New International Reader's Version

Ecclesiastes 12

1Remember your Creator.
    Remember him while you are still young.
Think about him before your times of trouble come.
    The years will come when you will say,
    “I don’t find any pleasure in them.”
That’s when the sunlight will become dark.
    The moon and the stars will also grow dark.
    And the clouds will return after it rains.
Remember your Creator before those who guard the house tremble with old age.
    That’s when strong men will be bent over.
The women who grind grain will stop because there are so few of them left.
    Those who look through the windows won’t be able to see very well.
Remember your Creator before the front doors are closed.
    That’s when the sound of grinding will fade away.
Old people will rise up when they hear birds singing.
    But they will barely hear any of their songs.
Remember your Creator before you become afraid of places that are too high.
    You will also be terrified because of danger in the streets.
Remember your Creator before the almond trees have buds on them.
    That’s when grasshoppers will drag themselves along.
    Old people will lose their desire.
That’s when people will go to their dark homes in the grave.
    And those who mourn for the dead will walk around in the streets.

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is cut.
    Remember him before the golden bowl is broken.
The wheel will be broken at the well.
    The pitcher will be smashed at the spring.
Remember your Creator before you return to the dust you came from.
    Remember him before your spirit goes back to God who gave it.

“Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
    “Nothing has any meaning.”

Have Respect for God and Obey His Commandments

The Teacher was wise. He gave knowledge to people. He tried out many proverbs. He thought about them carefully. Then he wrote them down in order. 10 He did his best to find just the right words. And what he wrote was honest and true.

11 The sayings of those who are wise move people to take action. Their collected sayings are like nails pounded in firm and deep. These sayings are given to us by one shepherd. 12 My son, be careful not to pay attention to anything added to them.

Books will never stop being written. Too much studying makes people tired.

13 Everything has now been heard.
    And here’s the final thing I want to say.
Have respect for God and obey his commandments.
    This is what he expects of all human beings.
14 God will judge everything people do.
    That includes everything they try to hide.
    He’ll judge everything, whether it’s good or evil.