“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; Yet they have not prevailed against me. Psalm 129:2
A Prayer for Downfall of Israel’s Enemies
Psalm 129 is the 10th song of ascent. It picks up another aspect of God’s covenant promises to the godly and calls on Him to take revenge on evil persecutors (cf. Deut. 28:7). It is a psalm of trust and has its roots in the psalms of lament that contain a section proclaiming trust in the Lord.
129:1-4 Many a time: The psalm begins with a liturgy of suffering, as the people of God acknowledge that throughout their history in the land they have been under constant assault by various peoples. With the words let Israel now say, the priest calls for the people to rehearse their history aloud (124:1). The plowers plowed: This imagery of the brutal treatment they suffered was especially vivid in an agrarian setting. Even in the midst of such cruel circumstances, the Lord was righteous. He remained faithful to His promises to His people and He fought for them.
1 A Song of Ascents. “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,” Let Israel now say– 2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; Yet they have not prevailed against me. 3 The plowers plowed on my back; They made their furrows long.” 4 The Lord is righteous; He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.
129:5, 6 those who hate Zion: This begins the imprecation or cursing of the foes of Jerusalem. Shame is the intended end of the wicked. This is not just a desire for their embarrassment but for complete humiliation before the Lord. As the grass on the housetops: Sod was sometimes used on the roofs of houses. After a spring rain, there might be grass growing on the housetop. But this was not grass that flourished; it soon withered under the summer heat. The curse here is strong: May the enemies wither as quickly as rooftop grass.
** Evil is having its field day at the moment with its tentacles firmly latched onto everything that’s good and pure including children. But, their days are numbered. They will soon wither and have no more strength left to plow on people’s backs. This is not just a wishful thinking. It’s a covenant promise that’s as good as gold.
129 1 A Song of Ascents. “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,” Let Israel now say– 2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; Yet they have not prevailed against me. 3 The plowers plowed on my back; They made their furrows long.” 4 The Lord is righteous; He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.5 Let all those who hate Zion Be put to shame and turned back. 6 Let them be as the grass on the housetops, Which withers before it grows up, 7 With which the reaper does not fill his hand, Nor he who binds sheaves, his arms. 8 Neither let those who pass by them say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you; We bless you in the name of the Lord!”