Ecclesiastes 11

The Word Made Fresh

1Cast your bread upon the waters.
After many days have passed it may return to you.
2Give aid to seven, even to eight,
you cannot know what disaster may strike on the earth.
3Full clouds empty rain on the earth.
Whether a tree falls south or north,
that is where it will lie.
4Whoever makes decisions based on the wind will not sow.
Whoever makes decisions based on the clouds will not reap.
5You don’t know how breath enters the bones in the mother’s womb.
And you don’t know all the works of God, who makes everything.
6Sow your seed in the morning, and stay busy in the evening,
because you can’t know which will bring the best results,
or whether both alike will be good.
7Light is sweet, and the sun is pleasing to the eyes.
8Even those who live a long time should rejoice in all their days.
But they should remember that there will be many dark days.
All that lies ahead is meaningless.
9You young men shall rejoice while you are young.
Let your heart be glad in the days of youth.
Follow your heart and feast your eyes,
but never forget that God will judge all these things.
10Put away all anxiety from your mind and pain from your body;
after all, youth and the early years of life are meaningless.


1-2: Advice is given on how one should invest one’s wealth. Foreign trade can be profitable, but the investor should diversify seven or eight ways for protection from unseen disasters.

3-4: Regardless of which way the wind is blowing (which way the tree falls) you have to sow when the season is right for rain. Watching the weather is no substitute for casting the seeds.

5-6: Things that cannot be known: how a baby begins to breathe; how God makes everything; whether work done in the morning or in the evening will be more profitable. In other words, do your work and let God worry about the rest.

7-10: Advice for the old: enjoy life as it comes for you cannot know what might befall. Advice for the young: have fun and enjoy life but remember that you will be held accountable for your deeds.


A difficult chapter: enjoy life, but remember it is meaningless! Old age and illness eventually overtake all of us. There is no acknowledgment of the fact that the way we live is either a blessing or a curse for those who follow us.