Remember God in Your Youth
12 Remember [thoughtfully] also your Creator in the days of your youth [for you are not your own, but His], before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], “I have no enjoyment and delight in them”;(A) 2 before the sun and the light, and the moon and the stars are darkened [by impaired vision], and the clouds [of depression] return after the rain [of tears]; 3 in the day when the keepers of the house (hands, arms) tremble, and the strong men (feet, knees) bow themselves, and the grinders (molar teeth) cease because they are few, and those (eyes) who look through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors (lips) are shut in the streets and the sound of the grinding [of the teeth] is low, and one rises at the sound of a bird and the crowing of a rooster, and all the daughters of music (voice, ears) sing softly. 5 Furthermore, they are afraid of a high place and of dangers on the road; the almond tree (hair) blossoms [white], and the grasshopper (a little thing) is a burden, and the [a]caperberry (desire, appetite) fails. For man goes to his eternal home and the mourners go about the streets and market places.(B) 6 Earnestly remember your Creator before the silver cord [of life] is broken, or the golden bowl is crushed, or the pitcher at the fountain is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7 then the dust [out of which God made man’s body] will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher. “All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity (futility).”(C)
Purpose of the Preacher
9 Furthermore, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; and he pondered and searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find delightful words, even to write correctly words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are like [prodding] goads, and these collected sayings are [firmly fixed in the mind] like well-driven nails; [b]they are given by one Shepherd.(D) 12 But beyond this my son, [about going further than the words given by one Shepherd], be warned: the writing of many books is endless [so do not believe everything you read], and excessive study and devotion to books is wearying to the body.
13 When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil.(E)
- Ecclesiastes 12:5 This is an actual bush that grows in the region of the Mediterranean Sea. It is used in various condiments. In this verse some think it refers to loss of taste in old age, others to sexual desire (taking the fruit as an aphrodisiac), but which is not clear.
- Ecclesiastes 12:11 This verse establishes the divine inspiration of Ecclesiastes.