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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 129

Verses 1-8

Psalms 129:1-8.

V. 1, 2. It is not improbably conjectured, that this psalm was composed about the time when Sennacherib invaded Judah ; yet this is no more than conjecture. From the days of Jacob, the ancestor of the nation ; and still more, from the time when Pharaoh and the Egyptians began to oppress his descendants ; the history of Israel had been almost one uninterrupted narrative of the hardships, injuries, and oppressions, to which they had been exposed, from a variety of enemies and persecutors : and yet God had effectually interposed in their behalf, and no assailant had so prevailed against them, as to destroy them from being a people ; nor indeed have they to this day. (Notes, Numbers 23:9. Jeremiah 30:10-11.) The same may be said of the true church of God, and of every believer. ’ The church, now afflicted, ought to remember how that her condition hath ever been such from ’ the beginning, to be molested most grievously by the wicked; yet, in time she hath ever been delivered.’ Many a time have the righteous been under persecution, ’ from the hour when Cain rose up against his brother Abel ’ to this day. Like the bush which Moses beheld in the ’ desert, the church hath burned with fire, but is not yet ’ consumed ; and for the same reason, because God is in ’ the midst of her. He who took our nature upon him, ’ was also " afflicted from his youth : " but his enemies ’ prevailed not finally against him.’ Bp. Horne.

(Notes, Psalms 118:10-13. Genesis 3:14-15; Genesis 4:3-5. Exodus 3:2. P. 0. 1- 6. Notes, Romans 8:28-39. 1 John 3:11-12.)

V. 3. ’ They not only scourged us so severely, that ’ the marks of it might be seen as plain as the furrows ’ are, which the plow makes in the ground ; but long ’ continued also our vexation and torment.’ Bp. Patrick. The strong metaphor here employed, seems, however, to mark out all the various refinements of cruelty, by which tyrants and persecutors have tortured the people of God : as Pilate not only delivered Jesus to be crucified, but also first scourged him. (Notes, Psalms 141:7. Is. 1. 5, 6; 51. 21-23.)

V. 4. In order to torture the persecuted sufferer, they first bound him ; and in like manner the enslaving of Israel was needful in order to afflict him : but from time to time the righteous God broke asunder the strong cord or rope, with which he was bound.

(Notes, Psalms 124:4-8. Acts 2:22-24; Acts 16:25-28.)

V. 5. " They shall all be confounded, &c." The whole passage is evidently a prediction and not an impreration. He who has delivered Israel, and confounded his foes, will continue to do so, till all who persist in enmity to his people shall be destroyed.

(Notes,Psalms 68:1-3; Psalms 83:13-18. Genesis 12:13. Micah 7:14-17. Zechariah 1:14-17; Zechariah 2:6-9; Zechariah 12:2-5.)

V. 6-8. The flourishing and withering of grass is the constant scriptural emblem of the prosperity and ruin of ungodly men. (Notes, Psalms 92:6-12. Psalms 103:15-18. James 1:9-11. 1 Peter 1:23-25.) But persecutors are like the worthless grass, which grows upon the tops of houses, and withers without coming to any perfection ; and consequently has no blessing pronounced upon it, or employed about it, according to the pious salutations used in Israel to reapers and mowers. (Note, Rutlt Psalms 2:4.) The clause rendered, " He that bindeth sheaves," seems to denote the gleaners, who, having gathered cars of corn, and bound them in small bundles or handfuls, put them in the skirts of their garments, which were held up for that purpose. For reapers or binders do not put the sheaves into their bosom. There would not only be nothing worth reaping, but nothing worth gleaning.


If we duly considered, how Jesus was scourged, wounded, bruised, and crucified for us ; how prophets, apostles, and saints have been treated in all ages ; and how the church lias been afflicted and persecuted from her infancy hitherto ; we should not complain of hard measure, if called to endure sharper sufferings than are at present allotted to any of us. And did we, in the holy meditation of faith and thankful love, remember how Jesus arose and reigns ; how his people have been supported, and have triumphed, in sufferings and death ; and how the church still subsists, like the burning but unconsumed bush ; we should not be anxious about the event respecting ourselves, or the cause of God. He is righteous : and as he has, so he will, cut asunder the cords which unite persecutors to each other, or with which they would bind his people " as sheep for the " slaughter." Nor can all nature furnish an emblem sufficiently expressive of the confusion, contempt, and misery, which will overtake all that hate the church and cause of Christ, in the great day of judgment, " the day of wrath, " and perdition of ungodly men." They will then sink for ever under the unmingled curse and wrath of God, and all spectators will exclaim, " So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord!"

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 129". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.