Psalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds(A) the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches(B) over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food(C) to eat—
    for he grants sleep(D) to[a] those he loves.(E)

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward(F) from him.
Like arrows(G) in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.(H)
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents(I) in court.(J)

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 127:2 Or eat— / for while they sleep he provides for

Pleasures Are Meaningless

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure(A) to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,”(B) I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine,(C) and embracing folly(D)—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself(E) and planted vineyards.(F) I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves(G) who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold(H) for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.(I) I acquired male and female singers,(J) and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem(K) before me.(L) In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;(M)
    nothing was gained under the sun.(N)

Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless

12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
    and also madness and folly.(O)
What more can the king’s successor do
    than what has already been done?(P)
13 I saw that wisdom(Q) is better than folly,(R)
    just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
    while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
    that the same fate overtakes them both.(S)

15 Then I said to myself,

“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
    What then do I gain by being wise?”(T)
I said to myself,
    “This too is meaningless.”
16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;(U)
    the days have already come when both have been forgotten.(V)
Like the fool, the wise too must die!(W)

Toil Is Meaningless

17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.(X)

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Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 2:8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.

Instructions for Christian Households(A)

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands,(B) as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance(C) from the Lord as a reward.(D) It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.(E)

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair,(F) because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Footnotes

  1. Colossians 3:21 Or Parents