Qoheleth here focuses on the creature as a worshiper and addresses himself to conduct that is appropriate in the presence of God. The language is more restrained than that of the prophet since the observed worshiper is well-meaning but forgetful rather than hypocritical (Kidner, 52). There are three separate sayings in this passage.
First, Qoheleth urges caution relative to the frequency and quality of approach to God (v. 1). While not rejecting sacrifice (his objection to the fool's sacrifice is probably due to misuse), Qoheleth stresses the importance of listening, i.e., of understanding and obeying.
Second, he warns against impetuosity and multiplication of words during prayer (vv. 2-3). Words should be carefully weighed before they are uttered. In prayer an adequate distance of awe and respect must be maintained.
Third, he speaks against hastily made vows (vv. 4-7). Better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Evasion of a vow by alleging that it was a mistake does not exonerate the worshiper. Throughout this section Qoheleth calls for few and careful words when in God's presence.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience! For just a few dollars each month, Bible Gateway Plus gives you:
• A complete digital Bible study library integrated with your Bible Gateway account, with no expensive software to install.
• Access to 40+ study & reference books including the NIV Study Bible, the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, and the MacArthur Study Bible.
• An ad-free Bible Gateway experience.
• A risk-free, 30-day trial—you can cancel any time.