Psalm 127:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves.

New Living Translation
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

English Standard Version
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

New American Standard Bible
It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

King James Bible
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food-- yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves.

International Standard Version
It is useless to get up early and to stay up late, eating the food of exhausting labor— truly he gives sleep to those he loves.

NET Bible
It is vain for you to rise early, come home late, and work so hard for your food. Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep.

New Heart English Bible
It is vain for you to rise up early, to stay up late, eating the bread of toil; for he gives sleep to his loved ones.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Those who will rise early and are late to sit down eating bread, in sorrows, are worthless, so he will give his beloved ones sleep.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It is useless to work hard for the food you eat by getting up early and going to bed late. The LORD gives [food] to those he loves while they sleep.

JPS Tanakh 1917
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.

New American Standard 1977
It is vain for you to rise up early,
            To retire late,
            To eat the bread of painful labors;
            For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Jubilee Bible 2000
It is vain for you to rise up early, to come home late, to eat the bread of sorrows, because he shall give his beloved sleep.

King James 2000 Bible
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he gives his beloved sleep.

American King James Version
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he gives his beloved sleep.

American Standard Version
It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; For'so he giveth unto his beloved sleep.

Douay-Rheims Bible
It is vain for you to rise before light, rise ye after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow. When he shall give sleep to his beloved,

Darby Bible Translation
It is vain for you to rise up early, to lie down late, to eat the bread of sorrows: so to his beloved one he giveth sleep.

English Revised Version
It is vain for you that ye rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of toil: for so he giveth unto his beloved sleep.

Webster's Bible Translation
It is vain for you to rise early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

World English Bible
It is vain for you to rise up early, to stay up late, eating the bread of toil; for he gives sleep to his loved ones.

Young's Literal Translation
Vain for you who are rising early, Who delay sitting, eating the bread of griefs, So He giveth to His beloved one sleep.
Study Bible
Unless the Lord Builds
1A 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. 2It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. 3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.…
Cross References
Genesis 3:17
Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

Genesis 3:19
By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

Job 11:18
"Then you would trust, because there is hope; And you would look around and rest securely.

Job 11:19
"You would lie down and none would disturb you, And many would entreat your favor.

Psalm 39:6
"Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

Psalm 60:5
That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us!

Proverbs 3:24
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Ecclesiastes 2:23
Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 5:12
The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.

Ecclesiastes 5:17
Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.
Treasury of Scripture

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he gives his beloved sleep.

vain

Psalm 39:5,6 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as …

Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, …

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11,20-23 I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore …

Ecclesiastes 4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yes, he has neither …

rise up

Proverbs 31:15-18 She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, …

the bread

Genesis 3:17-19 And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your …

Ecclesiastes 6:7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

for so he

Psalm 3:5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for you, LORD, only …

Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: …

Jeremiah 31:26 On this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet to me.

Ezekiel 34:25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the …

Acts 12:5,6 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing …

(2) It . . . sleep.--This verse, of the literal rendering of which there is no question, has met with many different interpretations. About the first clause there is no difference. Early rising, to pursue the business of the day, is vain without the Divine blessing on the labour. The next two clauses admit two different interpretations. Some connect the sitting down with the meal: "delaying to sit down and eat the bread of cares" (or sorrow), i.e., so immersed in business as to allow hardly time for meals. But it seems far more natural to take the Hebrew in its more extended sense of resting, and so explain, nearly as the Authorised Version:--

"It is in vain to rise early;

To delay the hour of rest,

To eat the bread that has been won by toil;

At His pleasure He giveth to His beloved (in) sleep."

As to the last clause, it seems right, from its use in Genesis 1, "it was so," to give so the sense "at His pleasure," this being also indicated by the general drift of the psalm. The word "sleep" may be either the direct object, as in the LXX. and Vulg., or the accusative used adverbially, "in sleep," "while they sleep." That the latter suits the context best there can be no question. The whole intention of the psalm is to assert the truth which the Book of Proverbs sums up in one sentence (Proverbs 10:22): "The blessing of Jehovah maketh rich, and toil can add nothing thereto," the truth which was so impressively taught in the Sermon on the Mount, by the contrast of man's restless ambition with the unconscious dependence on the Divine bounty of birds and flowers. To say that what others toil for from morning till night in vain, God gives to His beloved without all this anxiety and exertion, while they sleep, puts this truth forcibly, and with that disregard of apparent paradox which was natural to a Hebrew, and which appears so prominently in our Saviour's treatment of the subject. Labour is decried as unnecessary neither here nor in the Sermon on the Mount, but "carking care" is dismissed as unworthy those who, from past experience, ought to trust the goodness of the great Provider. The Greek proverb, "The net catches while the fisher sleeps," and the German, "God bestows His gifts during the night," bring common expressions to confirm this voice of inspiration, which was, in almost so many words, recalled in our Lord's parable (Mark 4:27). But old association pleads for the equally true and equally beautiful rendering which makes sleep the gift of God. If there is one thing which seems to come more direct from Heaven's bounty than another, that in its character is more benign, in its effects more akin to the nature of God, it is the blessing of sleep. In all times men have rendered thanks to Heaven for this boon. The ancients not only spoke of sleep as "most grateful of known gifts," but made itself a god. The psalmist unconsciously, but most truly, teaches us the further lesson that it is not only a Divine blessing, but a proof of Divine love:

