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John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible

Search This Resource
 Chapter 4
Chapter 6
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Chapter 5

Chapter Overview

Solomon here discourses of the worship of God, as a remedy against all these vanities, but warns us of vanities therein, verse 1-7.
Directs us to eye God as our judge, verse 8.
Shews the vanity of riches, verse 9-17.
And recommends the chearful use of what God has given us, verse 18-20.

Verse 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.

Verse 2
Rash - Speak not without due consideration. To utter - Either in prayer, or vows. For God - Is a God of infinite majesty, holiness, and knowledge. Thy words - Either in prayer or in vowing.

Verse 3
A dream - When men are oppressed with business in the day, they dream of it in the night. Is known - It discovers the man to be a foolish, and rash, and inconsiderate man. Of words - Either in prayer, or in vowing, by making many rash vows, of which he speaks verse 4,5,6, and then returns to the mention of multitude of dreams and many words, verse 7, which verse may be a comment upon this, and which makes it probable that both that and this verse are to be understood of vows rather than of prayers.

Verse 4
In fools - In perfidious persons, who, when they are in distress, make liberal vows, and when the danger is past, break them.

Verse 6
Thy mouth - By any rash vow. Thy flesh - Thyself, the word flesh being often put for the whole man. The angel - The priest or ministers of holy things. Such persons are often called angels, or, as this Hebrew word is commonly rendered, messengers. And this title seems to be given to the priest here, because the vow made to God, was paid to the priest as one standing and acting in God's name and stead, and it belonged to him, as God's angel or ambassador, to discharge persons from their vows when there was just occasion. It was - I did unadvisedly in making such a vow. Angry - Why wilt thou provoke God to anger at these frivolous excuses? Destroy - Blast all thy labours, and particularly that work or enterprize for the success whereof thou didst make these vows.

Verse 7
For - There is a great deal of folly, as in multitude of dreams, which for the most part are vain and insignificant, so also in many words, in making many vows whereby a man is exposed to many snares and temptations. But - Fear the wrath of God, and therefore be sparing in making vows, and just in performing them.

Verse 8
If - Here is an account of another vanity, and a sovereign antidote against it. Marvel not - As if it were inconsistent with God's wisdom, and justice, to suffer such disorders. For - The most high God who is infinitely above the greatest of men. Regardeth - Not like an idle spectator, but a judge, who diligently observes, and will effectually punish them. Higher - God: it is an emphatical repetition of the same thing.

Verse 9
Profit - The fruits of the earth. For all - Necessary and beneficial to all men. The wise man, after some interruption, returns to his former subject, the vanity of riches, one evidence whereof he mentions in this verse, that the poor labourer enjoys the fruits of the earth as well as the greatest monarch. Is served - Is supported by the fruits of the field.

Verse 13
To their hurt - Because they frequently are the occasions both of their present and eternal destruction.

Verse 14
Perish - By some wicked practices, either his own, or of other men. Nothing - In the son's possession after his father's death.

Verse 15
To go - Into the womb of the earth, the common mother of all mankind. Take nothing - This is another vanity. If his estate be neither lost, nor kept to his hurt, yet when he dies he must leave it behind him, and cannot carry one handful of it into another world.

Verse 16
The wind - For riches, which are empty and unsatisfying, uncertain and transitory, which no man can hold or stay in its course, all which are the properties of the wind.

Verse 17
He eateth - He hath no comfort in his estate, but even when he eats, he doth it with anxiety and discontent. And wrath - When he falls sick, and presages his death, he is filled with rage, because he is cut off before he hath accomplished his designs, and because he must leave that wealth and world in which all his hopes and happiness lie.

Verse 18
Good - Good or comfortable to a man's self, and comely or amiable in the eye of other men. His portion - Of worldly goods; he hath a better portion in heaven. This liberty is given him by God, and this is the best advantage, as to this life, which he can make of them.

Verse 19
To take - To use what God hath given him.

Verse 20
Remember - So as to disquiet himself. The days - The troubles; days being put here for evil, or, sad days. Answereth - His desires, in giving him solid joy and comfort.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible". <>. 1765.  


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