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Psalm 129

Down, but Not Out!

This is a song for climbing.

1 My enemies have often hurt me since I was a child.

Israel can now say this.

2 They have often hurt me since I was a child,

but they have not beaten me.

129:2Verses 1-2: At the beginning of the psalm, one person is talking. But then everybody is talking. ‘Since I was a child’ means all the story of Israel. Enemies had tried to beat Israel, but God had always given help to Israel.

3 They ploughed on my back

like a farmer ploughing long furrows.

129:3Verse 3: A furrow is a line in the earth. A farmer makes it when he ploughs the ground. Here, furrows are a picture of the marks on someone after you have hit them with a stick.

4 The LORD is righteous.

He has cut me free from my enemies.

129:4Verse 4: ‘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 give his people help. His people agree to love and obey him. ‘Righteous’ means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really righteous.

5 Everybody that hates Zion will be ashamed.

So they will turn away.

6 They will become like a green plant on a roof.

It dies before it starts to grow!

129:6Verse 6: The green plant dies because there is no earth on the roof! The plant cannot live.

7 A gardener cannot fill his hand (with it)

or a farmer fill his pocket.

129:7Verse 7: ‘Fill hand (or pocket)’ means pick the fruit that grows on the plant. Because the plant cannot grow (verse 6), there will be no fruit. So the gardener and farmer have nothing!

8 People that go past will not say,

‘We want the LORD to be kind to you!’

They will not say

‘We want good things to happen to you in the name of the LORD!’