Ecclesiastes 12:11
The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
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(11) Words of the wise.—In this and the next verse the weighty words of sages, such as was Kohéleth, are contrasted with the volubility of modern bookmakers. Though the general purpose of the verses is plain, the words used are enigmatical, and one cannot feel great confidence in assigning their precise meaning. The translation of our version fairly represents the original, if it is observed that the words “by” and “which,” which determine the meaning, are in italics. With regard to the “nail,” compare Ezra 9:8; Isaiah 22:23. The word “masters” we have had twice in this book already in the sense of possessor, “master of the tongue” (Ecclesiastes 10:11), “master of wings” (Ecclesiastes 10:20). “Assemblies” is a word not coming from the same root as that from which Kohéleth is derived. It might mean collections of sayings as well as of people. It is difficult to affix any meaning to the last clause, except that the sages, of whom the verse speaks, have been given for the instruction of the people by Israel’s great Shepherd (Psalm 80:1).

12:8-14 Solomon repeats his text, VANITY OF VANITIES, ALL IS VANITY. These are the words of one that could speak by dear-bought experience of the vanity of the world, which can do nothing to ease men of the burden of sin. As he considered the worth of souls, he gave good heed to what he spake and wrote; words of truth will always be acceptable words. The truths of God are as goads to such as are dull and draw back, and nails to such as are wandering and draw aside; means to establish the heart, that we may never sit loose to our duty, nor be taken from it. The Shepherd of Israel is the Giver of inspired wisdom. Teachers and guides all receive their communications from him. The title is applied in Scripture to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The prophets sought diligently, what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. To write many books was not suited to the shortness of human life, and would be weariness to the writer, and to the reader; and then was much more so to both than it is now. All things would be vanity and vexation, except they led to this conclusion, That to fear God, and keep his commandments, is the whole of man. The fear of God includes in it all the affections of the soul towards him, which are produced by the Holy Spirit. There may be terror where there is no love, nay, where there is hatred. But this is different from the gracious fear of God, as the feelings of an affectionate child. The fear of God, is often put for the whole of true religion in the heart, and includes its practical results in the life. Let us attend to the one thing needful, and now come to him as a merciful Saviour, who will soon come as an almighty Judge, when he will bring to light the things of darkness, and manifest the counsels of all hearts. Why does God record in his word, that ALL IS VANITY, but to keep us from deceiving ourselves to our ruin? He makes our duty to be our interest. May it be graven in all our hearts. Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is all that concerns man.literally, Words of wise men are as goads, and as nails driven in (by) masters of assemblies; they are given from one shepherd: "goads," because they rouse the hearer and impel him to right actions; "nails" (perhaps tent-spikes), because they remain fixed in the memory: "masters of assemblies" are simply "teachers" or "preachers" (see Ecclesiastes 1:1 note), instructors of such assemblies as Wisdom addresses Proverbs 1:20.

One shepherd - i. e., God, who is the supreme Giver of wisdom Proverbs 2:6, and the chief Shepherd Jeremiah 23:1-4. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.

11. goads—piercing deeply into the mind (Ac 2:37; 9:5; Heb 4:12); evidently inspired words, as the end of the verse proves.

fastened—rather, on account of the Hebrew genders, (The words) "are fastened (in the memory) like nails" [Holden].

masters of assemblies—rather, "the masters of collections (that is, collectors of inspired sayings, Pr 25:1), are given ('have published them as proceeding' [Holden]) from one Shepherd," namely, the Spirit of Jesus Christ [Weiss], (Eze 37:24). However, the mention of "goads" favors the English Version, "masters of assemblies," namely, under-shepherds, inspired by the Chief Shepherd (1Pe 5:2-4). Schmidt translates, "The masters of assemblies are fastened (made sure) as nails," so Isa 22:23.

The words of the wise; not of secularly or politicly wise men, but of the spiritually wise and holy men of God; of which, and not of the former, this whole context treats.

As goads, and as nails, piercing into men’s dull minds and hard hearts, and quickening and provoking them to the practice of all their duties.

Fastened; which do not only amuse and startle men for the present, as the wise and grave counsels of moral philosophers frequently do, but make powerful and abiding impressions in them; which is the peculiar effect of God’s word.

