12 1Keep your Creator in mind while you are young! In years to come, you will be burdened down with troubles and say, “I don't enjoy life anymore.”   2Someday the light of the sun and the moon and the stars will all seem dim to you. Rain clouds will remain over your head. 3Your body will grow feeble, your teeth will decay, and your eyesight fail. 4The noisy grinding of grain and the voices of singers will be shut out by your deaf ears, but even the song of a bird will keep you awake.[G]   5You will be afraid to climb up a hill or walk down a road. Your hair will turn as white as almond blossoms. You will feel lifeless and drag along like an old grasshopper.   We each go to our eternal home, and the streets here are filled with those who mourn. 6The silver cord snaps, the golden bowl breaks; the water pitcher is smashed, and the pulley at the well is shattered. 7So our bodies return to the earth, and the life-giving breath[H] returns to God. 8Nothing makes sense. I have seen it all— nothing makes sense. Respect and Obey God 9I was a wise teacher with much understanding, and I collected a number of proverbs that I had carefully studied. 10Then I tried to explain these things in the best and most accurate way. 11Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from a shepherd,[I] and they are like nails that fasten things together.[J] 12My child, I warn you to stay away from any teachings except these.   There is no end to books, and too much study will wear you out.   13Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:   Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about. 14God will judge everything we do, even what is done in secret, whether good or bad.
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