The Uncertainties of Life
1Send your grain across the seas,
and in time, profits will flow back to you.# Or Give generously, / for your gifts will return to you later. Hebrew reads Throw your bread on the waters, / for after many days you will find it again.
2But divide your investments among many places,# Hebrew among seven or even eight.
for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.
3When clouds are heavy, the rains come down.
Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.
4Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
5Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb,# Some manuscripts read Just as you cannot understand how breath comes to a tiny baby in its mother’s womb. so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
6Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.
Advice for Young and Old
7Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.
8When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.
9Young people,# Hebrew Young man. it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.