Ecclesiastes chapter 3 lists fourteen pairs of opposites, inluding "a time to tear and a time to mend". I have found one or more examples of most of the pairs elsewhere in the book, but can't find any for tearing or mending. For example, there are references to laughter, to mourning, to being born, to dying, to war and peace. I take chapter 3 as a sort of index into the rest of the book. For some of the words, I have to resort to emotional synonyms; there is no reference to dancing, but there are references to joy, and we dance when we are joyful.

However, I can't find anything that I can match to clothing analogies like tearing and mending. Perhaps this is Solomon being silent about a touchy subject:

10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:10-13)

Solomon makes a point of speaking about how unfair it is to leave your estate to someone who did not build it, and that person might not deserve it:

18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 2:18-19)

Given all that, I would expect some additional reference to tearing in Ecclesiastes, but can't find it. Maybe the Hebrew admits some clothing references that the English does not show? Or maybe Solomon is "on the nose" for once and eschews a parable?

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    Jesus speaks of material rent and of material mended, regarding the old and new cloth, in the context of attempts to mix the old covenant and the New Testament. – Nigel J Mar 29 at 20:40
  • @NigelJ - Excellent connection! I can use that as I analyze Ecclesiastes further. – Paul Chernoch Mar 29 at 20:45
  • One translation says in vs.7, "A time to rend, and a time to sew". [Y.L.T.] Rending was a term used in the Bible for showing great grief, when garments would be torn and sack-cloth worn instead, and ashes placed on the head. But the writer of Ecclesiastes, a rich powerful ruler, would never be engaged in sewing (repairing) such rent garments! Perhaps that's why there's no example given in the book of Ecclesiastes? – Anne Apr 2 at 12:10
  • <Light bulb goes on> Yes! There are several references to mourning in Ecclesiastes. If you put this as an answer (with a reference to a mourning passage) I will accept. – Paul Chernoch Apr 2 at 14:42

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