By the masters of assemblies; by the teachers of God’s church and people, whether prophets or others, appointed by God for that work.

Which are given from one shepherd; from God, or from Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd and Teacher of the church in all ages, by whose Spirit the ancient prophets, as well as other succeeding teachers, were inspired and taught, Jeremiah 3:15 1 Peter 1:11 2 Peter 1:21. And this clause seems to be added partly as the reason of that admirable harmony and agreement which is amongst all the men of God in all ages and places, because they are all taught by one Master, and guided by the same hand; and partly to oblige us to the greater attention and reverence to all their doctrines and counsels, which we are to receive as the word of God, and not of men only, as it is said, 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

The words of the wise are as goads,.... As the goad teacheth the ox; so the Targum. Not the words of the wise philosophers of that age, or of ages before, or since; but of the inspired penmen of the Scriptures, as Moses, David, Solomon, and of others since; and of all good men, whose doctrines are agreeably to them; these are like "goads" or "pricks", sharp pointed sticks or staves, with which men push and prick their cattle, when driving them from place to place, or ploughing with them: and of a similar use are the doctrines of the word, when attended with a divine efficacy; these are a means of pricking sinners to the heart; and of laying open their vileness and sinfulness to them; and of repentance and contrition; and of awakening them from a sleep in sin to a sense of their danger; and even of killing them, as to their own sense and apprehension of things, and, with respect to their hopes of life, by their own works; as the Philistines were slain by Shamgar with an ox goad, Judges 3:31; see Acts 2:37; and these are also of use to the saints, as goads, to stir them up, when slothful, to the discharge of duty; and to awaken them, when drowsy, out of their carnal security; and to correct them for their faults, by sharp reproofs and rebukes; as well as to excite them to go on to perfection, who are apt to sit still and lie down; and to direct them to walk straight on, without turning to the right hand or left;

and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies; like these are the truths and doctrines of the word, when they have a place in the heart, and become the "ingrafted word" there; when they are "planted" (e) in the soul, as the word signifies; when they are fixed in the mind and memory, and dwell and abide there: and when as nails, driven into anything, fasten what they are drove into; so these are the means of fastening souls; of causing them to cleave to God and Christ; to the church, and his people, and to one another; and to the Gospel, and their profession of it; hence they are not like children, tossed to and fro, wavering and unstable: of all which "the masters of the assemblies" are the instruments; that is, ministers and pastors of churches. As there were assemblies for religious worship under the law, in which the prophets, priests, and Levites, assisted; so there are assemblies or churches under the Gospel dispensation, which are gathered and meet together for the service of God, and over these the ministers of the word preside; these are set over the churches in the Lord, and have the rule of them; though they are not to lord it over God's heritage, or have the dominion over their faith; but are helpers of their joy, and useful in the above things, through their ministry. Some choose to render "masters of collections", or "gatherings" (f); and think it may respect their gathering truths out of the sacred writings, as the bee gathers honey out of the flowers; in allusion to those that gathered together the choice and pithy sentences and sayings of others, like the men of Hezekiah, Proverbs 25:1; or to undershepherds, gathering the sheep into the fold (g), by the order of the principal one; who made use of goads, to drive away thieves or wild beasts; and nails, to preserve the sheepfold whole. And others think that not the words, but the of the assemblies themselves, are compared to "nails", and read them, "and the masters of the assemblies are as nails fastened" (h); are well established, firm and sure; see Isaiah 22:23; and others take it to be no other than an epithet of the nails themselves, and render it, "as nails fixed, which are binders"; that is, great binding nails, which, being fixed in boards, bind, compact, and hold them together; to which the words of the wise may be compared, being the means of compacting and holding together the church of God, comparable to a sheepfold; hence mention is made of the shepherd in the next clause: or of fixing the attention of the minds of men unto them, and of retaining them in memory, and to which they speak of as first principles, and never swerve from them (i); but, that not ministers, the instruments, but the principal and efficient cause, may have the glory, is added,

which are given from one Shepherd; not Zerubbabel, as Grotius; nor Moses, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Alshech; but Christ, the one Shepherd, set over the flock; and under whom the masters of assemblies, or pastors of churches, are, Ezekiel 37:23; from whom they have their gifts and qualifications, their mission and commissions; and are given to the churches, as pastors and teachers, to feed them, Ephesians 4:10; and from whom they have their food, the Gospel and the doctrines of it, to feed the flocks with, assigned to their care, John 17:8; though this is to be understood not to the exclusion of God, the Father of Christ, by whom all Scripture is inspired; nor of the Spirit, by whom holy men of God spake as they were moved, 2 Timothy 3:16.

