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Ecclesiastes 11 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Uncertainties of Life

11 Send your grain across the seas,
    and in time, profits will flow back to you.[a]
But divide your investments among many places,[b]
    for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.

When clouds are heavy, the rains come down.
    Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
    If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb,[c] so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.

Advice for Young and Old

Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.

When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.

Young people,[d] it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:1 Or Give generously, / for your gifts will return to you later. Hebrew reads Throw your bread on the waters, / for after many days you will find it again.
  2. 11:2 Hebrew among seven or even eight.
  3. 11:5 Some manuscripts read Just as you cannot understand how breath comes to a tiny baby in its mother’s womb.
  4. 11:9 Hebrew Young man.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Ecclesiastes 11 New International Version (NIV)

Invest in Many Ventures

11 Ship your grain across the sea;
    after many days you may receive a return.
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
    you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

If clouds are full of water,
    they pour rain on the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
    in the place where it falls, there it will lie.
Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
    whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the path of the wind,
    or how the body is formed[a] in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
    the Maker of all things.

Sow your seed in the morning,
    and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
    whether this or that,
    or whether both will do equally well.

Remember Your Creator While Young

Light is sweet,
    and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years anyone may live,
    let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
    for there will be many.
    Everything to come is meaningless.

You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
    and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
    God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
    and cast off the troubles of your body,
    for youth and vigor are meaningless.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 11:5 Or know how life (or the spirit) / enters the body being formed
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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