Ecclesiastes 5:1
New International Version
Guard 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.

New Living Translation
As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.

English Standard Version
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.

Berean Study Bible
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

New American Standard Bible
Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.

New King James Version
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

King James Bible
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Christian Standard Bible
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to approach in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they ignorantly do wrong.

Contemporary English Version
Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Fools go there to offer sacrifices, because all they do is sin. But it's best just to listen when you go to worship.

Good News Translation
Be careful about going to the Temple. It is better to go there to learn than to offer sacrifices like foolish people who don't know right from wrong.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to draw near in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they ignorantly do wrong.

International Standard Version
Watch your step whenever you visit God's house, and come more ready to listen than to offer a fool's sacrifice, since fools never think they're doing evil.

NET Bible
Be careful what you do when you go to the temple of God; draw near to listen rather than to offer a sacrifice like fools, for they do not realize that they are doing wrong.

New Heart English Bible
Guard your step when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Watch your step when you go to the house of God. It is better to go there and listen than to bring the sacrifices fools bring. Fools are unaware that they are doing [something] evil.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Guard thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be ready to hearken: it is better than when fools give sacrifices; for they know not that they do evil.

New American Standard 1977
Guard your steps as you go to the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Watch thy feet when thou goest to the house of God and draw near with more willingness to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know how to do what God wants.

King James 2000 Bible
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

American King James Version
Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

American Standard Version
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God; for to draw nigh to hear is better than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they know not that they do evil.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Keep thy foot, whensoever thou goest to the house of God; and when thou art near to hear, let thy sacrifice be better than the gift of fools: for they know not that they are doing evil.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Keep thy foot, when thou goest into the house of God, and draw nigh to hear. For much better is obedience, than the victims of fools, who know not what evil they do.

Darby Bible Translation
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and draw near to hear, rather than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they know not that they do evil.

English Revised Version
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God; for to draw nigh to hear is better than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they know not that they do evil.

Webster's Bible Translation
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

World English Bible
Guard your steps when you go to God's house; for to draw near to listen is better than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they don't know that they do evil.

Young's Literal Translation
Keep thy feet when thou goest unto a house of God, and draw near to hear rather than to give of fools the sacrifice, for they do not know they do evil.
Study Bible
Approaching God with Awe
1Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2Do not be quick to speak, and do not let your heart hastily utter a word before God. After all, God is in heaven and you are on earth. So let your words be few.…
Cross References
Exodus 3:5
"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

Exodus 30:18
"You are to make a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing. Set it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water into it,

1 Samuel 15:22
But Samuel declared: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, and attentiveness is better than the fat of rams.

Proverbs 15:8
The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.

Proverbs 21:27
The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable--how much more so when brought with ill intent!

Isaiah 1:12
When you come to appear before Me, who has required this of you--this trampling of My courts?

Treasury of Scripture

Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

thy foot

Genesis 28:16,17
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not…

Exodus 3:5
And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Leviticus 10:3
Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

ready

Acts 10:33
Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

James 1:19
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

give

Genesis 4:3-5
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD…

1 Samuel 13:12,13
Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering…

1 Samuel 15:21,22
But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal…







Lexicon
Guard
שְׁמֹ֣ר (šə·mōr)
Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8104: To hedge about, guard, to protect, attend to

your steps
רַגְלְךָ֗ (raḡ·lə·ḵā)
Noun - feminine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7272: A foot, a step, the pudenda

when
כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר (ka·’ă·šer)
Preposition-k | Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

you go
תֵּלֵךְ֙ (tê·lêḵ)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1980: To go, come, walk

to
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 413: Near, with, among, to

the house
בֵּ֣ית (bêṯ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 1004: A house

of God.
הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים (hā·’ĕ·lō·hîm)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

Draw near
וְקָר֣וֹב (wə·qā·rō·wḇ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Infinitive absolute
Strong's Hebrew 7138: Near

to listen
לִשְׁמֹ֔עַ (liš·mō·a‘)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 8085: To hear intelligently

rather than to offer
מִתֵּ֥ת (mit·têṯ)
Preposition-m | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 5414: To give, put, set

the sacrifice
זָ֑בַח (zā·ḇaḥ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2077: A slaughter, the flesh of an animal, a sacrifice

of fools,
הַכְּסִילִ֖ים (hak·kə·sî·lîm)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 3684: Stupid fellow, dullard, fool

who
כִּֽי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

do not
אֵינָ֥ם (’ê·nām)
Adverb | third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 369: A non-entity, a negative particle

know that
יוֹדְעִ֖ים (yō·wḏ·‘îm)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 3045: To know

they do
לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת (la·‘ă·śō·wṯ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 6213: To do, make

wrong.
רָֽע׃ (rā‘)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7451: Bad, evil
V.

