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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Chapter 5
Chapter 5

Solomon, in this chapter, discourses, I. Concerning the worship of God, prescribing that as a remedy against all those vanities which he had already observed to be in wisdom, learning, pleasure, honour, power, and business. That we may not be deceived by those things, nor have our spirits vexed with the disappointments we meet with in them, let us make conscience of our duty to God and keep up our communion with him; but, withal, he gives a necessary caution against the vanities which are to often found in religious exercises, which deprive them of their excellency and render them unable to help against other vanities. If our religion be a vain religion, how great is that vanity! Let us therefore take heed of vanity, 1. In hearing the word, and offering sacrifice, Eccl. 5:1. 2. In prayer, Eccl. 5:2, 3. 3. In making vows, Eccl. 5:4-6. 4. In pretending to divine dreams, Eccl. 5:7. Now, (1.) For a remedy against those vanities, he prescribes the fear of God, Eccl. 5:7. (2.) To prevent the offence that might arise from the present sufferings of good people, he directs us to look up to God, Eccl. 5:8. II. Concerning the wealth of this world and the vanity and vexation that attend it. The fruits of the earth indeed are necessary to the support of life (Eccl. 5:9), but as for silver, and gold, and riches, 1. They are unsatisfying, Eccl. 5:10. 2. They are unprofitable, Eccl. 5:11. 3. They are disquieting, Eccl. 5:12. 4. They often prove hurtful and destroying, Eccl. 5:13. 5. They are perishing, Eccl. 5:14. 6. They must be left behind when we die, Eccl. 5:15, 16. 7. If we have not a heart to make use of them, they occasion a great deal of uneasiness, Eccl. 5:17. And therefore he recommends to us the comfortable use of that which God has given us, with an eye to him that is the giver, as the best way both to answer the end of our having it and to obviate the mischiefs that commonly attend great estates, Eccl. 5:18-20. So that if we can but learn out of this chapter how to manage the business of religion, and the business of this world (which two take up most of our time), so that both may turn to a good account, and neither our sabbath days nor our week-days may be lost, we shall have reason to say, We have learned two good lessons.