International Standard Version
1So remember your Creator during your youth! Otherwise, troublesome days will come and years will creep up on you when you'll say, "I find no pleasure in them," 2Otherwise, when the sun, daylight, moon, or stars turn dark, or when clouds fail to return after the rain— 3when that day comes, the palace guards will tremble, strong men will stoop down, women grinders will cease because they are few, and the sight of those who peer through the lattice will grow dim. 4The doors to the street will be shut when the sound of grinding decreases, when one wakes up at the song of a bird, and all of the singing women are silenced. 5At 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. 6When the silver cord is severed, the golden vessel is broken, the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, and the wheel is broken at the cistern, 7then man's dust will go back to the earth, returning to what it was, and the spirit will return to the God who gave it. 8"Utterly pointless," says the Teacher. "Everything is pointless."
9Moreover, besides being wise himself, the Teacher taught people what he had learned by listening, making inquiries, and composing many proverbs. 10The Teacher searched to find appropriate expressions, and what is written here is right and truthful.
11Sayings from the wise are like cattle prods and well fastened nails; this masterful collection was given by one shepherd. 12So learn from them, my son. There is no end to the crafting of many books, and too much study wearies the body.
13Let the conclusion of all of these thoughts be heard: Fear God and obey his commandments, for this is what it means to be human. 14For God will judge every deed, along with every secret, whether good or evil.