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Stones of Contention?!

A Critical Evaluation of the Erotic Interpretation of Qoh 3:5a

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Hans Debel1
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It is widely recognised that the expression ‘gathering stones and throwing them away’ in Qoh 3:5a presents the most enigmatic phrase within Qohelet’s well-known ‘catalogue of times’. This paper presents a brief overview of the divergent solutions that have been offered throughout its exegetical history, and subsequently evaluates in greater detail the suggestion that the ‘stones’ should be considered a sexual euphemism. Observing that all the arguments provided in favour of this interpretation are flawed, it calls for the development of an alternative interpretation.

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