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AN ANCIENT TATTOO

QUESTION

What is the¬†hebrew translation of “Eat, Drink and Be Merry – Ecclesiastes 8:15”? I’m planning to get this verse tattooed¬†on my forearm.

VANSWER

I would agree that the Hebrew will make for a more interesting tattoo than an english translation.

The phrase encapsulates Kohelet’s (the writer of Ecclesiastes) response to his theme question in the book “What lasting benefit do I gain from all my hard work upon this earth?” He searches through all the work we do and keeps coming back to the fact that if we can enjoy the simple things of life, eating, drinking, relationships and family then have all the work was intended to give us. He follows up your quote with the same conclusion – “then joy will accompany us – in our work – through all the days God gives us.” Some see this as a “party on” quote but Kohelet sees no point in that and says the the heart of the fool seeks only pleasure and the pleasure cannot provide anything lasting in itself. Enjoyment of the simple things of life is a great contrast to the ongoing (and unending) pursuit of pleasure.

Enjoy your tattoo.

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