Ecclesiastes 12:1-7

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;


If a person lives their life in the light of knowledge of God who is the Creator, then they will make proper decisions and will eschew evil in those days knowing that eventually that evil actions will result in eternal penalties.  If a person regards the Creator in their youth then they will live a life that will not have consequence because of their actions which are the evil days.  There are times in every life, even in the life of a believer, when calamity or hard times may come but they can be weathered especially if they are not sinfully engendered.  Then when a person becomes older, they may have trouble with their memories and forget the evil things they did but if they began to live a godly life when in their youth, then into old age they will still practice those things.  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  (Proverbs 22:6)  When godly training takes place at a young age, then those things stay with a person until death.  In the days of youth, there are many things which give pleasure including sinful things but as we get older those things do not hold the same desires as they did when we were young.  I was speaking with a friend of mine recently and we were talking about when we used to go out when we were younger.  We said that 10 PM we were just walking out the door but now 10 PM we are ready to crawl into bed.  How the years can change our outlook.


Ecclesiastes 12:2

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


Then Solomon continues his treatise on old age from the previous verse.  He speaks to those in youth that while they still have the light of day within them that they should not forget the Creator because if the light goes out, that is, the light of the mind begins to dim then the Creator would not be remembered because old age has crept in along with its fading mentality.  There will come a day when the universe will be darkened because it will be judgment day but this verse deals with the debilitating effects of aging.  The clouds returning after the rain speaks about one problem after another especially as our bodies age and our immune system becomes weaker.  We not only have a problem talking care of ourselves because of bodily weakness but we also have physical problems which limit us.


Ecclesiastes 12:3

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,


The keepers of the house are those who guarded the house because they were strong and had the ability to repel any invaders.  Now they have become fragile and would be incapable of making any kind of defense, so fear sets in knowing they cannot do anything to stop someone.  Then the strong men would bow meaning they have lost their youthful strength and would find themselves capitulating to the age of their bodies and to the treatment from the outside world.  Then the grinders cease because they can no longer handle such a heavy wheel or bags of milled goods.  This also has reference to the loss of teeth because by time we reach old age, we may have lost all or most of our teeth and eating would be a chore without only a few teeth left.  Then there would be dimness of the eyes which would be represented by the windows as our eyesight deteriorates as we get older especially in ancient times when they did not have glasses or ophthalmologists.


Ecclesiastes 12:4

And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;


Then the door shall be shut in the streets means that older people tend to stay close to home for security purposes and also because of physical ailments.  The grinding being low refers to the teeth we saw in the previous verse and because there is an inability to eat and speak as one did when they were younger, so therefore they do not engage in much going out.  Then they rise at the voice of a bird which means as soon as the birds awake in the early morning, they hear it and wake up because they do not sleep as soundly as they did when they were younger simply because there is not much body activity to make them tired.  Then they will be unable to enjoy music and the fine arts as they did when they were younger because they may become hard of hearing and as a result they cannot hear the music of mirth they once did when they were young.  I know if I could not hear the old hymns played, I know I would feel disheartened.  As we get older, if we had a good voice, it may be out of tune or just not there anymore or if we played an instrument, maybe arthritis took the use of our hands and we can no longer play the instruments.


Ecclesiastes 12:5

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:


Then as the body ages there will be a fear of those things which are high which means that an elderly person will have trouble climbing stairs and going to the second floor.  The legs will also become weak as the rest of the body does.  Having to go upstairs or to a place which is higher will cause them much consternation.  This is why senior citizen villages are created with everything on one floor for ease of mobility.  They shall need to get something that is high up but the fear of falling or injuring themselves will prevent them from using the mobility they do have.  Then the almond tree flourishes and that happens when it is spring time.  When we were young we looked forward to spring time especially knowing that the school year was coming to a close.  Now that we are older we view it as just another season and it does not give us any joy as it did in the past.


The grasshopper being a very light and innocuous insect represents the slightest burden that the elderly would not be able to endure.  If a person’s immune system is compromised, then even a simple cold could turn deadly.  The desire failing they possess no more desire to do the things when they were younger simply because they now have understanding of the traps the world can set for a person plus their frailty would not allow them to do much of anything.  Then as people get older they begin to reflect upon the fact that they must physically die and soon that would happen as time goes by so fast when you are older even though it moves no faster than it ever did since time is a constant.  Then the mourners will mourn the person for a while and then after the sorrow wears off, they will go about their daily routines heading toward their own day of death. This type of commentary can be very discouraging but let me add this that if you are saved in Christ, then physical death is the beginning of life in its ultimate form.


Ecclesiastes 12:6

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.


The silver cord may represent the soul of man which at the point of death is loosed from the physical body otherwise known as the burden.  It is because our physical body which hosts sin wars against the soul of man, even in the believer there is a war between the cleansed soul and the sinful flesh.  This is plainly taught in the next verse.  In Zechariah the bowls were placed on top of the candlestick which continually fed them.  The golden bowl here may represent the intellect of man as he once had great knowledge and wisdom which directed his body and life’s decisions but now in death that bowl is broken which means it no more can hold the precious oil of thought and direction.  Then it speaks of the pitcher which would be the heart as the pitcher holds water and other liquids and nourishes the body when its contents are drunk.  Here the heart is in view as the organ that nourishes all the other organs by circulating the blood which strengthens the organs and removes waste from them.  No longer can the heart feed the other organs since it has now been stopped because of death.  It is no longer the life giving fountain.  The wheel continues to turn which represents the circulatory system of the body as it circulates blood to all the organs going into the heart and then coming out to do its ordained job.  The cistern is definitely another metaphor for the heart as it gathers the blood and then pumps out the blood.  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.  (Psalm 90:10)


Ecclesiastes 12:7

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.


Then once death of the person has taken place, decomposition will begin to set in immediately and they must be buried and eventually their body will return to dust but the spirit which is in man, that was given by God to sustain life will return to him.  If a person is a true believer, they go immediately into the presence of God and if they are unbelievers then they will stand for judgment on the last day.