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Ecclesiastes 5:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— 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.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— 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.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— 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.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Keep thy foot, when thou goest unto the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than dullards to offer sacrifice,—for they make no acknowledgment of doing wrong.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 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.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— 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.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Kepe thy foote when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to heare, then to giue the sacrifice of fooles: for they consider not that they doe euill.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— 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.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of Elohim, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Keep 8104
{8104} Prime
שָׁמַר
shamar
{shaw-mar'}
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
thy foot 7272
{7272} Prime
רֶגֶל
regel
{reh'-gel}
From H7270; a foot (as used in walking); by implication a step; by euphemism the pudenda.
when x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
thou goest y3212
[3212] Standard
יָלַך
yalak
{yaw-lak'}
A primitive root (compare H1980); to walk (literally or figuratively); causatively to carry (in various senses).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x1980
(1980) Complement
הָלַךְ
halak
{haw-lak'}
Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively).
to x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
the house 1004
{1004} Prime
בַּיִת
bayith
{bah'-yith}
Probably from H1129 abbreviated; a house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).
of lhm אֱלֹהִים, 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
and be more ready y7138
[7138] Standard
קָרוֹב
qarowb
{kaw-robe'}
From H7126; near (in place, kindred or time).
x7126
(7126) Complement
קָרַב
qarab
{kaw-rab'}
A primitive root; to approach (causatively bring near) for whatever purpose.
to hear, 8085
{8085} Prime
שָׁמַע
shama`
{shaw-mah'}
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.).
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
than to give 5414
{5414} Prime
נָתַן
nathan
{naw-than'}
A primitive root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.).
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
the sacrifice 2077
{2077} Prime
זֶבַח
zebach
{zeh'-bakh}
From H2076; properly a slaughter, that is, the flesh of an animal; by implication a sacrifice (the victim or the act).
of fools: 3684
{3684} Prime
כְּסִיל
k@ciyl
{kes-eel'}
From H3688; properly fat, that is, (figuratively) stupid or silly.
for they consider 3045
{3045} Prime
ידע
yada`
{yaw-dah'}
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
not x369
(0369) Complement
אַיִן
'ayin
{ah'-yin}
As if from a primitive root meaning to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity; generally used as a negative particle.
that x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
they do 6213
{6213} Prime
עָשָׂה
`asah
{aw-saw'}
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
evil. 7451
{7451} Prime
רָע
ra`
{rah}
From H7489; bad or (as noun) evil (naturally or morally). This includes the second (feminine) form; as adjective or noun.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 5:1

_ _ From vanity connected with kings, he passes to vanities (Ecclesiastes 5:7) 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 Creator.

_ _ Keep thy foot — In going to worship, go with considerate, circumspect, reverent feeling. The allusion is to the taking off the shoes, or sandals, in entering a temple (Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15, which passages perhaps gave rise to the custom). Weiss needlessly reads, “Keep thy feast days” (Exodus 23:14, Exodus 23:17; the three great feasts).

_ _ hear — rather, “To be ready (to draw nigh with the desire) to hear (obey) is a better sacrifice than the offering of fools” [Holden]. (Vulgate; Syriac). (Psalms 51:16, Psalms 51:17; Proverbs 21:3; Jeremiah 6:20; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Jeremiah 14:12; Amos 5:21-24). The warning is against mere ceremonial self-righteousness, as in Ecclesiastes 7:12. Obedience is the spirit of the law’s requirements (Deuteronomy 10:12). Solomon sorrowfully looks back on his own neglect of this (compare 1 Kings 8:63 with Ecclesiastes 11:4, Ecclesiastes 11:6). Positive precepts of God must be kept, but will not stand instead of obedience to His moral precepts. The last provided no sacrifice for willful sin (Numbers 15:30, Numbers 15:31; Hebrews 10:26-29).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3

_ _ Solomon's design, in driving us off from the world, by showing us its vanity, is to drive us to God and to our duty, that we may not walk in the way of the world, but by religious rules, nor depend upon the wealth of the world, but on religious advantages; and therefore,

_ _ I. He here sends us to the house of God, to the place of public worship, to the temple, which he himself had built at a vast expense. When he reflected with regret on all his other works (Ecclesiastes 2:4), he did not repent of that, but reflected on it with pleasure, yet mentions it not, lest he should seem to reflect on it with pride; but he here sends those to it that would know more of the vanity of the world and would find that happiness which is in vain sought for in the creature. David, when he was perplexed, went into the sanctuary of God, Psalms 73:17. Let our disappointments in the creature turn our eyes to the Creator; let us have recourse to the word of God's grace and consult that, to the throne of his grace and solicit that. In the word and prayer there is a balm for every wound.

