Psalm 126.  Nisi Dominus

God's blessing crowns the work

This Psalm consists of two independent songs.  The first one is a warning against too much activity and too little trust in God.  The second pictures good children as a mighty blessing.

The Christian and the priest, as he prays, is warned never to ascribe success to his own doing; without God all his labour in God's harvest is in vain.  The blessing of children also has a spiritual sense: they are the souls won over to God, and personal merits; both will be powerful champions for us on the day of judgment.

All human struggle is in vain

Nisi Dóminus ædificáverit domum, * in vanum laboravérunt qui ædíficant eam.
2  Nisi Dóminus custodíerit civitátem, * frustra vígilat qui custódit eam.
3  Vanum est vobis ante lucem súrgere: * súrgite postquam sedéritis, qui manducátis panem dolóris.

Except the Lord build the house, * they labour in vain that build it.
2  Except the Lord keep the city, * the watchman waketh but in vain.
3  It is vain for you to rise up before the light : * rise ye after ye have sitten, ye that eat the bread of sorrow.

Unless God's blessing comes to our aid

4  Cum déderit diléctis suis somnum: * ecce heréditas Dómini fílii : merces, fructus ventris.
5  Sicut sagíttæ in manu poténtis: * ita fílii excussórum.
6  Beátus vir qui implévit desidérium suum ex ipsis: * non confundétur cum loquétur inimícis suis in porta.

4  When he giveth his beloved sleep : * behold, children are the heritage of the Lord: the reward, and the fruit of the womb.
5  Like as the arrows in the hand of the mighty, * even so are the children of them that have been shaken.
6  Blessed is the man that hath filled the desire with them; * he shall not be confounded when he shall speak with his enemies in the gate.