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12:1 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; 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 12:3 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, 12:4 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 musick shall be brought low; 12:5 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: 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

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Everything King James Bible:Ecclesiastes

Verse 1 is closely echoed in the secret recognition phrase of the Howard Families in Robert Heinlein's Time Enough For Love: "Life is short", "But the years are long", "Not 'while the evil days come not'".

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Ecclesiastes
Book: Ecclesiastes
Chapter: 12

A description of the infirmities of Age. (1-7) All is vanity:
also a warning of the Judgment to come. (8-14)

1-7 We should remember our sins against our Creator, repent,
and seek forgiveness. We should remember our duties, and set
about them, looking to him for Grace and strength. This should
be done early, while the body is strong, and the spirits active.
When a Man has the pain of reviewing a misspent Life, his not
having given up Sin and worldly vanities till he is forced to
say, I have No pleasure in them, renders his sincerity very
questionable. Then follows a figurative description of old Age
and its infirmities, which has some difficulties; but the
meaning is Plain, to show how uncomfortable, generally, the days
of old Age are. As the four verses, 2-5, are a figurative
description of the infirmities that usually accompany old Age, So
ver. 6 notices the circumstances which take place in the Hour
of Death. If Sin had not entered into the world, these
infirmities would not have been known. Surely then the aged
should reflect On the evil of Sin.

8-14 Solomon repeats his text, VANITY OF VANITIES, ALL IS
VANITY. These are the words of one that could speak By
dear-bought experience of the vanity of the world, which can do
nothing to ease men of the Burden of Sin. As he considered the
worth of souls, he gave good heed to what he spake and wrote;
words of Truth will always be acceptable words. The truths of
God are as goads to such as are dull and draw back, and nails to
such as are Wandering and draw aside; means to establish the
Heart, that we may never sit loose to our duty, nor be taken
from it. The Shepherd of Israel is the Giver of inspired Wisdom.
Teachers and guides all receive their communications from him.
The title is applied in Scripture to the Lord Jesus Christ, the
Son of God. The prophets sought diligently, what, or what manner
of time, the Spirit of Christ in them did signify, when it
testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the Glory
that should follow. To write many books was not suited to the
shortness of human Life, and would be weariness to the writer,
and to the reader; and then was much more So to both than it is
now. All things would be vanity and vexation, except they led to
this conclusion, That to fear God, and keep his Commandments, is
the whole of Man. The fear of God includes in it all the
affections of the soul towards him, which are produced By the
Holy Spirit. There may be terror where there is No Love, nay,
where there is Hatred. But this is different from the gracious
fear of God, as the feelings of an affectionate Child. The fear
of God, is often Put for the whole of true religion in the
Heart, and includes its practical results in the Life. Let us
attend to the one thing needful, and now come to him as a
merciful Saviour, who will soon come as an almighty Judge, when
he will bring to Light the things of Darkness, and manifest the
counsels of all hearts. Why does God record in his Word, that
ALL IS VANITY, but to keep us from deceiving ourselves to our
ruin? He makes our duty to be our interest. May it be graven in
all our hearts. Fear God, and keep his Commandments, for this is
all that concerns Man.

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