_ _ II. He charges us to behave ourselves well there, that we may not miss of our end in coming thither. Religious exercises are not vain things, but, if we mismanage them, they become vain to us. And therefore,

_ _ 1. We must address ourselves to them with all possible seriousness and care: “Keep thy foot, not keep it back from the house of God (as Proverbs 25:17), nor go slowly thither, as one unwilling to draw nigh to God, but look well to thy goings, ponder the path of thy feet, lest thou take a false step. Address thyself to the worship of God with a solemn pause, and take time to compose thyself for it, not going about it with precipitation, which is called hasting with the feet, Proverbs 19:2. Keep thy thoughts from roving and wandering from the work; keep thy affections from running out towards wrong objects, for in the business of God's house there is work enough for the whole man, and all too little to be employed.” Some think it alludes to the charge given to Moses and Joshua to put off their shoes (Exodus 3:5, Joshua 5:15,) in token of subjection and reverence. Keep thy feet clean, Exodus 30:19.

_ _ 2. We must take heed that the sacrifice we bring be not the sacrifice of fools (of wicked men), for they are fools and their sacrifice is an abomination to the Lord, Proverbs 15:8), that we bring not the torn, and the lame, and the sick for sacrifice, for we are plainly told that it will not be accepted, and therefore it is folly to bring it, — that we rest not in the sign and ceremony, and the outside of the performance, without regarding the sense and meaning of it, for that is the sacrifice of fools. Bodily exercise, if that be all, is a jest; none but fools will think thus to please him who is a Spirit and requires the heart, and they will see their folly when they find what a great deal of pains they have taken to no purpose for want of sincerity. They are fools, for they consider not that they do evil; they think they are doing God and themselves good service when really they are putting a great affront upon God and a great cheat upon their own souls by their hypocritical devotions. Men may be doing evil even when they profess to be doing good, and even when they do not know it, when they do not consider it. They know not but to do evil, so some read it. Wicked minds cannot choose but sin, even in the acts of devotion. Or, They consider not that they do evil; they act at a venture, right or wrong, pleasing to God or not, it is all one to them.

_ _ 3. That we may not bring the sacrifice of fools, we must come to God's house with hearts disposed to know and do our duty. We must be ready to hear, that is, (1.) We must diligently attend to the word of God read and preached. “Be swift to hear the exposition which the priests give of the sacrifices, declaring the intent and meaning of them, and do not think it enough to gaze upon what they do, for it must be a reasonable service, otherwise it is the sacrifice of fools.” (2.) We must resolve to comply with the will of God as it is made known to us. Hearing is often put for obeying, and that is it that is better than sacrifice, 1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:15, Isaiah 1:16. We come in a right frame to holy duties when we come with this upon our heart, Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears. Let the word of the Lord come (said a good man), and if I had 600 necks I would bow them all to the authority of it.

_ _ 4. We must be very cautious and considerate in all our approaches and addresses to God (Ecclesiastes 5:2): Be not rash with thy mouth, in making prayers, or protestations, or promises; let not thy heart be hasty to utter any thing before God. Note, (1.) When we are in the house of God, in solemn assemblies for religious worship, we are in a special manner before God and in his presence, there where he has promised to meet his people, where his eye is upon us and ours ought to be unto him. (2.) We have something to say, something to utter before God, when we draw nigh to him in holy duties; he is one with whom we have to do, with whom we have business of vast importance. If we come without an errand, we shall go away without any advantage. (3.) What we utter before God must come from the heart, and therefore we must not be rash with our mouth, never let our tongue outrun our thoughts in our devotions; the words of our mouth, must always be the product of the meditation of our hearts. Thoughts are words to God, and words are but wind if they be not copied from the thoughts. Lip-labour, though ever so well laboured, if that be all, is but lost labour in religion, Matthew 15:8, Matthew 15:9. (4.) It is not enough that what we say comes from the heart, but it must come from a composed heart, and not from a sudden heat or passion. As the mouth must not be rash, so the heart must not be hasty; we must not only think, but think twice, before we speak, when we are to speak either from God in preaching or to God in prayer, and not utter any thing indecent and undigested, 1 Corinthians 14:15.

