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.
It is vain for you that ye rise early, and sit up late,
Ye that eat the bread of toil;
So He giveth unto His beloved in sleep.
Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord;
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
As arrows in the hand of a mighty man,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them;
They shall not be put to shame,
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
( Psalm 127.)
INTO the circle of careworn fathers and mothers this Song
of Degrees of Solomon penetrates like a breath of fresh
air, transporting them, like all the
, from this
care-shrouded earth to the serene heights where nearness
to God brings happiness. The song pictures careworn parents
in the midst of their cluster of children, whom it is so hard
for them to provide with their daily needs. The children are
still asleep, or already asleep, but sleep flees from the eyes of
the parents, they are up early and they stay up late at night,
to earn the daily bread of their family. Care dogs their steps,
they feel that they cannot escape its grip, that all their care
is in vain; and for this reason they never cease to worry and
even the bread that they have earned gives them no joy.
Concern for the next bite of bread lies heavy upon them, and
they know that they can never escape the clutches of this care,
that however much they may toil and worry they cannot