About Ecclesiastes 12:1

וזכר את בוראיך בימי בחורתיך עד אשר לא יבאו ימי הרעה והגיעו שנים אשר תאמר אין לי בהם חפץ׃

Is the Hebrew word בוראיך in Ecclesiastes 12:1 singular or plural?

Which letter or letters are indicating that it is singular or plural?


  • 1
    Good question. +1. There is a discussion here about the '12:1 Kohelet'.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27 '18 at 12:43
  • @NigelJ Thank you for introducing me to the discussion of the same word of the same text in the Judaism Community! I am glad that the Jews are discussing it. Praise the Lord! May they find that the Hebrew Bible is revealing plurality in the one Godhead. Nov 28 '18 at 14:30

It is a masculine plural active participle of the G-stem (Qal) of the root ברא with a second person masculine singular suffix: "those that create you (your creators)". The yod signifies the masculine plural construct state.

The same form can be found in Deut. 7:15, בְּכָל־שֹׂנְאֶֽיךָ, "on all those that hate you" (from שׂנא), while the singular form of ברא can be found in Isa. 43:1, כֹּֽה־אָמַר יְהוָה בֹּרַאֲךָ, "thus says YHWH who creates you (your creator)".

As a related answer mentions, this should not lead one to "mistakes ... by those looking for hidden hints of plurality to the godhead", because it is most likely a fossilized term.

  • 1
    May I ask what a 'fossilised term' means ?
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27 '18 at 13:39
  • @NigelJ I suppose the term comes from a time in which Israel's religion was more polytheistic than it was when Qohelet was written. Terms as אלהים, which is also plural, stem from this period, but continue to be used later on. It is common that high frequency lexemes resist change, so high frequency lexemes may exhibit properties that you would not expect (linguistically, theologically, etc.) at later times.
    – user2672
    Nov 27 '18 at 13:41
  • 1
    I believe, myself, that the word is inspired. And I believe that the word of God changes not, from age to age, from generation to generation. But I am obliged for the explanation of the term.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27 '18 at 14:39
  • 1
    @NigelJ "inspired" and "the word of God changes not" was not here disputed. He was noting how languages evolve. Nov 27 '18 at 23:34
  • 1
    @SolaGratia Maybe that's how other languages progress and alter. But Hebrew and Greek were, evidently, subject to Divine Providence as a part of what 'inspired' requires. I said I believe that 'the word is inspired'. I meant the exact word in question - בוראיך .
    – Nigel J
    Nov 27 '18 at 23:36

The fact that a "plural" form of a word was used does not always indicate plurality in itself. As a matter of fact the word Elohim ( a plural type form) is used to indicate singular pagan gods that were never considered plural beings. God himself says He is ALONE and ONE. There is a simple explanation which shows that in Genesis 1, it is a single Being who created -- see God: Is Elohim a Plural Word?.

The word in Ecclesiastes 12:1 is actually a verb, which is considered a "loan word" , and as such it would also have taken on a new sense when it began to be used. This BibleHub link does a great job of differentiating between the sense of a word and it's form in the Hebrew scriptures.

  • Elohim can be considered as a collective noun or a 'composite' concept. It is not necessarily a 'plural' word. The word 'humanity' is a collective concept but is not 'plural'. And if Elohim be translated 'Deity' in English, the collective concept is carried over. You need to substantiate your argument regarding 'singular pagan gods'. Can you supply some references, please.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 21 '20 at 6:56

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