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.