Ecclesiastes 12:5
New International Version
when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets.

New Living Translation
Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

English Standard Version
they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—

Berean Study Bible
when men fear the heights and dangers of the road, when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry shrivels—for then man goes to his eternal home, and mourners walk the streets.

New American Standard Bible
Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street.

King James Bible
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:

Christian Standard Bible
Also, they are afraid of heights and dangers on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry has no effect; for the mere mortal is headed to his eternal home, and mourners will walk around in the street;

Contemporary English Version
You 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.

Good News Translation
You will be afraid of high places, and walking will be dangerous. Your hair will turn white; you will hardly be able to drag yourself along, and all desire will be gone. We are going to our final resting place, and then there will be mourning in the streets.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Also, they are afraid of heights and dangers on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry has no effect; for man is headed to his eternal home, and mourners will walk around in the street;

International Standard Version
At that time they will fear climbing heights and dangers along the road while the almond tree will blossom, and the grasshopper is weighed down. Desire will cease, because the person goes to his eternal home, and mourners will gather in the marketplace.

NET Bible
and they are afraid of heights and the dangers in the street; the almond blossoms grow white, and the grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry shrivels up--because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about in the streets--

New Heart English Bible
Also, they are afraid of heights, and of terrors in the way; and the almond tree blossoms, and the grasshopper is burdened, and the caper bush fails; because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets:

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Remember your Creator when someone is afraid of heights and of dangers along the road, the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, [and] the caper bush has [no] fruit. Mortals go to their eternal rest, and mourners go out in the streets.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, And terrors shall be in the way; And the almond-tree shall blossom, And the grasshopper shall drag itself along, And the caperberry shall fail; Because man goeth to his long home, And the mourners go about the streets;

New American Standard 1977
Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street.

Jubilee Bible 2000
when they shall also 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 appetite shall fail: because man goes to the home of his age, and the mourners shall go about the streets;

King James 2000 Bible
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and terrors are in the way, and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets:

American King James Version
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 goes to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

American Standard Version
yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high, and terrors'shall be in the way; and the almond-tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Brenton Septuagint Translation
and they shall look up, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall blossom, and the locust shall increase, and the caper shall be scattered: because man has gone to his eternal home, and the mourners have gone about the market:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they shall fear high things, and they shall be afraid in the way, the almond tree shall flourish, the locust shall be made fat, and the caper tree shall be destroyed: because man shall go into the house of his eternity, and the mourners shall go round about in the street.

Darby Bible Translation
they are also afraid of what is high, and terrors are in the way, and the almond is despised, and the grasshopper is a burden, and the caper-berry is without effect; (for man goeth to his age-long home, and the mourners go about the streets;)

English Revised Version
yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high, and terrors shall be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and the caper-berry shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Webster's Bible Translation
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:

World English Bible
yes, they shall be afraid of heights, and terrors will be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Young's Literal Translation
Also of that which is high they are afraid, And of the low places in the way, And the almond-tree is despised, And the grasshopper is become a burden, And want is increased, For man is going unto his home age-during, And the mourners have gone round through the street.
Study Bible
Remember Your Creator
4when the doors to the street are shut and the sound of the mill fades away, when one rises at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song grow faint, 5when men fear the heights and dangers of the road, when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry shrivels— for then man goes to his eternal home, and mourners walk the streets. 6Remember Him before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is crushed, before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel is broken at the well,…
Cross References
Genesis 50:10
When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, which is across the Jordan, they lamented and wailed loudly, and Joseph mourned for his father seven days.

Job 17:13
If I look for Sheol as my home, if I spread out my bed in darkness,

Job 30:23
Yes, I know that You will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.

Jeremiah 9:17
This is what the LORD of Hosts says: "Take note, and summon the wailing women; send for the most skillful among them.

