Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
"Let thy bread go forth over the watery mirror: for in the course of many days shalt thou find it." Most interpreters, chiefly the Talm., Midrash, and Targ.,
(Note: The Midrash tells the following story: Rabbi Akiba sees a ship wrecked which carried in it one learned in the law. He finds him again actively engaged in Cappadocia. What whale, he asked him, has vomited thee out upon dry land? How hast thou merited this? The scribe learned in the law thereupon related that when he went on board the ship, he gave a loaf of bread to a poor man, who thanked him for it, saying: As thou hast saved my life, may thy life be saved. Thereupon Akiba thought of the proverb in Ecclesiastes 11:1. Similarly the Targ.: Extend to the poor the bread for thy support; they sail in ships over the water.)
regard this as an exhortation to charity, which although practised without expectation of reward, does not yet remain unrewarded at last. An Aram. proverb of Ben Sira's (vid., Buxtorf's Florilegium, p. 171) proceeds on this interpretation: "Scatter thy bread on the water and on the dry land; in the end of the days thou findest it again." Knobel quotes a similar Arab. proverb from Diez' Denkwrdigkeiten von Asien (Souvenirs of Asia), II:106: "Do good; cast thy bread into the water: thou shalt be repaid some day." See also the proverb in Goethe's Westst. Divan, compared by Herzfeld. Voltaire, in his Prcis de l'Ecclsiaste en vers, also adopts this rendering:
Repandez vos bien faits avec magnificence,
Mme aux moins vertueux ne les refusez pas.
Ne vous informez pas de leur reconnaissance -
Il est grand, il est beau de faire des ingrats.
That instead of "into the water (the sea)" of these or similar proverbs, Koheleth uses here the expression, "on the face of (על־פּני) the waters," makes no difference: Eastern bread has for the most part the form of cakes, and is thin (especially such as is prepared hastily for guests, 'ughoth or matstsoth, Genesis 18:6; Genesis 19:3); so that when thrown into the water, it remains on the surface (like a chip of wood, Hosea 10:7), and is carried away by the stream. But שׁלּח, with this reference of the proverb to beneficence, is strange; instead of it, the word השׁלך was rather to be expected; the lxx renders by ἀπόστειλον; the Syr., shadar; Jerome, mitte; Venet. πέμπε; thus by none is the pure idea of casting forth connected with שׁלּח. And the reason given does not harmonize with this reference: "for in the course of many days (berov yamin, cf. mērov yamim, Isaiah 24:22) wilt thou find it" (not "find it again," which would be expressed by תּשׁוּב תּם). This indefinite designation of time, which yet definitely points to the remote future, does not thus indicate that the subject is the recompense of noble self-renunciation which is sooner or later rewarded, and often immediately, but exactly accords with the idea of commerce carried on with foreign countries, which expects to attain its object only after a long period of waiting. In the proper sense, they send their bread over the surface of the water who, as Psalm 107:33 expresses, "do business in great waters." It is a figure taken from the corn trade of a seaport, an illustration of the thought: seek thy support in the way of bold, confident adventure.
(Note: The Greek phrase σπείρειν πόντον, "to sow the sea" equals to undertake a fruitless work, is of an altogether different character; cf. Amos 6:12.)
