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Psalms 127:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— [[A Song of Ascents; of Solomon.]] Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it: Except Jehovah keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [[A Song of degrees for Solomon.]] Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— [[A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.]] Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [[A Song of degrees for Solomon.]] Except the LORD shall build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD shall keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— [[A Song of degrees. Of Solomon.]] Unless Jehovah build the house, in vain do its builders labour in it; unless Jehovah keep the city, the keeper watcheth in vain:
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— [[A Song of Ascents. Solomon's.]] If, Yahweh, build not the house, in vain, have the builders of it toiled thereon, If, Yahweh, watch not the city, in vain, hath the watchman kept awake:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— A Song of the Ascents, by Solomon. If Jehovah doth not build the house, In vain have its builders laboured at it, If Jehovah doth not watch a city, In vain hath a watchman waked.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— A gradual canticle of Solomon. Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— [[A song of degrees for Solomon.]] Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vaine that build it: except the LORD keepe the citie, the watchman waketh but in vaine.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— [[A Song of Degrees.]] Except the Lord build the house, they that build labour in vain: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman watches in vain.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [[A Song of degrees for Shelomoh.]] Except Yahweh build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except Yahweh keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[[A Song 7892
{7892} Prime
שִׁיר
shiyr
{sheer}
The second form being feminine; from H7891; a song; abstractly singing.
of degrees 4609
{4609} Prime
מַעֲלָה
ma`alah
{mah-al-aw'}
Feminine of H4608; elevation, that is, the act (literally a journey to a higher place, figuratively a thought arising), or (concretely) the condition (literally a step or grade mark, figuratively a superiority of station); specifically a climactic progression (in certain Psalms).
for lm שְׁלֹמֹה.]] 8010
{8010} Prime
שְׁלֹמֹה
Sh@lomoh
{shel-o-mo'}
From H7965; peaceful; Shelomoh, David's successor.
Except x518
(0518) Complement
אִם
'im
{eem}
A primitive particle; used very widely as demonstrative, lo!; interrogitive, whether?; or conditional, if, although; also Oh that!, when; hence as a negative, not.
x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
build 1129
{1129} Prime
בָּנָה
banah
{baw-naw'}
A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
the house, 1004
{1004} Prime
בַּיִת
bayith
{bah'-yith}
Probably from H1129 abbreviated; a house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).
they labour 5998
{5998} Prime
עָמַל
`amal
{aw-mal'}
A primitive root; to toil, that is, work severely and with irksomeness.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
in vain 7723
{7723} Prime
שָׁוְא
shav'
{shawv}
From the same as H7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjectively), uselessness (as deceptive, objectively; also adverbially in vain).
that build 1129
{1129} Prime
בָּנָה
banah
{baw-naw'}
A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
it: except x518
(0518) Complement
אִם
'im
{eem}
A primitive particle; used very widely as demonstrative, lo!; interrogitive, whether?; or conditional, if, although; also Oh that!, when; hence as a negative, not.
x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
keep 8104
{8104} Prime
שָׁמַר
shamar
{shaw-mar'}
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
the city, 5892
{5892} Prime
עִיר
`iyr
{eer}
From H5782 a city (a place guarded by waking or a watch) in the widest sense (even of a mere encampment or post).
the watchman 8104
{8104} Prime
שָׁמַר
shamar
{shaw-mar'}
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
waketh 8245
{8245} Prime
שָׁקַד
shaqad
{shaw-kad'}
A primitive root; to be alert, that is, sleepless; hence to be on the lookout (whether for good or ill).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
[but] in vain. 7723
{7723} Prime
שָׁוְא
shav'
{shawv}
From the same as H7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjectively), uselessness (as deceptive, objectively; also adverbially in vain).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 127:1-2

_ _ Psalms 127:1-5. The theme of this Psalm, that human enterprises only succeed by the divine blessing, was probably associated with the building of the temple by Solomon, its author. It may have been adopted in this view, as suited to this series especially, as appropriately expressing the sentiments of God’s worshippers in relation to the erection of the second temple.

