12 Remember(A) your Creator
    in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble(B) come
    and the years approach when you will say,
    “I find no pleasure in them”—
before the sun and the light
    and the moon and the stars grow dark,
    and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
    and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
    and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
    and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
    but all their songs grow faint;(C)
when people are afraid of heights
    and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
    and the grasshopper drags itself along
    and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home(D)
    and mourners(E) go about the streets.

Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
    and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns(F) to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God(G) who gave it.(H)

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.[a](I)
    “Everything is meaningless!(J)

The Conclusion of the Matter

Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.(K) 10 The Teacher(L) searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.(M)

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails(N)—given by one shepherd.[b] 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.(O)

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God(P) and keep his commandments,(Q)
    for this is the duty of all mankind.(R)
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,(S)
    including every hidden thing,(T)
    whether it is good or evil.

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:8 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 9 and 10
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Or Shepherd

Seek God in Early Life

12 Remember(A) now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the [a]difficult days come,
And the years draw near (B)when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:
While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all (C)the daughters of music are brought low.
Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to (D)his eternal home,
And (E)the mourners go about the streets.

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is [b]loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
(F)Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
(G)And the spirit will return to God (H)who gave it.

“Vanity(I) of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”

The Whole Duty of Man

And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and (J)set[c] in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find [d]acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of [e]scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and (K)much study is wearisome to the flesh.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

(L)Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For (M)God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:1 Lit. evil
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:6 So with Qr., Tg.; Kt. removed; LXX, Vg. broken
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:9 arranged
  4. Ecclesiastes 12:10 Lit. delightful
  5. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Lit. masters of assemblies

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