objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read
layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses
for meditation. To achieve this we have used a variety of means,
notes, headings, verse summaries.)
Ecclesiastes 5: Vows
before God & Struggles for wealth
Comments: Verses 1 to 7 are quite coherent in that they
are all warning about carelessly making vows before God: not being
hasty, fulfilling it, not being rash. Part 2 is quite different
and is the start of a varied and mostly unstructured flow of reflections
on life: injustice [v.8,9], ever wanting more [v.10,11], peace
or worries in work [v.12], hoarding and losing your wealth [v.13,14],
realising you can't take it with you when you die [v.15-17] so
that contentment is a wise goal [v.18-20]. A summary? Perhaps
worrying & striving for wealth is a fruitless goal!]
1: v.1-7: Against rash vows before God
Be careful what you say before God
your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen
rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that
they do wrong.
not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to
utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
Too many words often spell sin, so beware what you vow to God
dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the
speech of a fool.
When you make
a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it. He has no pleasure in
fools; fulfil your vow.
It's better not to vow than make a rash one
It is better
not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it.
Do not let
your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple
messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at
what you say and destroy the work of your hands?
dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
2: v.8-20: Struggles of the fallen world
Injustice is often found in hierarchies
you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights
denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is
eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.
increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits
from the fields.
if you love money or possessions you'll never have enough
loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied
with their income. This too is meaningless.
goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit
are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?
Honest work brings honest sleep, but the rich worry and can't
sleep of a labourer is sweet, whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.
Wealth can be hoarded and lost to the detriment of the next generation
have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the
harm of its owners,
wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children
there is nothing left for them to inherit.
We come with nothing & leave with nothing & in between
work can be stressful
comes naked from their mother's womb, and as everyone comes, so
they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry
in their hands.
This too is
a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do
they gain, since they toil for the wind?
All their days
they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger.
Contentment with your lot is a gift and takes about worry about
is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for
a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome
labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given
them—for this is their lot.
God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy
them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a
gift of God.
reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied
with gladness of heart.
to Ecclesiastes 6