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Hebrew—An Introduction to Reading the Old Testament
About this course
Lesson 4: Verbs—stems
Reading: Ecclesiastes 6 (step 9 of 10)
Reading an entire chapter

We are taking things to a new level in this lesson and will be reading an entire chapter from the book of Ecclesiastes. Do not fear. The Hebrew in this book is relatively easy compared to other places in the Bible and the chapter only contains twelve verses. Besides that, it is a great opportunity to test drive your new understanding of verb stems, as five of the seven stems are employed in this text.
The vocab

There are 32 new vocab words to learn for this text. That is a lot of vocabulary to learn at once! Do take the time to work through each of these a couple times, noting their definitions and saying them out loud. However, you need not have them perfectly memorized before beginning to work through the reading. For many of them, you will recall the meaning when you read it within the context of a sentence within Ecclesiastes 6. For others, you may need to click on the word in the reading to remind yourself. That is okay.
יֵשׁ
138x
there is (particle)
רָעָה
273x
evil (noun)
שֶׁמֶשׁ
134x
sun (noun)
רַב
441x
many (adjective)
אִישׁ
2009x
man (noun)
עֹשֶׁר
37x
riches (noun)
הֶבֶל
73x
vapor, breath (noun)
יָלַד
497x
bear, beget (verb)
מֵאָה
578x
hundred (noun)
שָׁנָה
876x
year (noun)
חָיָה
263x
live (verb)
שָׂבַע
99x
be satiated, satisfied (verb)
קְבוּרָה
14x
grave, burial (noun)
יָדַע
942x
know (verb)
אֶלֶף
505x
thousand (noun)
פַּעַם
118x
occurrence (noun)
עָמָל
55x
trouble, labor (noun)
פֶּה
497x
mouth (noun)
מָלֵא
251x
fill (verb)
יוֹתֵר
8x
more, over and above (noun)
חָכָם
137x
wise, skillful (adjective)
כְּסִיל
70x
fat [literally], stupid [figuratively] (noun)
used most often figuratively
עָנִי
77x
poor (adjective)
כְּבָר
9x
already (adverb)
יָכֹל
192x
be able (verb)
עִם
978x
with (preposition)
מִי
422x
who? (interrogative pronoun)
מִסְפָּר
134x
number (noun)
צֵל
49x
shadow (noun)
אַחַר
714x
after[wards] (adverb)
Ecclesiastes 6

