Ecclesiastes 5:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.

New Living Translation
Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.

English Standard Version
For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.

New American Standard Bible
For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.

King James Bible
For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For dreams result from much work and a fool's voice from many words.

International Standard Version
Too many worries lead to nightmares, and a fool is known from talking too much.

NET Bible
Just as dreams come when there are many cares, so the rash vow of a fool occurs when there are many words.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Daydreaming comes when there are too many worries. Careless speaking comes when there are too many words.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For out of much preoccupation comes the dream, and the voice of the fool out of a multitude of words.

King James 2000 Bible
For a dream comes through much business; and a fool's voice is known by a multitude of words.

American King James Version
For a dream comes through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

American Standard Version
For a dream cometh with a multitude of business, and a fool's voice with a multitude of words.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Dreams follow many cares: and in many words shall be found folly.

Darby Bible Translation
For a dream cometh through the multitude of business, and a fool's voice through a multitude of words.

English Revised Version
For a dream cometh with a multitude of business; and a fool's voice with a multitude of words.

Webster's Bible Translation
For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by a multitude of words.

World English Bible
For as a dream comes with a multitude of cares, so a fool's speech with a multitude of words.

Young's Literal Translation
For the dream hath come by abundance of business, and the voice of a fool by abundance of words.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:1-3 Address thyself to the worship of God, and take time to compose thyself for it. Keep thy thoughts from roving and wandering: keep thy affections from running out toward wrong objects. We should avoid vain repetitions; copious prayers are not here condemned, but those that are unmeaning. How often our wandering thoughts render attendance on Divine ordinances little better than the sacrifice of fools! Many words and hasty ones, used in prayer, show folly in the heart, low thoughts of God, and careless thoughts of our own souls.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - The first clause illustrates the second, the mark of comparison being simply the copula, mere juxtaposition being deemed sufficient to denote the similitude, as in Ecclesiastes 7:1; Proverbs 17:3; Proverbs 27:21. For a dream cometh through (in consequence of) the multitude of business. The verse is meant to confirm the injunction against vain babbling in prayer. Cares and anxieties in business or other matters occasion disturbed sleep, murder the dreamless repose of the healthy laborer, and produce all kinds of sick fancies and imaginations. Septuagint, "A dream cometh in abundance of trial (πειρασμοῦ);" Vulgate, Multas curas sequuntur somnia. And a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. The verb should be supplied from the first clause, and not a new one introduced, as in the Authorized Version, "And the voice of a fool (cometh) in consequence of many words." As surely as excess of business produces fevered dreams, so excess of words, especially in addresses to God, produces a fool's voice, i.e. foolish speech. St. Gregory points out the many ways in which the mind is affected by images from dreams. "Sometimes," he says, "dreams are engendered of fullness or emptiness of the belly, sometimes of illusion, sometimes of illusion and thought combined, sometimes of revelation, while sometimes they are engendered of imagination, thought, and revelation together" ('Moral.,' 8:42).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business,.... Or, "for as a dream" (q), so Aben Ezra; as that comes through a multiplicity of business in the daytime, in which the mind has been busied, and the body employed; and this brings on dreams in the night season, which are confused and incoherent; sometimes the fancy is employed about one thing, and sometimes another, and all unprofitable and useless, as well as vain and foolish;

and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words; either his voice in conversation, for a fool is full of words, and pours out his foolishness in a large profusion of them; or his voice in prayer, being like a man's dream, confused, incoherent, and rambling. The supplement, "is known", may be left out.

(q) "ut prodit somnium", Junius & Tremellius; "nam ut venit", Piscator; "quia sicut venit", Mercerus, Ramabachius, so Broughton.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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" (Ec 10:14), [Holden and Weiss]. But Ec 5:7 implies that the "dream" is not a comparison, but the vain thoughts of the fool (sinner, Ps 73:20), arising from multiplicity of (worldly) "business." His "dream" is that God hears him for his much speaking (Mt 6:7), independently of the frame of mind [English Version and Maurer].

fool's voice—answers to "dream" in the parallel; it comes by the many "words" flowing from the fool's "dream."

Ecclesiastes 5:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Approaching God with Awe
2Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. 4When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow!…
Cross References
Job 11:2
"Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated?

Proverbs 10:19
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.

Proverbs 15:2
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Ecclesiastes 10:14
and fools multiply words. No one knows what is coming-- who can tell someone else what will happen after them?
Treasury of Scripture

For a dream comes through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

a fool's

Ecclesiastes 10:12-14 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool …

Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wants not sin: but he that refrains …

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools …

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