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Ecclesiastes 5:12 – How Sweet It Is!

Summary

No sleep for the idle, says the Teacher, in one of several short proverbs included in this book.

Analysis

Following in this part of the book are a number of short sayings or proverbs, of the sort that one might find in the biblical book by that name. In her commentary on Ecclesiastes, Elsa Tamez writes in connection with this verse: "It is said that in a country of sharp contrasts, no one can sleep. The poor--the majority--do not sleep because they are hungry, and the rich do not sleep because they know it" (When the Horizons Close: Rereading Ecclesiastes [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 2000] 82).


Other brief proverbs include the expression about the "fly in the ointment" (10:1) and the saying in 10:8-10, which has a parallel in Proverbs 26:27. The last part of Ecclesiastes 12:12 about the weariness of study has been posted as a motto over many a student's dormitory desk!

Ecclesiastes 5:12

12 Sweet is the sleep of labourers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.

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10 February 2011

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