Qoheleth Chapter Seven

Translation from the Lilly Pad Bible Commentary by K.D. Frogg:

1 Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?
2 Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.
3 So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it. I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
4 Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

5 Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
6 Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
7 Look what it’s done so far.
8 What’s so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
9 Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
All of us under its spell. We know that it’s probably magic.

10 Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices? I’ve heard them calling my name.
11 Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors? The voice might be one and the same.
12 I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it. It’s something that I’m supposed to be.
13 Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.

This is an incredibly difficult to decipher chapter of Qoheleth, probably because it is so popular that it is hard to hear the words in a fresh way.  Basically, it means: horrible, slimy, torturous death comes for us all. Or more simply: give up. Surrender to your grisly fate. The second chapter where we hear that rainbows are only illusions, this is the classic hbl refrain, vanity vanity! All is nothing but illusions and rainbows, and chasing after dreams. The answer then, in verse four is that the only remaining desperate hope left is to eat drink, and hope to find connections. Maybe if we just give up, things will be easier for us.
When it says in chapter seven, “Look what it’s done so far”that is when the last of seven mouths of the gaping horror go crunching down on our shinbones. This is really a depressing book. I do not know why it should even be in the bible. But we keep plodding through it, and somewhere hidden deep inside there is a voice of hope. The real challenge is, when Qoheleth says “Someday we’ll find it” and we hear “it’s probably magic” ringing in our ears, we have to look past the rhetoric and remember that this is a depressing passage about the stench of death.
The phrase “is this the sweet sound that called the yong sailors?” in chapter eleven is an obscure Hebrewism that doesn’t really translate to our modern context. The best way I can describe what Qoheleth may be trying to get at here is that the word pbbbth here translated as “sailors” is actually closer to what we might call a whanderplink. It’s one of those dongles that you can widget in your app bin. I hope that clears that up a little bit. Hebrew is clunky enough as it is, and translating it is doubly so.
The meaning of chapter thirteen, is so obscure that your guess is as good as mine. I think the answer might be hidden deep in the quandary of whether I am a muppet or a man. Luther’s gloss on this passage is that he is “a very manly Muppet.” (LW 906, 23). You can see, Luther thinks that Qoheleth was really depressed when he wrote this.

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