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your feet carefully

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when you go to the ELOHIM’S house,

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also draw near to hear

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rather than to give the sacrifice of fools,

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for they do not know that they do evil.


Be careful to do things correctly

when you engage in any activity intended to get you closer to THE CREATOR AND RULER OF ALL THINGS;

come close to God in order to learn and obey rather than

to offer sacrifices like the disobedient and rebellious, who think that making a sacrifice somehow covers all their evil deeds.



This Hebrew word means “to keep, to watch, or to protect.” It comes from a root word meaning to “build a hedge around something, usually a hedge of thorns.”


“Watch your feet” means “watch how you walk,” which means “be careful how you live.” In this context it seems to apply mostly to our attitudes.

3: “Elohim’s house”

The purpose of going to the house of God is to draw near to God, hence the paraphrase column includes that idea.


For the ancient Jews, and many other ancient people groups, to “hear” implied understanding and obedience. It was not about knowledge alone, but putting into practice what one had learned.


What is meant by a “sacrifice of fools?” From the context we can deduce that it would be a sacrifice brought by a disobedient, evil person who has no intention of changing his ways. This is either a person who is trying to trick others into thinking he is a righteous man, or someone who has tricked himself into thinking that the simple act of bringing a sacrifice somehow covers his sins and turns him into a righteous person. The very last part of the verse points toward the idea that he has fooled himself.


At this point Solomon launches into a series of proverbs which, at first glance, do not seem to relate to the other things he has been covering in the book. I Suggest to you that they are indeed related. It should be no surprise that whenever possible he reverts to his favorite style of teaching, succinct packages of wisdom called proverbs. In this book he has been sharing things that are different from his earlier proverbs; they are insights that he would not have known to share earlier because he only gleaned them himself by going through some extremely difficult times.

Here are some ways in which the practical bits of wisdom shared in this section relate to Solomon’s pain and grief: He tells his readers to be careful about the things they say to God and the commitments they make to Him because he has learned that walking with God is harder than any of us thought it would be. We cannot be flippant about obeying God. If we have a flippant attitude, we will not be able to fulfill our spiritual commitments when things get tough. Even as he wrote this, Solomon was still struggling, his own victory had not yet been sealed.

He had also seen many people play games with God. That never ends well. He had likewise been tempted to play those games in order to make people think well of him, but up to this point he had not fallen to those temptations. He knew that the more one “builds” in the form of reputation or accomplishments, the more one wants to protect what he has built. He also knew that following God means we cannot care very much about our accomplishments. This being said, I think that this desire to preserve what he had built was one of the things that caused Solomon to turn away from God at the end of his life.

He goes on to talk about wealth and the use of riches. Once again, he had learned some hard lessons which changed his perspective on wealth. Here was the richest man any one of that day had ever known or heard about, and he was telling them to be careful about money because having lots of money is not always good.

Therefore, as you go through chapter 5 keep in mind that these topics are indeed related to the struggles that so deeply shaped the writing of this book.