Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:8English Standard Version (ESV)
Cast Your Bread upon the Waters
11 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. 3 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. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb[a] of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
6 In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
8 So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.[b]
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
10 Remove vexation from your heart, and 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 the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain,3 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 those who look through the windows are dimmed,4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,[d] and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern,7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.8 Vanity[e] of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 11:5Some Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb
Ecclesiastes 11:8The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verse 10 (see note on 1:2)
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! With Bible Gateway Plus, you gain instant access to a digital Bible study library, including complete notes from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and the Believer's Bible Commentary. Try it free for 30 days!