"Of all the thoughts of God that are

Borne inward unto souls afar,

Across the psalmist's music deep,

Now tell me if that any is

For gift or grace surpassing this--

He giveth His beloved sleep."

MRS. BROWNING.

Verse 2. - It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late (comp. Isaiah 5:11); i.e. to be "careful and troubled" about your work in the world, whatever it is. To eat the bread of sorrows. To feed, as it were, on sorrow - and trouble and care - to make your lives a burden to yourselves through your carefulness. For so he giveth his beloved sleep; rather, surely he giveth to his beloved in sleep; i.e. in their sleep. The teaching is similar to that of Exodus 14:14; Isaiah 30:7, 15; Matthew 6:25-34. God gives to men that which he knows they have need of, if they have only the faith to "sit still" and "wait." It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late,.... A description of an industrious and laborious person, who takes great pains to get a livelihood, or increase his substance; see Psalm 104:23; which, yet, as in the former instances, depends upon the blessing of divine Providence, Proverbs 10:4. For, after all, it may come to nothing more at last than

to eat the bread of sorrows; that is, to eat bread gotten with much sorrow and labour; such get bread, and that is all, and not that without the providence of God;

for so he giveth his beloved sleep; that is, the Lord: such who are partakers of his grace, that fear and love him; to them, thus diligent and industrious, he gives not only bread to eat, but sleep, which to a labouring man is sweet; and having food and raiment, he gives them contentment, quietness, and satisfaction of mind, which is the greatest blessing of all. Sleep, even bodily sleep, was reckoned with the very Heathens a divine gift (x). Some think respect is had to, Solomon, whose name was Jedidiah, and signifies the beloved of the Lord, 2 Samuel 12:24; to whom God gave peace, rest, and safety all around; or, as others, the kingdom without labour, when Absalom and Adonijah toiled for it: Christ, who is the Beloved of the Lord, the Son of his love, his well beloved Son, may be thought of, whose rest is glorious; his sleep in the grave, where his flesh rested from his labours and sufferings, in hope of the resurrection of it: and it may be applied to all the Lord's beloved ones; to whom he gives spiritual rest in this world, sleep in the arms of Jesus at death, and an everlasting rest in the world to come; all which depends not on their endeavours, but on his grace and goodness.

(x) "----prima quies--dono divum gratissima serpit", Virgil. Aeneid. l. 2. v. 264, 265. , Homer. Iliad. 7. v. 482. & 9. v. 709. & Odyss. 16. v. ult. 2. so he giveth his beloved sleep—that is, His providential care gives sleep which no efforts of ours can otherwise procure, and this is a reason for trust as to other things (compare Mt 6:26-32).127:1-5 The value of the Divine blessing. - Let us always look to God's providence. In all the affairs and business of a family we must depend upon his blessing. 1. For raising a family. If God be not acknowledged, we have no reason to expect his blessing; and the best-laid plans fail, unless he crowns them with success. 2. For the safety of a family or a city. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen, though they neither slumber nor sleep, wake but in vain; mischief may break out, which even early discoveries may not be able to prevent. 3. For enriching a family. Some are so eager upon the world, that they are continually full of care, which makes their comforts bitter, and their lives a burden. All this is to get money; but all in vain, except God prosper them: while those who love the Lord, using due diligence in their lawful callings, and casting all their care upon him, have needful success, without uneasiness or vexation. Our care must be to keep ourselves in the love of God; then we may be easy, whether we have little or much of this world. But we must use the proper means very diligently. Children are God's gifts, a heritage, and a reward; and are to be accounted blessings, and not burdens: he who sends mouths, will send meat, if we trust in him. They are a great support and defence to a family. Children who are young, may be directed aright to the mark, God's glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a grief to godly parents. Yet, if trained according to God's word, they generally prove the best defence in declining years, remembering their obligations to their parents, and taking care of them in old age. All earthly comforts are uncertain, but the Lord will assuredly comfort and bless those who serve him; and those who seek the conversion of sinners, will find that their spiritual children are their joy and crown in the day of Jesus Christ.
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