Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 128

Clarke's CommentaryClarke Commentary

Verse 1


The blessedness of the man that fears the Lord, 1.

He is blessed in his labour, 2;

in his wife and children, 3, 4;

in the ordinances of God, 5;

and in a long life and numerous posterity, 6.


This Psalm has no title, either in the Hebrew or any of the Versions; though the Syriac supposes it to have been spoken of Zerubbabel, prince of Judah, who was earnestly engaged in building the temple of the Lord. It seems to be a continuation of the preceding Psalm, or rather the second part of it. The man who is stated to have a numerous offspring, in the preceding Psalm, is here represented as sitting at table with his large family. A person in the mean while coming in, sees his happy state, speaks of his comforts, and predicts to him and his all possible future good. And why? Because the man and his family "fear God, and walk in his ways."

Verse 2

Verse Psalms 128:2. Those shalt eat the labour of thine hands — Thou shalt not be exempted from labour. Thou shalt work: But God will bless and prosper that work, and thou and thy family shall eat of it. Ye shall all live on the produce of your own labour, and the hand of violence shall not be permitted to deprive you of it. Thus,

Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. — Thou shalt have prosperity.

Verse Psalms 128:3. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine — Thy children, in every corner and apartment of thy house, shall be the evidences of the fruitfulness of thy wife, as bunches of grapes on every bough of the vine are the proofs of its being in a healthy thriving state. Being about the house sides, or apartments, is spoken of the wife, not the vine; being around the table is spoken of the children, not of the olive-plants. It does not appear that there were any vines planted against the walls of the houses in Jerusalem, nor any olive-trees in pots or tubs in the inside of their houses; as may be found in different parts of Europe.

Verse 4

Verse Psalms 128:4. Thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. — A great price for a small consideration. Fear God, and thou shalt have as much domestic good as may be useful to thee.

Verse 5

Verse Psalms 128:5. The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion — In all thy approaches to him in his house by prayer, by sacrifice, and by offering, thou shalt have his especial blessing. Thou shalt thrive every where, and in all things.

And thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem — Thou shalt see the cause of God flourish in thy lifetime, and his Church in great prosperity.

Verse 6

Verse Psalms 128:6. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children — Thou shall not die till thou have seen thy family all settled in the world, and those of them who may be married blessed with children.

And peace upon Israel. — This is the same conclusion as in Psalms 125:5; and should be translated, Peace be upon Israel! May God favour his own cause, and bless all his people!


In this Psalm the prophet persuades men to fear God upon the several rewards that attend upon piety.

It is divided into three parts.

I. He describes the pious man, and pronounces him blessed, Psalms 128:1.

II. He proposes the particulars of his blessing, Psalms 128:2-6.

III. He gives his acclamation to it, Psalms 128:4.

I. He describes the man who is to expect the blessing. Two qualities he must have: -

1. He must "fear the Lord." Fear, and not decline from him.

2. He must "walk in his ways." This is the true character of his fear.

3. This man shall be "blessed." Whether rich or poor, high or low; all such shall experience the blessing of the Lord.

II. And the blessedness consists in three particulars.

1. He shall enjoy those goods he has honestly obtained with his hands: "For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands:" his happiness consists not in having much, but in enjoying what he has.

2. "Happy shalt thou be," &c. Able to help others, and leave to thy children.

3. Happy he shall be in his marriage, if his choice be prudent, and in the Lord: 1. "His wife shall be," &c. Fetifera, non sterilis. 2. Upon the walls of thy house. Staying at home and caring for the things of the house, while her husband is taking care abroad.

4. Happy in his children: 1. "Thy children like olive-plants." Fresh, green, spreading, fruitful, and pledges of peace: not like sharp and prickly thorns. 2. "Round about thy table." Sit, eat, and converse with thee.

III. The acclamation follows these temporal blessings: "Thus shall the man be blessed," &c. In his goods, wife, and children.

But there is a blessing far beyond these, the sum of which is, -

1. God's blessing: "The Lord shall bless thee," &c. By a federal, a Church blessing.

2. "Thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem," &c. The prosperity of the Church.

3. "Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children."

Et natos natorum, et qui nascuntur ab illis.

"Thy children's children, and those born of them."

4. "And peace upon Israel." A flourishing commonwealth and kingdom: for by peace is understood all prosperity.

Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 128". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/psalms-128.html. 1832.
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