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14 Here is[a] another[b] enigma[c] that occurs on earth:
Sometimes there are righteous people who get what the wicked deserve,[d]
and sometimes there are wicked people who get what the righteous deserve.[e]
I said, “This also is an enigma.”

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Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 8:14 tn Heb “there is.” The term יֶשׁ (yesh, “there is”) is often used in aphorisms to assert the existence of a particular situation that occurs sometimes. It may indicate that the situation is not the rule but that it does occur on occasion, and may be nuanced “sometimes” (Prov 11:24; 13:7, 23; 14:12; 16:25; 18:24; 20:15; Eccl 2:21; 4:8; 5:12; 6:1; 7:15 [2x]; 8:14 [3x]).
  2. Ecclesiastes 8:14 tn The word “another” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
  3. Ecclesiastes 8:14 tn Or “vanity” (again at the end of this verse). The Hebrew term הֶבֶל (hevel) here denotes “enigma,” that is, something that is difficult to understand. This sense is derived from the literal referent of breath, vapor or wind that cannot be seen; thus, “obscure; dark; difficult to understand; enigmatic” (see HALOT 236-37 s.v. I הֶבֶל; BDB 210-11 s.v. I הֶבֶל). It is used in this sense in reference to enigmas in life (6:2; 8:10, 14) and the future which is obscure (11:8, 10).
  4. Ecclesiastes 8:14 tn Heb “to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked”; or “who are punished for the deeds of the wicked.”
  5. Ecclesiastes 8:14 tn Heb “to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous”; or “who are rewarded for the deeds of the righteous.”

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