Psalm 127 Study Notes


Ps 127 title On ascents, see note at Ps 120 title.

127:1 No task succeeds apart from God’s will. While building a dwelling is the literal meaning here, a house could also refer to a household or family, connecting this verse to vv. 3-5.

127:2 Humanity struggles to provide for its needs, working hard to have enough food (lit “eating the bread of toil,” 80:5; 102:9; Gn 3:17; Is 30:20). The Lord provides rest by blessing the work of the godly.

127:3 While food generally came from hard work, amid the uncertainties of the ancient Near Eastern life, offspring came from God (Gn 30:2; Dt 7:14).

127:4-5 The psalmist focused specifically on sons, who could continue the family lineage. A full quiver of arrows represented prestige and protection. Like arrows for a warrior, children were useful in the agricultural society. The man who had many children also enjoyed respect in Near Eastern society (on city gate, see note at 87:2).