Ecclesiastes 12:13

13 Now 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.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
English Standard Version (ESV)
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
New Living Translation (NLT)
13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
The Message Bible (MSG)
13 The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you.
American Standard Version (ASV)
13 [This is] the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole [duty] of man.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
13 After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this [is for] all humanity.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
13 Everything has now been heard. And here's the final thing I want to say. Have respect for God and obey his commandments. That's what everyone should do.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter
Or "the end" F15 of it. The sum and substance of it, what it all tends to and issues in; even the whole of what is contained in this book, and in all offer divinely inspired writings of Solomon or others; of all that were now written, or before, or since: this the preacher calls upon himself, as well as his hearers, to attend unto. Or it may be rendered, "the end of the whole matter is heard" F16; here ends this book; and you have heard the whole of what deserves regard, and it lies in these few words, fear God, and keep his commandments:
"the fear of God" includes the whole of internal religion, or powerful godliness; all the graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them; reverence of God, love to him, faith in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ; hope of eternal life from him; humility of soul, patience and submission to his will, with every other grace; so the Heathens call religion "metum Deorum" F17, the fear of God: and "keeping of the commandments", or obedience to the whole will of God, is the fruit, effect, and evidence of the former; and takes in all the commands of God, moral and positive, whether under the former or present dispensation; and an observance of them in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God; for this [is] the whole [duty] of man;
or, "this is the whole man" {r}; and makes a man a whole man, perfect, entire, and wanting nothing; whereas, without this, he is nothing, let him have ever so much of the wisdom, wealth, honour, and profits of this world. Or, "this is the whole of every man" F19; either, as we supply it, the duty, work, and business of every man, of every son of Adam, be he what he will, high or low, rich or poor, of every age, sex, and condition; or this is the happiness of every man, or that leads to it; this is the whole of it; this is the "summum bonum", or chief happiness of men: Lactantius F20 says, the "summum bonum" of a man lies in religion only; it lies in this, and not in any outward thing, as is abundantly proved in this book: and this should be the concern of everyone, this being the chief end of man, and what, as Jarchi says, he is born unto; or, as the Targum, such should be the life of every man. The Masoretes begin this verse with a larger letter than usual, and repeat it at the end of the book, though not accentuated, to raise the attention of the reader F21; that he may make a particular observation of what is said in it, as being of the greatest moment and importance.


F15 (lkh rbd Pwo) "finis verbi omnis", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus; "finis universi negotii", Tigurine version, so Vatablus.
F16 (emvn) "auditus est", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, Mercerus.
F17 Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 35. v. 36.
F18 (Mdah lk hz) "hoc (est) omnis homo", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus; "omnium hominum perfectio", Tigurine version; "hoc est totus homo", Cocceius; "this is all the man", Broughton.
F19 "Hoc est omnium hominum", Piscator, Gejerus; "hoc est totum hominis", Junius & Tremellius.
F20 De Fals. Sap. l. 3, c. 10.
F21 Vid. Buxtorf. Tiberius, c. 14. p. 38.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 In-Context

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.
12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
13 Now 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.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Exodus 20:20; S 1 Samuel 12:24; S Job 23:15; S Psalms 19:9
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 10:12
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 4:6; S Job 37:24; Micah 6:8
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