(e) "plantati", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Rambachius. (f) "auctores, vel dominos collectionum", Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus. (g) Vid. Lightfoot, vol. 2. p. 575. (h) "Veluti clavi. infixi sunt domini, vel magistri congregationum", Schmidt. (i) Vid. De Dieu & Cocceium in loc. & Vitringam de Synag. Vet. l. 1. par 2. c. 8. p. 377. & Hyde Not. in Peritzol. Itinera Mundi, p. 94.

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails {x} fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one {y} shepherd.

(x) Which are well applied by the ministers, whom he calls masters.

(y) That is by God.

11. The words of the wise are as goads] The general fact is, of course, stated in special connexion with the book which furnishes the writer’s theme. They assert that its words also, sweet as they seem, are not without their sting, though, like the prick of the goad, it is for good and not for evil, urging men on to strong and vigorous labour in the fields of thought and action. The comparison was a natural one in any country, but we are reminded of what was said of the words of Pericles that his eloquence “left a sting (κέντρον) in the minds of his hearers (Eupolis, quoted by Liddell and Scott, s. v. κέντρον), and in part also of the Greek proverb, consecrated for us by a yet higher application (Acts 9:5; Acts 26:14) that “it is hard to kick against the pricks,” as applicable to resisting wisdom as well as to defying power (Æsch. Agam. 1633, Pindar, Pyth, ii. 173).

as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies] The word for “nails” is found in this, or a cognate form, with that meaning in Isaiah 41:7; Jeremiah 10:4; 1 Chronicles 22:3; 2 Chronicles 3:9; and there is no adequate reason for taking it here, as some have done (Ginsburg), in the sense of the “stakes” of a tent. The word “by” however is an interpolation, and the words taken as they stand would run as nails fastened are the masters of assemblies. The whole analogy of the Hebrew is against our referring the last words to any but persons, and we must therefore reject the interpretation that the “words of the wise are as goads, as fastened nails which are put together in collections” (Delitzsch). The “masters of assemblies” (not, as it has been rendered (Tyler) “editors of collections”,) can be none else than the heads or leaders of a body of learned men, like the Great Synagogue of the traditions of the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, or the Sanhedrin of a later date. In “the fastened nail” we have a symbolism like that of Isaiah 22:23; Ezra 9:8, and seen also in the Rabbinic proverb, “Well for the man who has a nail to hang things on” (Dukes, Rabbin. Blumenlese, p. 121). In both these cases, it will be noted, the word refers to persons. It is the fitting emblem of fixity and permanence, and forms the natural complement to that of the goads. As it has been well put (Ginsburg), the two words express the several aspects of Truth as progressive and conservative.

which are given from one shepherd] The noun is used often in the O. T. both in its literal sense, and of kings and rulers as the shepherds of their people (Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 3:15; Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44; Ezekiel 34 passim), and of God as the great Shepherd of Israel (Psalm 23:1; Psalm 80:1, and by implication, Ezekiel 34:23). We have to choose accordingly between the two latter meanings. The words either assert that all the varied forms of the wisdom of the wise come from God, or that all the opinions, however diversified, which are uttered by “the masters of assemblies,” are subject to the authority of the President of the assembly. The first gives, it is believed, the most satisfactory meaning, and so taken, the words express the truth declared, without symbolism, in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. It was not, perhaps, without some reference to this thought, though scarcely to this passage, that our Lord claimed for Himself as the one true Guide and Teacher of mankind the title of the “Good Shepherd,” and condemned all that had come before Him, assuming that character, as thieves and robbers (John 10:8; John 10:11), and that St Peter speaks of Him as the “chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4) over all who exercise a pastoral office in the Church of Christ.