Treasury of Scripture

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 goes to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

the almond

Genesis 42:38
And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

Genesis 44:29,31
And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave…

Leviticus 19:32
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

because

Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Job 17:13
If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

Job 30:23
For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.

the mourners

Genesis 50:3-10
And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days…

Jeremiah 9:17-20
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come: …

Mark 5:38,39
And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly…







Lexicon
[when]
גַּ֣ם (gam)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

[men] fear
יִרָ֙אוּ֙ (yi·rā·’ū)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 3372: To fear, to revere, caus, to frighten

the heights
מִגָּבֹ֤הַּ (mig·gā·ḇō·ah)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1364: Elevated, powerful, arrogant

and dangers
וְחַתְחַתִּ֣ים (wə·ḥaṯ·ḥat·tîm)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 2849: Terror

of the road,
בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ (bad·de·reḵ)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - common singular
Strong's Hebrew 1870: A road, a course of life, mode of action

when the almond tree
הַשָּׁקֵד֙ (haš·šā·qêḏ)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8247: Almond (tree)

blossoms,
וְיָנֵ֤אץ (wə·yā·nêṣ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Hifil - Conjunctive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5006: To spurn, treat with contempt

the grasshopper
הֶֽחָגָ֔ב (he·ḥā·ḡāḇ)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2284: Locust, grasshopper

loses its spring,
וְיִסְתַּבֵּ֣ל (wə·yis·tab·bêl)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Hitpael - Conjunctive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5445: To carry, be burdensome, to be gravid

and the caper berry
הָֽאֲבִיּוֹנָ֑ה (hā·’ă·ḇî·yō·w·nāh)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 35: Provocative of desire, the caper berry

shrivels—
וְתָפֵ֖ר (wə·ṯā·p̄êr)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Hifil - Conjunctive imperfect - third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6565: To break up, to violate, frustrate

for then
כִּֽי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

man
הָאָדָם֙ (hā·’ā·ḏām)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 120: Ruddy, a human being

goes
הֹלֵ֤ךְ (hō·lêḵ)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1980: To go, come, walk

to
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 413: Near, with, among, to

his eternal
עוֹלָמ֔וֹ (‘ō·w·lā·mōw)
Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5769: Concealed, eternity, frequentatively, always

home,
בֵּ֣ית (bêṯ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 1004: A house

and mourners
הַסֹּפְדִֽים׃ (has·sō·p̄ə·ḏîm)
Article | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 5594: To tear the hair and beat the breasts, to lament, to wail

walk
וְסָבְב֥וּ (wə·sā·ḇə·ḇū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - third person common plural
Strong's Hebrew 5437: To turn about, go around, surround

the streets.
בָשּׁ֖וּק‪‬‪‬‪‬ (ḇaš·šūq)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7784: A street
(5) The old man is beset with terrors; terrors from on high, terrors on the way: all in which he had taken delight before, has charms for him no longer; the almond causes loathing (for so may be translated the word rendered "flourished" in our version); the locust, in the East a favourite article of food, is now burdensome; the caper berry (translated "desire" in our version) fails; for man is going to his everlasting house, &c

Verse 5. - Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high. There is no "when" in the original, which runs, "Also, or yea, they fear on high." "They" are old men, or, like the French on, "people" indefinitely; and the clause says that they find difficulty in mounting an ascent, as the Vulgate renders, Excelsa quoque timebant. Shortness of breath, asthmatic tendencies, failure of muscular power, make such an exertion arduous and burdensome, just as in the previous verse a similar cause rendered singing impossible. The description is now arriving at the last stage, and allegorizing the closing scene. The steep ascent is the via dolorosa, the painful process of dying, from which the natural man shrinks; for as the gnome says -

Τοῦ ζῇν γὰρ οὐδεὶς ὡς ὁ γηράσκων ἐρᾷ
"None dotes on life more than the aged man." The old man is going on the appointed road, and fears shall be in the way; or, all sorts of fears (plural of intensity) are in the path; as in his infirm condition he can walk nowhere without danger of meeting with some accident, so analogously, as he contemplates his end and the road he has to travel, "fearfulness and trembling come upon him, and horror overwhelms him" (Psalm 55:5). Plumptre sees in these clauses a further adumbration of the inconveniences of old age, how that the decrepit man makes mountains of mole-hills, is full of imaginary terrors, always forecasting sad events, and so on; but this does not carry on the picture to the end which the poet has now in view, and seems tame and commonplace. The supporters of the storm-theory explain the passage as denoting the fears of the people at what is coming from on high - the gathering tempest, these fears extending to those on the highway, - which is feeble. And the almond tree shall flourish; or, is in blossom. The old man is thus figured from the observed aspect of this tree. It blossoms in winter upon a leafless stem, and its flowers, at first of a pale pink color, turn to a snowy whiteness as they fall from the branches. The tree thus becomes a fit type of the arid, torpid-looking old man with his white hair. So Wright quotes Virgil, 'AEneid,' 5:416 -

