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where they seem to have had it in view.* It was inserted, however, in that canon which received the approval and ratification of our blessed Lord, (Luke xxiv. 44,) a circumstance completely establishing its canonical authority; and formed a part of that Scripture which, St. Paul affirms, was
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. iii. 16.) This testimony is completely decisive; nor will it make any difference in the Apostle's assertion, if the passage be rendered, agreeably to the opinion of several critics, “All inspired Scripture is profitable,” &c.; for in these expressions he must be understood to speak of the Jewish canonical Scriptures, the whole of which are thus pronounced to be inspired. But the correctness of the authorized version, “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” may be abundantly vindicated; and thus we have apostolic and infallible evidence to the divine inspiration of the whole Old Testament.t
The following table of references is given by Carpzov, Introduct, ut supra : Eccles. xi, 5, with John jii. 8. Eccles. vii. 15, with Matt. vi. 34. v.],xii. 14, Matt. xii. 36.
Rom, ii, 6, et seq. i. 2, 8, Rom. viii. 20.
1 Cor. iv.5, 2 Cor. X. 20, Rom. xiii. 2.
Rom. xii. 3.
2 Cor. vii. 10, 11. xii. 11, Matt. xxiii. 34.
1 Tim. i. 5. John x. 11, 14.
1 John i. 8. + See Dr. Findlay, Divine Inspiration of the Old Testament asserted by St. Paul, 2 Tim. iii. 16. Dr. Blomfield, Diss. on the Traditional Knowledge of a Redeemer, p. 124. Bishop Middleton's Doctrine of the Greek Article, p. 566.
OF THE TITLE Koheleth.
The Hebrew title assumed by the author of the book is abmp, Koheleth, respecting the meaning of which various opinions have prevailed among the learned. Lud. de Dieu explains it by the assistance of the Syriac kuhaltho, which signifies exclamation; and he thus makes the inscription of the book to denote, “ the words of the voice of one exclaiming,” comparing it with the title assumed by John the Baptist (John i. 23.) But, were this interpretation of the Syriac word correct, which is, perhaps, doubtful, it would not confirm the notion of de Dieu, as the Hebrew root smp, kahal, nowhere conveys a meaning analogous to the Syriac kuhaltho.
Grotius renders Koheleth by
“ collector,” ovva@pocorns, which, he supposes, was intended to denote, that the various opinions concerning happiness of such as have been reputed wise are collected together in this book; an interpretation completely indefensible, since the root kanal never signifies to collect things, but to assemble men together for sacred, civil, or military purposes.
Nor is it true, that the dogmata of divers wise men are collected and delivered in the work, as the same argument is pursued throughout, and the several parts contribute to one and the same object.
Some, preserving the radical idea of the term, understand it passively, namely, one re-united or gathered to the people of God, thereby signifying Solomon's readmission to the church, and reconciliation withit, in consequence of his repentance.* This, however, though according with the meaning of the root, is inadmissable, inasmuch as Koheleth, agreeably to its grammatical form, cannot be taken in a passive sense. For this reason, namely, the active form of the word, we must reject the opinion of certain Rabbins, who affirm that Solomon is denominated. Koheleth, on account of the wisdom which was so abundantly collected or accumulated in him, not by his own talents and assiduity, but by the divine blessing.t
j D. Jo. Hen. Michaelis maintains, that Solomon assumed the title Koheleth, because he wrote the book for the purpose of recalling: erring mortals from vain and unsatisfactory pursuits to a sacred
* Cocceius, Comm. in loc. and Lex. Heb. in voc. Cartwright, in Eccles. Bishop Reynolds, Comm. on Eccles. i. 1. Leigh, Critica Sacra, in voc.
+ Carpzov, Introduct, at Lib. Bibl. par. ii. cap. 5, § 1.
reverence of God.* This explanation nearly agrees with that formerly proposed by the profoundly-learned Lightfoot, who says, “After his great fall, Solomon recovereth again by repentance, and writeth this book of Ecclesiastes, as his peculiar dirge for that his folly. He calleth himself in it Koheleth, or the Gathering-soul, either recollecting itself, or by admonition gathering others that go astray after vanity.”+ In a similar manner the title is explained by Findlay, who considers it well accommodated to Solomon in this work, “ where his aim is to unite wandering souls from the pursuit of vanities to the prosecution of the supreme good, and where he, as it were, calls a multitude together, to hear and learn from him the path to true felicity.”! This gives a pleasing representation of the title, but is rather fanciful than just, as no authority is produced for attributing either to kahal, or its derivatives, the sense of reclaiming from sin, and conducting to a new and holy life.
The title Koheleth is considered by Desvoeux as equivalent to Sophist, according to its primitive
*“ Ceterum ideo hoc nomen sumsisse videtur, quia homines vagabundos ad Deum rursus ejusque timorem congregaturus totum librum conscripsit, insignis ' hac 'in parte Jesu Christi typus."-Michaelis, Nota Uberiores in Hagiographos V. T. Libros, 3 vols. 4to, Halæ. 1720, Pref. $1. In the portion of this work relating to Ecclesiastes, Michaelis was only author of the Preface, the Notæ being written by Rambachius; but I always cite them in this work thus, “ Michaelis, Not, Uber,"
+ Lightfoot, Works, vol. i. p. 76.
signification; but as the term Sophist, from being originally an honourable denomination, became at length an appellation of reproach, he prefers rendering it by the word “ Orator,” as the nearest in signification to the original meaning of Sophist.* The conjecture, though certainly ingenious, is altogether unsupported by scriptural evidence.
Schultens, Schroeder, and Storr, having recourse to their favourite Arabic, consider Koheleth as properly signifying repentance, and as used, by a metonymy, for a penitent person ;t an interpretation accurately descriptive of the state, character, and circumstances of Solomon, when he wrote the book ; but as the root kahal, though of frequent occurrence, never has any relation to penitence, this explanation of the derivative Koheleth cannot be admitted.
Simonis, appealing to the Arabic language, conjectures that Koheleth means an old man, senex,
* Desvoeux, Philosophical and Critical Essay on Eccles. Obs. lib. ii. 'cap. 8, § 2–7.
+ Schultens, Diss. de Utilitate Dialect. Orient. p. 6. Schroeder, Instit. Ling. Heb. Syntax. xxii. Storr, Observat. ad Anal. et Syntax. Heb. p. 368. Compare Cocceii Lex. Heb. ed. Schulz, in voc. The Arabic word appealed to is dgö exaruit cutis. Another exposition is mentioned by J. H. van der Palm, (Diss. de Lib. Eccles. p. 48,)“ quam dedit SCHEIDIUS, cujusque mentio fit a cl. Bonnet; scil. secundum hanc obop marcidum et velnti exsiccatum significat, qui omnia fastidat atque aversatur." I have not seen the authors here cited by van der Palm.