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Ecclesiastes Twelve

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Ecclesiastes 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;

Remember now thy Creator. The climactic and concluding counsel of Solomon, the man of great wisdom, is for young men to remember their Creator rather than seeking wealth or pleasure or fame. Solomon himself had forgotten His Creator much too long. When a young person fully realizes that he has been created for a divine purpose, and that his Creator has also become his Savior, it will change his life forever.

Ecclesiastes 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

Ecclesiastes 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,

keepers of the house. Ecclesiastes 12:3-6 constitutes a picturesque description of old age. The “house” is the aging body, the “keepers of the house” are the hands and arms, the “strong men” are the legs, the “grinders” are the teeth, and the “windows” are the eyes.

Ecclesiastes 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 music shall be brought low;

doors shall be shut. The closed “doors” represent the difficulty of speaking, the “low sound” speaks of the difficulty of hearing, and the “daughters of music” the deterioration of the vocal chords; there is also the difficulty of sleeping.

Ecclesiastes 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:

which is high. The fear of heights suggests the danger of falling; fear of being “in the way” implies inability to protect oneself.

almond tree. The “almond tree” represents the white hair of age; the aged one is easily irritated, even by the chirping of a grasshopper, and sexual desire fails.

long home. Finally death comes, and the life, like the light in a “golden bowl” hanging by a “silver cord,” goes out.

Ecclesiastes 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.

pitcher be broken. The four metaphors in this verse picture the inevitable eventual arrival of death with advancing age and deterioration.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

dust return to the earth. In accord with the primeval curse, the body returns to the dust from which it was formed (Genesis 3:17-19).

spirit shall return unto God. The spirit of the one who dies, however, does not die. The molecules of the body disintegrate back to their basic elements, but the spirit lives on. The spirit was sent from God into the body in the first place, and thus is still under His control when the body dies.

Ecclesiastes 12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 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.

Ecclesiastes 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

Ecclesiastes 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.

Ecclesiastes 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.

making many books. It is surprising to learn that there was a plethora of books being written even three thousand years ago!

Ecclesiastes 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.

keep his commandments. The problem is that no one can keep all God's commandments (note Ecclesiastes 7:20; James 2:10). The solution is in Christ, who said: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29).

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

every word into judgment. Judgment is sure, even of our words (Matthew 12:36) in the coming “day of judgment.”