Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 – Remember Your Creator!


Ecclesiastes 12:1-8


“All is vanity”: this includes the inevitable decline of human life that comes with aging. Since this is true, the Teacher urges all to remember the Creator.


This final segment of the book puts the focus on the Creator God. Verses 2-7 can be read in at least two ways. The first is more literal, understanding the “days of trouble” (v. 1) as a future, apocalyptic time. The second way is to understand these verses as an extended allegory, portraying the gradual loss of an individual’s bodily strength in terms of a house that is falling apart (the “guards” = arms; “strong men” = legs; “women who grind” = teeth; “those who look through the windows” = eyes; “doors on the street” = ears). Each reading is a reasonable one, and both the cosmic and individual interpretations are faithful to the overall emphasis of Ecclesiastes, which understands each human being as sharing in the same, universal, cosmic outcome: death.

Finally, the theme of “vanity” is sounded a last time (12:8), and 12:13 stands as a short summary of the instruction of the entire book: “Fear God, and keep his commandments.”