I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of God. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe, in my humble opinion, might contradict the truth of God’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles for that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from a source that displays a decidedly Western/Greek mindset, as opposed to a Hebraic perspective. I must be intellectually honest – I am biased toward the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and His son, Yeshua the Messiah. I pray then we all can find common ground as we study the Scriptures. Also, some may be put off by the length or depth of the notes; not everyone has access to the references I do, therefore I try to include the notes that come with the material I use, so each can see for themselves the information the originator has pointedly gleaned. I hope you avail yourselves to these inclusions – they help us to understand how the material in scripture is laid out – the thought process of the original writer.

 1  tn Verse 1 is arranged in an ABB′A′ chiasm (לַכֹּל זְמָן וְ×¢ֵת לְכָל־חֵפֶ×¥‎, lakkol zéman vé’et lékhol-khefets): (A) “for everything”; (B) “a season”; (B′) “a time”; (A′) “for every matter.” The terms “season” (זְמָן‎, zéman) and “time” (×¢ֵת‎, ’et) are parallel. In the light of its parallelism with “every matter” (כָל־חֵפֶ×¥‎, khol-khefets), the term “everything” (כָל‎, khol) must refer to events and situations in life.

2  tn The noun זְמָן‎ (zéman) denotes “appointed time” or “appointed hour” (HALOT 273 s.v. זְמָן‎; BDB 273 s.v. זְמָן; see Eccl 3:1; Esth 9:27, 31; Neh 2:6; Sir 43:7), e.g., the appointed or designated time for the Jewish feasts (Esth 9:27, 31), the length of time that Nehemiah set for his absence from Susa (Neh 2:6), and the appointed times in the Jewish law for the months to begin (Sir 43:7). It is used in parallelism with מועד (“appointed time”), i.e., מועד ירח (“the appointed time of the moon”) parallels זמני חק (“the appointed times of the law”; Sir 43:7). The related verb, a Pual of זָמַן‎ (zaman), means “to be appointed” (HALOT 273 s.v. זְמָן); e.g. Ezra 10:14; Neh 10:35; 13:31. These terms may be related to the noun I זִמָּה‎ (zimmah, “plan; intention”; Job 17:11; HALOT 272 s.v. I זִמָּה) and מְזִמָּה‎ (mézimmah, “purpose; plan; project”), e.g., the purposes of God (Job 42:2; Jer 23:20; 30:24; 51:11) and man’s plan (Isa 5:12); see HALOT 566 s.v. מְזִמָּה‎; BDB 273 s.v. מְזִמָּה‎.sn Verses 1–8 refer to God’s appointed time-table for human activities or actions whose most appropriate time is determined by men. Verses 9–15 state that God is ultimately responsible for the time in which events in human history occur. This seems to provide a striking balance between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Man does what God has willed, but man also does what he “pleases” (see note on the word “matter” in 3:1).

3  tn The noun ×¢ֵת‎ (’et, “point in time”) has a basic two-fold range of meanings: (1) “time of an event” and (2) “time for an event” (BDB 773 s.v. ×¢ֵת). The latter has subcategories: (a) “usual time,” (b) “the proper, suitable or appropriate time,” (c) “the appointed time,” and (d) “uncertain time” (Eccl 9:11). Here it connotes “a proper, suitable time for an event” (HALOT 900 s.v. ×¢ֵת‎ 6; BDB s.v. ×¢ֵת‎ 2.b). Examples: “the time for rain” (Ezra 10:13), “a time of judgment for the nations” (Ezek 30:3), “an appropriate time for every occasion” (Eccl 3:1), “the time when mountain goats are born” (Job 39:1), “the rain in its season” (Deut 11:14; Jer 5:24), “the time for the harvest” (Hos 2:11; Ps 1:3), “food in its season” (Ps 104:27), “no one knows his hour of destiny” (Eccl 9:12), “the right moment” (Eccl 8:5); cf. HALOT 900 s.v. ×¢ֵת‎ 6.