_ _ suggest the view of the theme given.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 127:1-5

_ _ We are here taught to have a continual regard to the divine Providence in all the concerns of this life. Solomon was cried up for a wise man, and would be apt to lean to his own understanding and forecast, and therefore his father teaches him to look higher, and to take God along with him in his undertakings. He was to be a man of business, and therefore David instructed him how to manage his business under the direction of his religion. Parents, in teaching their children, should suit their exhortations to their condition and occasions. We must have an eye to God,

_ _ I. In all the affairs and business of the family, even of the royal family, for kings' houses are no longer safe than while God protects them. We must depend upon God's blessing and not our own contrivance, 1. For the raising of a family: Except the Lord build the house, by his providence and blessing, those labour in vain, though ever so ingenious, that build it. We may understand it of the material house: except the Lord bless the building it is to no purpose for men to build, any more than for the builders of Babel, who attempted in defiance of heaven, or Hiel, who built Jericho under a curse. If the model and design be laid in pride and vanity, or if the foundations be laid in oppression and injustice (Habakkuk 2:11, Habakkuk 2:12), God certainly does not build there; nay, if God be not acknowledged, we have no reason to expect his blessing, and without his blessing all is nothing. Or, rather, it is to be understood of the making of a family considerable that was mean; men labour to do this by advantageous matches, offices, employments, purchases; but all in vain, unless God build up the family, and raise the poor out of the dust. The best-laid project fails unless God crown it with success. See Malachi 1:4. 2. For the securing of a family or a city (for this is what the psalmist particularly mentions): if the guards of the city cannot secure it without God, much less can the good man of the house save his house from being broken up. Except the Lord keep the city from fire, from enemies, the watchmen, who go about the city, or patrol upon the walls of it, though they neither slumber nor sleep, wake but in vain, for a raging fire may break out, the mischief of which the timeliest discoveries may not be able to prevent. The guards may be slain, or the city betrayed and lost, by a thousand accidents, which the most watchful sentinel or most cautious governor could not obviate. 3. For the enriching of a family; this is a work of time and thought, but cannot be effected without the favour of Providence any more than that which is the product of one happy turn: “It is vain for you to rise up early and sit up late, and so to deny yourselves your bodily refreshments, in the eager pursuit of the wealth of the world.” Usually, those that rise early do not care for sitting up late, nor can those that sit up late easily persuade themselves to rise early; but there are some so hot upon the world that they will do both, will rob their sleep to pay their cares. And they have as little comfort in their meals as in their rest; they eat the bread of sorrows. It is part of our sentence that we eat our bread in the sweat of our face; but those go further: all their days they eat in darkness, Ecclesiastes 5:17. They are continually fell of care, which embitters their comforts, and makes their lives a burden to them. All this is to get money, and all in vain except God prosper them, for riches are not always to men of understanding, Ecclesiastes 9:11. Those that love God, and are beloved of him, have their minds easy and live very comfortably without this ado. Solomon was called JedidiahBeloved of the Lord (2 Samuel 12:25); to him the kingdom was promised, and then it was in vain for Absalom to rise up early, to wheedle the people, and for Adonijah to make such a stir, and to say, I will be king. Solomon sits still, and, being beloved of the Lord, to him he gives sleep and the kingdom too. Note, (1.) Inordinate excessive care about the things of this world is a vain a d fruitless thing. We weary ourselves for vanity if we have it, and often weary ourselves in vain for it, Haggai 1:6, Haggai 1:9. (2.) Bodily sleep is God's gift to his beloved. We owe it to his goodness that our sleep is safe (Psalms 4:8), that it is sweet, Jeremiah 31:25, Jeremiah 31:26. God gives us sleep as he gives it to his beloved when with it he gives us grace to lie down in his fear (our souls returning to him and reposing in him as our rest), and when we awake to be still with him and to use the refreshment we have by sleep in his service. He gives his beloved sleep, that is, quietness and contentment of mind, and comfortable enjoyment of what is present and a comfortable expectation of what is to come. Our care must be to keep ourselves in the love of God, and then we may be easy whether we have little or much of this world.

