Psalm 128 Translation and comment

A song of ascents or degrees

How fortunate are all who fear Yahweh;

Who walk in his ways.

You will eat the effort of your hands;

You will be fortunate and good will befall you.

Your wife will be like a fruit- bearing vine

In the back room of your house;

Your children like olive saplings

Surrounding your table.

Just so the man will be blessed

Who fears Yahweh.

May Yahweh bless you from Zion!

May you look upon the good of Jerusalem

All the days of your life!

May you see your children’s children!

Peace upon Israel!

Again this reads like a pilgrim psalm with its focus on the “fear of Yahweh” as the attitude that leads to fortune. Again there is a focus on family as the aim of human life. There is no life after death, but the family’s life after your death is the only form of immortality. To live to see your grandchildren was accounted a great blessing. The patriarchal assumptions of the culture are very clear in these psalms.

Perhaps pilgrims to Jerusalem encouraged each other with blessings such as those that end this psalm.

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