Kohelet 2 (10) writes that he “denied myself no enjoyment”. Does that mean a mix of 'permitted' and 'no permitted enjoyment'?

Ecclesiastes 2:10

וְכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָֽׁאֲל֣וּ עֵינַ֔י לֹ֥א אָצַ֖לְתִּי מֵהֶ֑ם לֹֽא־מָנַ֨עְתִּי אֶת־לִבִּ֜י מִכָּל־שִׂמְחָ֗ה כִּֽי־לִבִּ֤י שָׂמֵ֙חַ֙ מִכָּל־עֲמָלִ֔י וְזֶֽה־הָיָ֥ה חֶלְקִ֖י מִכָּל־עֲמָלִֽי׃

I withheld from my eyes nothing they asked for, and denied myself no enjoyment; rather, I got enjoyment out of all my wealth. And that was all I got out of my wealth.


1 Answer 1


You refer to the verse:

וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר שָׁאֲלוּ עֵינַי, לֹא אָצַלְתִּי מֵהֶם: לֹא-מָנַעְתִּי אֶת-לִבִּי מִכָּל-שִׂמְחָה, כִּי-לִבִּי שָׂמֵחַ מִכָּל-עֲמָלִי, וְזֶה-הָיָה חֶלְקִי, מִכָּל-עֲמָלִי

I didn't hold back from whatever my eyes sought, nor prevented my heart from any happiness, as my heart was happy in all my toil ...

Kohelet 1:1 identifies the author as son of David, king in Jerusalem. A quick glance at the Book of Kings makes it clear that is Solomon, who had lots of wives and concubines.

So in context, "I tried whatever" doesn't have to mean (nor should it) "including things that were outright prohibited."

(Mind you, King Solomon did overstep the Torah's prohibition on too many wives; he thought he was so smart that he need not be concerned with the prohibition "lest his heart be swayed", and it turned out like any other human, his heart was swayed. But it's hard to call that "sexual immorality."

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