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Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 & meaning...


you vow a vow to God, don’t defer to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay that which you vow. It is better that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5


Ecclesiastes 5 [1.] 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. Don’t be rash with your mouth, and don’t let your heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and you on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For as a dream comes with a multitude of cares, so a fool’s speech with a multitude of words. When you vow a vow to God, don’t defer to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay that which you vow. It is better that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay. Don’t allow your mouth to lead you into sin. Don’t protest before the messenger that this was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams there are vanities, as well as in many words: but you must fear God.


  • Seriousness of Vows: 

The Preacher emphasizes the gravity of making vows, particularly when they are directed towards God. Vows were solemn promises made to God, often in the context of worship or seeking divine favor. The Preacher warns against making such vows lightly or insincerely, as they carry significant spiritual weight.

  • Prompt Fulfillment: 

The passage stresses the importance of promptly fulfilling vows once they have been made. Delaying payment or procrastinating on fulfilling one's promises is viewed as foolishness in the eyes of God. The Preacher underscores the need for diligence and integrity in honoring commitments made to God.

  • God's Displeasure: 

The Preacher highlights God's disapproval of those who make vows but fail to fulfill them. God takes no pleasure in individuals who are careless or insincere in their commitments. Failing to keep one's word not only reflects poorly on the individual but also dishonors God and undermines trust in His faithfulness.

  • Better Not to Vow: 

The Preacher concludes by suggesting that it is better not to make vows at all than to make them and not fulfill them. This statement underscores the seriousness of vows and the importance of considering one's ability and willingness to fulfill them before making them. It serves as a cautionary reminder to exercise caution and sincerity in making commitments before God.

Application to Life: 

While the context of Ecclesiastes may focus on the vanity of life and the pursuit of meaning, the wisdom contained in these verses applies universally. They remind us of the importance of integrity, sincerity, and promptness in honoring our commitments, both to God and to others. Whether it's fulfilling promises made in marriage, business, or personal relationships, these principles guide our conduct and reflect our reverence for God.

Cross References:

Numbers 30:2: "If a man vows a vow to Yahweh, or swears an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." This verse from Numbers emphasizes the importance of keeping one's word, especially when making vows to the Lord.

Psalm 76:11: "Make vows to Yahweh your God, and fulfill them! Let all of his neighbors bring presents to him who is to be feared." This verse encourages the fulfillment of vows made to God as an expression of reverence and worship.

In summary, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 offers timeless wisdom regarding the seriousness of making vows, the importance of prompt fulfillment, and the reverence due to God in honoring our commitments. These verses remind us to approach vows with sincerity, caution, and a steadfast commitment to integrity.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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