I love and enjoy reading the Bible. There are many expressions that people recognise and might or might not know come to us via the Bible. One of these is often quoted from Ecclesiastes. “Everything is meaningless”. The Message Bible translate that phrase as, “There is nothing to anything – it is all smoke.” Which translation is correct?
Imagine my surprise when this turned up in a video made by the excellent folk at The Bible Project. They explain that the Hebrew Hevel should be translated as smoke. Everything is smoke.
They bring our several points:
- Like smoke life is beautiful and mysterious – it takes one shape and before you know it, it takes a new shape.
- Smoke looks solid but try and grab it, it will slip right through your fingers.
- And when you’re stuck in the thick of it, like fog, it is impossible to see clearly.
I put the video below for your viewing pleasure. It is brilliant and succinct in the makers understanding of Ecclesiastes. They conclude by saying that the proper response to the book is:
To fear the Lord and keep his commandments
Enjoy, I certainly did.