New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Need of God’s Blessing
1 A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
Unless the Lord build the house,
they labor in vain who build.
Unless the Lord guard the city,
in vain does the guard keep watch.
2 It is vain for you to rise early
and put off your rest at night,
To eat bread earned by hard toil—
all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.(A)
3 Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb, a reward.(B)
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
He will never be shamed
for he will destroy his foes at the gate.[b]
- Psalm 127 The Psalm puts together two proverbs (Ps 127:1–2, 3–5) on God establishing “houses” or families. The prosperity of human groups is not the work of human beings but the gift of God.
- 127:5 At the gate: the reference is not to enemies besieging the walls of a city but to adversaries in litigation. Law courts functioned in the open area near the main city gate. The more adult sons a man had, the more forceful he would appear in disputes, cf. Prv 31:23.