Ecclesiastes 12 (Common English Bible)

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Troubling days to come

1 Remember your creator in your prime, before the days of trouble arrive, and those years, about which you'll say, "I take no pleasure in these"— 2 before the sun and the light grow dark, the moon and the stars too, before the clouds return after the rain; 3 on the day when the housekeepers tremble and the strong men stoop; when the women who grind stop working because they're so few, and those who look through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors to the street are shut, when the sound of the mill fades, the sound of the bird rises, and all the singers come down low; 5 when people are afraid of things above and of terrors along the way; when the almond tree blanches, the locust droops, and the caper-berry comes to nothing;a when the human goes to the eternal abode, with mourners all around in the street; 6 before the silver cord snaps and the gold bowl shatters; the jar is broken at the spring and the wheel is crushed at the pit; 7 before dust returns to the earth as it was before and the life-breath returns to God who gave it.

Motto and conclusion

8 Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher, everything is pointless. 9 Additionally: Because the Teacher was wise, he constantly taught the people knowledge. He listened and investigated. He composed many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched for pleasing words, and he wrote truthful words honestly. 11 The words of the wise are like iron-tipped prods; the collected sayings of the masters are like nails fixed firmly by a shepherd.b 12 Be careful, my child, of anything beyond them! There's no end to the excessive production of scrolls. Studying too much wearies the body. 13 So this is the end of the matter; all has been heard. Worship God and keep God's commandments because this is what everyone must do. 14 God will definitely bring every deed to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or bad.
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