Bread in לח is the designation of the means of making a living or gain, and bread in תּמצאנּוּ the designation of the gain (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:11). Hitzig's explanation: Throw thy bread into the water equals venture thy hope, is forced; and of the same character are all the attempts to understand the word of agricultural pursuits; e.g., by van der Palm: sementem fac muxta aquas (or: in loca irrigua); Grtz even translates: "Throw thy corn on the surface of the water," and understands this, with the fancy of a Martial, of begetting children. Mendelssohn is right in remarking that the exhortation shows itself to be that of Koheleth-Solomon, whose ships traded to Tarshish and Ophir. Only the reference to self-sacrificing beneficence stands on a level with it as worthy of consideration. With Ginsburg, we may in this way say that a proverb as to our dealings with those who are above us, is followed by a proverb regarding those who are below us; with those others a proverb regarding judicious courageous venturing, ranks itself with a proverb regarding a rashness which is to be discountenanced; and the following proverb does not say: Give a portion, distribute of that which is thine, to seven and also to eight: for it is well done that thou gainest for thee friends with the unrighteous mammon for a time when thou thyself mayest unexpectedly be in want; but it is a prudent rule which is here placed by the side of counsel to bold adventure:
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
"Divide the portion into seven, yea, eight (parts); for thou knowest not what evil shall happen on the earth." With that other interpretation, עליך was to be expected instead of 'al-haarets; for an evil spreading abroad over the earth, a calamity to the land, does not yet fall on every one without exception; and why was not the רעה designated directly as personal? The impression of the words לשׁם ... תּן־, established in this general manner, is certainly this, that on the supposition of the possibility of a universal catastrophe breaking in, they advise a division of our property, so that if we are involved in it, our all may not at once be lost, but only this or that part of it, as Jacob, Genesis 32:9, says. With reference to 1a, it is most natural to suppose that one is counselled not to venture his all in one expedition, so that if this is lost in a storm, all might not at once be lost (Mendelss., Preston, Hitz., Stuart); with the same right, since 1a is only an example, the counsel may be regarded as denoting that one must not commit all to one caravan; or, since in Ecclesiastes 11:2 לחמך is to be represented not merely as a means of obtaining gain, that one ought not to lay up all he has gathered in one place, Judges 6:11; Jeremiah 41:8 (Nachtigal); in short, that one ought not to put all into one business, or, as we say literally, venture all on one card. חלק is either the portion which one possesses, i.e., the measure of the possession that has fallen to him (Psalm 16:5), or חלק נתן means to make portions, to undertake a division. In the first case, the expression ל ... נתן follows the scheme of Genesis 17:20 : make the part into seven, yea, into eight (parts); in the second case, the scheme of Joshua 18:5 : make division into seven, etc. We prefer the former, because otherwise that which is to be divided remains unknown; חלק is the part now in possession: make the much or the little that thou hast into seven or yet more parts. The rising from seven to eight is as at Job 5:19, and like the expression ter quaterque, etc. The same inverted order of words as in Ecclesiastes 11:2 is found in Esther 6:3; 2 Kings 8:12.
If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
With this verse there is not now a transition, εἰς ἄλλο γένος (as when one understands Ecclesiastes 11:1. of beneficence); the thoughts down to Ecclesiastes 11:6 move in the same track. "When the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth: and if a tree fall in the south, or in the north - the place where the tree falleth, there it lieth." Man knows not - this is the reference of the verse backwards - what misfortune, as e.g., hurricane, flood, scarcity, will come upon the earth; for all that is done follows fixed laws, and the binding together of cause and effect is removed beyond the influence of the will of man, and also in individual cases beyond his knowledge. The interpunction of 3a: אם־ימּלאוּ העבים גּשׁם (not as by v. d. Hooght, Mendelss., and elsewhere העבים, but as the Venet. 1515, 21, Michael. העבים, for immediately before the tone syllable Mahpach is changed into Mercha) appears on the first glance to be erroneous, and much rather it appears that the accentuation ought to be
אם־ימלאו העבים גשם על־הארץ יריקו
but on closer inspection גשׁם is rightly referred to the conditional antecedent, for "the clouds could be filled also with hail, and thus not pour down rain" (Hitz.). As in Ecclesiastes 4:10, the fut. stands in the protasis as well as in the apodosis. If A is done, then as a consequence B will be done; the old language would prefer the words והריקו ... נמלאו (כי) אם, Ewald, 355b: as often as A happens, so always happens B. יריקוּ carries (without needing an external object to be supplied), as internally transitive, its object is itself: if the clouds above fill themselves with rain, they make an emptying, i.e., they empty themselves downwards. Man cannot, if the previous condition is fixed, change the necessary consequences of it.
The second conditioning clause: si ceciderit lignum ad austraum aut ad aquilonem, in quocunque loco cociderit ibi erit. Thus rightly Jerome. It might also be said: ואם־יפול עץ אם בדרום ואם בחפין, and if a tree falls, whether it be in the south or in the north; this sive ... sive would thus be a parenthetic parallel definition. Thus regarded, the protasis as it lies before us consists in itself, as the two veim in Amos 9:3, of two correlated halves: "And if a tree falls on the south side, and (or) if it fall on the north side," i.e., whether it fall on the one or on the other. The Athnach, which more correctly belongs to יריקי, sets off in an expressive way the protasis over against the apodosis; that a new clause begins with veim yippol is unmistakeable; for the contrary, there was need for a chief disjunctive to בץ. Meqom is accus. loci for bimqom, as at Esther 4:3; Esther 8:17. Sham is rightly not connected with the relat. clause (cf. Ezekiel 6:13); the relation is the same as at Esther 1:7. The fut. יהוּא is formed from הוה, whence Ecclesiastes 2:22, as at Nehemiah 6:6, and in the Mishna (Aboth, vi. 1;
(Note: Vid., Baer, Abodath Jisrael, p. 290.)
