Remember Your Creator While Young

Light is sweet,
    and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.(A)
However many years anyone may live,
    let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember(B) the days of darkness,
    for there will be many.
    Everything to come is meaningless.

You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
    and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
    God will bring you into judgment.(C)
10 So then, banish anxiety(D) from your heart
    and cast off the troubles of your body,
    for youth and vigor are meaningless.(E)

12 Remember(F) your Creator
    in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble(G) 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;(H)
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(I)
    and mourners(J) 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(K) to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God(L) who gave it.(M)

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

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.(P) 10 The Teacher(Q) searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.(R)

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails(S)—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.(T)

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God(U) and keep his commandments,(V)
    for this is the duty of all mankind.(W)
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,(X)
    including every hidden thing,(Y)
    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

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam(A)

12 Rehoboam went to Shechem,(B) for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled(C) from King Solomon), he returned from[a] Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke(D) on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders(E) who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer,(F) they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected(G) the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged(H) you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord,(I) to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah(J) the Shilonite.

16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share(K) do we have in David,
    what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!(L)
    Look after your own house, David!”

So the Israelites went home.(M) 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah,(N) Rehoboam still ruled over them.

18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[b](O) who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death.(P) King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David(Q) to this day.

20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.(R)

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Footnotes

  1. 1 Kings 12:2 Or he remained in
  2. 1 Kings 12:18 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 4:6 and 5:14); Hebrew Adoram

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam(A)

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam(B) son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled(C) from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel(D) went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us,(E) but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders(F) who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer,(G) they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected(H) the advice the elders(I) gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God,(J) to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.(K)

16 When all Israel(L) saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,(M)
    what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
    Look after your own house, David!”

So all the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.

18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[a](N) who was in charge of forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

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Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 10:18 Hebrew Hadoram, a variant of Adoniram

21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war(A) against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah(B) the man of God:(C) 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.

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11 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem,(A) he mustered Judah and Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.

But this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah(B) the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your fellow Israelites.(C) Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the words of the Lord and turned back from marching against Jeroboam.

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Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan

25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem(A) in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.[a](B)

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem,(C) they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves.(D) He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”(E) 29 One he set up in Bethel,(F) and the other in Dan.(G) 30 And this thing became a sin;(H) the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.[b]

31 Jeroboam built shrines(I) on high places and appointed priests(J) from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth(K) month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel,(L) sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel.(M) So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.

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Footnotes

  1. 1 Kings 12:25 Hebrew Penuel, a variant of Peniel
  2. 1 Kings 12:30 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text people went to the one as far as Dan

Rehoboam Fortifies Judah

Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built up towns for defense in Judah: Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Soko, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. These were fortified cities(A) in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He strengthened their defenses and put commanders in them, with supplies of food, olive oil and wine. 12 He put shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were his.

13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him. 14 The Levites(B) even abandoned their pasturelands and property(C) and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord 15 when he appointed(D) his own priests(E) for the high places and for the goat(F) and calf(G) idols he had made. 16 Those from every tribe of Israel(H) who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened(I) the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

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