Ecclesiastes 12:2
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,

Berean Study Bible
before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is 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:

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

Contemporary English Version
Someday the light of the sun and the moon and the stars will all seem dim to you. Rain clouds will remain over your head.

Good News Translation
That is when the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars will grow dim for you, and the rain clouds will never pass away.

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;

Brenton Septuagint Translation
While the sun and light are not darkened, nor the moon and the stars; nor 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
1Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of adversity come, and the years approach of which you will say, “I find no pleasure in them,” 2before the sunlight, moon, and stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain, 3on the day the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when those grinding cease because they are few, and those watching through windows see dimly,…
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
The length of our days is seventy years--or eighty if we are strong--yet their pride is but labor and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Isaiah 5:30
In that day they will roar over it, like the roaring of the sea. If one looks over the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be obscured by clouds.

Isaiah 13:10
For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light. The sun will be darkened when it rises, and the moon will not give its light.

Ezekiel 32:7
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 I will bring darkness upon your land,' declares the Lord GOD.

Joel 3:15
The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine.

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 to behold the sun: …

Genesis 27:1
And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.

Genesis 48:10
Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

nor

Psalm 42:7
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Psalm 71:20
Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

Psalm 77:16
The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.







Lexicon
before
עַ֠ד (‘aḏ)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 5704: As far as, even to, up to, until, while

the sunlight,
הַשֶּׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ (haš·še·meš)
Article | Noun - common singular
Strong's Hebrew 8121: The sun, the east, a ray, a notched battlement

moon,
וְהַיָּרֵ֖חַ (wə·hay·yā·rê·aḥ)
Conjunctive waw, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3394: The moon

and stars
וְהַכּוֹכָבִ֑ים (wə·hak·kō·w·ḵā·ḇîm)
Conjunctive waw, Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 3556: A star, a prince

are darkened,
תֶחְשַׁ֤ךְ (ṯeḥ·šaḵ)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2821: To be dark, to darken

and the clouds
הֶעָבִ֖ים (he·‘ā·ḇîm)
Article | Noun - common plural
Strong's Hebrew 5645: An envelope, darkness, a, cloud, a copse

return
וְשָׁ֥בוּ (wə·šā·ḇū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - third person common plural
Strong's Hebrew 7725: To turn back, in, to retreat, again

after
אַחַ֥ר (’a·ḥar)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 310: The hind or following part

the rain,
הַגָּֽשֶׁם׃ (hag·gā·šem)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1653: Rain, shower
(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. 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.
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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
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