"Temporibus geminis canebat sparsa senectus;ETT*>

though there the idea is rather of mingled black and grey hair than of ahead of snowy whiteness. Canon Tristram ('Nat. Hist. of the Bible,' p. 332), referring to the usual version of this clause, adds, "But the better interpretation seems to be, that as the almond blossom ushers in the spring, so do the signs referred to in the context indicate the hastening (shaked, 'almond,' meaning also 'hasten') of old age and death." Plumptre adopts the notion that the name of the tree is derived from a stem meaning "to watch," and that thus it may be called the early-waking tree (see Jeremiah 1:11), the enigmatic phrase describing the wakefulness that often attends old age. But this seems a refinement by no means justified by the use of the word. Others find in the verb the signification "to disdain, loathe," and explain that the old man has lost his taste for almond nuts, which seems to be an unnecessary observation after the previous allusions to his toothless condition, the cracking and eating of such things requiring the grinders to be in perfect order. The versions are unanimous in translating the clause as the Authorized Version. Thus the Septuagint, ἀνθήσῃ τὸ ἀμύγδαλον: Vulgate, fiorebit amygdalus. (So Verier. and the Syriac.) Wright takes this clause and the next to indicate the opening of spring, when nature reawakens from its winter sleep, and the dying man can no longer respond to the call or enjoy the happy season. The expositors who adhere to the notion of the storm would translate, "the almond shall be rejected," alluding to fear taking away appetite; but the rendering is faulty. And the grasshopper shall he a burden. Chagab, rendered "grasshopper" here and Leviticus 11:22; Numbers 13:33, etc., is rightly translated "locust" in 2 Chronicles 7:15. It is one of the smaller species of the insect, as is implied by its use in Isaiah 40:22, where from the height of heaven the inhabitants of earth are regarded as chagabim. The clause is usually explained to mean that the very lightest burden is troublesome to old age, or that the hopping and chirping of these insects annoy the querulous senior. But who does not see the incongruity of expressing the disinclination for labor and exertion by the figure of finding a grasshopper too heavy to carry? Who would think of carrying a grasshopper? Plumptre, who discovers Greek allusions in the most unlikely places, sees here an intimation of the writer's acquaintance with the Athenians' custom of wearing a golden grasshopper on their heads as a token that they were autochthones, "sprung from the soil." Few will be disposed to concur with this opinion. Ginsburg and others consider that Koheleth is regarding the locust as an article of food, which it was and still is in the East (Leviticus 11:21, 22; Matthew 3:4). In some places it is esteemed a great delicacy, and is cooked and prepared in a variety of ways. So here the writer is supposed to mean that dainties shall tempt in vain; even the much-esteemed locust shall be loathed. But we cannot imagine this article of food, which indeed was neither general nor at all seasons procurable, being singled out as an appetizing esculent. The solution of the enigma must be sought elsewhere. The Septuagint gives, καὶ παχυνθῇ ἡ ἀκρίς: the Vulgate, imping, uabitur locusts, "the locust grows fat. Founded on this rendering is the opinion which considers that under this figure is depicted the corpulence or dropsical swelling that sometimes accompanies advanced life. But this morbid and abnormal condition could not be introduced into a typical description of the usual accompaniments of age, even if the verb could be rightly translated as the Greek and Latin versions give it, which is more than doubtful. Delitzsch, after some Jewish interpreters, considers that under the term "locust" is meant the loins or hips, or caput femoris, which is thus named" because it includes in itself the mechanism which the two-membered foot for springing, placed at an acute angle, presents in the locust." The poet is thought to allude to the loss of elasticity in the hips and the inability to bear any weight. We cannot agree to the propriety of this artificial explanation, which seems to have been invented to account for the expressions in the text, rather than to be founded on fact. But though we reject this elucidation of the figure, we think Delitzsch and some others are right in taking the verb in the sense of "to move heavily, to crawl along." "The locust crawls," i.e. the old man drags his limbs heavily and painfully along, like the locust just hatched in early spring, and as yet not furnished with wings, which makes it8 way clumsily and slowly. The analogy derives another feature from the fact, well attested, that the appearance of the locust was synchronous with the days considered most fatal to old people, namely, the seven at the end of January and the beginning of February. So we now have the figure of the