Verse 11. - The words of the wise are as goads. The connection of this verse with the preceding is maintained by the fact that the "acceptable words," etc., are words of the wise, emanate from the same persons. Herewith he proceeds to characterize them, with especial reference to his own work. The goad was a rod with an iron spike, or sharpened at the end, used in driving oxen (see Judges 3:31; 1 Samuel 13:21; Ecclus. 38:25; Acts 9:5). Words of wisdom are called goads because they rouse to exertion, promote reflection and action, restrain from error, impel to right; if they hurt and sting, the pain which they inflict is healthful, for good and not for evil. And as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies. The proposition "by" is an interpolation, and the sentence should run: Ant/ like nails fastened [are] the, etc. - masmeroth, "nails," as in Isaiah 41:7. There is much difficulty in explaining the next words, בַּעַלִי אַסֻפות (baale asuppoth). We have had similar expressions applied to possessors in Ecclesiastes 10:11, "lord of the tongue," and "lord of wings" (Ecclesiastes 10:20); and analogy might lead us to apply the phrase here to-persons, and not things; but in Isaiah 41:15 we find a threshing-instrument termed "lord of teeth;" and in 2 Samuel 5:20 a town is called Baal-Perazim, "Lord of breaches;" so we must be guided by other considerations in our exposition. The Septuagint, taking the whole sentence together, and regarding baals as a preposition, renders, "As nails firmly planted, (οι{ παρᾶ τῶν συνθεμάτων ἐδόθησαν ἐκ ποιμένος ἑνός) which from the collections were given from one shepherd." Schleus-her takes οι{ παρὰ τῶν συνθεμάτων to mean, "Ii quibus munus datum erat collectionem faciendi," i.e. the author, of collections. The Vulgate has, Verba... quae per magistrorum consilium data sunt a pastore uno. The "masters of assemblies" can only be the chiefs of some learned conclaves, like the great synagogue supposed to exist in the time of Ezra and later. The clause would then assert that these pundits are like fastened nails, which seems rather unmeaning. One might say that their uttered sentiments became fixed in the mind as nails firmly driven in, but one could not properly say this of the men themselves. A late editor, Gietmann, suggests that "lords of collection" may mean "brave men, heroes, gathered in line of battle," serried ranks, just as in Proverbs 22:20 the term shalishim, chariot-fighters, chieftains, is applied to choice proverbs. Thus he would say that the words of the wise are as goads because they stimulate the intellect, as nails because they readily find entrance, and like men in battle array when they are reduced to writing and marshaled in a book. This is certainly ingenious, but somewhat too artificial to be regarded as the genuine intention of the writer. It seems best to take the word translated "assemblies" as denoting collections, not of people, but of proverbs; and the compound phrase would thus mean proverbs of an excellent character, the best of their sort gathered together in writing. Such words are well compared to nails; they are no longer floating loosely about, they are fixed in the memory, they secure other knowledge, and, though they are separate utterances, they have a certain unity and purpose. Nails are often used proverbially as emblems of what is fixed and unalterable. Thus AEschyl., 'Suppl.,' 944 -

Τῶν δ ἐφήλωται τορῶς`ΝΛ´Γόμφος διαμπὰξ ὡς μένειν ἀραρότως

"Through them a nail is firmly fixed, that they
May rest immovable."
Cicero, 'Verr.,' 2:5.21, "Ut hoc beneficium, quemadmodum dicitur, trabali clave figeret;" i.e. to make it sure and steadfast (comp. Horace, 'Carm.,' 1:35. 17, et seq.). Which are given from one shepherd. All these words of the wise, collections, etc., proceed from one source, or are set forth by one authority. Who is] this shepherd? Some say that he is the archisynagogus, the president of the assemblies of wise men, to whose authority all these public utterances are subjected. But we do not know that such supervision existed or was exercised at the time when Koheleth wrote; and, as we saw above, there is probably no reference to any such assemblies in the passage. The "one shepherd" is doubtless Jehovah, who is called the Shepherd of Israel, who feeds his people like a flock, etc. (see Genesis 48:15; Genesis 49:24; Psalm 23:1; Psalm 80:1, etc.). The appellation is here used as concinnous with the thought of the ox-goad, intimating that God watches and leads his people like a tender shepherd and a skilful farmer. This is an important claim to inspiration. All these varied utterances, whatever form they take, whether his own or his predecessor's, are outcomes of wisdom, and proceed from him who is only wise, Almighty God. It is no disparagement of this work to imply that it is not the production of the true Solomon; Koheleth is ready to avow himself the writer, and yet claims a hearing as being equally moved by heavenly influence. It is like St. Paul's assertion (1 Corinthians 7:40), "I think that I also have the Spirit of God." Ecclesiastes 12:11From the words of Koheleth the author comes to the words of the wise man in general; so that what he says of the latter finds its application to himself and his book: "Words of the wise are as like goads, and like fastened nails which are put together in collections - they are given by one shepherd." The lxx, Aq., and Theod. translate darvonoth by βούκεντρα, the Venet. by βουπλῆγες; and that is also correct. The word is one of three found in the Jerus. Gemara, Sanhedrin x. 1, to designate a rod for driving (oxen) - דרבן (from דרב, to sharpen, to point), מלמד (from למד, to adjust, teach, exercise), and מרדּע (from רדע, to hold back, repellere); we read ka-dārevonoth; Gesen., Ewald, Hitz., and others are in error in reading dorvonoth; for the so-called light Metheg, which under certain circumstances can be changed into an accent, and the Kametz chatuph exclude one another.