Here are a few pointers to help you read through this text.
  1. When you run into the phrase הֲלָךְ־נָפֶשׁ, understand that נָפֶשׁ can be quite flexible in its meaning. While generally translated “soul,” it also can speak of one’s life, self, passion or appetite. It is that final meaning (“appetite”) which is likely the sense when used in the phrase הֲלָךְ־נָפֶשׁ.
  2. You have already learned the meaning of the preposition מִן, but we have not yet focussed on how the form of this word changes when connected to a suffix. Given this, you may have a hard time distinguishing it below. We will look at this at length in a later lesson, but for now it is enough to note that often times it will take the form of -מִמֶּ with an attached suffix.
  3. One of the trickiest parts of reading poetic literature like Ecclesiastes is knowing when one phrase ends and another begins. To help you with this challenge, we encourage you to first listen to the recording of this text a couple times before reading it yourself. As you listen, follow along with your eyes and try to get a feel for the cadence of the text and where breaks are between phrases. Listen to this chapter
Finally, understand that the goals of this reading are two-fold: (1) To make every effort to understand the words (and parse them when they are verbs) before clicking on them to get help. (2) To be able to understand the meaning of each verse without needing to turn to your English translation.
יֵשׁ
רָעָה
אֲשֶׁר
רָאִיתִי
תַּחַת
הַשָּׁמֶשׁ
וְרַבָּה
הִיא
עַל
הָאָדָם׃
אִישׁ
אֲשֶׁר
יִתֶּן
לוֹ
הָאֱלֹהִים
עֹשֶׁר
וּנְכָסִים
...possessions
וְכָבוֹד
וְאֵינֶנּוּ
...he is not
חָסֵר
lacking
לְנַפְשׁוֹ
to his...
מִכֹּל
from...
אֲשֶׁר
יִתְאַוֶּה
he desires
וְלֹא
יַשְׁלִיטֶנּוּ
give him power
הָאֱלֹהִים
לֶאֱכֹל
to [ qal infinitive ]
מִמֶּנּוּ
...it
כִּי
אִישׁ
נָכְרִי
foreign
יֹאכֲלֶנּוּ
...it
זֶה
הֶבֶל
וָחֳלִי
sickness
רָע
הוּא׃
אִם
יוֹלִיד
אִישׁ
מֵאָה
וְשָׁנִים
רַבּוֹת
יִחְיֶה
וְרַב
שֶׁיִּהְיוּ
that
יְמֵי
שָׁנָיו
his...
וְנַפְשׁוֹ
...his...
לֹא
תִשְׂבַּע
מִן
הַטּוֹבָה
וְגַם
קְבוּרָה
לֹא
הָיְתָה
לּוֹ
אָמַרְתִּי
טוֹב
מִמֶּנּוּ
...him
הַנָּפֶל׃
כִּי
בַהֶבֶל
in...
בָּא
וּבַחֹשֶׁךְ
...in...
יֵלֵךְ
וּבַחֹשֶׁךְ
...in...
שְׁמוֹ
his...
יְכֻסֶּה׃
גַּם
שֶׁמֶשׁ
לֹא
רָאָה
וְלֹא
יָדָע
נַחַת
rest
לָזֶה
to...
מִזֶּה׃
from...
וְאִלּוּ
...if
חָיָה
אֶלֶף
שָׁנִים
פַּעֲמַיִם
וְטוֹבָה
לֹא
רָאָה
הֲלֹא
[ introduces question ]...
אֶל
מָקוֹם
אֶחָד
הַכֹּל
הוֹלֵךְ׃
[ qal participle ]
כָּל
עֲמַל
הָאָדָם
לְפִיהוּ
for his...
וְגַם
הַנֶּפֶשׁ
לֹא
תִמָּלֵא׃
כִּי
מַה
יּוֹתֵר
לֶחָכָם
[belongs] to...
מִן
הַכְּסִיל
מַה
לֶּעָנִי
[belongs] to...
יוֹדֵעַ
[ qal participle ]
לַהֲלֹךְ
to [ qal infinitive ]
נֶגֶד
הַחַיִּים׃
טוֹב
מַרְאֵה
עֵינַיִם
מֵהֲלָךְ
than [ qal infinitive ]
נָפֶשׁ
גַּם
זֶה
הֶבֶל
וּרְעוּת
...grasping after
רוּחַ׃
מַה
שֶּׁהָיָה
that...
כְּבָר
נִקְרָא
[ niphal participle ]
שְׁמוֹ
וְנוֹדָע
[ niphal participle ]
אֲשֶׁר
הוּא
אָדָם
וְלֹא
יוּכַל
לָדִין
to [ qal infinitive ]
עִם
שֶׁתַּקִּיף
that [which is more] powerful
מִמֶּנּוּ׃
...him
כִּי
יֵשׁ
דְּבָרִים
הַרְבֵּה
[ hiphil infinitive absolute ]
מַרְבִּים
[ hiphil participle ]
הָבֶל
מַה
יֹּתֵר
לָאָדָם׃
for the...
כִּי
מִי
יוֹדֵעַ
[ qal participle ]
מַה
טּוֹב
לָאָדָם
for the...
בַּחַיִּים
in the...
מִסְפַּר
from [ piel infinitive ]
יְמֵי
חַיֵּי
הֶבְלוֹ
his...
וְיַעֲשֵׂם
...them
כַּצֵּל
as the
אֲשֶׁר
מִי
יַגִּיד
לָאָדָם
to the...
מַה
יִּהְיֶה
אַחֲרָיו
...him
תַּחַת
הַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