on Psalms 127 :5
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them - This is generally supposed to mean his house full of children, as his quiver if full of arrows; but I submit whether it be not more congenial to the metaphors in the text to consider it as applying to the wife: "Happy is the man who has a breeding or fruitful wife;" this is the gravida sagittis pharetra "the quiver pregnant with arrows." But it may be thought the metaphor is not natural. I think otherwise: and I know it to be in the Jewish style, and the style of the times of the captivity, when this Psalm was written, and we find the pudendum muliebre, or human matrix, thus denominated, Ecclus. 26:12: Κατεναντι παντος πασσαλου καθησεται, και εναντι βελους ανοιξει φαρετραν. The reader may consult the place in the Apocrypha, where he will find the verse well enough translated.
With the enemies in the gate - "When he shall contend with his adversaries in the gate of the house of judgment." - Targum. The reference is either to courts of justice, which were held at the gates of cities, or to robbers who endeavor to force their way into a house to spoil the inhabitants of their goods. In the first case a man falsely accused, who has a numerous family, has as many witnesses in his behalf as he has children. And in the second case he is not afraid of marauders, because his house is well defended by his active and vigorous sons. It is, I believe, to this last that the psalmist refers.
This Psalm may be entitled, "The Soliloquy of the happy Householder: - The poor man with a large loving family, and in annual expectation of an increase, because his wife, under the Divine blessing, is fruitful." All are blessed of the Lord, and his hand is invariably upon them for good.
on Psalms 127 :5
Happy is the man - Hebrew, The happiness of the man. See the notes at Psalm 1:1.
That hath his quiver full of them - The quiver is a case in which arrows are carried; and as a man - a hunter or warrior - feels secure when he has his quiver full of arrows, so a man is blessed in proportion to the number of his sons. This is in accordance with the idea often presented in the Bible, and the promise often made there of a numerous posterity as a proof of the divine favor.
They shall not be ashamed - They shall not turn back discomfited, hanging their heads with shame and confusion. See the notes at Job 6:20.
But they shall speak with the enemies in the gate - Margin, "shall subdue, or destroy." The Hebrew word, however, means "to speak;" and the meaning is, that they would "speak" to their foes in the place of conflict - for a battle occurred often in the gate of a city, as the possession of a gate, or an entrance to a city was of so much importance to those who attacked, and those who defended it. The idea is, that they would speak with effect; they would distinguish themselves; they would let their presence be known. The connection does not allow us to understand this of forensic controversy, or of transactions in business, though these were usually performed at the gates of cities. The meaning is, that they would do honor to the family, and gratify the heart of the parent, by their valor in defending their city and home, or in attacking the cities of the enemies of their country. The psalm is designed to inculcate the lesson of dependence on God for success in everything.
on Psalms 127 :5
127:5 Full - Who hath a numerous issue. Shall speak - They shall courageously plead their cause in courts of judicature, not fearing to be crushed by the might of their adversaries.