(Note: The Kametz is the Kametz gadhol (opp. Kametz chatuph), and may for this reason have the accent Munach instead of Metheg. Vid., Michlol 153b, 182b. The case is the same as at Genesis 39:3, where mimmachoraath is to be read. Cf. Baer's Metheg-Setz. 27 and 18.)

If דרבן is the goad, the point of comparison is that which is to be excited intellectually and morally. Incorrectly, Gesen., Hitz., and others: like goads, because easily and deeply impressing themselves on the heart as well as on the memory. For goads, aculei, the Hebrews use the word קוצים; darevonoth also are goads, but designed for driving on, thus stimuli (Jerome); and is there a more natural commendation for the proverbs of the wise men than that they incite to self-reflection, and urge to all kinds of noble effort? Divre and darevonoth have the same three commencing consonants, and, both for the ear and the eye, form a paronomasia. In the following comparison, it is a question whether ba'ale asuppoth (plur. of ba'al asuppoth, or of the double plur. ba'al asuppah, like e.g., sare missim, Exodus 1:11, of sar mas) is meant of persons, like ba'al hallashon, Ecclesiastes 10:11, cf. ba'al kenaphayim, Ecclesiastes 10:20, or of things, as ba'al piphiyoth, Isaiah 41:15; and thus, whether it is a designation parallel to חכמים or to דברי. The Talm. Jer. Sanhedrin x. 1, wavers, for there it is referred first to the members of the assemblies (viz., of the Sanedrium), and then is explained by "words which are spoken in the assembly." If we understand it of persons, as it was actually used in the Talm., then by asuppoth we must understand the societies of wise men, and by ba'ale asuppoth, of the academicians (Venet.: δεσπόται ξυναγμάτων; Luther: "masters of assemblies") belonging to such academies. But an appropriate meaning of this second comparison is not to be reached in this way. For if we translate: and as nails driven in are the members of the society, it is not easy to see what this wonderful comparison means; and what is then further said: they are given from one shepherd, reminds us indeed of Ephesians 4:11, but, as said of this perfectly unknown great one, is for us incomprehensible. Or if we translate, after Isaiah 28:1 : and (the words of the wise are) like the fastened nails of the members of the society, it is as tautological as if I should say: words of wise men are like fastened nails of wise men bound together in a society (as a confederacy, union). Quite impossible are the translations: like nails driven in by the masters of assemblies (thus e.g., Lightfoot, and recently Bullock), for the accus. with the pass. particip. may express some nearer definition, but not (as of the genit.) the effective cause; and: like a nail driven in are the (words) of the masters of assemblies (Tyler: "those of editors of collections"), for ellipt. genit., dependent on a governing word carrying forward its influence, are indeed possible, e.g., Isaiah 61:7, but that a governing word itself, as ba'ale, may be the governed genit. of one omitted, as here divre, is without example.

(Note: Regarding this omission of the muḍâf the governing noun, where this is naturally supplied before a genitive from the preceding, cf. Samachschari's Mufaṣṣal, p. 43, l. 8-13.)

