Summary: This is a verse by verse look at Ecclesiastes chapter five.
Ecclesiastes Chapter Five
Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.
When we enter the house of God, we should have the attitude of being open and ready to listen to God, not to dictate to him what we think he should do.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.
I have heard it said, “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it.” We often say things without thinking through it first. How many of us have made promises we could not keep? Or how many of us have said things we did not mean? How much more should we not do this before God? Let our words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:3 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.
The Message Bible says it this way: “Over-work makes for restless sleep. Over-talk shows you up as a fool.”
Benson has said: “When men’s minds are distracted and oppressed with too much business in the day, they are frequently disturbed with confused and perplexed dreams in the night. And as such dreams proceed from, and are the evidence of, a hurry of business filling the head, so many and hasty words flow from, and are a proof of, folly reigning in the heart.”
Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow!
Jesus said; "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil.” Mat 5:36-37
When you make a vow – you are expected to keep. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Ecclesiastes 5:5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
Solomon warns his readers about making foolish promises to God. In Israelite culture, making vows was a serious matter. Vows were voluntary, but once made, they were unbreakable. It is foolish to make a vow you cannot keep or to play games with God by only partially fulfilling your vow. It's better not to vow than to make a vow to God and break it. If you make a vow, keep it. This is plain advice.
Ecclesiastes 5:6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?
In the book of James we find: For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. James 3:2 (NASV)
Jesus said: "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.: Matthew 12:36 (NASV)
It would seem that to keep from sinning in what we say is a very difficult thing to do. Be very careful what you promise to God.
Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
Gill said: “Give no heed to dreams, nor to the many words of men, which are vain and foolish; but keep close to the word of God, and worship him internally and externally, in spirit and in truth; for herein lies the sum and substance of religion.”
Ecclesiastes 5:8 If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them.
We should not be shocked or amazed when we see injustice in this world. Worldly systems will always fall short of justice and righteousness. It is a system where one person is over another person who has persons over them. When you have a fallen world and those in leadership proceed out of a fallen nature – how can anything be other that flawed?
Ecclesiastes 5:9 After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.
Clarke has said: “The earth, if properly cultivated, is capable of producing food for every living creature; and without cultivation none has a right to expect bread. Without the field he cannot have supplies for his own house; and, unless agriculture flourish, the necessary expenses of the state cannot be defrayed. Thus, God joins the head and feet together; for while the peasant is protected by the king as executor of the laws, the king himself is dependent on the peasant; as the wealth of the nation is the fruit of the laborer’s toil.”