Ecclesiastes Ch12: v:1-7

Biblical Account of Ecclesiastes Ch12: v:1-7


1).  Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.

2).  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain.

3).  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened.

4).  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low.

5).  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.

6).  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern.

7).  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.


Some comments on Ecclesiastes Ch12: v:1-7

As explained by: Chaplain Cl2 Di Woods, PCDS, NZDF Chaplaincy

There is much poetry in this reading.

At first glance it may seem obscure, but when we understand a little of the code language, suddenly our minds become open to the beautiful and gentle way in which death is being described.

In essence it’s saying, ‘Old age is a “bugger” – enjoy your youth while you have it!’

If life were described as a single day, make the most of the midday sun, before twilight and darkness inevitably come upon you.

What will that be like?

Our body is the house.

The keepers of the house are our arms – and they will end up trembling.

The strong men are our legs – and they will bow and give way.

The grinders are indeed our teeth – they will stop grinding because they are few in number.

It is our eyes that look out of the windows – and they will be darkened with cataracts!

The doors that shut, are our ears – as we become deaf to the world around us, and the sounds of people at work, and of music.

In old age we will wake during the night when only the birds should be up, and we will be overcome by fears – of heights, and many other things.

Just as an almond tree becomes white when it flowers, so will our hair turn white, and even a grasshopper will feel heavy, and our desire for life will fail… because the eternity of death is coming.

Life is as precious as a solid gold bowl – but when the silver umbilical cord breaks, life is shattered for ever.

The water pitcher that is lowered into a cistern, or well, by a rope running around a wheel, will be smashed and broken when the wheel fails.

Inevitably, life will end.

Then the body returns to being dust in the earth – but the spirit returns to God who gave it.


The same reading, from a modern translation:

Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 – The Message

Ch12 1-2   Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young,
Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes,
Before your vision dims and the world blurs
And the winter years keep you close to the fire.

3-5   In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.
Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.
The shades are pulled down on the world.
You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt.
The hum of the household fades away.
You are wakened now by bird-song.
Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.
Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.
Your hair turns apple-blossom white,
Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body.
Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest,
While your friends make plans for your funeral.

6-7   Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.
Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.
The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.


The Song of Solomon Ch:2 v:17

Sometimes seen on headstones a little quotation which is over the page from Ecclesiastes Ch12 is found in The Song of Solomon Ch:2 v:17 which says: “UNTIL THE DAY BREAK AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY” for those who are left after the darkness (night) of death has passed when the day breaks into the birth of a new day and the shadows flee away.

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