Aboda zara, iii. 8) the part. הוה. As the jussive form יהי is formed from יהיה, so יהיה (יהוה) passes into יהוּ, which is here written יהוּא. Hitzig supposes that, according to the passage before us and Job 37:6, the word appears to have been written with א, in the sense of "to fall." Certainly הוה has the root-signification of delabi, cadere, and derives from thence the meaning of accidere, exsistere, esse (vid., under Job 37:6); in the Book of Job, however, הוה may have this meaning as an Arabism; in the usus loq. of the author of the Book of Koheleth it certainly was no longer so used. Rather it may be said that יהוּ had to be written with an א added to distinguish it from the abbreviated tetragramm, if the א, as in אבוּא, Isaiah 28:12, and הל, Joshua 10:24, does not merely represent the long terminal vowel (cf. the German-Jewish דוא equals thou, דיא equals the, etc.).
(Note: Otherwise Ewald, 192b: יהוּא, Aram. of הוּא (as בּוא) equals הוא.)
Moreover, יהוּא, as written, approaches the Mishnic inflection of the fut. of the verb הוה; the sing. there is יהא, תּהא, אהא, and the plur. יהוּ, according to which Rashi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi interpret יהוּא here also as plur.; Luzzatto, 670, hesitates, but in his Commentary he takes it as sing., as the context requires: there will it (the tree) be, or in accordance with the more lively meaning of the verb הוה: there will it find itself, there it continues to lie. As it is an invariable law of nature according to which the clouds discharge the masses of water that have become too heavy for them, so it is an unchangeable law of nature that the tree that has fallen before the axe or the tempest follows the direction in which it is impelled. Thus the future forms itself according to laws beyond the control of the human will, and man also has no certain knowledge of the future; wherefore he does well to be composed as to the worst, and to adopt prudent preventive measures regarding it. This is the reference of Ecclesiastes 11:3 looking backwards. But, on the other hand, from this incalculableness of the future-this is the reference of Ecclesiastes 11:3 looking forwards-he ought not to vie up fresh venturesome activity, much rather he ought to abstain from useless and impeding calculations and scruples.
He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
"He who observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." The proverb is not to be understood literally, but in the spirit of the whole paraenesis: it is not directed against the provident observation, guided by experience, of the monitions and warnings lying in the present condition of the weather, but against that useless, because impossible, calculation of the coming state of the weather, which waits on from day to day, from week to week, till the right time for sowing and reaping has passed away. The seed-time requires rain so as to open up and moisten the ground; he who has too much hesitation observes (שׁמר) the wind whether it will bring rain (Proverbs 25:23), and on that account puts off the sowing of the seed till it is too late. The time of harvest requires warmth without rain (Proverbs 26:1); but the scrupulous and timid man, who can never be sure enough, looks at the clouds (cf. Isaiah 47:13), scents rainy weather, and finds now and never any security for the right weather for the gathering in of the fruits of the field. He who would accomplish and gain anything, must have confidence and courage to venture something; the conditions of success cannot be wholly reckoned upon, the future is in the hand of God, the All-Conditioning.
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
"As thou hast no knowledge what is the way of the wind, like as the bones in the womb of her who is with child; so thou knowest not the work of God who accomplisheth all." Luther, after Jerome, renders rightly: "As thou knowest not the way of the wind, and how the bones in the mother's womb do grow; so," etc. The clause, instar ossium in ventre praegnantis, is the so-called comparatio decurtata for instar ignorantiae tuae ossium, etc., like thy ignorance regarding the bones, i.e., the growth of the bones. כּעץ,
(Note: The Targ. reads בעץ, and construes: What the way of the spirit in the bones, i.e., how the embryo becomes animated.)
