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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 129

Verses 1-8

The only title of this psalm is, a song of degrees. The author is unknown. It contains a general reference to the troubles of Israel, and the overthrow of her enemies.

Psalms 129:1 . From my youth. When they first went down into Egypt they were a new and a small people.

Psalms 129:3 . The plowers plowed, or “the labourers laboured” upon my back. Several critics, following the Chaldee and the Syriac, read, “The scourgers laid lashes upon my back.” He hath cut asunder the whipcords: Psalms 129:4.

Psalms 129:8 . The blessing of the Lord be upon you. The usual salutation of the reapers in the harvest field. Ruth 2:4.


Here we are taught that as Israel was sorely afflicted by their captivity in Egypt and in Babylon, besides the frequent oppression of the Philistines, and other surrounding nations; and as many of the nations endured servitude, and submitted to the rigorous lash; so they were a figure of the afflicted church, and in particular of Christ, whose name is Israel, Isaiah 49:3, and who was scourged by the Roman soldiers. If any one will leisurely collate this expression with all that is said elsewhere in the prophets of our Saviour’s sufferings; and if he will farther recollect, that David’s hands and feet were never pierced with weapons, or torn with human lions, he cannot but own that the sacred seers, replenished with the Messiah’s spirit, associated his sufferings with their own. Yea, and that they often spake of his sufferings when they were labouring under no calamity. This is the very scale of argument which convinced the many thousands of Jews that Jesus the crucified was the Messiah, or God incarnate for our redemption. Those Jews could read the scriptures in their original. Their rabbins also had largely allowed that the prophets in those passages had spoken of the Messiah; and particularly so, in the glory which follows the description of his sufferings. Those Jews were themselves strongly prejudiced in favour of a Messiah on the throne of David; and they suffered excommunication for their faith in Jesus. Hence our faith is not only founded on argument, but supported by example, which must have full weight with every rational enquirer. There is no man that can resist conviction, who will leisurely contemplate the weight of the evidence on which christianity is built.

The enemy prevailed not against the psalmist to renounce his confidence in God; on the contrary, they withered in the day of affliction like grass on the house-top, when the droughty season came on. Yes, and so must all wicked men, for their soul is not watered by the sweet fountain of life; and the canker of their corruptions will consume their hopes.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 129". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.