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Psalm 129 English Standard Version (ESV)

They Have Afflicted Me from My Youth

A Song of Ascents.


129 “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
  let Israel now say—
2 “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
  yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed upon my back;
  they made long their furrows.”
4 The Lord is righteous;
  he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5 May all who hate Zion
  be put to shame and turned backward!
6 Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
  which withers before it grows up,
7 with which the reaper does not fill his hand
  nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
8 nor do those who pass by say,
  “The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
  We bless you in the name of the Lord!”



  • The psalm writer urged the people to acknowledge that God had enabled Israel to survive the many persecutions throughout her history. Israel’s enemies had, as it were, plowed deep furrows on Israel’s back. This was a vivid figure of speech in an agricultural economy. It pictures the land as a human being. However, righteous God had cut the cords to Israel’s oppressors.
  • The psalmist encouraged the Israelite pilgrims to pray for continuing deliverance. The mention of Zion, the pilgrim’s destination, recalled the place where God dwelt, the most important place in Israel. Those who hated Zion would be hating and setting themselves against God.
  • God’s people should carefully thank Him for past deliverances, but should also continue to pray for His safekeeping in the future, since their enemies will continue to oppose and oppress them.