because more closely defined by 'בּב הם, has not the art. used elsewhere after כ of comparison; an example for the regular syntax (vid., Riehm, under Psalm 17:12) is found at Deuteronomy 32:2. That man has no power over the wind, we read at Ecclesiastes 8:8; the way of the wind he knows not (John 3:8), because he has not the wind under his control: man knows fundamentally only that which he rules. Regarding the origin and development of the embryo as a _secret which remained a mystery to the Israel. Chokma, vid., Psychol. p. 209ff. For עצם, cf. Psalm 139:15 and Job 10:11. Regarding meleah, pregnant (like the Lat. plena). With fine discrimination, the fut. תדע לא in the apodosis interchanges with the particip. יודע אינך in the protasis, as when we say: If thou knowest not that, as a consequence thou shalt also not know this. As a man must confess his ignorance in respect to the way of the wind, and the formation of the child in the mother's womb; so in general the work of God the All-Working lies beyond his knowledge: he can neither penetrate it in the entireness of its connection, nor in the details of its accomplishment. The idea 'oseh kol, Isaiah 44:24, is intentionally unfolded in a fut. relat. clause, because here the fut. in the natural world, as well as in human history, comes principally into view. For that very reason the words את־הכּל are also used, not: (as in passages where there is a reference to the world of creation in its present condition) eth-kol-elleh, Isaiah 66:2. Also the growth of the child in the mother's womb is compared to the growth of the future in the womb of the present, out of which it is born (Proverbs 27:1; cf. Zephaniah 2:2). What is established by this proof that man is not lord of the future, - viz. that in the activity of his calling he should shake off anxious concern about the future, - is once again inferred with the combination of what is said in Ecclesiastes 11:4 and Ecclesiastes 11:2 (according to our interpretation, here confirmed).
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
"In the morning sow thy seed, and towards evening withdraw not thine hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both together shall well succeed." The cultivation of the land is the prototype of all labour (Genesis 2:15), and sowing is therefore an emblem of all activity in one's pursuit; this general meaning for ידך ... אל־ (like Ecclesiastes 7:18; synon. with ידך ... אל־, Joshua 10:6, of the older language) is to be accepted. The parallel word to babokěr is not ba'ěTrěv; for the cessation from work (Judges 19:16; Psalm 104:23) must not be excluded, but incessant labour (cf. Luke 9:62) must be continued until the evening. And as Ecclesiastes 11:2 counsels that one should not make his success depend exclusively on one enterprise, but should divide that which he has to dispose of, and at the same time make manifold trials; so here also we have the reason for restless activity of manifold labour from morning till evening: success or failure (Ecclesiastes 5:5) is in the hand of God, - man knows not which (quid, here, according to the sense, utrum) will prosper, whether (ה) this or (או) that, and whether (אמו), etc.; vid., regarding the three-membered disjunctive question, Ewald, 361; and regarding keěhhad, it is in common use in the more modern language, as e.g., also in the last benediction of the Shemone-Esra: כאחד ... ברכנו, "bless us, our Father, us all together." שׁניהם goes back to the two זה, understood neut. (as at Ecclesiastes 7:18; cf. on the contrary, Ecclesiastes 6:5). The lxx rightly: καὶ ἐὰν (better: εἴτε) τὰ δύο επὶτὸ αυτὸ ἀγατηά. Luther, who translates: "and if both together it shall be better," has been misled by Jerome.
The proverb now following shows its connection with the preceding by the copula vav. "The tendency of the advice in Ecclesiastes 11:1, Ecclesiastes 11:2, Ecclesiastes 11:6, to secure guarantees for life, is justified in Ecclesiastes 11:7 : life is beautiful, and worthy of being cared for." Thus Hitzig; but the connection is simpler. It is in the spirit of the whole book that, along with the call to earnest activity, there should be the call to the pleasant enjoyment of life: he who faithfully labours has a right to enjoy his life; and this joy of life, based on fidelity to one's calling, and consecrated by the fear of God, is the most real and the highest enjoyment here below. In this sense the fruere vita here connects itself with the labora:
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
"And sweet is the light, and pleasant it is for the eyes to see the sun; for if a man live through many years, he ought to rejoice in them all, and remember the days of darkness; that there will be many of them. All that cometh is vain." Dale translates the copula vav introducing Ecclesiastes 11:7 by "yes," and Bullock by "truly," both thus giving to it a false colouring. "Light," Zckler remarks, stands here for "life." But it means only what the word denotes, viz., the light of life in this world (Psalm 56:14; Job 33:30), to which the sun, as the source of it, is related, as מאור is to אור. Cf. Eurip. Hippol., ὧ λαμπρὸς αἰθὴρ κ.τ.λ, and Iphigen. in Aulis, 1218-19, μὴ μ ̓ ἀπολέσης κ.τ.λ: "Destroy not my youth; to see the light is sweet," etc. The ל in לע has the short vowel Pattach, here and at 1 Samuel 16:7, after the Masora.
