Ecclesiastes 1:5
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to his place where he arose.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Hasteth.—Heb., panteth. The word is used of eager desire (Job 7:2; Psalm 119:131).

Where he arose.—Better, there to rise again.

Ecclesiastes 1:5-6. The sun also riseth — The sun is in perpetual motion, rising, setting, and rising again, and so constantly repeating its course in all succeeding days, and years, and ages; and the like he observes concerning the winds and rivers, Ecclesiastes 1:6-7; and the design of these similitudes seems to be, to show the vanity of all worldly things, and that man’s mind can never be satisfied with them, because there is nothing in the world but a constant repetition of the same things, which is so irksome, that the consideration thereof hath made some persons weary of their lives; and there is no new thing under the sun, as is added in the foot of the account, (Ecclesiastes 1:9,) which seems to be given us as a key to understand the meaning of the foregoing passages. And this is certain from experience, that the things of this world are so narrow, and the mind of man so vast, that there must be something new to satisfy the mind; and even delightful things, by too frequent repetition, are so far from yielding satisfaction, that they grow tedious and troublesome. The wind goeth, &c. — The wind also sometimes blows from one quarter of the world, and sometimes from another; successively returning to the same quarters in which it had formerly been.1:4-8 All things change, and never rest. Man, after all his labour, is no nearer finding rest than the sun, the wind, or the current of the river. His soul will find no rest, if he has it not from God. The senses are soon tired, yet still craving what is untried.Hasteth ... - literally, at his place panting (in his eagerness) riseth he there. 5. (Ps 19:5, 6). "Panting" as the Hebrew for "hasteth"; metaphor, from a runner (Ps 19:5, "a strong man") in a "race." It applies rather to the rising sun, which seems laboriously to mount up to the meridian, than to the setting sun; the accents too favor Maurer, "And (that too, returning) to his place, where panting he riseth." The sun is in perpetual motion, sometimes arising, and sometimes setting, and then arising again, and so constantly repeating its courses in all succeeding days, and years, and ages; and the like he observes concerning the winds and rivers, Ecclesiastes 1:6,7. And the design of these similitudes seems to be, either,

1. That by representing the constant changes and restless motions of these particular things he might intimate that it is so with all other earthly things; and therefore no man can expect satisfaction from them. Or,

2. That by comparing the sun, and wind, and rivers, as, Ecclesiastes 1:4, he compared the earth with man, he might show that man, considered as mortal, is in a more unhappy condition than these things, because when the earth abides, man goes; and when the sun sets, he riseth again; and so the wind and rivers return to their former place and state, but man, when once he dies, he never returns again to this life; of which comparison see Job 14:7,12. Or,

3. To show the vanity of all worldly things, and that man’s mind can never be satisfied with them, because there is nothing in the world but a constant repetition of the same things, which is so irksome a thing, that the consideration thereof hath made some persons weary of their lives; and there is no new thing under the sun, as is added in the foot of the account, Ecclesiastes 1:9, which seems to me to be given as a key to understand the meaning of the foregoing passages. And this is manifest and certain from experience, that the things of this world are so narrow, and the mind of man so vast, that there must be something new to satisfy the mind; and even delightful things, by too frequent repetition or long continuance, are so far from yielding satisfaction, that they grow tedious and troublesome. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The sun rises in the morning and sets at evening in our hemisphere, according to the appearance of things; and then it makes haste to go round the other hemisphere in the night: it "pants", as the word (t) signifies; the same figure is used by other writers (u); like a man out of breath with running; so this glorious body, which rejoiceth as a strong man to run his race, and whose circuit is from one end of the heavens to the other, Psalm 19:5; is in haste to get to the place where he rose in the morning, and there he makes no stop, but pursues his course in the same track again. By this instance is exemplified the succession of the generations of men one after another, as the rising and setting of the sun continually follows each other; and also sets forth the restless state of things in the world, which, like the sun, are never at a stand, but always moving, and swiftly taking their course; and likewise the changeable state of man, who, like the rising sun, and when at noon day, is in flourishing circumstances, and in the height of prosperity, but as this declines and sets, so he has his declining times and days of adversity. Moreover, like the rising sun, he comes into this world and appears for a while, and then, like the setting sun, he dies; only with this difference, in which the sun has the preference to him, as the earth before had; the sun hastens and comes to its place from whence it arose, but man lies down and rises not again till the heavens be no more, and never returns to his place in this world, that knows him no more, Job 7:10. The Jews (w) say, before the sun of one righteous, man sets, the sun of another righteous man rises.

(t) "anhelus", Montanus, Tigurine version; "anhelat", Drusius, Piscator, Cocceius, Amama; "anhelaus est", Rambachius; "doth he breathe", Broughton. (u) "Placebits anhelat", Claudian. Epigrarm. "Equis oriens afflavit anhelis", Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. v. 250. Aeneid, l. 5. (w) Apud R. Joseph. Titatzak in loc. Midrash Kohelet in loc.

