Enjoying the tension: Reading QOH 2:25 in the context of QOH 2:24-26

Katharine Dell, Tova Forti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Qoheleth’s experiential method and inner-dialogue creates tensions on the levels of language, style, content and theological ideas. In this paper we seek to explore this tension in relation to a short section (Qoh 2:24-26) that is placed at the end of chapter 2. In the process we question the section division itself and the usual emendation of the translation of v. 25 to fit into the thought of these three verses and that of their neighbouring verses. We engage in a detailed analysis of the versions and of scholarly opinion on the translation, key terms and structure of these verses. We argue that this is just one example of where literary structure has dictated translational options and we prefer instead to ‘enjoy the tension’ of the more convincing and less accepted translation of verse 25 as “For who can eat or even sense, apart from me.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalVetus Testamentum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Experience
  • Ideational contradictions
  • Literary structure
  • Royal autobiography
  • Tension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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