4  tn The noun חֵפֶ×¥‎ (khefets, here “matter, business”) has a broad range of meanings: (1) “delight; joy,” (2) “desire; wish; longing,” (3) “the good pleasure; will; purpose,” (4) “precious stones” (i.e., jewelry), i.e., what someone takes delight in, and (5) “matter; business,” as a metonymy of adjunct to what someone takes delight in (Eccl 3:1, 17; 5:7; 8:6; Isa 53:10; 58:3, 13; Pss 16:3; 111:2; Prov 31:13); see HALOT 340 s.v. חֵפֶ×¥‎ 4; BDB 343 s.v. חֵפֶ×¥‎ 4. It is also sometimes used in reference to the “good pleasure” of God, that is, his sovereign plan, e.g., Judg 13:23; Isa 44:28; 46:10; 48:14 (BDB 343 s.v. חֵפֶ×¥). While the theme of the sovereignty of God permeates Eccl 3:1–4:3, the content of 3:1–8 refers to human activities that are planned and purposed by man. The LXX translated it with πράγματι (pragmati, “matter”). The term is translated variously by modern English versions: “every purpose” (KJV, ASV), “every event” (NASB), “every delight” (NASB margin), “every affair” (NAB), “every matter” (RSV, NRSV), “every activity” (NEB, NIV), “every project” (MLB), and “every experience” (NJPS).

5  tn Heb “under heaven.”

6  tn The verb יָלָד‎ (yalad, “to bear”) is used in the active sense of a mother giving birth to a child (HALOT 413 s.v. ילד‎; BDB 408 s.v. יָלָד). However, in light of its parallelism with “a time to die,” it should be taken as a metonymy of cause (i.e., to give birth to a child) for effect (i.e., to be born).

7  sn In 3:2–8, Qoheleth uses fourteen sets of merisms (a figure using polar opposites to encompass everything in between, that is, totality), e.g., Deut 6:6–9; Ps 139:2–3 (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 435).

8  tn The term לְאַבֵּד‎ (lé’abbed, Piel infinitive construct from אָבַד‎, ’avad, “to destroy”) means “to lose” (e.g., Jer 23:1) as the contrast with בָּקַשׁ‎ (baqash, “to seek to find”) indicates (HALOT 3 s.v. I אבד‎; BDB 2 s.v. אבד‎ 3). This is the declarative or delocutive-estimative sense of the Piel: “to view something as lost” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 28, §145; IBHS 403 §24.2g).

9  tn The term הָעוֹשֶׂה‎ (ha’oseh, article + Qal active participle ms from ×¢ָשַׂה‎, ’asah, “to do”) functions substantively (“the worker”); see BDB 794 s.v. ×¢ָשַׂה II.1. This is a figurative description of man (metonymy of association), and plays on the repetition of ×¢ָשַׂה (verb: “to do,” noun: “work”) throughout the passage. In the light of God’s orchestration of human affairs, man’s efforts cannot change anything. It refers to man in general with the article functioning in a generic sense (see IBHS 244–45 §13.5.1f; Joüon 2:511 §137.m).

10  sn This rhetorical question is an example of negative affirmation, expecting a negative answer: “Man gains nothing from his toil!” (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 949–51). Any advantage that man might gain from his toil is nullified by his ignorance of divine providence.

11  tn Heb “the sons of man.”

12  sn The Hebrew adjective translated beautifully functions as a metonymy of effect (i.e., to appear beautiful) for cause (i.e., to make it fit): “to fit beautifully.” It is used in parallelism with Qoheleth’s term for evaluation: טוֹב‎ (tov, “good”) in 5:17.

13  tn The word “but” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

14  tn Heb “darkness”; perhaps “eternity” or “the future.” The meaning of the noun ×¢ֹלָם‎ (’olam) is debated. It may mean: (1) “ignorance”; (2) time reference: (a) “eternity” or (b) “the future”; or (3) “knowledge” (less likely). The arguments for these options may be summarized: (1) Most suggest that ×¢ֹלָם is the defectively written form of עוֹלָם “duration; eternity” (e.g., Eccl 1:4; 2:16; 3:14; 9:6; 12:5); see BDB 762 s.v. III עוֹלָם‎ 2.k. Within this school of interpretation, there are several varieties: (a) BDB 762 s.v. III עוֹלָם‎ 2.k suggests that here it denotes “age [i.e., duration] of the world,” which is attested in postbiblical Hebrew. The term III ×¢ֹלָם “eternity” = “world” (Jastrow 1084 s.v. ×¢ָלַם III) is used in this sense in postbiblical Hebrew, mostly in reference to the Messianic age, or the world to come (e.g., Tg. Genesis 9:16; Tg. Onq. Exodus 21:6; Tg. Psalms 61:7). For example, “the world (×¢ֹלָם) shall last six thousand years, and after one thousand years it shall be laid waste” (b. Rosh HaShanah 31a) and “the world (×¢ֹלָם) to come” (b. Sotah 10b). The LXX and the Vulgate took the term in this sense. This approach was also adopted by several English translations: “the world” (KJV, Douay, ASV margin). (b) HALOT 799 s.v. עוֹלָם‎ 5 and THAT 2:242 suggest that the term refers to an indefinite, unending future: “eternity future” or “enduring state referring to past and future” (see also BDB 762 s.v. III עוֹלָם‎ 2.i). In this sense, the noun ×¢ֹלָם functions as a metonymy of association: “a sense of eternity,” but not in a philosophical sense (see J. Barr, Biblical Words for Time [SBT], 117, n. 4). This approach is supported by three factors: (i) the recurrence of עוֹלָם (“eternity”) in 3:14, (ii) the temporal qualification of the statement in the parallel clause (“from beginning to end”), and (iii) by the ordinary meaning of the noun as “eternity” (HALOT 798–799 s.v. עוֹלָם). The point would be that God has endowed man with an awareness of the extra-temporal significance of himself and his accomplishments (D. R. Glenn, “Ecclesiastes,” BKCOT, 984). This is the most frequent approach among English versions: “the timeless” (NAB), “eternity” (RSV, MLB, ASV, NASB, NIV, NJPS), “a sense of time past and time future” (NEB), and “a sense of past and future” (NRSV). (3) Other scholars suggest that עוֹלָם simply refers to the indefinite future: “the future,” that is, things to come (e.g., HALOT 799 s.v. עוֹלָם‎ 2; BDB 762 s.v. III עוֹלָם‎ 2.a; THAT 2:241). The plural ×¢ֹלָמִים‎ (’olamim, “things to come”) was used in this sense in Eccl 1:10 (e.g., 1 Kgs 8:13 = 2 Chr 6:2; Pss 61:5; 77:8; 145:13; Dan 9:24; cf. HALOT 799 s.v. עוֹלָם‎ 2). The point would simply be that God has not only ordained all the events that will take place in man’s life (3:1–8), but also preoccupies man with the desire to discover what will happen in the future in terms of the orchestration or timing of these events in his life (3:9–11). This fits well with the description of God’s orchestration of human events in their most appropriate time (3:1–10) and the ignorance of man concerning his future (3:11b). Elsewhere, Qoheleth emphasizes that man cannot learn what the future holds in store for him (e.g., 8:7, 17). This approach is only rarely adopted: “the future” (NJPS margin). (2) The second view is that ×¢ֹלָם is not defectively written עוֹלָם (“eternity”) but the segholate noun II ×¢ֶלֶם‎ (’elem) that means “dark” (literal) or “ignorance; obscurity; secrecy” (figurative). The related noun תַּ×¢ֲלֻמָה‎ (ta’alumah) means “hidden thing; secret,” and the related verb ×¢ָלַם‎ (’alam) means “to hide; to conceal” (BDB 761 s.v. I ×¢ָלַם‎; HALOT 834–35 s.v. עלם). This is related to the Ugaritic noun “dark” and the Akkadian verb “to be black; to be dark” (see HALOT 834–35 s.v. עלם). In postbiblical Hebrew the root II ×¢ֶלֶם means (i) “secret” and (ii) “forgetfulness” (Jastrow 1084 s.v. ×¢ֶלֶם I). Thus the verse would mean that God has “obscured” man’s knowledge so that he cannot discover certain features of God’s program. This approach is adopted by Moffatt which uses the word “mystery.” Similarly, the term may mean “forgetfulness,” that is, God has plagued man with “forgetfulness” so that he cannot understand what God has done from the beginning to the end (e.g., Eccl 1:11). (3) The third view (Delitzsch) is to relate ×¢ֹלָם to a cognate Arabic root meaning “knowledge.” The point would be that God has endowed man with “knowledge,” but not enough for man to discover God’s eternal plan. This approach is only rarely adopted: “knowledge” (YLT).

