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Remember Your Creator

12 So remember your Creator during your youth!
Otherwise, troublesome days will come
and years will creep up on you when you’ll say,
        “I find no pleasure in them,”
Otherwise, when the sun, daylight, moon, or stars turn dark,
    or when clouds fail to return after the rain—
when that day comes, the palace guards will tremble,
    strong men will stoop down,
women grinders will cease because they are few,
    and the sight of[a] those who peer through the lattice will grow dim.
The doors to the street will be shut
    when the sound of grinding decreases,
when one wakes up at the song of a bird,
    and all of the singing women are silenced.
At that time they will fear climbing[b] heights
    and dangers along the road
while the almond tree will blossom,
    and the grasshopper is weighed down.
Desire will cease,[c]
    because the person goes to his eternal home,
        and mourners will gather in the marketplace.
When the silver cord is severed,
    the golden vessel is broken,
the pitcher is shattered at the fountain,
    and the wheel is broken at the cistern,
then man’s[d] dust will go back to the earth,
    returning to what it was,
        and the spirit[e] will return to the God who gave it.

“Utterly pointless,” says the Teacher.
    “Everything is pointless.”

Conclusions

Moreover, besides being wise himself, the Teacher taught people what he had learned by listening, making inquiries, and composing many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find appropriate expressions, and what is written here[f] is right and truthful.

11 Sayings from the wise are like cattle prods and well fastened nails; this[g] masterful collection was given by one shepherd. 12 So learn from them, my son. There is no end to the crafting of many books, and too much study wearies the body.

13 Let the conclusion of all of these thoughts be heard:

Fear God and obey his commandments,
    for this is what it means to be human.
14 For God will judge every deed,
    along with every secret,
        whether good or evil.

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:3 The Heb. lacks the sight of
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:5 The Heb. lacks climbing
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:5 Lit. The caper berry will have no effect
  4. Ecclesiastes 12:7 The Heb. lacks man’s
  5. Ecclesiastes 12:7 Or the breath of life
  6. Ecclesiastes 12:10 The Heb. lacks here
  7. Ecclesiastes 12:11 The Heb. lacks this

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