12 Remember, now, your Grand Creator*+ in the days of your young manhood,*+ before the calamitous days proceed to come,+ or the years have arrived when you will say: “I have no delight in them”;+ 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark,+ and the clouds have returned, afterward the downpour; 3 in the day when the keepers of the house+ tremble, and the men of vital energy have bent themselves,+ and the grinding women*+ have quit working because they have become few, and the ladies seeing* at the windows+ have found it dark; 4 and the doors onto the street have been closed,+ when the sound of the grinding mill becomes low,+ and one gets up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song sound low.+ 5 Also, they have become afraid merely at what is high, and there are terrors in the way. And the almond tree carries blossoms,+ and the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry bursts, because man* is walking to his long-lasting house+ and the wailers have marched around in the street;+ 6 before the silver cord is removed, and the golden bowl gets crushed,+ and the jar at the spring is broken, and the waterwheel for the cistern has been crushed. 7 Then the dust returns to the earth+ just as it happened to be and the spirit+ itself returns to the [true] God+ who gave it.+ 8 “The greatest vanity!”* said the congregator,*+ “Everything is vanity.”+ 9 And besides the fact that the congregator had become wise,+ he also taught the people knowledge continually,+ and he pondered and made a thorough search,+ that he might arrange many proverbs in order.+ 10 The congregator sought to find the delightful words+ and the writing of correct words of truth.+ 11 The words of the wise ones are like oxgoads,+ and just like nails driven in*+ are those indulging in collections* [of sentences]; they have been given from one shepherd.+ 12 As regards anything besides these, my son, take a warning: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh.+ 13 The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God+ and keep his commandments.+ For this is the whole [obligation] of man.* 14 For the [true] God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.+
^ Or, “youth.”
^ “Your Grand Creator.” Heb., Boh·reʼeyʹkha. The participle of the Heb. verb “create” is pl. to denote grandeur or excellence.
^ “The grinding women.” In Heb. a fem. pl. participle because of referring to teeth, fem., and because women did the grinding.
^ “The ladies seeing,” fem., referring to eyes, fem.
^ Lit., “the earthling man.” Heb., ha·ʼa·dhamʹ.
^ Lit., “Vanity of vanities!” M(Heb., havelʹ hava·limʹ)LXXSyVg.
^ Lit., “planted,” as if built into a house.
^ “Collections.” Heb., ʼasup·pohthʹ (from ʼa·saphʹ, “to collect”).
^ Or, “mankind.” Heb., ha·ʼa·dhamʹ.