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.

Fear God and Keep His Commandments

Besides being wise, (AJ)the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging (AK)many proverbs with great care. 10 (AL)The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 (AM)The words of the wise are like goads, and like (AN)nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are (AO)given by (AP)one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making (AQ)many books there is no end, and (AR)much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. (AS)Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.[f] 14 For (AT)God will bring every deed into judgment, with[g] every secret thing, whether good or evil.

The Song of (AU)Songs, which is Solomon's.

The Bride Confesses Her Love


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your (AV)love is better than wine;
    your (AW)anointing oils are fragrant;
your (AX)name is oil poured out;
    therefore virgins love you.
(AY)Draw me after you; (AZ)let us run.
    (BA)The king has brought me into his chambers.


We will (BB)exult and rejoice in you;
    we will extol (BC)your love more than wine;
    rightly do they love you.


I am very dark, but (BD)lovely,
    O (BE)daughters of Jerusalem,
like (BF)the tents of (BG)Kedar,
    like the curtains of Solomon.
Do not gaze at me because I am dark,
    because the sun has looked upon me.
My (BH)mother's sons were angry with me;
    they made me (BI)keeper of (BJ)the vineyards,
    but (BK)my own vineyard I have not kept!
Tell me, you (BL)whom my soul loves,
    where you (BM)pasture your flock,
    where you make it (BN)lie down at noon;
for why should I be like one who veils herself
    beside the flocks of your (BO)companions?

Solomon and His Bride Delight in Each Other


If you do not know,
    O (BP)most beautiful among women,
follow in the tracks of the flock,
    and pasture your young goats
    beside the shepherds' tents.

I compare you, (BQ)my love,
    to (BR)a mare among Pharaoh's chariots.
10 (BS)Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
    your neck with strings of jewels.


11 We will make for you[i] ornaments of gold,
    studded with silver.


12 While (BT)the king was on his couch,
    my (BU)nard gave forth its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of (BV)myrrh
    that lies between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of (BW)henna blossoms
    in the vineyards of (BX)Engedi.


15 (BY)Behold, (BZ)you are beautiful, (CA)my love;
    behold, you are beautiful;
    your (CB)eyes are doves.


16 Behold, you are beautiful, (CC)my beloved, truly (CD)delightful.
Our couch is green;
17     the beams of our house are (CE)cedar;
    our rafters are (CF)pine.

I am a rose[j] of Sharon,
    (CG)a lily of the valleys.


As a lily among brambles,
    so is (CH)my love among the young women.


As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
    so is my (CI)beloved among the young men.
With great delight I sat (CJ)in his shadow,
    and his (CK)fruit was sweet to my taste.
He (CL)brought me to the banqueting house,[k]
    and his (CM)banner over me was love.
Sustain me with (CN)raisins;
    refresh me with apples,
    (CO)for I am sick with love.
His (CP)left hand is under my head,
    and his right hand (CQ)embraces me!
I (CR)adjure you,[l] O (CS)daughters of Jerusalem,
    by (CT)the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
    until it pleases.

The Bride Adores Her Beloved

The voice of my beloved!
    Behold, he comes,
leaping (CU)over the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like (CV)a gazelle
    or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands
    behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    looking through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me:
(CW)“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
11 for behold, the winter is past;
    (CX)the rain is over and gone.
12 (CY)The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing[m] has come,
and the voice of (CZ)the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
13 (DA)The fig tree ripens its figs,
    and (DB)the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
(DC)Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away.
14 O my (DD)dove, in the (DE)clefts of the rock,
    in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
    let me (DF)hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is (DG)lovely.
15 Catch (DH)the foxes[n] for us,
    the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
    (DI)for our vineyards are in blossom.”

16 (DJ)My beloved is mine, and I am his;
    he (DK)grazes[o] among the lilies.
17 Until (DL)the day breathes
    and (DM)the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like (DN)a gazelle
    or a young stag on cleft mountains.[p]

The Bride's Dream

On my bed (DO)by night
I sought (DP)him whom my soul loves;
    (DQ)I sought him, but found him not.
I will rise now and go about the city,
    in (DR)the streets and in the squares;
I will seek (DS)him whom my soul loves.
    I sought him, but found him not.
(DT)The watchmen found me
    as they went about in the city.
“Have you seen him whom my soul loves?”
Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found (DU)him whom my soul loves.
I (DV)held him, and would not let him go
    until I had (DW)brought him into my mother's house,
    and into the chamber of (DX)her who conceived me.
(DY)I adjure you, (DZ)O daughters of Jerusalem,
    (EA)by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
    until it pleases.

Solomon Arrives for the Wedding

(EB)What is that coming up from the wilderness
    like (EC)columns of smoke,
perfumed with (ED)myrrh and frankincense,
    with all the fragrant powders of a merchant?
Behold, it is the litter[q] of Solomon!
Around it are (EE)sixty (EF)mighty men,
    some of the mighty men of Israel,
all of them wearing swords
    and expert in war,
each with his (EG)sword at his thigh,
    against (EH)terror by night.
King Solomon made himself a carriage[r]
    from the wood of Lebanon.
10 He made its posts of silver,
    its back of gold, its seat of purple;
its interior was inlaid with love
    by (EI)the daughters of Jerusalem.
11 Go out, O (EJ)daughters of Zion,
    and look upon King Solomon,
with the crown with which his mother crowned him
    on (EK)the day of his wedding,
    on the day of the gladness of his heart.

