Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Ecclesiastes-Chapter 5

Ecc 5.1-20 tells us the proper path we should take after the futilities of life have been discussed.

v 1…Guard your steps (be in the right frame of mind) as you go to the house of God (the Temple) and draw near to listen (to the Torah) rather than offer the sacrifice (zevach) of fools (kesilim); for they do not know they are doing evil (giving thoughtless worship and do not repent).

v 2…Do not be hasty in word (talk without thinking) or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter (Hebrew “davar” or word; sudden notion of the heart) in the presence of God (don’t babble on without much thought in prayer). For God is in heaven (above all foolish talk) and you are on earth (mortal), therefore let your words be few (Matt 6.7).

v 3…For the dream comes through much effort (dreams can come because of unrelated cares and incoherent thoughts during the day), and the voice of a fool through many words (he thinks that long prayers will bring results and are in the same way unrelated and incoherent like a dream).

v 4…When you make a vow to God do not be late (defer) to pay it, for he has no delight (pleasure) in fools. Pay what you have vowed (Psa 66.13-14).

v 5…It is better that you should not vow (make a rash promise) that that you should vow and not pay.

v 6…Do not let your speech (mouth) cause you to sin (by saying a vow) and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God (the priest) that it was a mistake (to make the vow). Why should God be angry on account of your voice (for an unfulfilled vow) and destroy the work of your hands (not bless you in what you do).

v 7…For in many dreams (foolish thoughts) and in many words (hasty) there is emptiness (unreliable to be useful). Rather, fear God (the basis of all wisdom and the guide for what we are to do).

v 8…If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight (such things are expected in this world), for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them (to make sure there is justice because man’s nature is fallen. This is how bureaucracies work).

v 9…And the advantage of a land, it is among all (to benefit), even a king has a field being tilled (God can punish a king for being oppressive to the poor by touching his goods).

v 10…He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income (increase causes him to want more). This too is vanity (no purpose to it).

v 11…When good things increase, those who consume them increase (more demand, more expenses). So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on with his eyes (and to feel pleasure that won’t laast).

v 12…The sleep of the working man is pleasant (healthy), whether he eats little or much (he is satisfied with what he has). But the full stomach (abundance) of the rich man does not allow him to sleep (he has financial worries).

v 13…There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun (everywhere): riches being hoarded (guarded) by their owner to his hurt (loses them because of some disaster and all his lost sleep was in vain).

v 14…When those riches were lost through a bad investment, and he had fathered a son (didn’t have an heir when rich, now that he is poor he has a son), then there is nothing to support him (his son has no inheritance).\

v 15…As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came (to the earth). He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand (the Egyptian Pharaohs found this out).

v 16…And this also is a grievous evil, exactly as a man is born, thus he will die. So, what is the advantage to him who toils for wind (because possessions come and go like the wind. He sought things without substance).

v 17…Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger (gloominess about the uncertainty of his riches).

v 18…Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting (the result, his conclusion to all this): to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward (in this life here; make proper use of what God has given you).

v 19…Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth (as a blessing), he (God) also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor in a lawful way); this is a gift from God (and to be accepted and used with thankfulness and sense).

v 20…For he will not often consider (remember, dwell on) the years of his life (as being tedious and long, full of problems) because God answers him in the gladness (joy) of his heart (God answers his prayers and his days will pass pleasantly as he enjoys God’s blessings and lives according to God’s will).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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