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1. From vanity connected with kings, he passes to vanities
which may be fallen into in serving the King of kings, even by those
who, convinced of the vanity of the creature, wish to worship the
2. rash--opposed to the considerate reverence ("keep thy foot,"
This verse illustrates
as to prayer in the house of God ("before God,"
as to vows. The remedy to such vanities is stated
"Fear thou God."
3. As much "business," engrossing the mind, gives birth to incoherent
"dreams," so many words, uttered inconsiderately in prayer, give birth
to and betray "a fool's speech"
[HOLDEN and WEISS]. But
implies that the "dream" is not a comparison, but the vain thoughts
of the fool (sinner,
arising from multiplicity of (worldly) "business." His "dream" is that
God hears him for his much speaking
independently of the frame of mind [English Version and MAURER].
4. When thou vowest a vow unto God--Hasty words in prayer (Ec 5:2, 3) suggest the subject of hasty vows. A vow should not be hastily made (Jud 11:35; 1Sa 14:24). When made, it must be kept (Ps 76:11), even as God keeps His word to us (Ex 12:41, 51; Jos 21:45).
5. (De 23:21, 23).
6. thy flesh--Vow not with "thy mouth" a vow (for example, fasting),
which the lusts of the flesh ("body,"
Margin) may tempt thee to break
7. (See on Ec 5:3). God's service, which ought to be our chief good, becomes by "dreams" (foolish fancies as of God's requirements of us in worship), and random "words," positive "vanity." The remedy is, whatever fools may do, "Fear thou God" (Ec 12:13).
8. As in
so here the difficulty suggests itself. If God is so exact in even
punishing hasty words
why does He allow gross injustice? In the remote "provinces," the
"poor" often had to put themselves for protection from the inroads of
Philistines, &c., under chieftains, who oppressed them even in
9. "The profit (produce) of the earth is (ordained) for (the common good of) all: even the king himself is served by (the fruits of) the field" (2Ch 26:10). Therefore the common Lord of all, high and low, will punish at last those who rob the "poor" of their share in it (Pr 22:22, 23; Am 8:4-7).
10. Not only will God punish at last, but meanwhile the oppressive
gainers of "silver" find no solid "satisfaction" in it.
12. Another argument against anxiety to gain riches. "Sleep . . . sweet" answers to "quietness" (Ec 4:6); "not suffer . . . sleep," to "vexation of spirit." Fears for his wealth, and an overloaded stomach without "laboring" (compare Ec 4:5), will not suffer the rich oppressor to sleep.
13, 14. Proofs of God's judgments even in this world (Pr 11:31). The rich oppressor's wealth provokes enemies, robbers, &c. Then, after having kept it for an expected son, he loses it beforehand by misfortune ("by evil travail"), and the son is born to be heir of poverty. Ec 2:19, 23 gives another aspect of the same subject.
17. eateth--appropriately put for "liveth" in general, as
Ec 5:11, 12, 18.
18. Returns to the sentiment
(Ec 3:12, 13, 22);
translate: "Behold the good which I have seen, and which is becoming"
(in a man).
refers to the "laboring" man
to the "rich" man, who gets wealth not by "oppression"
but by "God's gift." He is distinguished also from the "rich" man
in having received by God's gift not only "wealth," but also "power to
eat thereof," which that one has not.
20. He will not remember much, looking back with disappointment, as
the ungodly do
on the days of his life.