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.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
Here, Solomon makes a final plea that we need to consider our Lord and serve Him before it is too late. He uses some metaphors in this poetic passage.
The silver cord and the golden bowl picture the value of life. Rarely do we think of ourselves as having the value of silver or gold. Once the spirit returns to the One Who gave it, our value is no longer there. We return to dust; without the God-breathed spirit in us, we are no more than a handful or two of emptiness.
A pitcher taken to the fountain to obtain water for the day’s needs becomes worthless when it is dropped and broken. The wheel that is used to pull a container of water up from the well is worthless when it is broken.
So is the value of human life when the body dies and the spirit goes back to its Maker. If we fail to consider God, or to serve Him when we are living, then our lives surely are empty and worth nothing in the end.
This is the end result of living life under the sun, or according to man’s perspective. Vanity of vanities. Emptiness. Nothing to show for our time on this earth.
As I near old age (I’m 72, which is now considered “young” old age; when I hit 80, if God allows, then I’m in old old age) I am more keenly aware of how short our time on earth really is. That awareness makes me even more determined to use my time wisely and well.