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Ecclesiastes 12 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Twilight of Life

12 So remember your Creator in the days of your youth:

Before the days of adversity come,
and the years approach when you will say,
“I have no delight in them”;
before the sun and the light are darkened,
and the moon and the stars,
and the clouds return after[a] the rain;
on the day when the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
the women who grind cease because they are few,
and the ones who watch through the windows see dimly,
the doors at the street are shut
while the sound of the mill fades;
when one rises at the sound of a bird,
and all the daughters of song grow faint.
Also, they are afraid of heights and dangers on the road;
the almond tree blossoms,
the grasshopper loses its spring,[b]
and the caper berry has no effect;
for man is headed to his eternal home,
and mourners will walk around in the street;
before the silver cord is snapped,[c]
and the gold bowl is broken,
and the jar is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel is broken into the well;
and the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Everything is futile.”

The Teacher’s Objectives and Conclusion

In addition to the Teacher being a wise man, he constantly taught the people knowledge; he weighed, explored, and arranged many proverbs. 10 The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and write words of truth accurately. 11 The sayings of the wise are like goads, and those from masters of collections are like firmly embedded nails. The sayings are given by one Shepherd.[d]

12 But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. 13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:2 Or with
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or grasshopper is weighed down, or grasshopper drags itself along
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:6 Alt Hb tradition reads removed
  4. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Or by a shepherd

Ecclesiastes 12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Remember your Creator
    in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
    and the years approach when you will say,
    “I find no pleasure in them”—
before the sun and the light
    and the moon and the stars grow dark,
    and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
    and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
    and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
    and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
    but all their songs grow faint;
when people are afraid of heights
    and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
    and the grasshopper drags itself along
    and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
    and mourners go about the streets.

Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
    and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.[a]
    “Everything is meaningless!

The Conclusion of the Matter

Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.[b] 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:8 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 9 and 10
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Or Shepherd
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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