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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Ecclesiastes 5

Verses 1-7

ECCLESIASTES

CHAPTER 5

MEN NEED GOD

Verses 1-7 reveal that men under the sun have need for God, and warn against impropriety in approaching the Almighty.

Verse 1 emphasizes the importance of readiness to hear and obey God, rather than follow the meaningless acts of fools, 1 Samuel 15:22.

Verses 2-3 warn against rash and vain repetitions of meaningless rites and words, Matthew 6:7; Proverbs 10:19.

Verses 4-6 emphasize the importance of prompt and full compliance with vows made to God, and affirm that it is better not to vow than to vow and not fulfill the commitment. Such failure invites God’s anger and judgment eventually, if not immediately, Ecclesiastes 8:11; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jonah 2:9; Psalms 116:14.

Verse 7 declares that in the many words and illusions of men under the sun there are also many vanities. The great need of men is to so reverence God that the inclination for vain utterances will be restrained, Ecclesiastes 12:13; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10.

Verses 8-9

OPPRESSION AND INJUSTICE

Verse 8 counsels against undue concern because of the perverting of justice and oppression of the poor by various levels of authority. God who is above all, keeps His own record, and will in His own time, deal appropriately with each one, Psalms 12:5; Psalms 58:11; Psalms 82:1; Exodus 18:11.

Verse 9 emphasizes that the products of earth are for all; even the king is served by the field. Authorities who oppress those subject to them tend to diminish their own source of subsistence in so doing, Job 28:5.

Verses 10-12

PROBLEMS OF WEALTH

Verse 10 affirms that the acquisition of wealth does not satisfy the desire to gain more and more, and declares that such an attitude is also vanity, Proverbs 15:27; Isaiah 56:11; Luke 12:15-18; 1 Timothy 6:9-10.

Verse 11 reveals that wealth creates problems of increased expense for advisers and managers, to protect and increase assets, and to pay for things and life style necessary to reflect the desired image of wealth, Luke 12:18; Mark 4:19.

Verse 12 contrasts the untroubled sleep of the laboring man whose resources are limited but adequate, with the abundance of the rich man whose nights are sleepless, because he worries about keeping and enlarging his wealth, Luke 12:17-19; Psalms 52:7; Job 31:24-28; Proverbs 23:5.

Verses 13-17

WEALTH HARMFUL AND ILLUSIVE

Verses 13-17 suggest the oft repeated experience of those who strive to acquire wealth, then to their hurt and sorrow lose it all because of evil practices, foolish ventures or unforeseen circumstances. The hurt is not to the owner alone. He begets children who come forth with nothing and will, as he and all men, depart life with no material possession, Job 1:21; Psalms 49:17; 1 Timothy 6:7. The preacher concludes that the pursuit of riches, as the goal of life, is as profit-less as laboring to restrain the wind, and certain to result in much sorrow, Ecclesiastes 1:3; Proverbs 23:5; Proverbs 27:24.

Verses 18-20

GIFTS OF GOD

Verses 18-20 Introduce a contrast to the darkness and sorrow expressed in verses Ecclesiastes 10:17, which include no mention of God. Solomon here states his observations, that even under the sun, there is a happier life than that of those who lust for riches.

Verse 18 affirms that it is good and fitting for one to enjoy the fruit of his own labor, all the days of his life, a privilege that God gives him, see also Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:13.

Verse 19 declares that God gives some riches and wealth, also the power to eat thereof and rejoice in their labor. That such are gifts of God is twice mentioned in this verse, see also Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:13; 1 Chronicles 29:12.

Verse 20 suggests that the joy of those conscious of God’s blessings, so outweighs any grievances experienced in life that the disagreeable is little noticed, Isaiah 61:10; Habakkuk 3:17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ecclesiastes-5.html. 1985.