It is also inconsistent to understand ba'ale asuppoth after the analogy of ba'ale masoreth (the Masoretes) and the like. It will not be meant of the persons of the wise, but of the proverbs of the wise. So far we agree with Lang and Hoelem. Lang (1874) thinks to come to a right understanding of the "much abused" expression by translating, "lords of troops," - a designation of proverbs which, being by many acknowledged and kept in remembrance, possess a kind of lordship over men's minds; but that is already inadmissible, because asuppoth designates not any multitude of men, but associations with a definite end and aim. Hoelem. is content with this idea; for he connects together "planted as leaders of assemblies," and finds therein the thought, that the words of the wise serve as seeds and as guiding lights for the expositions in the congregation; but ba'ale denotes masters, not in the sense of leaders, but of possessors; and as ba'ale berith, Genesis 14:13, signifies "the confederated," ba'ale shevu'ah, Nehemiah 6:18, "the sworn," and the frequently occurring ba'ale ha'ir, "the citizens;" so ba'ale asuppoth means, the possessors of assemblies and of the assembled themselves, or the possessors of collections and of the things collected. Thus ba'ale asuppoth will be a designation of the "words of the wise" (as in shalishim, choice men equals choice proverbs, Proverbs 22:20, in a certain measure personified), also of those which form or constitute collections, and which stand together in order and rank (Hitz., Ewald, Elst., Zckl., and others). Of such it may properly be said, that they are like nails driven in, for they are secured against separations, - they are, so to speak, made nail-feast, they stand on one common ground; and their being fixed in such connection not only is a help to the memory, but also to the understanding of them. The Book of Koheleth itself is such an asuppah; for it contains a multitude of separate proverbs, which are thoughtfully ranged together, and are introduced into the severe, critical sermon on the nothingness of all earthly things as oases affording rest and refreshment; as similarly, in the later Talmudic literature, Haggadic parts follow long stretches of hair-splitting dialectics, and afford to the reader an agreeable repose.

And when he says of the "proverbs of the wise," individually and as formed into collections: אחד נתּנוּ מרעה, i.e., they are the gift of one shepherd, he gives it to be understood that his "words of Koheleth," if not immediately written by Solomon himself, have yet one fountain with the Solomonic Book of Proverbs, - God, the one God, who guides and cares as a shepherd for all who fear Him, and suffers them to want nothing which is necessary to their spiritual support and advancement (Psalm 23:1; Psalm 28:9). "Mēro'eh ehad," says Grtz, "is yet obscure, since it seldom, and that only poetically, designates the Shepherd of Israel. It cannot certainly refer to Moses." Not to Moses, it is true (Targ.), nor to Solomon, as the father, the pattern, and, as it were, the patron of "the wise," but to God, who is here named the ἀρχιποίμην as spiritual preserver (provider), not without reference to the figure of a shepherd from the goad, and the figure of household economy from the nails; for רעה, in the language of the Chokma (Proverbs 5:21), is in meaning cogn. to the N.T. conception of edification.

(Note: Vid., my Heb. Rmerbrief, p. 97.)

Regarding masmeroth (iron nails), the word is not used of tent spikes (Spohn, Ginsb.), - it is masc., the sing. is משׂמר (מסמר), Arab. mismâr. נטוּעים is equals תּקוּעים (cf. Daniel 11:45 with Genesis 31:25), post-bibl. (vid., Jer. Sanhedrin) קבוּעים (Jerome, in altum defixi). Min with the pass., as at Job 21:1; Job 28:4; Psalm 37:23 (Ewald, 295b), is not synonymous with the Greek ὑπό. The lxx well: "given by those of the counsel from one shepherd." Hitzig reads מרעה, and accordingly translates: "which are given united as a pasture," but in mēro'eh ehad there lies a significant apologetic hint in favour of the collection of proverbs by the younger Solomon (Koheleth) in relation to that of the old. This is the point of the verse, and it is broken off by Hitzig's conjecture.

(Note: J. F. Reimmann, in the preface to his Introduction to the Historia Litterarum antediluviana, translates, Ecclesiastes 12:11 : "The words of the wise are like hewn-out marble, and the beautiful collectanea like set diamonds, which are presented by a good friend." A Disputatio philologica by Abr. Wolf, Knigsberg 1723, contends against this παρερμεενεία.)

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