« Prev Chapter I. Next »

111Exegetical Fragments.929929    See, in the Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum of Gallandi, the Appendix to vol. xiv., added from the manuscripts, after the editor’s death by an anonymous scholar.


I.—A Commentary on the Beginning of Ecclesiastes.930930    [Compare the Metaphrase, p. 9, supra. Query, are not these twin specimens of exegetical exercises in the school at Alexandria?]


Chapter I.

Ver. 1. “The words of the son of David, king of Israel in Jerusalem.”

In like manner also Matthew calls the Lord the son of David.931931    Matt. i. 1.

3. “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”

For what man is there who, although he may have become rich by toiling after the objects of this earth, has been able to make himself three cubits in stature, if he is naturally only of two cubits in stature? Or who, if blind, has by these means recovered his sight? Therefore we ought to direct our toils to a goal beyond the sun: for thither, too, do the exertions of the virtues reach.

4. “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever” (unto the age).

Yes, unto the age,932932    εἱς τὸν αἰῶνα. but not unto the ages.933933    εἱς τὸὺς αἱῶνας.

16. “I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem; yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

17. I knew parables and science: that this indeed is also the spirit’s choice.934934    προαίρεσις.

18. For in multitude of wisdom is multitude of knowledge: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth grief.”

I was vainly puffed up, and increased wisdom; not the wisdom which God has given, but that wisdom of which Paul says, “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”935935    1 Cor. iii. 19. For in this Solomon had also an experience surpassing prudence, and above the measure of all the ancients. Consequently he shows the vanity of it, as what follows in like manner demonstrates: “And my heart uttered936936    εἶπε, for which εἶδε, “discerned,” is suggested. many things: I knew wisdom, and knowledge, and parables, and sciences.” But this was not the genuine wisdom or knowledge, but that which, as Paul says, puffeth up. He spake, moreover, as it is written,937937    1 Kings iv. 32. three thousand parables. But these were not parables of a spiritual kind, but only such as fit the common polity of men; as, for instance, utterances about animals or medicines. For which reason he has added in a tone of raillery, “I knew that this also is the spirit’s choice.” He speaks also of the multitude of knowledge, not the knowledge of the Holy Spirit, but that which the prince of this world works, and which he conveys to men in order to overreach their souls, with officious questions as to the measures of heaven, the position of earth, the bounds of the sea. But he says also, “He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” For they search even into things deeper than these,—inquiring, for example, what necessity there is for fire to go upward, and for water to go downward; and when they have learned that it is because the one is light and the other heavy, they do but increase sorrow: for the question still remains, Why might it not be the very reverse?

« Prev Chapter I. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |