Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

11 (A)Cast your bread upon the waters,
    (B)for you will find it after many days.
(C)Give a portion to (D)seven, or even to eight,
    (E)for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
If the clouds are full of rain,
    they empty themselves on the earth,
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
    in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
    and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the way (F)the spirit comes to (G)the bones in the womb[a] of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening (H)withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to (I)see the sun.

So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember (J)that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is (K)vanity.[b]

(L)Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. (M)Walk in the ways of your heart and (N)the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things (O)God will bring you into judgment.

10 Remove vexation from your heart, and (P)put away pain[c] from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Remember Your Creator in Your Youth

12 Remember also your Creator in (Q)the days of your youth, before (R)the evil days come and the years draw near of which (S)you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before (T)the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and (U)those who look through the windows are dimmed, and (V)the doors on the street are shut—when (W)the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all (X)the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and (Y)terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,[d] and desire fails, because man is going to his (Z)eternal (AA)home, and the (AB)mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or (AC)the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is (AD)shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and (AE)the dust returns to the earth as it was, and (AF)the spirit returns to God (AG)who gave it. (AH)Vanity[e] of vanities, says (AI)the Preacher; all is vanity.


  1. Ecclesiastes 11:5 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb
  2. Ecclesiastes 11:8 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verse 10 (see note on 1:2)
  3. Ecclesiastes 11:10 Or evil
  4. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or is a burden
  5. Ecclesiastes 12:8 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (three times in this verse); see note on 1:2