_ _ II. In the increase of the family. He shows, 1. That children are God's gift, Psalms 127:3. If children are withheld it is God that withholds them (Genesis 30:2); if they are given, it is God that gives them (Genesis 33:5); and they are to us what he makes them, comforts or crosses. Solomon multiplied wives, contrary to the law, but we never read of more than one son that he had; for those that desire children as a heritage from the Lord must receive them in the way that he is pleased to give them, by lawful marriage to one wife. Malachi 2:15, therefore one, that he might seek a seed of God. But they shall commit whoredom and shall not increase. Children are a heritage, and a reward, and are so to be accounted, blessings and not burdens; for he that sends mouths will send meat if we trust in him. Obed-edom had eight sons, for the Lord blessed him because he had entertained the ark, 1 Chronicles 26:5. Children are a heritage for the Lord, as well as from him; they are my children (says God) which thou hast borne unto me (Ezekiel 16:20); and they are most our honour and comfort when they are accounted to him for a generation. 2. That they are a good gift, and a great support and defence to a family: As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, who knows how to use them for his own safety and advantage, so are children of the youth, that is, children born to their parents when they are young, which are the strongest and most healthful children, and are grown up to serve them by the time they need their service; or, rather, children who are themselves young; they are instruments of much good to their parents and families, which may fortify themselves with them against their enemies. The family that has a large stock of children is like a quiver full of arrows, of different sizes we may suppose, but all of use one time or other; children of different capacities and inclinations may be several ways serviceable to the family. He that has a numerous issue may boldly speak with his enemy in the gate in judgment; in battle he needs not fear, having so many good seconds, so zealous, so faithful, and in the vigour of youth, 1 Samuel 2:4, 1 Samuel 2:5. Observe here, Children of the youth are arrows in the hand, which, with prudence, may be directed aright to the mark, God's glory and the service of their generation; but afterwards, when they have gone abroad into the world, they are arrows out of the hand; it is too late to bend them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a constant grief to their godly parents, whose gray hairs they bring with sorrow to the grave.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 127:1

Build — Assist and bless those that build it.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 127:1

"A Song of degrees for Solomon." Except the LORD (a) build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the (b) city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.

(a) That is, govern and dispose all things pertaining to the family.

(b) The public estate of the commonwealth.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
for Solomon:
or, of Solomon,
Psalms 72:1 [[[A Psalm] for Solomon.]] Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son.
*title

the LORD[YHWH]:

Psalms 33:16-18 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. ... Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Proverbs 21:30-31 [There is] no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. ... The horse [is] prepared against the day of battle: but safety [is] of the LORD.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

build:

1 Chronicles 22:10-11 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I [will be] his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. ... Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee.
1 Chronicles 28:10 Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do [it].
1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 29:19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all [these things], and to build the palace, [for] the which I have made provision.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building. ... If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

they labour:

1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain.
Galatians 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

that build it:
Heb. that are builders of it in it

except:

Psalms 121:3-5 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. ... The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand.
Isaiah 27:3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest [any] hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
Zechariah 2:4-5 And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited [as] towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: ... For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

the watchman:

Song of Songs 3:3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: [to whom I said], Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
Song of Songs 5:7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
Isaiah 21:5-12 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, [and] anoint the shield. ... The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.
Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen [are] blind: they are all ignorant, they [are] all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Isaiah 62:6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, [which] shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
Jeremiah 51:12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.
Jeremiah 51:31 One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at [one] end,
Ezekiel 33:2-9 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: ... Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
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1Ch 22:10; 28:10, 20; 29:19. Ps 33:16; 72:1; 121:3. Pv 16:9; 21:30. Ec 9:11. So 3:3; 5:7. Is 21:5; 27:3; 56:10; 62:6. Jr 51:12, 31. Ezk 33:2. Zc 2:4. 1Co 3:7, 9; 15:14. Ga 4:11.

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