_ _ 5. We must be sparing of our words in the presence of God, that is, we must be reverent and deliberate, not talk to God as boldly and carelessly as we do to one another, not speak what comes uppermost, not repeat things over and over, as we do to one another, that what we say may be understood and remembered and may make impression; no, when we speak to God we must consider, (1.) That between him and us there is an infinite distance: God is in heaven, where he reigns in glory over us and all the children of men, where he is attended with an innumerable company of holy angels and is far exalted above all our blessing and praise. We are on earth, the footstool of his throne; we are mean and vile, unlike God, and utterly unworthy to receive any favour from him or to have any communion with him. Therefore we must be very grave, humble, and serious, and be reverent in speaking to him, as we are when we speak to a great man that is much our superior; and, in token of this, let our words be few, that they may be well chosen, Job 9:14. This does not condemn all long prayers; were they not good, the Pharisees would not have used them for a pretence; Christ prayed all night; and we are directed to continue in prayer. But it condemns careless heartless praying, vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7), repeating Pater-nosters by tale. Let us speak to God, and of him, in his own words, words which the scripture teaches; and let our words, words of our own invention, be few, lest, not speaking by rule, we speak amiss. (2.) That the multiplying of words in our devotions will make them the sacrifices of fools, Ecclesiastes 5:3. As confused dreams, frightful and perplexed, and such as disturb the sleep, are an evidence of a hurry of business which fills our head, so many words and hasty ones, used in prayer, are an evidence of folly reigning in the heart, ignorance of and unacquaintedness with both God and ourselves, low thoughts of God, and careless thoughts of our own souls. Even in common conversation a fool is known by the multitude of words; those that know least talk most (Ecclesiastes 10:11), particularly in devotion; there, no doubt, a prating fool shall fall (Proverbs 10:8, Proverbs 10:10), shall fall short of acceptance. Those are fools indeed who think they shall be heard, in prayer, for their much speaking.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 5:1

Thy foot — Thy thoughts and affections, by which men go to God and walk with him. To hear — To hearken to and obey God's word. Of fools — Such as wicked men use to offer, who vainly think to please God with their sacrifices without obedience. For — They are not sensible of the great sinfulness of such thoughts.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 5:1

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

(m) That is, with what affection you come to hear the word of God.

(n) Meaning, of the wicked, who think to please God with common uses, and have neither faith nor repentance.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
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. ... And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful [is] this place! this [is] none other but the house of God, and this [is] the gate of heaven.
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.
Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so.
2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to [his] destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.
Psalms 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all [them that are] about him.
Isaiah 1:12-20 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? ... But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].
1 Corinthians 11:22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise [you] not.
Hebrews 12:28-29 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: ... For our God [is] a consuming fire.

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:
1 Peter 2:1-2 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, ... As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

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. ... But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
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. ... And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
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. ... And Samuel said, 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.
Psalms 50:8-18 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, [to have been] continually before me. ... When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked [is] an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright [is] his delight.
Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked [is] abomination: how much more, [when] he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
Isaiah 1:12-15 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? ... And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Isaiah 66:3 He that killeth an ox [is as if] he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, [as if] he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, [as if he offered] swine's blood; he that burneth incense, [as if] he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
Jeremiah 7:21-23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. ... But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
Hosea 6:6-7 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. ... But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
Malachi 1:10-11 Who [is there] even among you that would shut the doors [for nought]? neither do ye kindle [fire] on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. ... For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name [shall be] great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense [shall be] offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name [shall be] great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
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Gn 4:3; 28:16. Ex 3:5. Lv 10:3. Jsh 5:15. 1S 13:12; 15:21. 2Ch 26:16. Ps 50:8; 89:7. Pv 15:8; 21:27. Is 1:12; 66:3. Jr 7:21. Ho 6:6. Mal 1:10. Ac 10:33; 17:11. 1Co 11:22. He 10:26; 12:28. Jm 1:19. 1P 2:1.

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