Psalm 127:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
{A Song of degrees. Of Solomon.} Unless Jehovah build the house, in vain do its builders labour in it; unless Jehovah keep the city, the keeper watcheth in vain:

World English Bible
Unless Yahweh builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless Yahweh watches over the city, the watchman guards it in vain.

Young's Literal Translation
A Song of the Ascents, by Solomon. If Jehovah doth not build the house, In vain have its builders laboured at it, If Jehovah doth not watch a city, In vain hath a watchman waked.

Psalm 127:1 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Except the Lord build the house - To build a house is taken in three different senses in the sacred writings.

1. To build the temple of the Lord, which was called הבית habbeith, the house, by way of eminence.

2. To build any ordinary house, or place of dwelling.

3. To have a numerous offspring.

In this sense it is supposed to be spoken concerning the Egyptian midwives; that because they feared the Lord, therefore he built them houses. See the note on Exodus 1:21. But, however, the above passage may be interpreted, it is a fact that b ben, a son, and tb bath, a daughter, and tyb beith, a house, come from the same root hnb banah, to build; because sons and daughters build up a household, or constitute a family, as much and as really as stones and timber constitute a building. Now it is true that unless the good hand of God be upon us we cannot prosperously build a place of worship for his name. Unless we have his blessing, a dwelling-house cannot be comfortably erected. And if his blessing be not on our children, the house (the family) may be built up, but instead of its being the house of God, it will be the synagogue of Satan. All marriages that are not under God's blessing will be a private and public curse. This we see every day.

Except the Lord keep the city - When the returned Jews began to restore the walls of Jerusalem, and rebuild the city, Sanballat, Tobiah, and others formed plots to prevent it. Nehemiah, being informed of this, set up proper watches and guards. The enemy, finding this, gathered themselves together, and determined to fall upon them at once, and cut them all off. Nehemiah, having gained intelligence of this also, armed his people, and placed them behind the wall. Sanballat and his company, finding that the Jews were prepared for resistance, abandoned their project; and Nehemiah, to prevent surprises of this kind, kept one-half of the people always under arms, while the other half was employed in the work. To this the psalmist alludes; and in effect says, Though you should watch constantly, guard every place, and keep on your armor ready to repel every attack, yet remember the success of all depends upon the presence and blessing of God. While, therefore, ye are not slothful in business, be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; for there is no success either in spiritual or secular undertakings but in consequence of the benediction of the Almighty.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

A Song.

Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried to the LORD, and he heard me.

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help.

Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Psalm 123:1 To you lift I up my eyes, O you that dwell in the heavens.

Psalm 124:1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;

Psalm 125:1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but stays for ever.

Psalm 126:1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

for Solomon. or, of Solomon

Psalm 72:1 Give the king your judgments, O God, and your righteousness to the king's son.

The Lord

Psalm 33:16-18 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength...

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps.

Proverbs 21:30,31 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD...

Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise...

1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.

build

1 Chronicles 22:10,11 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father...

1 Chronicles 28:10,20 Take heed now; for the LORD has chosen you to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it...

1 Chronicles 29:19 And give to Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, and to do all these things...

1 Corinthians 3:9-15 For we are laborers together with God: you are God's husbandry, you are God's building...

they labour

1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Galatians 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed on you labor in vain.

that build it. Heb. that are builders of it in it
except

Psalm 121:3-5 He will not suffer your foot to be moved: he that keeps you will not slumber...

Isaiah 27:3 I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.

Zechariah 2:4,5 And said to him, Run, speak to this young man, saying...

the watchman

Songs 3:3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw you him whom my soul loves?

Songs 5:7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

Isaiah 21:5-12 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, you princes, and anoint the shield...

Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

Isaiah 62:6 I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: you that make mention of the LORD...

Jeremiah 51:12,31 Set up the standard on the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes...

Ezekiel 33:2-9 Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them, When I bring the sword on a land...

Library
The Peculiar Sleep of the Beloved
The Psalmist says there are some men who deny themselves sleep. For purposes of gain, or ambition, they rise up early and sit up late. Some of us who are here present may have been guilty of the same thing. We have risen early in the morning that we might turn over the ponderous volume, in order to acquire knowledge; we have sat at night until our burned-out lamp has chidden us, and told us that the sun was rising; while our eyes have ached, our brain has throbbed, our heart has palpitated. We have
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

Or are we Indeed to Believe that it is for any Other Reason...
41. Or are we indeed to believe that it is for any other reason, that God suffers to be mixed up with the number of your profession, many, both men and women, about to fall, than that by the fall of these your fear may be increased, whereby to repress pride; which God so hates, as that against this one thing The Highest humbled Himself? Unless haply, in truth, thou shalt therefore fear less, and be more puffed up, so as to love little Him, Who hath loved thee so much, as to give up Himself for thee,
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Cross References
Leviticus 26:20
Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.

Psalm 78:69
He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.

Psalm 121:3
He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber;

Psalm 121:4
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Psalm 126:6
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

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