The ki beginning Ecclesiastes 11:8 is translated by Knobel, Hitz., Ewald, and others by "ja" (yes); by Heiligstedt, as if a negative preceded by immo; but as the vav of Ecclesiastes 11:7 is copulative "and," so here the ki is causal "for." If it had been said: man must enjoy himself as long as he lives, for the light is sweet, etc., then the joy would have its reason in the opportunity given for it. Instead of this, the occasion given for joy has its reason in this, that a man ought to rejoice, viz., according to God's arrangement and ordinance: the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun; for it ought thus to be, that a man, however long he may live, should continue to enjoy his fair life, especially in view of the night which awaits him. Ki im are not here, as at Ecclesiastes 3:12; Ecclesiastes 8:15, where a negative precedes, to be taken together; but ki assigns the reason, and im begins a hypothetical protasis, as at Exodus 8:17, and frequently. Im, with the conclusion following, presents something impossible, as e.g., Psalm 50:12, si esurirem, or also the extreme of that which is possible as actual, e.g., Isaiah 7:18, si peccata vestra sint instar coccini. In the latter case, the clause with the concessive particle may be changed into a sentence with a concessive conjunctive, as at Isaiah 10:22 : "for though thy people, O Israel, be as numerous as the sand of the sea;" and here: "though a man may live ever so many years." The second ki after ויז is the explicat. quod, as at Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Ecclesiastes 8:17, etc.: he must remember the days of darkness, that there shall be many of them, and, at all events, not fewer than the many years available for the happy enjoyment of life. In this connection kol-shebba' denotes all that will come after this life. If Hitz. remarks that the sentence: "All that is future is vanity," is a false thought, this may now also be said of his own sentence extracted from the words: "All that is, is transitory." For all that is done, in time may pass away; but it is not actually transitory (הבל). But the sentence also respects not all that is future, but all that comes after this life, which must appear as vain (hěvel) to him for whom, as for Koheleth, the future is not less veiled in the dark night of Hades, as it was for Horace, i. 4. 16 s.:
"Jam te premet nox fabulaeque
Manes Et domus exilis Plutonia."
Also, for Koheleth as for Horace, iv. 7. 16, man at last becomes pulvis et umbra, and that which thus awaits him is hevel. Tyler is right, that "the shadowy and unsubstantial condition of the dead and the darkness of Sheol" is thus referred to. הבּא signifies not that which is nascens, but futurum, e.g., Sanhedrin 27a, "from the present ולהבא and for the future" (for which, elsewhere, the expression לעתיד לבא is used). The Venet. construes falsely: All (the days) in which vanity will overtake (him); and Luther, referring בא as the 3rd pers. to the past, follows the misleading of Jerome. Rightly the lxx and Theod.: πᾶν τὸ ἐρξηόμενον.
