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4Q109 Qoheleta (Ecclesiastes)
Date: 175-150 B.C.
Location: Qumran Cave 4
Contents: Ecclesiastes 5:14-18 (Hebrew 5:13-17); 6:1, 3-8, 12; 7:1-10, 19-20
14 Those riches perish by misfortune, and if he has fathered a son, there is nothing in his hand. 15 As he came out of his mother’s womb, naked shall he go again as he came, and shall take nothing for his labor, which he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go. And what profit does he have who labors for the wind? 17 All his days he also eats in darkness, he is frustrated, and has sickness and wrath. 18 Behold, that which I have seen to be good and proper is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, in which he labors under the sun, all the days of his life which God has given him; for this is his portion.
1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy on men:
3 If a man fathers a hundred children, and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not filled with good, and moreover he has no burial; I say, that a stillborn child is better than he: 4 for it comes in vanity, and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Moreover it has not seen the sun nor known it. This has rest rather than the other. 6 Yes, though he live a thousand years twice told, and yet fails to enjoy good, don’t all go to one place? 7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. 8 For what advantage has the wise more than the fool? What has the poor man, that knows how to walk before the living?
12 For who knows what is
good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spends
1 A good name is better than fine perfume;
and the day of death better than the day of one’s
birth. 2 It is better to go to the
house of mourning than to go to the house of
feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living should
take this to heart. 3 Sorrow is better
than laughter; for by the sadness of the
face the heart is made good. 4 The heart of the wise is in
the house of mourning; but the heart of
fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than
for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the
fool. This also is vanity. 7 Surely extortion
makes the wise man foolish; and a bribe
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Don’t be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools. 10 Don’t say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not ask wisely about this.
How to read these pages:
translation to the left is based on the World English Bible. Words in regular
black font are words in the scrolls matching the traditional text for that
in italics cannot be seen in the scroll, since the scroll is
fragmentary. These words are supplied for readability by the World English
present in the scroll but with some letters unreadable or missing are in blue
like this: blue. One Hebrew word often is
translated into multiple English words, and when this occurs, all the English
words are in blue.
present in the scroll but with spelling differences that do not affect the
meaning are in green like this: green. This
is common in Hebrew.
the scroll is different from the traditional text, words in the traditional
text that are missing from the text of the scroll are marked through in red
• If the scroll is different from the traditional text, words in the scroll that are not in the traditional text are underlined in red like this: new words.