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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 129

Verse 1

Psalms 129:1 « A Song of degrees. » Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:

Ver. 1. Many a time ] Or, much, and long.

Have they ] i.e. The persecutors that deserve not a name. The rich man is not named (as Lazarus is), because not worthy, Luke 16:19 . They shall be written in the earth, Jeremiah 17:13 .

Afflictcted me ] i.e. The whole community of saints; spoken of here in the singular, for their, 1. unity; 2. paucity.

From my youth ] The first that ever died, died for religion; so early came martyrdom into the world.

May Israel now say ] Who yet are promised peace, Psalms 128:6 ; but so was Josiah, and yet he died in battle, 2 Chronicles 34:28 . But the very God of peace had sanctifed him throughout, and so altered the property of his affliction, that it was subservient to his salvation.

Verse 2

Psa 129:2 Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.

Ver. 2. Many a time, &c. ] Anadiplosis ad exaggerationem, q.d. They have done it and done it again, but could never achieve their design, viz. to supplant and eradicate me; which might not be. Oppugnarunt (non expugnarunt, however the Vulgate so rendereth here). The Church is invincible. Athens took upon her of old to be so; and Venice alate boasteth the like; but time hath confuted the one, and may soon do the other; when the Church shall stand firm, because founded on a rock. More truly may it be said of it than it was once of Troy,

Victa tamen vinces, eversaque Troia resurges:

Obruet hostiles illa ruina domes

(Ovid. de Fast.).

Verse 3

Psa 129:3 The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.

Ver. 3. The plowers plowed upon my back ] Which was never without some cross upon it, yea, some plough passing over it. The Church is God’s husbandry; and he will be sure to plough his several, whatever becometh of the wild waste. She is his threshingfloor, Isaiah 21:10 , and hath but little rest or respite. Enemies are flails to thresh off our husks, files to brighten our graces, ploughs and harrows, without which we should bear but a very thin crop. God’s people do γεωργειν τας συμφορας , sow the seed of prayer in the long furrows which those ploughers made on their backs; like as the Jews in their feasts break their glasses, as Jerusalem was broken.

They made long their furrows ] Heb. furrow; as if there were totum pro vulnere corpus. Here, haply, the psalmist alludeth to those exquisite torments whereunto many of the martyrs were put, sulcati fidiculis.

Verse 4

Psa 129:4 The LORD [is] righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.

Ver. 4. The Lord is righteous ] That is a ruled case, and must be held for a certain truth, whatever we are, or our persecutors.

He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked ] That is, their harness, their plough traces ( nam continuatur tropus rusticus ), so that the plough is loose and the horses at liberty; all their forces and designs are broken.

Verse 5

Psa 129:5 Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.

Ver. 5. Let them all be confounded, &c. ] And if those that hate Zion, how much more those that hurt her with their virulent tongues or violent hands!

Verse 6

Psa 129:6 Let them be as the grass [upon] the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:

Ver. 6. Let them be as the grass, &c. ] They are cursed with a witness whom the Holy Ghost thus curseth in such an emphatic manner, in such exquisite terms.

Verse 7

Psa 129:7 Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.

Ver. 7. Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand ] As holding it not worth gathering in. Wicked men are useless creatures; as Stratonicus, in Athenaeus, saith, that the hill Haemus was for eight months in the year very cold, and for the other four it was winter.

Verse 8

Psa 129:8 Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD [be] upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD.

Ver. 8. Neither do they which go by say, &c. ] As they use to do to harvestmen, Ruth 2:1-23 . Christianity is no enemy to courtesy; yet in some cases saith not, God speed, 3 John 1:10 .

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 129". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.