Ecclesiastes 12:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain;

New Living Translation
Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.

English Standard Version
before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain,

New American Standard Bible
before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain;

King James Bible
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
before the sun and the light are darkened, and the moon and the stars, and the clouds return after the rain;

International Standard Version
Otherwise, when the sun, daylight, moon, or stars turn dark, or when clouds fail to return after the rain—

NET Bible
before the sun and the light of the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds disappear after the rain;

New Heart English Bible
Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Remember your Creator before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars turn dark, [and] the clouds come back with rain.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Before the sun, and the light, and the moon, And the stars, are darkened, And the clouds return after the rain;

New American Standard 1977
before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain;

Jubilee Bible 2000
before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain:

King James 2000 Bible
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

American King James Version
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

American Standard Version
before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars be darkened, and the clouds return after the rain:

Darby Bible Translation
before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, be darkened, and the clouds return after the rain;

English Revised Version
or ever the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, be darkened, and the clouds return after the rain:

Webster's Bible Translation
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, are not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

World English Bible
Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain;

Young's Literal Translation
While that the sun is not darkened, and the light, And the moon, and the stars, And the thick clouds returned after the rain.
Study Bible
Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
1Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them"; 2before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; 3in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through windows grow dim;…
Cross References
Matthew 24:29
Immediately after the tribulation of those days: 'The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.'

Psalm 90:10
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.

Isaiah 5:30
And it will growl over it in that day like the roaring of the sea. If one looks to the land, behold, there is darkness and distress; Even the light is darkened by its clouds.

Isaiah 13:10
For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light.

Ezekiel 32:7
"And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud And the moon will not give its light.

Ezekiel 32:8
"All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you And will set darkness on your land," Declares the Lord GOD.

Joel 3:15
The sun and moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness.
Treasury of Scripture

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

the sun

Ecclesiastes 11:7,8 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes …

Genesis 27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, …

Genesis 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. …

1 Samuel 3:2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, …

1 Samuel 4:15,18 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that …

nor

Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep at the noise of your waterspouts: all your waves …

Psalm 71:20 You, which have showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken …

Psalm 77:16 The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you; they were afraid: …

(2) Here the style rises, and we have a figurative description of the "evil days;" but, as sometimes happens in the case of highly wrought poetry, it is much easier to perceive the general effect intended than to account for all the words which produce it. English readers generally have been deeply impressed by Ecclesiastes 12:6-7, in a general way understanding them as speaking of the dissolution of the noble structure of the bodily frame; and they scarcely gain anything by the efforts of commentators to explain to them what exactly is meant by the "silver cord" and the "golden bowl." After using all the help my predecessors have given me, I frankly own myself unable to give more than a vague account of the figures employed in this whole passage.

Darkened.--See Ecclesiastes 11:8. On darkness of the heavens as a symbol of calamity, comp. Isaiah 13:10-11; Jeremiah 4:28-29; Ezekiel 32:7-9; Joel 2:1-10; Amos 8:9-10; and contrast Isaiah 30:26; Isaiah 60:10.)

