Servants of the *LORD

Psalm 123

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 123

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, "From now, I will not call you servants, but I will call you friends." (John 15:15)

Psalm 123

  (This is) a song for climbing.

v1   I lift up my eyes to you (God).
  You are sitting in *heaven.

v2   Our eyes look to the *LORD our God:
    like men who are servants look to the hands of their masters;
    like a woman who is a servant looks to the hand of her *mistress.
  (*LORD), have *mercy on us.

v3   Have *mercy on us, *LORD, have *mercy on us.
  We have had more than enough *contempt.

v4   We have had more than enough *contempt
  from the *proud people that are *oppressing us.

What Psalm 123 means

Verse 1: *Heaven is the home of God. We do not know where it is. The *Hebrew word also means "the skies".

Verse 2: The notes on Psalm 120 explain the word "*LORD". The *psalmist (the person that wrote the psalm) has had enough of words that are not kind. He looks to God for help. He looks to God like a servant looked to the hand of his master or her mistress. A master or mistress would use their hand to tell a servant what to do. That is why he said this. A mistress was a woman with authority.

Verses 2 - 3: "Have *mercy" is an important Christian *prayer. You say a *prayer when you speak to God. To ask God to "have *mercy" means to ask him not to *punish (hurt) you when you have done something wrong. Instead, you ask him to be kind and to *forgive you. The notes on Psalm 130 explain the word "*forgive".

Verses 3 - 4: Sometimes people think and say things that are not kind about you. We call that "*contempt". "*Proud people" think that they are more important than they are. When powerful people make poor people work for little or no money we call this "oppression". Also, when powerful people are cruel to weak people, we call that "oppression" too. In Psalm 123, the powerful people oppress the poor people.

Something to do

Jesus taught people to say "The *Lordís *Prayer". It starts, "Our Father, you are in *heaven." (See Matthew 6:9.) Which verse of the psalm starts like that? Read The *Lordís *Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Learn to say it without looking at the words. Say it every day. Here the word *Lord means "master"; it is a name for Jesus.

Word List

contempt ~ when people think and say things that are not kind about other people.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2.)

heaven ~ the home of God, or the sky.

Hebrew ~ the language that the Jews spoke; they wrote the Psalms in Hebrew.

Lord ~ another word for "master"; in the *New Testament it is a name for Jesus. In the *Old Testament it is another name for God.

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

mercy ~ to be kind when you do not have to be kind; not to *punish someone when they have done wrong things.

mistress ~ a woman with authority.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught. It is also about what Christians believe and do.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.

oppress ~ when a powerful person is cruel to a poor person.

prayer ~ words that you pray.

proud people ~ proud people think that they are more important than they really are.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote the psalm.

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.


© 1997-2004, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

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

January 2004

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