Ecclesiastes 12:2

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BibleOld TestamentEcclesiastes


1Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when you will say, "I have no pleasure in them"; 2before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain;


1Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

The Four Sources of Light

". . . the sun and the light and the moon and the stars. . . " (v.2) — in ancient times there were believed to be four sources of light:

  • the sun
  • light itself, the light of the sky or firmament
  • the moon
  • the stars

This is the order that we read in Ecclesiastes; with a modern, more scientific approach we might list them differently:

  1. light itself, the light of the sky or firmament
  2. the sun
  3. the moon
  4. the stars

See at Genesis 1:14-19if the Sun is created on Day 4, what is the light on Day 1?

See also Job 38:12, 18-20 and Rabbi Joseph Kara (ca. 1065-1135) at The Firmament. This is taken from an overview of historical interpretations by Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber at

Also Bro Roger Evans' Genesis in Context here.

Examples of ancient and modern readings

Ambrose of Milan

Ambrose lived c. 339 – 397 AD and was Bishop of Milan from 374 to his death.
his Wikipedia page


His Hexameron is a commentary on the six days of Creation. The following quotations and page numbers are from an English translation by John J. Savage at Bold font is added to show his belief in the four sources of light.

In our reading of the Scripture passage, the sun, which before this did not exist, has now to arise. We have now passed the first day without a sun, and the second and the third days we have completed still without a sun. On the fourth day God bade the luminaries of the heavens to be created: the sun, the moon and stars. The sun begins to arise. Cleanse, now, the eyes of your mind and the inward gaze of your soul, lest any mote of sin dull the keenness of your mind and disturb the aspect of your pure heart. Cleanse your ear, in order that you may receive the clear flow of holy Scripture in a clean receptacle, so that no impurity may enter therein. With its great splendor the sun precedes the day, filling the world with its great light, encompassing it with warm exhalations. (page 125)

See . . .  that the rays of the rising sun do not trouble your sight. For that reason, look first upon the firmament of heaven which was made before the sun; look first upon the earth which began to be visible and was already formed before the sun put in its appearance; look at the plants of the earth which preceded in time the light of the sun. The bramble preceded the sun; the blade of grass is older than the moon. Therefore, do not believe that object to be a god to which the gifts of God are seen to be preferred. Three days have passed. No one, meanwhile, has looked for the sun, yet the brilliance of light has been in evidence everywhere. For the day, too, has its light which is itself the precursor of the sun. (page 126)

But let us reflect on the fact that the light of day is one thing and the light of the sun and moon and stars another, for the reason that the sun itself with its rays appears to add to its brilliance to the light of day. This can be seen at the dawn of day or at its setting. There is daylight, in fact, before the rising of the sun, but it is far from being brilliant. ( page 132)

It is very evident that the extent of the night is measured by the illumination of the moon and stars, since the sun on its rising causes the glitter of the moon and of all the stars to be invisible by day. As to the day, even the burning rays of the sun can inform us that daylight and sunlight differ both in their nature and in their aspect. The aspect of daylight is uncompounded: it merely furnishes light. The sun, on the other hand, not merely has the power of illuminating; it has also the power of heating. The sun is fiery, and fire both illuminates and burns. (page 133)

A physicist's view

A modern physicist can demonstrate that when there is water there is always light within it; thus "Genesis 1:3 cannot refer to the creation of light itself".

See at What does it mean to create light?


See others listed by Roger Evans in his Genesis in Context.