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Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 – Remember Your Creator!

Summary

"All is vanity": this includes the inevitable decline of human life that comes with aging. Since this is true, the Teacher urges all to remember the Creator.

Analysis

This final segment of the book puts the focus on the Creator God. Here is an extended allegory, portraying the gradual loss of bodily strength in terms of a house that is falling apart (the "guards" = arms; "strong men" = legs; "women who grind" = teeth; "those who look through the windows" = eyes; "doors on the street" = ears).

Finally, the theme of "vanity" is sounded a last time (12:8), and 12:13 stands as a short summary of the instruction of the entire book: "Fear God, and keep his commandments."

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

12Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’; 2before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with* the rain; 3on the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; 4when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low; 5when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along* and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; 6before the silver cord is snapped,* and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, 7and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath* returns to God who gave it. 8Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher;* all is vanity.

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10 February 2011

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