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Ecclesiastes 5

Eccles 5, Ec 5, Qoh 5, Qoheleth 5


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.

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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

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



11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.

15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?

17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.

20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

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Summary and the Meaning of Ecclesiastes Chapter 5

The fifth chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the King James Version of the Holy Bible can be approached as a layered fabric of themes and revelations. A poetic and contemplative text, Ecclesiastes 5 presents itself as a multifaceted exploration into the human condition, the divine, and the intersection of the two.

The Sacredness of Vows

The initial verses of Ecclesiastes 5 delve into the human relationship with the divine, particularly focusing on the aspect of making vows to God. The text implores one to be cautious and mindful when uttering words before God. It postulates that God is in heaven and people are on earth; thus, one’s words should be few. This notion underscores the immeasurable distance and difference between the divine and human realms, reminding readers of the sanctity and seriousness that should accompany any commitments made to God.

The emphasis on the gravity of vows is coupled with a warning against making rash promises or procrastinating in fulfilling them. “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.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4 KJV). This injunction promotes the value of integrity and reliability in one’s relationship with the divine. The text decries the folly of making a vow and not fulfilling it, highlighting the repercussions it might have, such as divine displeasure.

Human Folly and Divine Expectation

Following the discourse on vows, the chapter transitions into exploring human folly and the divine expectations. It lays emphasis on the transient and often illusionary nature of wealth and prosperity. The ceaseless pursuit of riches is depicted as a hallmark of human folly, leading to a life entrenched in dissatisfaction and unrest. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 KJV). Here, the pursuit of material wealth is not merely a futile endeavor but is also deemed as an obstacle in achieving spiritual fulfillment and tranquility.

The chapter reflects on the ephemeral nature of human life and worldly possessions. It propounds that humans come from and return to the same place, bringing nothing into the world and taking nothing out. The reflection accentuates the futility in incessantly accumulating wealth and worldly possessions, as they do not accompany one beyond life. The wisdom herein serves as a reminder to focus on the intangible and eternal aspects of existence over the tangible and transient.

The Pursuit of Contentment

Amidst the pondering on human folly and divine expectation, Ecclesiastes 5 subtly intertwines the theme of contentment. It implies that contentment is not found in abundance but in being satisfied with what one has. The relentless pursuit of more is a journey marked with sleeplessness and dissatisfaction. In contrast, contentment brings peace and fulfillment, allowing one to enjoy the fruits of their labor. “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12 KJV).

The message of seeking contentment resonates as a timeless truth, illustrating the enduring relevance of Ecclesiastes. It transcends the historical and cultural context of the text, offering a perennial wisdom applicable to the contemporary reader. It challenges the modern paradigms of success and fulfillment, provoking contemplation on the true essence of contentment in a world driven by materialism and consumerism.

The Vanity of Wealth

The profound reflections on wealth continue as Ecclesiastes 5 further delves into the vanity associated with wealth. It scrutinizes the human attachment to wealth, underscoring the emptiness it often brings. The acquisition of wealth is portrayed not as a culmination but as a precursor to more desires and needs. The never-ending cycle of acquisition and desire renders the wealthy in a constant state of unrest and dissatisfaction, seemingly paradoxical yet deeply insightful.

This theme is especially pivotal as it brings forth the paradox inherent in human existence. It posits that wealth, often seen as a means to happiness and security, can conversely lead to unhappiness and insecurity. It propels one to reflect on the inherent values and priorities and to discern the transient from the eternal. “As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.” (Ecclesiastes 5:15 KJV). This particular reflection accentuates the futility and temporality of material wealth, urging a reevaluation of one’s life pursuits.

Conclusion: Transcending the Temporal

In concluding, Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 stands as a monumental exploration into the intricate tapestry of human existence, divine interaction, and the elusive pursuit of fulfillment. It offers a profound reflection on the human condition, intertwined with timeless wisdom and divine truths. The exploration of themes such as the sacredness of vows, human folly and divine expectation, the pursuit of contentment, and the vanity of wealth converge to paint a holistic picture of the human journey.

The chapter’s relevance transcends its biblical context, resonating with contemporary audiences and prompting introspection on the essence of existence, fulfillment, and divine connection. It serves as a poignant reminder of the transient nature of life and material possessions, inviting a deeper contemplation on the eternal and the meaningful. The amalgamation of poetic eloquence and philosophical depth in Ecclesiastes 5 makes it not only a significant chapter in biblical literature but also a beacon of eternal wisdom for humanity.



This article is informed by the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the authors' personal knowledge, considerations and experience, and additional materials and resources available in internet.

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