1Keep your Creator in mind while you are young! In years to come, you will be burdened down with troubles and say, “I don't enjoy life anymore.”
2Someday the light of the sun
and the moon and the stars
will all seem dim to you.
Rain clouds will remain
over your head.
3Your body will grow feeble,
your teeth will decay,
and your eyesight fail.
4The noisy grinding of grain
and the voices of singers
will be shut out
by your deaf ears,
but even the song of a bird
will keep you awake.#12.4 but even the song … awake: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
5You will be afraid
to climb up a hill
or walk down a road.
Your hair will turn as white
as almond blossoms.
You will feel lifeless
and drag along
like an old grasshopper.
We each go to our eternal home,
and the streets here are filled
with those who mourn.
6The silver cord snaps,
the golden bowl breaks;
the water pitcher is smashed,
and the pulley at the well
is shattered.
7So our bodies return
to the earth,
and the life-giving breath#12.7 life-giving breath: Or “spirit.”
returns to God.
8Nothing makes sense.
I have seen it all—
nothing makes sense.
Respect and Obey God
9I was a wise teacher with much understanding, and I collected a number of proverbs that I had carefully studied. 10Then I tried to explain these things in the best and most accurate way.
11Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from a shepherd,#12.11 a shepherd: This may be a reference to God as shepherd (see also Psalm 23.1). and they are like nails that fasten things together.#12.11 These sayings … together: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. 12My child, I warn you to stay away from any teachings except these.
There is no end to books,
and too much study
will wear you out.
13Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:
Respect and obey God!
This is what life
is all about.
14God will judge
everything we do,
even what is done in secret,
whether good or bad.
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