Good conduct at the Temple (Eccl 5:1-5:3)

“Guard your steps

When you go

To the house of God.

To draw near

To listen is better

Than to offer the sacrifice of fools.

They do not know

How to keep from doing evil.

‘Never be rash with your mouth!

Do not let your heart be quick

To utter a word before God.

God is in heaven.

You are on earth.

Therefore let your words be few!

Dreams come with many cares.

A fool’s voice comes with many words.’”

Be careful when you go up to the house of God, the Temple. It is better to listen than to offer the sacrifice of fools. These sacrificing fools do not know how to keep from doing evil. This appears to be a little bit against the sacrifices at the Temple. Then there is the stern warning of Qoheleth. Don’t be rash with your mouth. Don’t be quick to utter words before God. He reminded everyone that there was a difference between heaven and earth. God is in heaven and you are not. Therefore, you do not need to use a lot of words in your prayer. Dreams make us worry. A fool uses many words, so do not be like a fool. There is a discrepancy of one verse between the Bible of Jerusalem and the Oxford Bible for the next few verses. The phrasing is the same but verse 1 of chapter 5 is verse 17 of the Bible of Jerusalem.

Waters of Meribah (Ps 106:32-106:33)

“The Israelites angered Yahweh at the waters of Meribah.

It went ill with Moses on their account.

They made his spirit bitter.

He spoke words that were rash.”

Then there was another incident from Numbers, chapter 20. Once again, the Israelites were angry with Moses and Aaron since they had no water. This was when Moses struck the rock at Meribah, where water came pouring out. This is similar to Exodus, chapter 12 that was mentioned in the previous psalm. However, there was a twist here in the story of Numbers. Moses and Aaron were punished for not believing that water could come from a rock. Their punishment was that they too would die before they reached the Promised Land. Moses was rash in his hesitation to strike the rock.