Psalm 128

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-04-17 11:35.

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This “song of ascents,” like others that are so identified, may have been sung by those going up to Jerusalem for worship.

All those fearing YHWH (manifesting a reverential awe) and walking in his ways (maintaining conduct harmonizing with his commands) are pronounced fortunate. Theirs is truly a desirable situation.

The psalmist then focuses on the individual in a personal way, referring to the godly father in terms of the singular “you.” In the comments that follow, “his” will be used, retaining the sense of the singular.

When laboring with his hands, the reverential man would be able to eat the fruit thereof, benefiting fully from his efforts. He would be fortunate, and his life would be good.

Blessed with children, his wife would prove to be “like a fruitful vine.” An old olive tree may sprout shoots from its roots, and these can be used for growing new trees. This may be the basis for the psalmist’s likening the godly father’s sons to “olive shoots” around his table. Rewarded for his hard work and with a good wife and children around his table, the man who fears YHWH would thus be blessed.

The psalmist portrays YHWH’s blessing as coming from Zion, the place of his representative dwelling. For the same reason, he expresses the prayerful desire for the godly man to be able to see the “good,” prosperity, or well-being of Jerusalem all the days of his life. Additionally, the prayerful wish includes the enjoyment of a long life for the reverential father, enabling him to see the sons of his sons.

The psalm concludes with the words, “peace upon Israel.” This is a prayerful expression for the continued well-being of God’s people.

Notes:

See Psalm 1 concerning YHWH and the Hebrew and Greek words for “fortunate.”

In the Septuagint, the wife is likened to a prosperous or flourishing vine on the sides of the house, and the sons to newly planted olive trees around the table.

One of the Dead Sea Psalms scrolls reads “Lord,” not YHWH, in the concluding verse.