Who Is Qoheleth?

Qoheleth Andrew McKnight

At 4:15 on the morning of May 12, 2013, Tessa gave birth to our first son, Qoheleth Andrew McKnight. We are so blessed! Tessa has written more about our home birth, which you may read on her blog.

The name Qoheleth is pretty unusual, and we’ve been getting plenty of questions about it, so I figured it’s about time to explain the name and why we chose it.

Qoheleth comes from the book of Ecclesiastes. However, you won’t see it in most English translations. That’s because it has been traditionally rendered as either “the Preacher” or “the Teacher.”

A more literal translation would be “the assembler” or “the gatherer.” This could mean that he assembled the people in order to teach them (thus the traditional translation). It could also mean that he was a member of the assembly. Or it could refer to the many experiences he gathered. I tend to favor the latter, given the content of the book of Ecclesiastes.

In any case, rabbinic literature treats Qoheleth as a proper name—likely a pen name used by Solomon.

So there you have it. Qoheleth was the author of Ecclesiastes, a gatherer of experiences. I particularly like the name because of what Qoheleth wrote as the summation of all his gathered experiences.

Now that all has been heard, here is the final conclusion:
Fear God and obey his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, LEB)

My prayer for Qoheleth McKnight is that he would indeed learn to fear God and obey his commandments.

His middle name, Andrew, has a much easier explanation. It’s my middle name.

And finally, the big question that everyone is asking, “How do you pronounce it?” I’ll refer you to the below video to answer that (although Tessa and I have been putting a little more emphasis on the first syllable).