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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ecclesiastes 5

Verse 1

Few. As none can arrive at the perfect knowledge of God, they should be reserved in speaking of Him. (Worthington) --- De Deo etiam vera loqui periculosum. (Cicero, de Nat.) --- In prayer, (Calmet) we must not pretend to give him any information, like the heathens, Matthew vi. 7. (Haydock)

Verse 2

Folly. Under anxiety a person is naturally disturbed with dreams, in which some true ideas may present themselves; in like manner, as a great talker will say some things respecting God, which may not be reprehensible, though the greatest part of his discourse will be nothing to the purpose. This is another abuse. All must speak of God and religion, though few are able to do it, with propriety! (Calmet)

Verse 3

Pay it. Deuteronomy xxiii. Vows must be fulfilled. (Worthington) --- God requires that we should keep the commandments; (Luke x. 28.) and if we engage ourselves to perform some work of supererogation, he expects that we should be faithful. To vow is of counsel; but to comply with it is of precept. An abuse too common among the Jews is here condemned. (Calmet)

Verse 5

Sin by making a vow, above thy strength, (Chaldean; Pineda) or by speaking what may excite the passions. (Thaumat.; Bossuet) --- Angel guardian assigned to each one, (Worthington) or the priest, who took cognizance of vows. (Calmet) --- Providence, or "foresight" in me to avoid the evil. Hebrew and Septuagint, "it is an error," (Haydock) or sin of ignorance, for which certain victims were specified, Leviticus v. 4. The neglect of vows could not be thus expiated. (Calmet) --- Use no allurements to lust. (Menochius)

Verse 6

Number. Those who observe dreams, are filled with apprehension. The Jews were very subject to this superstition. (Calmet) --- As dreams are vain, so are many words or excuses to evade a vow. (Junius; Grotius) --- Such pretences must not be made. (St. Jerome) (Menochius)

Verse 7

These. God will bring the wicked to judgment, (Calmet) and shew for what design he left them in power. (Haydock)

Verse 8

Him. An appeal may be made to the king or to God. Reges in ipsos imperium est Jovis. (Horace, iii. ode 1.) --- Hebrew, "the king serves, (Montanus) or is served by the field." (Protestants) (Haydock) --- All have a mutual dependence on each other, and thus the vanity of men and the order of Providence appear. (Calmet)

Verse 9

Money. Avarice is like a dropsy, (Calmet) or poison, infecting all the person. (Sallust.) --- The miser is the slave, and not the possessor, of his riches, (St. Chrysostom) like Tantalus, who could not drink, though in the midst of waters. (Horace, i. Sat. 1.) --- Nescis quo valeat nummus, quem præbeat usum.

Verse 10

Them. He shews the vanity of the great.

Verse 11

Sleep. Is not the health and content of the poor to be preferred?

Verse 12

Owner. When they are taken away, they bring greater sorrow, (Calmet) and even when present, they fill the mind with anxiety. (Haydock)

Verse 13

Affliction. Hebrew, "by an evil affair," or accident. (Calmet) --- Who. Hebrew, "and there is nothing in his hand." (Haydock) --- As temporal riches prove detrimental to their owners, so do false philosophy and heresy to those who follow them. (St. Jerome) (Worthington)

Verse 14

Labour. All must die in this manner. But it is most afflicting that he was formerly rich, and must leave his son indigent. (Calmet)

Verse 16

Sorrow. The person whose riches have been taken away, had made a bad use of them, (Calmet) living like a miser. It would be more rational to indulge in the pleasures which they afford, though this is also vain, chap. iii. 14.

Verse 17

CHAPTER V.

Verse 19

Delight, while he observes due moderation. His life passes away sweetly. (Calmet)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 5". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/ecclesiastes-5.html. 1859.