Psalms 127

1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one's youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Images for Psalms 127

Psalms 127 Commentary

Chapter 127

The value of the Divine blessing.

- Let us always look to God's providence. In all the affairs and business of a family we must depend upon his blessing. 1. For raising a family. If God be not acknowledged, we have no reason to expect his blessing; and the best-laid plans fail, unless he crowns them with success. 2. For the safety of a family or a city. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen, though they neither slumber nor sleep, wake but in vain; mischief may break out, which even early discoveries may not be able to prevent. 3. For enriching a family. Some are so eager upon the world, that they are continually full of care, which makes their comforts bitter, and their lives a burden. All this is to get money; but all in vain, except God prosper them: while those who love the Lord, using due diligence in their lawful callings, and casting all their care upon him, have needful success, without uneasiness or vexation. Our care must be to keep ourselves in the love of God; then we may be easy, whether we have little or much of this world. But we must use the proper means very diligently. Children are God's gifts, a heritage, and a reward; and are to be accounted blessings, and not burdens: he who sends mouths, will send meat, if we trust in him. They are a great support and defence to a family. Children who are young, may be directed aright to the mark, God's glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a grief to godly parents. Yet, if trained according to God's word, they generally prove the best defence in declining years, remembering their obligations to their parents, and taking care of them in old age. All earthly comforts are uncertain, but the Lord will assuredly comfort and bless those who serve him; and those who seek the conversion of sinners, will find that their spiritual children are their joy and crown in the day of Jesus Christ.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or [for he provides for his beloved during sleep]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 127

\\<>\\. This psalm was written for Solomon; that is, for the sake of Solomon, as Aben Ezra interprets it; of concerning Solomon, as Jarchi: and so the Syriac title, ``it was said by David concerning Solomon.'' Perhaps it was composed by David, after Nathan had informed him, that not he, but his son Solomon, should build a temple for the Lord; and when he had made provision of gold and silver, and other things, for it, and had given the pattern of it to his son; and encouraged and animated him to it, assuring him that the Lord would be with him until he had finished it; and prayed that God would give him a perfect heart to do it; for he knew the whole success depended upon the Lord, notwithstanding all the preparations he had made: hence the psalm begins, "except the Lord build the house"; see 1Ch 28:20, 29:19. Theodoret is of opinion it was written for Zerubbabel, and respects the building of the second temple by him; who is called Solomon, because he descended from him, and restored his work; but Zerubbabel, though he was of the house of David, yet not in the line of Solomon, but of Nathan, Lu 3:27,31. The inscription of the Syriac version seems to agree with this conjecture; which adds, to what is before observed, ``and it is also said concerning Haggai and Zechariah, who were solicitous for the building of the temple.'' And Arama the Jew says, that it is possible it may be said of the building of the second temple, and the walls of Jerusalem. But others think it is a composition of Solomon himself; who might set out upon the building of the temple with this song, as he made a prayer at the dedication of it when finished: and the Targum renders it, ``a song by the hand of Solomon;'' and our translators for the most part render the particle of, which they here translate "for", as "of David", in many places. And so accordingly it may be rendered here "of Solomon" {s}, or Solomon's, and be one of the thousand and five songs he made; which, besides that called the Song of Solomon, is the only one extant: and the doctrine of it agrees with many things in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes; that all things depend upon the providence and blessing of God, without which all the endeavours of men are in vain. Kimchi thinks the Messiah is meant, who is often called Solomon in the book of Canticles, So 3:7,11, 8:11,12; and to whom many passages in it may be applied. {s} hmlvl "Salomonis", V. L. Tigurine version, Musculus, Muis, Cocceius, Gejerus; so Ainsworth; "ipsius Selomoh", Vatablus.

Psalms 127 Commentaries