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.
Psalms 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.).
Psalms 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.
Psalms 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.
Psalms 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!
Psalms 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.
Psalms 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.
Psalms 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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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 129". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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