The Family Tree

Psalm 128

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 128

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains all the words that have a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Jesus said, "The people with clean hearts will be very happy because they will see God" (Matthew 5:8). (A "clean heart" means that a person always obeys God.)

Psalm 128

  (This is) a song for climbing.

v1   Everyone that is *in awe of the *LORD will be very happy.
  They will *walk in his ways.

v2   You will eat the things that your hands have worked for.
  You are very sure that you will. You will be happy!
  Good things will happen to you!

v3   Your wife in your house will be like a *vine that grows much fruit.
  Your sons round your table will be like branches of an *olive tree.

v4   The *LORD does good things to the man that is *in awe of him.
  This is how he does it. Make a note of that.

v5   The *LORD of Zion will do good things to you.
  Then you will see that Jerusalem is a good place for as long as you are alive.

v6   You will see your grandsons and there will be *peace in Israel.

The story of Psalm 128

A family tree is a list of all the people in your family: your grandparents, your parents, your husband or wife, your children and your grandchildren. Also people that lived before and after them all. People who are *in awe of the *LORD will see part of their family tree! This psalm teaches us that. They will live at *peace in Jerusalem. For many Christians, Jerusalem means where they live. Psalm 87 and some of Paulís letters tell us that the Jerusalem on the earth is a picture of the Jerusalem in heaven. Heaven is the home of God. We do not know where it is.

What Psalm 128 means

Verse 1: "In awe" means "a bit afraid of someone that you love". People are "in awe" of God because he is so great. They love him. But they know that he is very powerful. "*LORD" is a special name for God. It is his covenant name. A covenant is when people agree to do something. Here, God agrees to send his people help. His people agree to love and obey him. "Walk in his ways" is a *Jewish way to say "obey his rules".

Verse 3: Both word-pictures mean that you will have many children. You will if you "walk in his ways"! A vine is a tree. It grows a fruit called the grape. An *olive tree grows a fruit called the olive. An *olive tree has many branches.

Verse 4: "Does good things to you" in verse 4 is "blesses you" in many Bible translations. This is a good example of the word "bless". It means "have many children". It can also mean that your animals will have many young animals. And your plants will have many fruits on them. If you obey God, good things will happen to you! Good things will come from your work (verse 2). And good things will happen to your family (verse 3) and to Jerusalem (verse 5).

Verse 5: The *Jews believed that God lived in Jerusalem. God is "the *LORD of *Zion". *Zion is the hill in the middle of Jerusalem. Solomon built Godís house, the *temple, on the hill of *Zion. For many Christians, Jerusalem is like a picture of the Church or a picture of *heaven.

Verse 6: "*Peace" is when people do not fight each other. Jesus taught us that there is a special *peace. Only Jesus can give it to us. It means that we are friends with God. And we always obey him. Also, God does not hurt us because we have not obeyed him. Israel, like Jerusalem in verse 5, is a picture of Godís people. For *Jews, it means *Jews; for Christians it means Christians.

Something to do

1. Pray for *peace in Israel and the countries near to it. Also, pray that Christians from different Churches will agree together.

2. Study Psalm 119 in this set of psalms.

Word List

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.

heaven ~ the home of God. We do not know where it is.

in awe ~ a bit afraid of someone that is very important.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.

LORD ~ The covenant name of God. A covenant is when people agree to do something.

olive tree ~ a tree that grows fruits called olives; people make olive oil from them and use it to cook with.

peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people; or when we have no trouble in our minds; when there is no war and everybody is happy.

temple ~ a house for a god, or for God.

vine ~ a tree that grows fruits called grapes; people use grapes to make wine, a drink with alcohol in it.

walk in Godís ways ~ always obey God.

Zion ~ Jerusalem was on a mountain called Zion.


© 1997-2004, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2004

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