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Ecclesiastes 12:3-5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

[a]When the guardians of the house tremble,
    and the strong men are bent;
When the women who grind are idle because they are few,
    and those who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
    and the sound of the mill is low;
When one rises at the call of a bird,
    and all the daughters of song are quiet;
When one is afraid of heights,
    and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
    and the locust grows sluggish
    and the caper berry is without effect,
Because mortals go to their lasting home,
    and mourners go about the streets;


  1. 12:3–5 An allegorical reading of these verses sees references to the human body—“guardians”: the arms; “strong men”: the legs; “women who grind”: the teeth; “those who look”: the eyes; “the doors”: the lips; “daughters of song”: the voice; “the almond tree blooms”: resembling the white hair of old age; “the locust…sluggish”: the stiffness in movement of the aged; “the caper berry”: a stimulant for appetite.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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