Ecclesiastes 5:1-10

Ecclesiastes 5:1

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.


Solomon now turns his focus on the one thing in this life which is not vanity and vexation of spirit and that is the service of God.  Solomon is admonishing his readers that they should “keep thy foot” when they go into God’s house which in this case would have been the temple.  In other words they are to guard their hearts and also to make sure they have offered the sacrifice for any sins they committed.  They should also be more ready to hear the word of God expounded than they should to speak.  A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.  (Proverbs 14:16)  This is a problem in the modern church where more people speak than listen.  And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  (1 Samuel 15:22)  Solomon wanted his people to hear and obey the word of God which is better than all the sacrifices which they believed would have covered their transgressions while planning their next one.  Many did not know they were committing evil acts but the wise ones had discernment and knew that there were evils they needed to stay away from because they hearkened unto the word of God and were made wise by it.


Ecclesiastes 5:2

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.


Then Solomon admonishes his hearers that they should not be rash or impulsive with their words.  Many have made false promises to God and false vows and Solomon is telling them not to speak to hastily with their mouth before God because many times people make vows that they cannot or will not keep if their situation improves.  Solomon then reminds his hearers that God is in Heaven which means that he is the most supreme being in the universe and we should not speaking out of turn or making any type of false statements to him.  We are on the earth which means we are the creation and we serve the God who created us and as a result, we must not speak to hastily, in fact, our words should be few when speaking with the LORD and those words must be limited to truth from a pure heart. Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.  (Proverbs 29:20)  In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.  (Proverbs 10:19) 


Ecclesiastes 5:3

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.


The multitude of business could be thought of today as “multi-tasking” when a person is so involved that it begins to affect their sleep and they begin to have dreams which are unintelligible and then try to make sense out of them and if they think they had, they may try to apply the message to their daily life which could be trouble.  Keep in mind up until the completion of the Bible in 95 A.D. the LORD did speak to some people through dreams but those he did not speak to would try to make their dreams divine which they were not.  The word for “business” in the Hebrew is peculiar only to Ecclesiastes and can also be understood as “travail” whereby a person is involved in heavy work and that may cause him to have dreams.  Then when one hears a person over-justifying their desire or cause, then one must take them lightly because a true cause or desire does not have to be explained in a multitude of words.  The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.  (Proverbs 15:2) 


Ecclesiastes 5:4

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.


If a person makes a vow to God, then they should keep their word and fulfill that vow.  To defer would be to postpone.  A person could make a vow and then say they will fulfill it at a future date.  How many times have we heard people claim they will serve the Lord after they retire but what gives them the notion that they will live to see retirement or beyond retirement?  This is why Solomon is stating that if a person makes a vow, then pay or fulfill that vow in the proper time.   A person who would make a vow and then postpone the fulfilling of it is called a fool thinking they can somehow outsmart God by not fulfilling that vow.


Ecclesiastes 5:5

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.


Solomon then plainly states that it is better not to vow.  Sometimes a person might try to sound noble in front of other people when they make that vow to God but Solomon is warning that a person should not vow instead of vowing and then not paying the vow.  This in essence would be lying to God.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  (Revelation 21:8) 


Ecclesiastes 5:6

Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?


Therefore a person should use wisdom in making a vow to God because they would be allowing their mouth to cause their flesh to sin.  They would be making an empty vow which would be carnal in nature.  How many times have we known people or we have opened our mouths and caused us to be hurt physically by reviling someone who is bigger and stronger than us?  The angel in this case may be referring to Christ since he has been called “the angel of the LORD.”  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.  (Psalm 34:7)  Christ is also referred to as the Messenger or angel of the Covenant.  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  (Malachi 3:1)  The Hebrew word for messenger in both cases is “mălʼâk” which is also translated “angel.”  If one makes an empty vow to God and does not honor it, then God will be angry with the person as he is with all sin.  God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  (Psalm 7:11)  It could result in God removing all of his blessing and protection from your work thus allowing it to destruct and destroying all the work you put into whatever your vocation is or he may judge you and disallow you from prospering in any form until repentance and fulfillment of the vow takes place.


Ecclesiastes 5:7

For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.


At this time in biblical history God did communicate to certain people with dreams.  However, he did not communicate with everyone by means of dreams.  People that have had many dreams and then try to make sense out of them and thinking they have, may cause more harm than good, not only to them but to others also.  People who have golden tongues or that speak many words will, like the multi-dreamer, have many different types of vanities.  All their dreams and excess words will be equal only to vanity or emptiness.  Then Solomon exhorts his people to be careful of dreamers and golden tongued salesmen and to fear God which is the beginning of wisdom and a departure from a vain life.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  (Proverbs 9:10)  


Ecclesiastes 5:8

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.


Solomon gives an account of another vanity which has its solution in God.  If a person is in a province of the kingdom and sees the poor people being oppressed by either a magistrate or a religious leader, then do not marvel or be astounded because these things take place on earth when an evil person is in charge.  They may have the upper hand at the moment but what they are doing has not escaped the notice of God and they will face the judgment of God for their actions.  They think because they hold a high position in government or in the temple that they are exempt from accountability for their actions, they neglect to realize that there is someone higher than them in Heaven.  Remember Eccl. 5:2 that God is in Heaven and we are on the earth?  They are forgetting who the potter is and that they are also the same clay as those they are persecuting.  Their day of judgment will come and we saw this when both Judah and the northern kingdom were judged.  Violent perverting of judgment and justice was part of their crimes against the LORD.  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.  (Psalm 51:4)  David knew that his sin with Bathsheba was against the LORD but those who perverted justice forgot that main principle that they are accountable to God for their sins.


Ecclesiastes 5:9

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.


The earth is the one place where both the rich and poor meet together.  The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.  (Proverbs 22:2)  The profit from the earth which is food and sustenance necessary for life is needed by both the rich and the poor.  The king as well as the pauper is served by the fruit of the field as both need food and raiment which is made from both animals and fields of cotton and other items.  The rich may have more control over the earth than the poor but the reality is that they have the same basic needs to survive.  A rich person without food will die just as fast as a poor person without food, maybe even faster because poor people will know things about the land that rich people do not, not wanting to get their fingernails dirty.


Ecclesiastes 5:10

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.


John DRockefeller was once asked, "How much money is enough money?" He replied, "Just a little bit more.”  That is the essence of wealthy people.  The silver in this verse would symbolize any type of wealth.  They are not satisfied with what they have but always want to make more and when they do, it is still not enough because they want to make more.  It is a cycle of vanity.  John D. Rockefeller died May 23, 1937 and guess what?  He left his billions here on earth and took nothing with him.  This is why Solomon calls it vanity because he made this money without the very thought of God and his afterlife which parallels the story of the Rich man who built bigger barns.  {20} But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  {21} So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.  (Luke 12:20-21) Compare him with Abraham.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.  (Genesis 13:2)  Abraham was very rich in silver and gold but one major difference, Abraham was a believer.  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  (Romans 4:3)  If earthly wealth drives your life, you will give no mind to the afterlife, but if God drives your life, you will be more concerned with who you have than with what you have.