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12 Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the [a]grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; yea, they shall be afraid [b]of that which is high, and terrors shall be in the way; and the almond-tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper [c]shall be a burden, and [d]desire shall [e]fail; because man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets: before the silver cord is [f]loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity. And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he [g]pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find out [h]acceptable words, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads; and as nails well fastened are the words of the [i]masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 [j]And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 [k]This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for [l]this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, [m]with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


  1. Ecclesiastes 12:3 Or, grinding women
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, of danger from on high
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, shall drag itself along
  4. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, the caperberry
  5. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Or, burst
  6. Ecclesiastes 12:6 Or, snapped asunder
  7. Ecclesiastes 12:9 Or, gave ear
  8. Ecclesiastes 12:10 Hebrew words of delight.
  9. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Or, collectors of sentences
  10. Ecclesiastes 12:12 Or, And as for more than these, my son, be warned
  11. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Or, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter
  12. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Or, this is the duty of all men
  13. Ecclesiastes 12:14 Or, concerning

12 Remember(A) your Creator
    in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble(B) 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;(C)
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(D)
    and mourners(E) 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(F) to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God(G) who gave it.(H)

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

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.(K) 10 The Teacher(L) searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.(M)

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

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God(P) and keep his commandments,(Q)
    for this is the duty of all mankind.(R)
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,(S)
    including every hidden thing,(T)
    whether it is good or evil.


  1. Ecclesiastes 12:8 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 9 and 10
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:11 Or Shepherd

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