But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
"Rejoice, young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know, that for all this God will bring thee to judgment." The parallel בּימי shows that the beth in בּילד (with ד aspirated) does not introduce the reason of the joy, but the time suitable for it. Instead of veyithav libbecha, "let thy heart be of good cheer," as the expression might also be, the words are vithivecha libbecha, "make thy heart of good cheer to thee," - so, viz., that from this centre brightness may irradiate thy countenance (Proverbs 15:13) and thy whole personality, vid., Psychologie, p. 249. Vehhuroth, the period of youth, is here and at Ecclesiastes 12:1 equals Numbers 11:28, vehhurim, as the only once occurring ne'uroth, Jeremiah 32:30, is equals the elsewhere generally used ne'urim; the form in ôth is the more modern (cf. keluloth, Jeremiah 2:2). "Ways of the heart" are thus ways into which the impulse of the heart leads, and which satisfy the heart. מר עין, at Ecclesiastes 6:9, designates the pleasure felt in the presence of the object before one; here, a sight which draws and fastens the eyes upon it. The Chethı̂b has the plur. מראי, which is known to the language (Daniel 1:15; Sol 2:14), and which would here designate the multitude of the objects which delight the eyes, which is not unsuitable; the Pih. הלּך denotes also elsewhere, frequently, e.g., Psalm 131:1, walking, in an ethical sense; Hitz., Zckl., and others interpret the first ב as specifying the sphere, and the second as specifying the norm ("according to the sight of thine eyes"); but they both introduce that wherein he ought to act freely and joyfully: in the ways of thy heart, into which it draws thee; and in the sight of thine eyes, towards which they direct themselves with interest. The lxx B. renders, "and not after the sight of thine eyes." This "not" (μή), which is wanting in A.C., is an interpolation, in view of the warning, Numbers 15:39, against following the impulse of the heart and of the eyes; the Targ. also therefore has: "be prudent with reference to the sight of thine eyes." But this moralizing of the text is superfluous, since the call to the youthful enjoyment of life is accompanied with the nota bene: but know that God will bring thee to an account for all this; and thus it excludes sinful sensual desire. In the midst of an address, where a yet closer definition follows, בּמש is thus punctuated, Ecclesiastes 12:14; Job 14:3; Psalm 143:3; here, in the conclusion of the sentence, it is במש. Hitzig supposes that there is denoted by it, that the sins of youth are punished by chronic disease and abandonment in old age; Knobel and others understand by the judgment, the self-punishment of sins by all manner of evil consequences, which the O.T. looks upon as divinely inflicted penalties. But in view of the facts of experience, that God's righteous requital is in this life too frequently escaped, Ecclesiastes 8:14, the author, here and at Ecclesiastes 3:17; Ecclesiastes 12:14, postulates a final judgment, which removes the contradiction of this present time, and which must thus be in the future; he has no clear idea of the time and manner of this final judgment, but his faith in God places the certainty of it beyond all doubt. The call to rejoice is now completed by the call to avoid all that occasions inward and outward sorrow.
Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
"And remove sorrow from thy heart, and banish evil from thy flesh: for youth and age, not yet grown to grey hairs, are vain." Jerome translates: aufer iram a corde tuo, and remarks in his Comm.: in ira omnes perturbationes animi comprehendit; but כּעס (R. כס, contundere, confringere) does not signify anger, but includes both anger and sorrow, and thus corresponds to the specific ideas, "sadness, moroseness, fretfulness." The clause following, Jerome translates: et amove malitiam a carne tua, with the remark: in carnis malitia universas significat corporis voluptates; but רעה is not taken in an ethical, but in a physical sense: כעס is that which brings sorrow to the heart; and רעה, that which brings evil to the flesh (בשׂר, opp. לב, Ecclesiastes 2:3; Proverbs 14:30). More correctly than the Vulgate, Luther renders: "banish sorrow from thy heart, and put evil from thy body." He ought to free himself from that which is injurious to the inner and the outer man, and hurtfully affects it; for youth, destined for and disposed to joy, is hevel, i.e., transitory, and only too soon passes away. Almost all modern interpreters (excepting the Jewish), in view of Psalm 110:3, gives to שׁחרוּת the meaning of "the dawn of the morning;" but the connection with ילדוּת would then be tautological; the Mishn.-Midrash usus loq., in conformity with which the Targ. translates, "days of black hair," proves that the word does not go back to שׁחר, morning dawn, morning-red, but immediately to שׁחור, black, and as the contrast of שׂיבה (non-bibl. שׂיבוּת, סיב, סב), canities, denotes the time of black hair, and thus, in the compass of its conception, goes beyond ילדות, since it comprehends both the period of youth and of manhood, and thus the whole period during which the strength of life remains unbroken.
(Note: The Mishna, Nedarim iii. 8, jurist. determines that שׁחורי הראשׁ denotes men, with the exclusion of women (whose hair is covered) and children. It is disputed (vid., Baer's Abodath Jisrael, p. 279) whether תּשׁחרת, Aboth iii. 16, Derech erez c. II., Midrash under Lamentations 2:11, is equals שׁחרוּת, but without right; ben-tishhorěth is used for a grown-up son in full manly strength.)