Ecclesiastes 11-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Cast Your Bread on the Waters
11 Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it [a]after many days. 2 Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3 If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it [b]lies. 4 He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5 Just as you do not know [c]the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the [d]pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
7 The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8 Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.
9 Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the [g]impulses of your heart and the [h]desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10 So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away [i]pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
Remember God in Your Youth
12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; 2 before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; 3 in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through [j]windows grow dim; 4 and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will [k]sing softly. 5 Furthermore, [l]men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. 6 Remember Him before the silver cord is [m]broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the [n]spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”
Purpose of the Preacher
9 In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.
11 The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like [o]well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 But beyond this, my son, be warned: the [p]writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.
13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
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