The last psalm taught in a homely way the great lesson of cheerful content, and this, while announcing the promises attached to fidelity to Jehovah, still confines itself to the domestic circle—with the implied truth that national prosperity is bound closely up with domestic happiness, and depends on the cultivation of domestic virtues. And what an idyllic picture is here of peace and happiness!—the natural effects of that spirit of simple piety which often preserves itself through many generations under a humble roof. We see the father of the family, working hard no doubt, but recompensed for all his pains by an honourable competence, and the mother, instead of seeking distraction outside her home, finding all her pleasures in the happiness of her numerous children, who, fresh and healthy as young saplings, gather daily round the simple but ample board. Happy the family, poor or rich, whose annals tell such a tale! But the happiness could not be real or sincere which did not look beyond the home circle, to the prosperity of the larger circle of the nation of which it forms part; and so, like Burns’ famous poem, which, in telling the story of the Scottish peasant’s home-life, has caught the very spirit of the old Hebrew song, the psalmist ends with a patriotic prayer. The parallelism is here and there perfect.
“For it is the labour of thine hands thou shalt eat.”
(See Note, Psalm 116:10.) This picture of a successful and peaceful husbandry, which itself throws a whole flood of light on the condition of Palestine and of the people, now not nomadic but agricultural, is rendered still more emphatic by references to the numerous passages where it is foretold that enemies would devour the harvests (Deuteronomy 28:30-33; Leviticus 26:16).
Happy.—The same word translated blessed in Psalm 128:1.
And peace . . .—The conjunction spoils the passage. The psalm concludes with the prayer, “Peace upon Israel.” (Comp. Psalm 125:5.)