|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:4-8 When a person made engagements rashly, he suffered his mouth to cause his flesh to sin. The case supposes a man coming to the priest, and pretending that his vow was made rashly, and that it would be wrong to fulfil it. Such mockery of God would bring the Divine displeasure, which might blast what was thus unduly kept. We are to keep down the fear of man. Set God before thee; then, if thou seest the oppression of the poor, thou wilt not find fault with Divine Providence; nor think the worse of the institution of magistracy, when thou seest the ends of it thus perverted; nor of religion, when thou seest it will not secure men from suffering wrong. But though oppressors may be secure, God will reckon for all.
Verse 7. - For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities. The Hebrew is literally, For in multitude of dreams, and vanities, and many words; i.e., as Wright puts it, "In the multitude of dreams are also vanities, and (in) many words (as well)." Koheleth sums up the sense of the preceding paragraph, vers. 1-6. The popular religion, which made much of dreams and verbosity and vows, is vanity, and has in it nothing substantial or comforting. The superstitious man who puts his faith in dreams is unpractical and unreal; the garrulous man who is rash in his vows, and in prayer thinks to be heard for his much speaking, displeases God and never secures his object. Ginsburg and Bullock render, "For it is (it happens) through the multitude of idle thoughts and vanities and much talking," the reference being either to the foolish speaking of ver. 2 or to the wrath of God in ver. 6. The Septuagint rendering is elliptical, Ὅτι ἐ πλήθει ἐνυπνίων καὶ ματαιοτήτων καὶ λόγων πολλῶν ὅτι σὺ τὸν Θεὸν φοβοῦ. To complete this, some supply, "Many vows are made or excused;" others, "There is evil." Vulgate, Ubi multa aunt somnia, plurimae aunt vanitates, et sermones innumeri.' The Authorized Version gives the sense of the passage. But fear thou God. In contrast with these spurious forms of religion, which the Jews were inclined to adopt, the writer recalls men to the fear of the one true God, to whom all vows should be performed, and who should be worshipped from the heart.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For in the multitude of dreams, and many words, there are also divers vanities,.... Or as, "in a multitude of dreams, there are many vanities, so also in a multitude of words" (s); as dreams are vain things, or there are abundance of vain things that come into the mind in dreams; so vain and idle are the many excuses which are made for the non-performance of vows; or there are many vain things which are uttered in making of them, or in long prayers to God; or in discourses concerning him; to all which is opposed the fear of God;
but fear thou God; give no heed to dreams, nor to the many words of men, which are vain and foolish; but keep close to the word of God, and worship him internally and externally, in spirit and in truth; for herein lies the sum and substance of religion; see Ecclesiastes 12:13; The Targum is,
"for in the multitude of the dreams of the false prophets believe not, nor in the vanities of the authors of enchantments, and the many speeches of ungodly men; but serve the wise and just, and of them seek doctrine, and fear before the Lord;''
see Jeremiah 23:28;
(s) So Luther, Broughton, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
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