1Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
‘I find no pleasure in them’ –
2before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3when 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;
4when 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;
5when 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
and mourners go about the streets.
6Remember 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,
7and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
8‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher.#
‘Everything is meaningless!’
The conclusion of the matter
9Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
11The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – given by one shepherd.# 12Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
13Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Footnotes for the Book of Ecclesiastes
a 8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
a In Hebrew texts 5:1 is numbered 4:17, and 5:2-20 is numbered 5:1-19.
a 8 Or over the human spirit to retain it, / and so
b 9 Or to their
c 10 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (Aquila); most Hebrew manuscripts and are forgotten
a 16 Or king is a child
a 8 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 9 and 10
b 11 Or Shepherd