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scripture

 

PSALM 129*

Against Israel’s Enemies

1A song of ascents.

I

Viciously have they attacked me from my youth,

let Israel say now.a

2Viciously have they attacked me from my youth,b

yet they have not prevailed against me.

3Upon my back the plowers plowed,

as they traced their long furrows.c

4But the just LORD cut me free

from the ropes of the wicked.*

II

5May they recoil in disgrace,

all who hate Zion.

6May they be like grass on the rooftopsd

withered in early growth,*

7Never to fill the reaper’s hands,

nor the arms of the binders of sheaves,

8And with none passing by to call out:

“The blessing of the LORD be upon you!*

We bless you in the name of the LORD!”e

* [Psalm 129] A Psalm giving thanks for God’s many rescues of Israel over the long course of their history (Ps 129:14); the people pray that their oppressors never know the joy of harvest (Ps 129:58).

* [129:4] The ropes of the wicked: usually understood as the rope for yoking animals to the plow. If it is severed, the plowing (cf. Ps 129:3) comes to a halt.

* [129:6] Like grass on the rooftops: after the spring rains, grass would sprout from the coat of mud with which the flat roofs of simple houses were covered, but when the dry summer began there was no moisture in the thin roof-covering to sustain the grass.

* [129:8] The blessing of the LORD be upon you: harvesters greeted one another with such blessings, cf. Ru 2:4.

a. [129:1] Ps 124:1.

b. [129:2] Ps 118:13.

c. [129:3] Is 51:23.

d. [129:6] Is 37:27.

e. [129:8] Ps 118:26.




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