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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 127

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-5

Psalms 127:0

Introduction - Psalms 127:0 is one of only two Psalms that are attributed to Solomon. We find the other recorded in Psalms 72:0. However, King Solomon is said to have written many more songs; but we only have these two recorded. See:

1 Kings 4:32, “And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.”

Psalms 127:1 (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.

Psalms 127:1 Word Study on “degrees” - Strong says the Hebrew word “ma’alah” ( מַעֲלָה ) (H4609) literally means, “elevations,” and in book of Psalms it means, “a climatic progression.” Strong says this word is derived from the Hebrew verb “‘alah” ( עָלָה ) (H5927), which means “to ascend.” This noun occurs 45 times in the Old Testament Scriptures and is often translated “steps,” as in 1 Kings 10:19. In 2 Kings 20:9-11 “ma’alah” ( מַעֲלָה ) is translated “degrees,” referring to the ten steps the shadow regressed on the king’s sundial.

Psalms 127:1 “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it”- Comments - A church must be built by the Lord for it to profit in God’s Kingdom and to prosper in souls. This work can be done as the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in men’s lives. Note these insightful words from Kenneth Hagin:

“Notice in this Scripture, that they did build the house. They got it built, all right, but their labor was all in vain because the Lord wasn’t in it. So many times in the ministry, what we do is good, but it is not the Lord’s plan at all. It is man’s plan.” [120]

[120] Kenneth Hagin, Plans Purposes and Pursuits (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1988, 1993), 23.

Woe to the man that builds his house out of wood, hay and stubble, and leaves off the gold, silver and precious stones. He will have no rewards in heaven, although he himself shall be saved (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Psalms 127:1 “except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Comments - God can watch over his Church, keeping evil from developing in the church, such as sin, strife, sickness, poverty, etc. Many people working in churches in denominations which depart from the Bible work hard to increase numbers and guide people into happiness. But, the curse rules their lives and souls are not watered and fed in order to grow.

Comments - Note that when the city of built by God, His walls are walls of salvation (Isaiah 26:1). The Lord also kept and protected Job in this same manner (Job 1:10). In Isaiah 22:9 the city of Jerusalem was full of breaches.

Isaiah 26:1, “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.”

Job 1:10, “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”

Isaiah 22:9, “Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.”

Psalms 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Psalms 127:2 Comments - Sorrows refer to anxious soil, painful labours. Many preachers and church workers have spent years, even lifetimes of work, in vain because they have served man-made programs, but they have not built churches on the Word of God.

It is vain to get up early and go to bed late for the purpose of eating the bread of painful labours. God provides for our needs and gives us the peace and confidence that we will provide for us. Therefore, we know that we can sleep in peace, as we learn that God will meet all of our needs (Proverbs 3:24).

Proverbs 3:24, “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”

Psalms 127:3-5 Children are a Heritage of the Lord - Sons are a blessing from God (Deuteronomy 28:11, 1 Chronicles 26:5). This is particularly obvious in the lives of Sarah, Rachel, Hanna and Elizabeth.

1 Chronicles 26:5, “Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him .”

Deuteronomy 28:11, “And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body , and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.”

Psalms 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalms 127:3 Word Study on “heritage” - Strong says the Hebrew word “heritage” ( נַחֲלָה ) (H5159) means, “something inherited, occupancy,” and comes from the primitive root ( נָחַל ) (5157), which means, “to inherit, occupy.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 222 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “inheritance 192, heritage 27, inherit 2, possession 1.”

Psalms 127:3 Comments - The purpose of God’s creation was so that it would be fruitful and multiply. God’s first command to man was to be fruitful, multiply and take dominion over the earth. To procreate children in the institution of the family and spiritual children in the institution of the church is everyone’s divine calling. God gives us children as a blessing so that we can fulfill His command to be fruitful and multiply. We see throughout Scripture how God opened the womb as a blessing and how He closed the womb as a form of judgment.

Souls in the Kingdom of God, or children of God, are God’s reward to a praying church. Rebirth of souls into God’s Kingdom is likened to a woman who travails and gives birth to a child (Galatians 4:19). Much praying in the spirit and intercession must be made to God for the powers of darkness broken.

Galatians 4:19, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”

Psalms 127:4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Psalms 127:4 Comments - Psalms 127:4 refers to spiritual warfare. A church with spiritual birth, or souls being won, is like adding artillery to an army. The church becomes more powerful and able to fight and win larger battles as it grows. The arrows of the mighty man can be likened to the arrow of deliverance in 2 Kings 13:17.

2 Kings 13:17, “And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.”

Psalms 127:5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Psalms 127:5 “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” - Comments - Paul the Apostle explains that joy also comes by having spiritual children in the Lord, which means a productive ministry (1 Thessalonians 2:20).

1 Thessalonians 2:20, “For ye are our glory and joy .”

Psalms 127:5 “they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” - Comments - The gate may be viewed as figurative of God's throne, where both Satan is accusing the brethren, and where the saints on earth are interceding for lost souls and other wayward Christians.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 127". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-127.html. 2013.
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