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Literary structure (chiasmus, chiasm) of Ecclesiastes

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 4


4-1

(1:1-11)
   (1:12-18)
     (2:1-11)
   (2:12-26)
(3:1-15)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(1:1-11)
1:9 What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. (1:9)
What has been done (3:1-15)
3:15 What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.(3:15)
(1:12-18)
1:17 yet when I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, I learned that this also is a chase after wind. (1:17)
Wisdom, madness and folly (2:12-26)
2:12 I went on to the consideration of wisdom, madness and folly. (2:12)

4-1-1

(1:1-11)
   (1:12-18)
(2:1-11)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(1:1-11)
1:3 What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun?(1:3)
Toil, under the sun (2:1-11)
2:11 But when I turned to all the works that my hands had wrought, and to the toil at which I had taken such pains, behold! all was vanity and a chase after wind, with nothing gained under the sun. (2:11)

4-1-2

(2:1-11)
   (2:12-26)
(3:1-15)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(2:1-11)
2:3 I thought of beguiling my senses with wine, though my mind was concerned with wisdom, and of taking up folly, until I should understand what is best for men to do under the heavens during the limited days of their life.(2:3)
Good life (3:1-15)
3:12 I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life. (3:12)

4-2

(3:1-15)
   (3:16-22)
     (4:1-6)
   (4:7-14)
(4:15-5:11)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(3:1-15)
3:1 a time for every affair under the heavens. (3:1)
Heaven (4:15-5:11)
5:1 God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. (5:1)
(3:16-22)
3:22 And I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to rejoice in his work; for this is his lot. (3:22)
Joy (4:7-14)
4:8 For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure? (Ecc 4:8 NRS)

4-2-1

(3:1-15)
   (3:16-22)
(4:1-6)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(3:1-15)
3:12 I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life. (3:12)
Happiness (4:1-6)
4:3 And better off than both is the yet unborn (4:3)

4-2-2

(4:1-6)
   (4:7-14)
(4:15-5:11)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(4:1-6)
4:1 Again I considered all the oppressions that take place under the sun (4:1)
Oppressions (4:15-5:11)
5:7 If you see oppression of the poor (5:7)

4-3

(4:15-5:11)
  10  (5:12-19)
    11  (6:1-12)
  12  (7:1-29)
13  (8:1-17)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(4:15-5:11)
5:7 If you see oppression of the poor, and violation of rights and justice in the realm (5:7)
To see evils13  (8:1-17)
8:10 Meanwhile I saw wicked men approach and enter; and as they left the sacred place, they were praised in the city for what they had done. (8:10)
10  (5:12-19)
5:18 it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us
Joy12  (7:1-29)
7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider

4-3-1

(4:15-5:11)
  10  (5:12-19)
11  (6:1-12)
Former halfRelationLatter half
(4:15-5:11)
5:2 a fool's utterance with many words.(5:2)
Twaddle11  (6:1-12)
6:11 For though there are many sayings that multiply vanity, what profit is there for a man? (6:11)

4-3-2

11  (6:1-12)
  12  (7:1-29)
13  (8:1-17)
Former halfRelationLatter half
11  (6:1-12)
6:6 Should he live twice a thousand years and not enjoy his goods, do not both go to the same place?(6:6)
Happiness13  (8:1-17)
8:15 Therefore I commend mirth, because there is nothing good for man under the sun except eating and drinking and mirth: for this is the accompaniment of his toil during the limited days of the life which God gives him under the sun.(8:15)

4-4

13  (8:1-17)
  14  (9:1-12)
    15  (9:13-10:20)
  16  (11:1-12:7)
17  (12:8-14)
Former halfRelationLatter half
13  (8:1-17)
8:12 Though indeed I know that it shall be well with those who fear God, for their reverence toward him; (8:12)
Fear God17  (12:8-14)
12:13 The last word, when all is heard: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is man's all;(12:13)
14  (9:1-12)
9:7 Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, because it is now that God favors your works.
Joy16  (11:1-12:7)
11:9 Rejoice, O young man, while you are young and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth

4-4-1

13  (8:1-17)
  14  (9:1-12)
15  (9:13-10:20)
Former halfRelationLatter half
13  (8:1-17)
8:17 I recognized that man is unable to find out all God's work that is done under the sun (8:17)
Ignorance of mankind15  (9:13-10:20)
10:14 Man knows not what is to come, for who can tell him what is to come after him? (10:14)

4-4-2

15  (9:13-10:20)
  16  (11:1-12:7)
17  (12:8-14)
Former halfRelationLatter half
15  (9:13-10:20)
9:17 The quiet words of the wise are better heeded than the shout of a ruler of fools (9:17)
The sayings of the wise17  (12:8-14)
12:11 The sayings of the wise are like goads (12:11)

Citations of the Bible are from New American Bible, New Revised Standard Version and New Jerusalem Bible.

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Literary Structure of the Bible by Hajime Murai is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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