New International Version – UK

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

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.12:8 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 9 and 10

‘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.12:11 Or 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.

New International Reader’s Version

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

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.”

2That’s when the sunlight will become dark.

The moon and the stars will also grow dark.

And the clouds will return after it rains.

3Remember 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.

4Remember 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.

5Remember 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.

6Remember 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.

7Remember your Creator before you return to the dust you came from.

Remember him before your spirit goes back to God who gave it.

8“Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”

says the Teacher.

“Nothing has any meaning.”

Have Respect for God and Obey His Commandments

9The 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. 10He did his best to find just the right words. And what he wrote was honest and true.

11The 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. 12My son, be careful not to pay attention to anything added to them.

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

13Everything 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.

14God will judge everything people do.

That includes everything they try to hide.

He’ll judge everything, whether it’s good or evil.