Verse 2. - From this verse onwards there is great diversity of interpretation. While some think that the approach of death is represented under the image of a storm, others deem that what is here intended is first the debility of old age, and then, at ver. 6, death itself, which two stages are described under various metaphors and figures. While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened. Under these figures the evil days spoken of above, the advent and infirmities of old age, are represented. It would be endless and unprofitable to recount the explanations of 'the terms used in the following verses. Every commentator, ancient and modern, has exerted his ingenuity to force the poet's language into the shape which he has imagined for it. But, as we said above, there are at least two distinct lines of interpretation which have found favor with the great majority of expositors. One of these regards the imagery as applicable to the effects of a heavy storm upon a house and its inmates, explaining every detail under this notion; the other regards the terms used as referring to the man himself, adumbrating the gradual decay of old age, the various members and powers that are affected being represented under tropes and images, Both interpretations are beset with difficulties, and are only with some straining and accommodation forced into a consistent harmony. But the latter seems to us to present fewer perplexities than the other, and we have adopted it here. At the same time, we think it expedient to give the other view, together with our own, as there is much to be said in its favor, and many great writers have declared themselves on its side. Wright supposes (and makes a good case for his theory) that Koheleth is referring especially to the closing days of winter, which in Palestine are very fatal to old people. The seven last days, indeed, are noted even now as the most sickly and dangerous of all the year. The approach of this period casts a dark shadow upon all the inhabitants of the house. The theory is partly borne out by the text, but, like the other solutions, does not wholly correspond to the wording. In the present verse the approach of old age, the winter of life, is likened to the rainy season in Palestine, when the sun is obscured by clouds, and the light of heaven darkened by the withdrawal of that luminary, and neither moon nor stars appear. And the clouds return after the rain; i.e. one storm succeeds another (Job 37:6). The imagery is intended to represent the abiding and increasing inconveniences of old age. Not like the spring-time of life and season, when sunshine and storm are interchanged, winter and old age have no vicissitudes, one dreary character invests them both. The darkening of the light is a common metaphor for sorrow and sadness (see Job 30:26; Job 33:28, 30; Ezekiel 32:7, 8; Amos 8:9). The symbolism of the details in this verse has been thus elucidated: The diurnal lights appertain to the soul, the nocturnal to the body; the sun is the Divine light which illumines the soul, the moon and the stars are the body and the senses which receive their radiance from the soul's effulgence. These are all affected by the invasion of old age. Some consider that this verse depicts the changes which pass over the higher and more spiritual part of man's nature, while the succeeding imagery refers to the breaking up of the corporeal frame. We should say rather that ver. 2 conveys a general impression, and that this is then elaborated into particulars. According to the interpretation mentioned above, a gathering tempest is here depicted, the details of which are worked out in the following verses. While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened,.... The wise man proceeds to describe the infirmities of old age, and the troubles that attend it; in order to engage young men to regard God and religion, before these come upon them, which greatly unfit for his service. This the Targum and Midrash, and, after them, Jarchi, interpret of the splendour of the countenance of man, of the light of his eyes, and the beauty of his cheeks, and other parts of his face; which decrease and go off at old age, and paleness and wrinkles succeed: and others of the adversities and calamities which attend persons at such years; which are sometimes in Scripture signified by the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, Isaiah 13:10; but some choose to understand this, more literally, of the dimness of sight in old men; by whom the light of the sun, moon, and stars, is scarcely discerned: but as this infirmity is afterwards described, I rather think with others, that by the "sun", "light", and "moon", are meant the superior and inferior faculties of the soul, the understanding, mind, judgment, will, and affections; and, by the "stars", those bright notions and ideas raised in the fancy and imagination, and fixed in the memory; all which are greatly impaired or lost in old age: so Alshech interprets the sun and moon of the soul and spirit, and the stars of the senses; "light" is not in the Syriac version;

nor the clouds return after the rain; which some understand of catarrhs, defluxions, and rheums, flowing at the eyes, nose, and mouth, one after another, which frequently attend, and are very troublesome to persons in years; but may be more generally applied to the perpetual succession of evils, afflictions, and disorders, in old age; as soon as one is got over, another follows, billow after billow; or, like showers in April, as soon as one is gone, another comes. The Targum paraphrases it of the eyebrows distilling tears, like clouds after rain. 2. Illustrating "the evil days" (Jer 13:16). "Light," "sun," etc., express prosperity; "darkness," pain and calamity (Isa 13:10; 30:26).

clouds … after … rain—After rain sunshine (comfort) might be looked for, but only a brief glimpse of it is given, and the gloomy clouds (pains) return.12:1-7 We should remember our sins against our Creator, repent, and seek forgiveness. We should remember our duties, and set about them, looking to him for grace and strength. This should be done early, while the body is strong, and the spirits active. When a man has the pain of reviewing a misspent life, his not having given up sin and worldly vanities till he is forced to say, I have no pleasure in them, renders his sincerity very questionable. Then follows a figurative description of old age and its infirmities, which has some difficulties; but the meaning is plain, to show how uncomfortable, generally, the days of old age are. As the four verses, 2-5, are a figurative description of the infirmities that usually accompany old age, ver. 6 notices the circumstances which take place in the hour of death. If sin had not entered into the world, these infirmities would not have been known. Surely then the aged should reflect on the evil of sin.
Jump to Previous
Clouds Dark Darkened Grow Light Moon Rain Stars Sun Thick
Jump to Next
Clouds Dark Darkened Grow Light Moon Rain Stars Sun Thick
Links
Ecclesiastes 12:2 NIV
Ecclesiastes 12:2 NLT
Ecclesiastes 12:2 ESV
Ecclesiastes 12:2 NASB
Ecclesiastes 12:2 KJV

Ecclesiastes 12:2 Biblia Paralela
Ecclesiastes 12:2 Chinese Bible
Ecclesiastes 12:2 French Bible
Ecclesiastes 12:2 German Bible

Alphabetical: after and are before clouds dark darkened grow light moon rain return stars sun the

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 12:2 Before the sun the light the moon (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
Ecclesiastes 12:1
Top of Page
Top of Page