(1) In the Hebrew division this is the last verse of the preceding chapter; but clearly here a new section begins, containing proverbs in the second person singular, which has not hitherto been used. There is no obvious connection with what has gone before; possibly the precepts here introduced were traditionally known to have been part of Solomon's teaching.

They consider not.--The most natural translation of this clause would be, "They know not how to do evil," i.e., are incapable of doing evil. This would force us to understand the subject of the clause to be, not the fools, but those who are ready to hear. The Authorised Version exhibits one of the expedients resorted to in order to get a better meaning. Another is, "They are without knowledge, so that they do evil."

Verses 1-7. - Section 6. Man's outward and secular life being unable to secure happiness and satisfaction, can these be found in popular religion? Religious exercises need the observation of strict rules, which are far from meeting with general attention. Koheleth proceeds to give instruction, in the form of maxims, concerning public worship, prayer, and vows. Verse 1. - This verse, in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin Bibles, forms the conclusion of Ecclesiastes 4, and is taken independently; but the division in our version is more natural, and the connection of this with the following verses is obvious. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, Some read "feet" instead of "foot," but the singular and plural numbers are both found in this signification (comp. Psalm 119:59, 105; Proverbs 1:15; Proverbs 4:26, 27). To "keep the foot" is to be careful of the conduct, to remember what you are about, whither you are going. There is no allusion to the sacerdotal rite of washing the feet before entering the holy place (Exodus 30:18, 19), nor to the custom of removing the shoes on entering a consecrated building, which was a symbol of reverential awe and obedient service. The expression is simply a term connected with man's ordinary life transferred to his moral and religious life. The house of God is the temple. The tabernacle is called "the house of Jehovah" (1 Samuel 1:7; 2 Samuel 12:20), and this name is commonly applied to the temple; e.g., 1 Kings 3:1; 2 Chronicles 8:16; Ezra 3:11. But "house of God" is applied also to the temple (2 Chronicles 5:14; Ezra 5:8, 15, etc.), so that we need not, with Bullock, suppose that Koheleth avoids the name of the Lord of the covenant as "a natural sign of the writer's humiliation after his fall into idolatry, and an acknowledgment of his unworthiness of the privileges of a son of the covenant." It is probable that the expression here is meant to include synagogues as well as the great temple at Jerusalem, since the following clause seems to imply that exhortation would be heard there, which formed no part of the temple service. The verse has furnished a text on the subject of the reverence due to God's house and service from Chrysostom downwards. And be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools. Various are the renderings of this clause. Wright, "For to draw near to hear is (better) than the fools offering sacrifices." (So virtually Knobel, Ewald, etc.) Ginsburg, "For it is nearer to obey than to offer the sacrifice of the disobedient;" i.e. it is the straighter, truer way to take when you obey God than when you merely perform outward service. The Vulgate takes the infinitive verb as equivalent to the imperative, as the Authorized Version, Appropinqua ut audias; but it is best to regard it as pure infinitive, and to translate, "To approach in order to hear is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools." The sentiment is the same as that in 1 Samuel 15:22, 'Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." The same thought occurs in Proverbs 21:3; Psalm 50:7-15; and continually in the prophets; e.g., Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Hosea 6:6, etc. It is the reaction against the mere ceremonialism which marked the popular religion. Koheleth had seen and deplored this at Jerusalem and elsewhere, and he enunciates the great troth that it is more acceptable to God that one should go to his house to hear the Law read and taught and expounded, than to offer a formal sacrifice, which, as being the offering of a godless man is called in proverbial language "the sacrifice of fools" (Proverbs 21:27). The verb used here, "give" (nathan), is not the usual expression for offering sacrifice, and may possibly refer to the feast which accompanied such sacrifices, and which often degenerated into excess (Delitzsch). That the verb rendered "to hear" does not mean merely "to obey" is plain from its reference to conduct in the house of God. The reading of the Law, and probably of the prophets, formed a feature of the temple service in Koheleth's day; the expounding of the same in public was confined to the synagogues, which seem to have originated in the time of the exile, though there were doubtless before that time some regular occasions of assembling together (see 2 Kings 4:23). For they consider not that they do evil; Ὅι οὐκ εἰσὶν εἰδότες τοῦ ποιῆσαι κακόν (Septuagint); Qui nesciunt quid faciunt mali (Vulgate); "They are without knowledge, so that they do evil" (Delitzsch, Knobel, etc.); "As they (who obey) know not to do evil" (Gins-burg). The words can scarcely mean, "They know not that they do evil;" nor, as Hitzig has, "They know not how to be sorrowful." There is much difficulty in understanding the passage according to the received reading, and Nowack, with others, deems the text corrupt. If we accept what we now find, it is best to translate, "They know not, so that they do evil;" i.e. their ignorance predisposes them to err in this matter. The persons meant are the "fools" who offer unacceptable sacrifices. These know not how to worship God heartily and properly, and, thinking to please him with their formal acts of devotion, fall into a grievous sin. 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.
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