Psalm 127:1
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.

New Living Translation
Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

English Standard Version
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Berean Study Bible
A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain; unless the LORD protects the city, its watchmen stand guard 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.

New King James Version
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

New American Standard Bible
A Song of Ascents, of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds a house, They who build it labor in vain; Unless the LORD guards a city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

NASB 1995
A Song of Ascents, of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

NASB 1977
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

Amplified Bible
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

Christian Standard Bible
A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the LORD watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
A Solomonic song of ascents. Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the LORD watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.

American Standard Version
Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it: Except Jehovah keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
If LORD JEHOVAH does not build the house, its builders labor uselessly, and if LORD JEHOVAH does not keep the city, its keepers wake up uselessly.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
A Song of Degrees. Except the Lord build the house, they that build labour in vain: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman watches in vain.

Contemporary English Version
Without the help of the LORD it is useless to build a home or to guard a city.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.

English Revised Version
A Song of Ascents; of 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.

Good News Translation
If the LORD does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless; if the LORD does not protect the city, it does no good for the sentries to stand guard.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
[A song by Solomon for going up to worship.] If the LORD does not build the house, it is useless for the builders to work on it. If the LORD does not protect a city, it is useless for the guard to stay alert.

International Standard Version
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor uselessly. Unless the LORD guards the city, its security forces keep watch uselessly.

JPS Tanakh 1917
A Song of Ascents; of 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.

Literal Standard Version
A SONG OF THE ASCENTS. BY SOLOMON. If YHWH does not build the house, Its builders have labored at it in vain, If YHWH does not watch a city, A watchman has awoken in vain.

NET Bible
A song of ascents, by Solomon. If the LORD does not build a house, then those who build it work in vain. If the LORD does not guard a city, then the watchman stands guard in vain.

New Heart English Bible
[A Song of Ascents. By Solomon.] Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman guards it 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.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Children are a Heritage From the LORD
1A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain; unless the LORD protects the city, its watchmen stand guard in vain. 2In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for bread to eat—for He gives sleep to His beloved.…

Cross References
Leviticus 26:20
and your strength will be spent in vain. For your land will not yield its produce, and the trees of the land will not bear their fruit.

Psalm 78:69
He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth He has established forever.

Psalm 121:3
He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.

Psalm 121:4
Behold, the Protector of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Psalm 126:6
He who goes out weeping, bearing a trail of seed, will surely return with shouts of joy, carrying sheaves of grain.


Treasury of Scripture

Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.

A Song.

Psalm 120:1
A Song of degrees. In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.

Psalm 121:1
A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

Psalm 122:1
A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

for Solomon.

Psalm 72:1
A Psalm for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto 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 deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

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

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; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever…

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

1 Chronicles 29:19
And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

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 upon you labour in vain.

that build it.

Psalm 121:3-5
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee 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.









(1) House.--A house, any house, not the Temple. The thought is a general one. Even in the common labours of men, it is the Divine blessing which contributes the success. An Gottes Segen ist alles gelegen.

Waketh.--Perhaps better, watcheth. The house that has been built with such toil, the city which has been planned with such skill, may suddenly fall before the midnight attack of the robber or the enemy, in spite of the strictest police, unless God's vigilant providence preserve it.

Verse 1. - Except the Lord build the house; rather, a house; i.e. any house whatsoever. They labor in vain that build it. They will effect nothing - no house will be built. Except the Lord keep the city; rather, a city. The watchman waketh but in vain. Human watching is of no use unless accompanied by Divine watching.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
A Song
שִׁ֥יר (šîr)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 7892: A song, singing

of Ascents.
הַֽמַּֽעֲל֗וֹת (ham·ma·‘ă·lō·wṯ)
Article | Noun - feminine plural
Strong's 4609: Elevation, the act, the condition, a climactic progression

Of Solomon.
לִשְׁלֹ֫מֹ֥ה (liš·lō·mōh)
Preposition-l | Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 8010: Solomon -- David's son and successor to his throne

Unless
אִם־ (’im-)
Conjunction
Strong's 518: Lo!, whether?, if, although, Oh that!, when, not

the LORD
יְהוָ֤ה ׀ (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

builds
יִבְנֶ֬ה (yiḇ·neh)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 1129: To build

the house,
בַ֗יִת (ḇa·yiṯ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1004: A house

its builders
בוֹנָ֣יו (ḇō·w·nāw)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine plural construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's 1129: To build

labor
עָמְל֣וּ (‘ā·mə·lū)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's 5998: To toil, work severely and with irksomeness

in
בּ֑וֹ (bōw)
Preposition | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew

vain;
שָׁ֤וְא ׀ (šāw)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7723: Evil, idolatry, uselessness

unless
אִם־ (’im-)
Conjunction
Strong's 518: Lo!, whether?, if, although, Oh that!, when, not

the LORD
יְהוָ֥ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

protects
יִשְׁמָר־ (yiš·mār-)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 8104: To hedge about, guard, to protect, attend to

the city,
עִ֝֗יר (‘îr)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 5892: Excitement

its watchmen
שׁוֹמֵֽר׃ (šō·w·mêr)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 8104: To hedge about, guard, to protect, attend to

stand guard
שָׁקַ֬ד (šā·qaḏ)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 8245: To be alert, sleepless, to be on the lookout

in vain.
שָׁ֤וְא ׀ (šāw)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7723: Evil, idolatry, uselessness


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OT Poetry: Psalm 127:1 A Song of Ascents (Psalm Ps Psa.)
Psalm 126:6
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