(1) Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living. (2) It will be too late then to remember him, when the light of the sun and moon and stars is dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among the clouds. (3) Your limbs will tremble with age, and your strong legs will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to do their work, and you will be blind, too. (4) And when your teeth are gone, keep your lips tightly closed when you eat! Even the chirping of birds will wake you up. But you yourself will be deaf and tuneless, with a quavering voice. (5) You will be afraid of heights and of falling, white-haired and withered, dragging along without any sexual desire. You will be standing at death’s door. And as you near your everlasting home, the mourners will walk along the streets. (6) Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. (7) For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
(8) “All is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless.” (9) Because the Teacher was wise, he taught the people everything he knew. He collected proverbs and classified them. (10) Indeed, the Teacher taught the plain truth, and he did so in an interesting way. (11) A wise teacher’s words spur students to action and emphasize important truths. The collected sayings of the wise are like guidance from a shepherd. (12) But, my child, be warned: There is no end of opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting!
(13) Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. (14) God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.