Psalms 128

PSALM CXXVIII

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.

NOTES ON PSALM CXXVIII

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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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

Ps 125:5; and should be translated,

Peace be upon Israel! May God favour his own cause, and bless

all his people!

ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-EIGHTH PSALM

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,

Ps 128:1.

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

III. He gives his acclamation to it, Ps 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.

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