New English Translation
Fear God Now Because Old Age and Death Come Quickly
1 So remember your Creator in the days of your youth - before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no pleasure in them";
2 before the sun and the light of the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds disappear after the rain;
3 when those who keep watch over the house begin to tremble, and the virile men begin to stoop over, and the grinders begin to cease because they grow few, and those who look through the windows grow dim,
4 and the doors along the street are shut; when the sound of the grinding mill grows low, and one is awakened by the sound of a bird, and all their songs grow faint,
5 and they are afraid of heights and the dangers in the street; the almond blossoms grow white, and the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry shrivels up - because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about in the streets -
6 before the silver cord is removed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the well, or the water wheel is broken at the cistern -
7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the life's breath returns to God who gave it.
Concluding Refrain: Qoheleth Restates His Thesis
8 "Absolutely futile!" laments the Teacher, "All of these things are futile!"
Concluding Epilogue: Qoheleth's Advice is Wise
9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also taught knowledge to the people; he carefully evaluated and arranged many proverbs.
10 The Teacher sought to find delightful words, and to write accurately truthful sayings.
11 The words of the sages are like prods, and the collected sayings are like firmly fixed nails; they are given by one shepherd.
Concluding Exhortation: Fear God and Obey His Commands!
12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. There is no end to the making of many books, and much study is exhausting to the body.
13 Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
King James Version
1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
8 ¶ Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.