The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. The sun also ariseth] From the standpoint of modern thought the sun might seem even more than the earth to be the type of permanent existence, but with the Hebrew, who looked on it in its phenomenal aspect, it was not so, and the sun accordingly appears as presenting not a contrast, but a parallel, to human mutability and resultless labour. We are reminded of the Rabbinic legend of Abraham’s looking on the sun, and, when half tempted to adore it, repressing the temptation by watching its going down and saying “The God whom I worship must be a God that does not set.” Koran, Sur. 6. Stanley’s Jewish Church, 1. Lect. 1.

hasteth to his place where he arose] The primary meaning of the first of the two verbs is that of the panting of one who travels quickly. Here again we have to think of the belief that, between the sunset and the sunrise, the sun had a long journey to perform, as the Greeks thought, by the great Ocean river, till it returned to the point where it had risen the day before. Possibly the clouds and mists of the morning were thought of as the panting of the sun, as of “the strong man” who “runs his race” (Psalm 19:5).

Parallels present themselves in Psalm 19:5 (“rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race”) and yet more strikingly in Virgil, Georg. i. 250,

Nosque ubi primus equis Oriens adflavit anhelis,

Illic sera rubens accendit lumina Vesper.

“And when to us the sun with panting steeds

Hastens at dawn, far off the star of eve

There lights her glowing lamp.”

Comp. also Æn. xii. 113.Verse 5. - The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down. The sun is another instance of ever-recurring change in the face of an enduring sameness, rising and setting day-by-day, and resting never. The legendary 'Life of Abram' relates how, having been hidden for some years in a cave in order to escape the search of Nimrod, when he emerged from his concealment, and for the first time beheld heaven and earth, he began to inquire who was the Creator of the wonders around him. When the sun arose and flooded the scene with its glorious light, he at once concluded that that bright orb must be the creative Deity, and offered his prayers to it all day long. But when it sank in darkness, he repented of his illusion, being persuaded that the sun could not have made the world and be itself subject to extinction (see 'Abraham: his Life and Times,' p. 12). And hasteth to his place where he arose; literally, and panteth (equivalent to hasteth, longeth to go) to its place arising there; i.e. the sun, sinking in the west, eagerly during the night returns to the east, duly to rise there in the morning. The "place" is the region of reappearance. The Septuagint gives, "The sun arises, and the sun sets, and draws (ἕλκει) unto its place;" and then carries the idea into the following verse: "Arising there, it proceedeth southward," etc. The Vulgate supports the rendering; but there is no doubt that the Authorized Version gives substantially the sense of the Hebrew text as accentuated. The verb שׁאפ (shaaph), as Delitzsch shows, implies "punting," not from fatigue, but in eager pursuit of something; and all notions of panting steeds or morning exhalations are quite foreign from the conception of the passage. The notion which Koheleth desires to convey is that the sun makes no real progress; its eager punting merely brings it to the old place, there to recommence its monotonous routine. Rosenmüller quotes Catullus, 'Carm.,' 5:4-6, on which, Doering cites Lotich., 'Eleg.,' 3:7. 23 -

"Ergo ubi permensus coelum sol occidit, idem
Purpureo vestit lumine rursus humum;
Nos, ubi decidimus, defuncti muncre vitae,
Urget perpetua hmina nocte sopor."
But our passage does not contrast the revival of the sun every morning with man's eternal sleep in death. What now follows is not a continuation of the husband's words of praise (Ewald, Elster, Lwenstein), but an epiphonema auctoris (Schultens); the poet confirms the praise of the husband by referring it to the general ground of its reason:

30 ש Grace is deceit; and beauty, vanity -

        A wife that feareth Jahve, she shall be praised.

Grace is deceit, because he who estimates the works of a wife merely by the loveliness of her external appearance, is deceived by it; and beauty is vanity, vanitas, because it is nothing that remains, nothing that is real, but is subject to the law of all material things - transitoriness. The true value of a wife is measured only by that which is enduring, according to the moral background of its external appearance; according to the piety which makes itself manifest when the beauty of bodily form has faded away, in a beauty which is attractive.

(Note: Vid., the application of Proverbs 31:30 in Taanith 26b: "Young man," say the maidens, "lift up thine eyes and behold that which thou choosest for thyself! Direct thine eyes not to beauty (נוי), direct thine eyes to the family (משׁפחה); pleasantness is a deception, etc.")

יראת (with Makkeph following),

(Note: The writing יראת־ is that of Ben Asher, יראת that of Ben Naphtali; Norzi, from a misunderstanding, claims יראת־ (with Gaja) as Ben Asher's manner of writing.)

is here the connective form of יראה (fem. of ירא). The Hithpa. תתהלּל is here manifestly (Proverbs 27:2) not reflexive, but representative of the passive (cf. Proverbs 12:8, and the frequently occurring מהלּל, laudatus equals laudandus), nowhere occurring except in the passage before us. In itself the fut. may also mean: she will be praised equals is worthy of praise, but the jussive rendering (Luther: Let her be praised) is recommended by the verse which follows:

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