12 Remember, then, your Grand Creator in the days of your youth,+ before the days of distress* come+ and the years arrive when you will say: “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark,+ and the clouds return after* the downpour; 3 in the day when the guards* of the house become shaky,* and the strong men stoop over, and the women quit grinding because they have become few, and the ladies looking out the windows find it dark;+ 4 when the doors to the street have been closed, when the sound of the grinding mill becomes low, when one gets up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song grow faint.+ 5 Also, one is afraid of heights, and there are terrors in the street. And the almond tree blossoms,+ and the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry bursts, because man is walking to his lasting house+ and the mourners walk about in the street;+ 6 before the silver cord is removed, and the golden bowl is crushed, and the jar at the spring is broken, and the waterwheel for the cistern is crushed. 7 Then the dust returns to the earth,+ just as it was, and the spirit* returns to the true God who gave it.+
8 “The greatest futility!”* says the congregator.+ “Everything is futile.”+
9 Not only had the congregator become wise but he continually taught the people what he knew,+ and he pondered and made a thorough search in order to compile* many proverbs.+ 10 The congregator sought to find delightful words+ and to record accurate words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are like oxgoads,+ and their collected sayings are like firmly embedded nails; they have been given from one shepherd. 12 As for anything besides these, my son, be warned: 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 will judge every deed, including every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.+