Ecclesiastes 12
Contemporary English Version

1Keep your Creator in mind while you are young! In years to come, you will be burdened down with troubles and say, “I don't enjoy life anymore.”

2Someday the light of the sun

and the moon and the stars

will all seem dim to you.

Rain clouds will remain

over your head.

3Your body will grow feeble,

your teeth will decay,

and your eyesight fail.

4The noisy grinding of grain

and the voices of singers

will be shut out

by your deaf ears,

but even the song of a bird

will keep you awake.+

5You will be afraid

to climb up a hill

or walk down a road.

Your hair will turn as white

as almond blossoms.

You will feel lifeless

and drag along

like an old grasshopper.

We each go to our eternal home,

and the streets here are filled

with those who mourn.

6The silver cord snaps,

the golden bowl breaks;

the water pitcher is smashed,

and the pulley at the well

is shattered.

7So our bodies return

to the earth,

and the life-giving breath+

returns to God.

8Nothing makes sense.

I have seen it all—

nothing makes sense.

Respect and Obey God

9I was a wise teacher with much understanding, and I collected a number of proverbs that I had carefully studied. 10Then I tried to explain these things in the best and most accurate way.

11Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from a shepherd,+ and they are like nails that fasten things together.+ 12My child, I warn you to stay away from any teachings except these.

There is no end to books,

and too much study

will wear you out.

13Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:

Respect and obey God!

This is what life

is all about.

14God will judge

everything we do,

even what is done in secret,

whether good or bad.


12.4 but even the song … awake: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
12.7 life-giving breath: Or “spirit.”
12.11 a shepherd: This may be a reference to God as shepherd (see also Psalm 23.1).
12.11 These sayings … together: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society.  All rights reserved.

Bible text from the Contemporary English Version 2nd Edition (CEV®) is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by American Bible Society, 101 North Independence Mall East, Floor 8, Philadelphia, PA 19106-2155  ( Learn more at Discover .BIBLE resources for your ministry at

Bible Hub

Ecclesiastes 11
Top of Page
Top of Page