15  tn Heb “in their heart.” The Hebrew term translated heart functions as a metonymy of association for man’s intellect, emotions, and will (BDB 524–25 s.v. לֵב‎ 3–6, 9). Here, it probably refers to man’s intellectual capacities, as v. 11 suggests.

16  tn The compound preposition מִבְּלִי‎ (mibbéli, preposition מִן‎ [min] + negative particle בְּלִי‎ [béli]) is used as a conjunction here. Elsewhere, it can express cause: “because there is no [or is not]” (e.g., Deut 9:28; 28:55; Isa 5:13; Ezek 34:5; Lam 1:4; Hos 4:6), consequence: “so that there is no [or is not]” (e.g., Ezek 14:5; Jer 2:15; 9:9–11; Zeph 3:6), or simple negation: “without” (e.g., Job 4:11, 20; 6:6; 24:7–8; 31:19). BDB 115 s.v. בְּלִי‎ 3.c.β suggests the negative consequence: “so that not,” while HALOT 133 s.v. בְּלִי‎ 5 suggests the simple negation: “without the possibility of.”

17  tn Heb “man.”

18  tn Heb “the work that God has done.” The phrase אֶת־הַמַּ×¢ֲשֶׂה אֲשֶׁר־×¢ָשָׂה‎ (’et-hamma’aseh ’asher-’asah, “the work which he [i.e., God] has done”) is an internal cognate accusative (direct object and verb are from the same root), used for emphasis (see IBHS 167 §10.2.1g). The repetition of the verb ×¢ָשַׂה (“to do”) in 3:11 and 3:14 suggests that this phrase refers to God’s foreordination of all the events and timing of human affairs: God has “made” ( = “foreordained”; ×¢ָשַׂה) everything appropriate in his sovereign timing (3:11a), and all that God has “done” ( = “foreordained”; ×¢ָשַׂה) will come to pass (3:14). Thus, the verb ×¢ָשַׂה functions as a metonymy of effect (i.e., God’s actions) for cause (i.e., God’s sovereign foreordination). The temporal clause “from beginning to end” (3:11) supports this nuance.

19  tn Traditionally, “what God has done from the beginning to the end.” The temporal clause מֵרֹאשׁ וְ×¢ַד־סוֹ×£‎ (mero’sh vé’ad-sof, “from the beginning to the end”) is traditionally taken in reference to “eternity” (the traditional understanding of הָ×¢ֹלָם‎ [ha’olam] earlier in the verse; see the note on “ignorance”), e.g., KJV, NEB, NAB, ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV. However, if הָ×¢ֹלָם simply denotes “the future” (e.g., HALOT 799 s.v. עוֹלָם‎ 2; BDB 762 s.v. III עוֹלָם‎ 2.a; THAT 2:241), this temporal clause would refer to the events God has ordained to transpire in an individual’s life, from beginning to end. This approach is adopted by one English version: “but without man ever guessing, from first to last, all the things that God brings to pass” (NJPS). This would fit well in the context begun in 3:1 with the fourteen merisms encompassing man’s life, starting with “a time to be born” (i.e., from the beginning in 3:11) and concluding with “a time to die” (i.e., to the end in 3:11). This approach is also supported by the admonition of 3:12–13, namely, since no one knows what will happen to him in the future days of his life, Qoheleth recommends that man enjoy each day as a gift from God.

20  tn The phrase “of their lives” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

21  tn Heb “I know.”

22  tn Heb “for them”; the referent (people, i.e., mankind) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

23  tn Qoheleth uses the exceptive particle אִם … כִּי‎ (ki …’ im, “except”) to identify the only exception to the futility within man’s life (BDB 474 s.v. כִּי‎ 2).

24  tn Heb “to do good.” The phrase לַ×¢ֲשׂוֹת טוֹב‎ (la’asot tov) functions idiomatically for “to experience [or see] happiness [or joy].” The verb ×¢ָשַׂה‎ (’asah) probably denotes “to acquire; to obtain” (BDB 795 s.v. ×¢ָשַׂה II.7), and טוֹב‎ (tov) means “good; pleasure; happiness,” e.g., Eccl 2:24; 3:13; 5:17 (BDB 375 s.v. טוֹב‎ 1).

25  tn Heb “for it.” The referent of the 3rd person feminine singular independent person pronoun (“it”) is probably the preceding statement: “to eat, drink, and find satisfaction.” This would be an example of an anacoluthon (GKC 505–6 §167.b). Thus the present translation uses “these things” to indicate the reference back to the preceding.

26  tn The phrase “to do again” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

27  tn Heb “God will seek that which is driven away.” The meaning of יְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־× ִרְדָּ×£‎ (yévaqqesh ’et-nirdaf) is difficult to determine: יְבַקֵּשׁ‎ (yévaqqesh) is Piel imperfect 3rd person masculine singular from בָּקַשׁ‎ (baqash, “to seek”) and × ִרְדָּ×£‎ (nirdaf) is a Niphal participle 3rd person masculine singular from רָדַ×£‎ (radaf, “to drive away”). There are several options: (1) God watches over the persecuted: יְבַקֵּשׁ (“seeks”) functions as a metonymy of cause for effect (i.e., to protect), and אֶת־× ִרְדָּ×£ (“what is driven away”) refers to “those who are persecuted.” But this does not fit the context. (2) God will call the past to account: יְבַקֵּשׁ functions as a metonymy of cause for effect (i.e., to hold accountable), and אֶת־× ִרְדָּ×£ is a metonymy of attribute (i.e., the past). This approach is adopted by several English translations: “God requires that which is past” (KJV), “God will call the past to account” (NIV) and “God summons each event back in its turn” (NEB). (3) God finds what has been lost: יְבַקֵּשׁ functions as a metonymy of cause for effect (i.e., to find), and אֶת־× ִרְדָּ×£ refers to what has been lost: “God restores what would otherwise be displaced” (NAB). (4) God repeats what has already occurred: יְבַקֵּשׁ functions as a metonymy of effect (i.e., to repeat), and אֶת־× ִרְדָּ×£ is a metonymy (i.e., that which has occurred). This fits the context and provides a tight parallel with the preceding line: “That which is has already been, and that which will be has already been” (3:15a) parallels “God seeks [to repeat] that which has occurred [in the past].” This is the most popular approach among English versions: “God restores that which has past” (Douay), “God seeks again that which is passed away” (ASV), “God seeks what has passed by” (NASB), “God seeks what has been driven away” (RSV), “God seeks out what has passed by” (MLB), “God seeks out what has gone by” (NRSV), and “God is ever bringing back what disappears” (Moffatt).

28  tn The phrase “in the past” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

29  tn Heb “under the sun.”

30  tn Or “righteousness.”

31  tn The phrase “a time of judgment” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

32  tn The phrase “it is” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

33  tn Heb “the sons of man.” The phrase ×¢ַל־דִּבְרַת בְּ× ֵי הָאָדָם‎ (’al-divrat béne ha’adam) is handled variously: (1) introduction to the direct discourse: “I said to myself concerning the sons of men” (NASB), (2) direct discourse: “I thought, ‘As for men, God tests them’ ” (NIV), (3) indirect discourse: “I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men” (KJV), and (4) causal conjunction: “I said, ‘[It is] for the sake of the sons of men.” Since the phrase “sons of men” is contrasted with “animals” the translation “humans” has been adopted.

