1 Be mindful of your Creator when you are young, before the time of sorrow comes when you have to say, “This gives me no pleasure,”
2 and before the sun, moon and stars withdraw their light, before the clouds gather again after the rain.
3 On the day when the guardians of the house tremble, when sturdy men are bowed and those at the mill stop working because they are too few, when it grows dim for those looking through the windows, 4 and the doors are shut and the noise of the mill grows faint, the sparrow stops chirping and the bird-song is silenced, 5 when one fears the slopes and to walk is frightening; yet the almond tree blossoms, the grass hopper is fat and the caperberry bears fruit that serves no purpose,
5 because man goes forward to his eternal home and mourners gather in the street,
6 even before the silver chain is snapped or the golden globe is shattered,
6 before the pitcher is broken at the fountain or the wheel at the mill,
7 before the dust returns to the earth from which it came and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
8 Meaningless! meaningless! the Teacher says; all is meaningless!
9 Besides being a wise man Qoheleth taught the people; he listened, studied and classified a great number of proverbs.
10 Qoheleth tried to write in a pleasant style and express frankly words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are spurs, their collected sayings are like a fence whose many pegs have been assembled by one shepherd.
12 Beware, my son, of searching beyond. Writing many books would be useless, and intense study wearies the body.
13 Conclusion: fear God and obey his precepts; for man depends entirely on this. 14 God brings every deed to judgment, all that is hidden, be it good or bad.