🔼The name Qoheleth: Summary
- Gatherer, Assembler, Preacher
- From the verb קהל (qahal), to assemble or congregate.
🔼The name Qoheleth in the Bible
The name Qoheleth is unique in the English Bible. It is the only Biblical name that always gets translated, and that for no apparent reason. It's the name of a Bible book, named after its protagonist, much like Isaiah, Jonah or Micah. But Qoheleth, or the Book of Qoheleth is always translated either with Preacher or with Ecclesiastes. The latter is a Greek/ Latin translation of Qoheleth. In Ecclesiastes 12:8, our "name" is uniquely spelled קוהלת and occurs preceded by the definite article — the Qoheleth — which makes some scholars believe that Qoheleth is not a name but rather a title.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Qoheleth
The name Qoheleth is a feminine noun that has to do with the verb קהל (qahal), meaning to assemble:
The unused verb קהל (qahal) probably had to do with contracting or compacting. Nouns קהלה (qehilla) and קהל (qahal) mean assembly, group, company or congregation and the denominative verb קהל (qahal) means to assemble or group up. Noun מקהל (maqhel) also means assembly.
The unused and probably related verb קול (qul) has to do with speaking or addressing an assembly, or perhaps even with the sound that emanates from an assembly. Noun קול (qol) means voice, speech or proclamation. It may also describe the sounds animals make and even that of musical instruments, the sea or other items.
HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament suggests that the noun קהל (qahal) may have to do with the noun קול (qol), voice, or a sound made with the vocal cords, although the stronger connection to קהל charges the name Qoheleth with the meaning of Gatherer, Assembler or Collector.
BDB Theological Dictionary insists that the collection that the name Qoheleth refers to is a collection of sentences, but such a distinction is not evident in the usage of the nouns and verbs that this name is related to. It rather refers to the audience or an assembly that forms around a Public Orator. In that sense the name Qoheleth may have to do with the idea that the name Ari conveys. Also see the name Agur.