old man with his snow-white hair, panting and gasping, creeping painfully to his grave. One more trait is added. And desire shall fail. The word rendered "desire" (אֲבִיּונָה) is found nowhere else in the Old Testament, and its meaning is disputed. The Authorized Version has adopted the rendering of some of the Jewish commentators (and that of Venet., ἡ ὔρεξις), but, according to Delitzsch, the feminine form of the noun precludes the notion of an abstract quality, and the etymology on which it rests is doubtful. Nor would it be likely that, having employed symbolism hitherto throughout his description, the writer would suddenly drop metaphor and speak in unfigurative language. We are, therefore, driven to rely for its meaning on the old versions, which would convey the traditionary idea. The Septuagint gives, ἡ κάππαρις, and so the Vulgate, capparis, by which is designated the caper tree or berry, probably the same as the hyssop, which is found throughout the East, and was extensively used as a provocative of appetite, a stimulant and restorative. Accordingly, the writer is thought here to be intimating that even stimulants, such as the caper, affect the old man no longer, cannot give zest to or make him enjoy his food. Here, again, the figurative is dropped, and a literal, unvarnished fact is stated, which mars the perfection of the picture. But the verb here used (parar) is capable of another signification, and is often found in the unmetaphorical sense of "breaking" or "bursting;" so the clause will run, "and the caper berry bursts." Septuagint, καὶ διασκεδασθῇ ἡ κάππαρις: Vulgate, dissipabitur capparis. The fruit of this plant, when overripe, bursts open and falls off - a fit image of the dissolution of the aged frame, now ripe for the tomb, and showing evident tokens of decay. By this interpretation the symbolism is maintained, which perhaps is further illustrated by the fact that the fruit hangs down and droops from the end of long stalks, as the man bows his head and stoops his back to meet the coming death. Because (ki) man goeth to his long home. This and the following clause are parenthetical, ver. 6 resuming the allegory. It is as though Koheleth said - Such is the way, such are the symptoms, when decay and death are approaching; all these things happen, all these signs meet the eye, at such & period. "His long home;" εἰς οϊκον αἰῶνος αὐτοῦ (Septuagint), "to the house of his eternity," "his everlasting habitation," i.e. the grave, or Hades. There is a similar expression in Tobit 3:6, εἰς τὸν αἰώνιον τόπον, which in the Hebrew editions of that book is given as, "Gather me to my father, to the house appointed for all living," with which Canon Churton (in lot.) compares Job 10:21; Job 30:23. So Psalm 49:11 (according to many versions), "Their graves are their houses for ever." The σκηναὶ αἰώνιοι of Luke 16:9 are a periphrasis for life in heaven. Diodorus Siculus notes that the Egyptians used the terms ἀίδιοι οϊκοι, and ἡ αἰώνιος οἴκσις of Hades (2. 51; 1. 93). The expression, "domus eterna," appears at Rome on tombs, as Plumptre observes, both in Christian and non-Christian inscriptions; and the Assyrians name the world or state beyond the grave "the house of eternity" ('Records of the Past,' 1:143). From the expression in the text nothing can be deduced concerning Koheleth's eschatological views. He is speaking here merely phenomenally. Men live their little span upon the earth, and then go to what in comparison of this is an eternity. Much of the difficulty about αἰώνιος, etc., would be obviated if critics would remember that the meaning of such words is conditioned by the context, that e.g. "everlasting" applied to a mountain and to God cannot be understood in the same, sense. And the mourners go about the streets. This can hardly mean that the usual funeral rites have begun; for the death is not conceived as having already taken place; this is reserved for ver. 7. Nor can it, therefore, refer to the relations and friends who are sorrowing for the departed. The persons spoken of must be the mourners who are hired to play and sing at funerals (see 2 Samuel 3:31; Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 34:5; Matthew 9:23). These were getting ready to ply their trade, expecting hourly the old man's death. So the Romans had their praeficae, and persons "qui conducti plorant in funere" (Horace, 'Ars Poet.,' 431). 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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Alphabetical: a about afraid almond along and are blossoms caperberry dangers desire drags eternal For Furthermore go goes grasshopper heights high himself his home in ineffective is longer man men mourners no of on place road stirred street streets terrors the Then to tree when while

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 12:5 Yes they shall be afraid of heights (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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