Advice to the Young: Life is Short and Then You Die
1Remember your Creator in the days of your youth—
before the days of trouble come
and the years draw near when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them!”
2Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars darken
and the clouds return after the rain.
3When the guards of the house tremble,
and the men of strength are bent;
the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows see dimly.
4When the doors on the street are shut,
when the sound of the grinding mill is low;
one rises up to the sound of the bird,
and all the daughters of song are brought low.
5They are afraid of heights,
and terrors are on the road.
The almond tree blossoms,
and the grasshopper draws itself along, and desire fails
because man goes to his eternal home,
and the mourners go about in the streets.
6Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken;
and the jar at the foundation is broken,
and the wheel at the cistern is broken.
7And the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the breath returns to God who gave it.
8“Vanity of vanity!” says the Teacher.#Hebrew “Qohelet”
“Everything is vanity!”
9The Teacher#Hebrew “Qohelet” was full of wisdom, and he taught the people with knowledge. He carefully considered many proverbs and carefully arranged them. 10The Teacher#Hebrew “Qohelet” sought to find delightful words,#Hebrew “words of delight” and he wrote#The MT reads the term passively, “what is written,” but an alternate textual tradition reads, “and he wrote” what is upright—truthful words.
11The words of the wise are like cattle goads; the collections of the sages are like pricks inflicted by one shepherd.#Or “The owner of collections are given by one shepherd” 12My son, be careful about anything beyond these things.#Literally “but from more than them” For the writing of books is endless, and too much study is wearisome.#Literally “increases weariness of flesh”
13Now that all has been heard, here is the final conclusion:
Fear God and obey his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
14For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every secret thing, whether good or evil.