So the grotesque list of geriatric symptoms in Ecclesiastes 12 that according to John F.A. Sawyer include deafness, constipation, ischuria, acrophobia, and agoraphobia, anorexia, impotence, and horror of horrors, white hair are all a part of the allegorical interpretation of this passage that I think had something to do with the song “This Old House”. There are other interpretations equally interesting. Some say that the passage is a description of a funeral and a funeral procession but there is a third avenue of interpretation that appeals to me.
Simply on the basis of my first remembered reading I came to the conclusion that the passages listed have to do with a tremendous upheaval of all life; individual, familial, and communal. Reading this is like reading the opening of a dystopian, post apocalyptic novel, describing life after a world wide plague or nuclear disaster. A simple reading brings an atmosphere of heaviness and ennui coupled with an almost opposite feeling of terror. Every time I read this passage I think “this is what clinical depression feels like”. This is not just the complaining of grumpy old men and frumpy old women; this is the beginning of the end of all things for all time. This is the feeling of humanity just before the last judgement.
Share this on: