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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 128



Verse 1

1. Blessed—Oh the blessings of every one fearing Jehovah! The אשׁרי, (ashrey,) “blessed,” happy, with which the author begins, and which characterizes the God-seeking man, is contrasted with the שׁוא, (shahv,) vainly, in vain, which belongs to the self-trusting man, (Psalms 127:1 ) and the tone of confidence in the assured happiness of the former, with the

אם, (if, except,) which conditions the success of the latter.

Verse 2

2. Thou shall eat—Literally, Thou shalt surely eat the labour of thy hands. The clause is strongly asseverating. This is the true dignity of manto support himself by his own labour; and this is the faithfulness of God to his children, to assure the rewards of their labour to them. It is “the promise of the life that now is,” 1 Timothy 4:8; opposed to the threatening of Deuteronomy 28:33; Leviticus 26:16

Verse 3

3. By the sides of thine house—Literally. In the sides; supposed to denote “the background, or privacy of the house, where the housewife, who is not to be seen much out of doors, leads a quiet life, entirely devoted to her family,” (Delitzsch;) in contrast with the harlot, who wanders the street. Proverbs 7:11-12. This requires us to refer the word “sides” not to vine, but to wife, as it is not the vine on the side of the “house,” but the wife on the inside of the “house,” thus: “Thy wife in the sides of thy house shall be as a fruitful vine; thy children around thy table like olive settings.” This last figure seems borrowed from the young olives springing from the roots of the parent tree, and perpetuating its beauty and fruitfulness.

Verse 4

4. Behold, that thus—The asseverating particle is again employed, as in Psalms 128:2, to confirm the happiness of the God-fearing man. “Behold,” surely “thus,” etc., a beautiful setting in the picture of a happy, pious nation.

Verse 5

5. Out of Zion—The Hebrew knows no blessing apart from the Church, the covenant, and worship of God. The blessing must come from Zion, if it comes from God.

See the good of Jerusalem—Next to his Church ranks his country, his nation. With the good of Jerusalem is connected all individual good. The religious-civic type of this psalm suits the lofty patriotism and piety of the time of David and the former part of Solomon’s reign, and as fitly the time of the return of the exiles.

Verse 6

6. So far as this may apply to the returned exiles, compare Zechariah 8:4-5.

Peace upon Israel—There is no and in the original, as in our English version, and it does not belong here: Peace to Israel is simply a form of parting salutation, as in Psalms 125:5, having ended his psalm of blessing.


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 128:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

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