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Ecclesiastes 11:1–6

Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

11 fCast your bread upon the waters,

gfor you will find it after many days.

hGive a portion to iseven, or even to eight,

jfor you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

If the clouds are full of rain,

they empty themselves on the earth,

and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,

in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.

He who observes the wind will not sow,

and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the way kthe spirit comes to lthe bones in the womb1 of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening mwithhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

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Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — The New International Version (NIV)

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 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.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — New Living Translation (NLT)

Send your grain across the seas,

and in time, profits will flow back to you.

But divide your investments among many places,

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, 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.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

Cast your bread upon the waters,

For you will find it after many days.

Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,

For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

If the clouds are full of rain,

They empty themselves upon the earth;

And if a tree falls to the south or the north,

In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.

He who observes the wind will not sow,

And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know what is the way of the wind,

Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,

So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed,

And in the evening do not withhold your hand;

For you do not know which will prosper,

Either this or that,

Or whether both alike will be good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — New Century Version (NCV)

Invest what you have,

because after a while you will get a return.

Invest what you have in several different businesses,

because you don’t know what disasters might happen.

If clouds are full of rain,

they will shower on the earth.

A tree can fall to the north or south,

but it will stay where it falls.

Those who wait for perfect weather

will never plant seeds;

those who look at every cloud

will never harvest crops.

You don’t know where the wind will blow,

and you don’t know how a baby grows inside the mother.

In the same way, you don’t know what God is doing,

or how he created everything.

Plant early in the morning,

and work until evening,

because you don’t know if this or that will succeed.

They might both do well.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind will not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds will not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, how the bones grow in the womb of her that is with child, even so thou knowest not the work of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Throw your bread on the surface of the water, because you will find it again after many days.

Divide what you have into seven parts, or even into eight, because you don’t know what disaster may happen on earth.

If the clouds are full of rain, they will let it pour down on the earth. If a tree falls north or south, the tree will remain where it fell.

Whoever watches the wind will never plant. Whoever looks at the clouds will never harvest.

Just as you don’t know how the breath of life enters the limbs of a child within its mother’s womb, you also don’t understand how God, who made everything, works.

Plant your seed in the morning, and don’t let your hands rest until evening. You don’t know whether this field or that field will be profitable or whether both of them will turn out equally well.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Send your bread on the surface of the waters,

for after many days you may find it.

Give a portion to seven or even to eight,

for you don’t know what disaster may happen on earth.

If the clouds are full, they will pour out rain on the earth;

whether a tree falls to the south or the north,

the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.

One who watches the wind will not sow,

and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.

Just as you don’t know the path of the wind,

or how bones develop in the womb of a pregnant woman,

so you don’t know the work of God who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed,

and at evening do not let your hand rest,

because you don’t know which will succeed,

whether one or the other,

or if both of them will be equally good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Send out your bread upon the waters,

for after many days you will get it back.

Divide your means seven ways, or even eight,

for you do not know what disaster may happen on earth.

When clouds are full,

they empty rain on the earth;

whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,

in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.

Whoever observes the wind will not sow;

and whoever regards the clouds will not reap.

Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hands be idle; for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Send out your bread on the water,

for in many days you will find it.

Divide your share in seven or in eight,

for you do not know what disaster will happen on the earth.

When the clouds are full,

they empty rain on the earth.

Whether a tree falls to the south or whether it falls to the north,

the place where the tree falls—there it will be.

Whoever watches the wind will not sow;

whoever watches the clouds will not reap.

Just as you do not know how the path of the wind goes,

nor how the bones of a fetus form in a mother’s womb,

so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

Sow your seed in the morning,

and do not let your hands rest in the evening,

for you do not know what will prosper—

whether this or that, or whether both of them alike will succeed.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)

Put your money into trade across the ocean.

After a while you will earn something from it.

Give shares of what you earn to a lot of people.

After all, you don’t know what great trouble might come on the land.

Clouds that are full of water

pour rain down on the earth.

A tree might fall to the south or the north.

It will stay in the place where it falls.

Anyone who keeps on watching the wind won’t plant seeds.

Anyone who keeps looking at the clouds won’t gather crops.

You don’t know the path the wind takes.

You don’t know how a baby is made inside its mother.

So you can’t understand how God works either.

He made everything.

In the morning plant your seeds.

In the evening keep your hands busy.

You don’t know what will succeed.

It may be one or the other.

Or both might do equally well.

Ecclesiastes 11:1–6 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.

Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.

He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.

Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.