Solomon Admires His Bride's Beauty


Behold, (EL)you are beautiful, my love,
    behold, you are beautiful!
(EM)Your eyes are doves
    (EN)behind your veil.
(EO)Your hair is like a flock of goats
    leaping down (EP)the slopes of Gilead.
Your (EQ)teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes
    that have come up from the washing,
all of which bear twins,
    and not one among them has lost its young.
Your lips are like (ER)a scarlet thread,
    and your mouth is (ES)lovely.
Your (ET)cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
    (EU)behind your veil.
Your (EV)neck is like the tower of David,
    built in (EW)rows of stone;[s]
on it (EX)hang a thousand shields,
    all of (EY)them shields of warriors.
Your (EZ)two breasts are like two (FA)fawns,
    twins of a gazelle,
    that (FB)graze among the lilies.
(FC)Until the day breathes
    and the shadows flee,
I will go away to the mountain of (FD)myrrh
    and the hill of (FE)frankincense.
(FF)You are altogether beautiful, my love;
    there is no (FG)flaw in you.
(FH)Come with me from (FI)Lebanon, my (FJ)bride;
    come with me from (FK)Lebanon.
Depart[t] from the peak of Amana,
    from the peak of (FL)Senir and (FM)Hermon,
from the dens of lions,
    from the mountains of leopards.

You have captivated my heart, my (FN)sister, my bride;
    you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,
    with one (FO)jewel of your necklace.
10 How beautiful is your love, my (FP)sister, my bride!
    How much (FQ)better is your love than wine,
    and (FR)the fragrance of your oils than any spice!
11 Your (FS)lips drip nectar, my bride;
    (FT)honey and milk are under your tongue;
    the fragrance of your garments is (FU)like the fragrance of (FV)Lebanon.
12 A garden locked is my (FW)sister, my bride,
    a spring locked, (FX)a fountain (FY)sealed.
13 Your shoots are (FZ)an orchard of pomegranates
    with all (GA)choicest fruits,
    (GB)henna with (GC)nard,
14 nard and saffron, (GD)calamus and (GE)cinnamon,
    with all trees of (GF)frankincense,
(GG)myrrh and (GH)aloes,
    with all (GI)choice spices—
15 a garden fountain, a well of (GJ)living water,
    and flowing streams from (GK)Lebanon.

16 Awake, O north wind,
    and come, O south wind!
Blow upon my (GL)garden,
    let its spices flow.

Together in the Garden of Love


(GM)Let my beloved come to his (GN)garden,
    and eat its (GO)choicest fruits.


  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
  6. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Or the duty of all mankind
  7. Ecclesiastes 12:14 Or into the judgment on
  8. Song of Solomon 1:2 The translators have added speaker identifications based on the gender and number of the Hebrew words
  9. Song of Solomon 1:11 The Hebrew for you is feminine singular
  10. Song of Solomon 2:1 Probably a bulb, such as a crocus, asphodel, or narcissus
  11. Song of Solomon 2:4 Hebrew the house of wine
  12. Song of Solomon 2:7 That is, I put you on oath; so throughout the Song
  13. Song of Solomon 2:12 Or pruning
  14. Song of Solomon 2:15 Or jackals
  15. Song of Solomon 2:16 Or he pastures his flock
  16. Song of Solomon 2:17 Or mountains of Bether
  17. Song of Solomon 3:7 That is, the couch on which servants carry a king
  18. Song of Solomon 3:9 Or sedan chair
  19. Song of Solomon 4:4 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  20. Song of Solomon 4:8 Or Look

Bible Gateway Recommends

ESV Super Giant Print Bible (TruTone Imitation Leather, Burgundy)
ESV Super Giant Print Bible (TruTone Imitation Leather, Burgundy)
Retail: $49.99
Our Price: $29.99
Save: $20.00 (40%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
ESV Action Study Bible Boys, Virtual Leather, Slate Gray
ESV Action Study Bible Boys, Virtual Leather, Slate Gray
Retail: $39.99
Our Price: $20.99
Save: $19.00 (48%)
4.0 of 5.0 stars
ESV Study Bible, Black Genuine  Leather with Thumb Index
ESV Study Bible, Black Genuine Leather with Thumb Index
Retail: $109.99
Our Price: $56.99
Save: $53.00 (48%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
ESV Study Bible, Black Genuine Leather
ESV Study Bible, Black Genuine Leather
Retail: $99.99
Our Price: $46.99
Save: $53.00 (53%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
ESV Study Bible--Genuine leather, black
ESV Study Bible--Genuine leather, black
Retail: $109.99
Our Price: $57.99
Save: $52.00 (47%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars