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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 5

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-20

Ecclesiastes 5:1 . Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God. Avoid wandering thoughts, and be wholly absorbed in devotion. Do not hear the words of prayer only, but desire the blessings sought. Set the Lord always before you, as enthroned in his temple, and surrounded with cherubim and seraphim. Contemplate God in the glory of his covenant; see yourselves as worms of the dust, and you will gradually enter into the true spirit and power of devotion. Then, when the hour of prayer is come, nothing but necessity will keep you at home. You will enter his temple with all possible reverence, will silently and meekly bow down in his presence, knowing that God is in heaven, and you are on earth. Be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they are rash and noisy, and open their mouth before God without knowing their errand, or waiting for an answer. St. Cyprian, in his discourse on the Lord’s prayer, says, When we meet together with our brethren, and celebrate the holy communion with the priest of God, reverence and decency should distinguish our devotion. We ought not to present our prayers with incoherent words, nor vociferate with a tumultuous loquacity the petitions which should be modestly commended to God; for He is the auditor, not of our words, but of our hearts. Quando in unum cum fratribus convenimus, et sacrificia divina cum Dei sacerdote celebramus, verecundiæ et disciplinæ memores esse debemus. Non passim ventilare preces nostras inconditis vocibus; nec petitionem commendandum modeste Deo, tumultuosa loquacitate jactare; quia Deus non vocis, sed cordis auditor est. Edit. Paris, 1633.

Ecclesiastes 5:4 . When thou vowest a vow. See Proverbs 20:25.

Ecclesiastes 5:6 . Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin, in any case of drunkenness, seduction, uncleanness, or otherwise: neither suffer thy mouth to utter rash vows, as was the case with Jephthah, Neither say thou before the angel that it was an error. The LXX, “before the face of God;” that is, before the Messiah, whom Jacob calls the face of God. Genesis 32:30. He is the Angel of Jehovah’s presence, and the Angel of the covenant, which distinguishes him from all created intelligences. It is an addition to crime to palliate our sins before the omniscient God, who searches the heart and tries the reins.


Solomon having described the brutish man, now speaks like himself, like one that is full of wisdom. He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with the vast sums in his coffers, and his banking accounts: the fire is encreased by fresh fuel. If he must pull down his house, and build a new mansion; if he must buy fresh estates; his heart may become divided with heaven, and death may approach as an unwelcome sheriff. And how does he know but his son may be of a temper just the reverse of his father, and waste it all. The golden shields of Solomon were carried away by the king of Egypt; and Crœsus rich to a proverb, was relieved of his load by the army of Cyrus. On the contrary, the sleep of a labouring man is sweet; he fears no invader by night, while the heaps of hoarded gold corrode the heart of the possessor. Those heaps, like manure, are of no use till spread abroad, leaving the miser to return naked to the tomb as he came from the bosom of his mother. The man who labours for earth alone envelopes himself in darkness, and his sun sets in a cloud.

The conclusion is, that the things which are good and comely are, to love and serve God. He to whom God has given riches has power to enjoy them, in a hallowed use of every blessing; to be a husband to the widow, and a father to the orphan; and to spend his days in hymns of praise. He lives for God, getting good and doing good. He should rejoice in the Lord, and again, as the apostle says, rejoice. Then, when called to leave his paradise on earth, he has a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/ecclesiastes-5.html. 1835.
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