34  tn The meaning of לְבָרָם‎ (lévaram, preposition + Qal infinitive construct from בָּרַר‎, barar, + 3rd person masculine plural suffix) is debated because the root has a broad range of meanings: (1) “to test; to prove; to sift; to sort out” (e.g., Dan 11:35; 12:10); (2) “to choose; to select” (e.g., 1 Chr 7:40; 9:22; 16:41; Neh 5:18); (3) “to purge out; to purify” (e.g., Ezek 20:38; Zeph 3:9; Job 33:3); and (4) “to cleanse; to polish” (Isa 49:2; 52:11); see HALOT 163 s.v. בָּרַר‎; BDB 141 s.v. בָּרַר. The meanings “to prove” (Qal), as well as “to cleanse; to polish” (Qal), “to keep clean” (Niphal), and “to cleanse” (Hiphil) might suggest the meaning “to make clear” (M. A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes [TOTC], 85–86). The meaning “to make clear; to prove” is well attested in postbiblical Mishnaic Hebrew (Jastrow 197–98 s.v. בָּרַר). For example, “they make the fact as clear (bright) as a new garment” (b. Ketubbot 46a) and “the claimant must offer clear evidence” (b. Sanhedrin 23b). The point would be that God allows human injustice to exist in the world in order to make it clear to mankind that they are essentially no better than the beasts. On the other hand, the LXX adopts the nuance “to judge,” while Targum and Vulgate take the nuance “to purge; to purify.” BDB 141 s.v. בָּרַר‎ 4 suggests “to test, prove,” while HALOT 163 s.v. בָּרַר‎ 2 prefers “to select, choose.”

35  tn The two infinitives לְבָרָם‎ (lévaram, “to make it clear to them”) and וְלִרְאוֹת‎ (vélir’ot, “and to show”) function as a verbal hendiadys (the two verbs are associated with one another to communicate a single idea). The first verb functions adverbially and the second retains its full verbal force: “to clearly show them.”

36  tn Heb “of the sons of man.”

37  tn Heb “the spirit of the sons of man.”

38  tn Heb “man.”

39  tn Heb “his works.”

40  tn Heb “his.”

41  tn Heb “what will be after him” (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV) or “afterward” (cf. NJPS).

[vi]  Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2005.

21 tn Or “craftiness.” See BDAG 625 s.v. μεθοδεία.

22 tn BDAG 752 s.v. πάλη says, “struggle against … the opponent is introduced by πρός w. the acc.”

23 tn Grk “blood and flesh.”

24 tn BDAG 561 s.v. κοσμοκράτωρ suggests “the rulers of this sinful world” as a gloss.

sn The phrase world-rulers of this darkness does not refer to human rulers but the evil spirits that rule over the world. The phrase thus stands in apposition to what follows (the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens); see note on heavens at the end of this verse.

25 tn BDAG 837 s.v. πνευματικός 3 suggests “the spirit-forces of evil” in Ephesians 6:12.

26 sn The phrase spiritual forces of evil in the heavens serves to emphasize the nature of the forces which oppose believers as well as to indicate the locality from which they originate.

[vii] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible, Second Edition. (Denmark: Thomas Nelson, 2019), Eph 6:10–12.

[viii] I use this title with thanks to Dr. Michael S. Heiser who has written a book by the same name.

[ix] Sancta: a room or place of total privacy or inviolability (definition from Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers)

[x] All made common in everyday usage thanks to George Orwell’s opus, 1984.

n 6:12 Php 3:3

o 6:12 1Pt 3:22

p 6:12 Mt 6:13; Jn 17:15

q 6:12 Eph 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; Php 2:10

[xi] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Eph 6:12.

[xii] From the “about” page found at https://drmsh.com/about/ .