11 May 2022

Psalm 129

The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. (v. 4)

 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 


In essence, psalms are prayers of lament, thanksgiving, praise or petition, that is, pleas to God. By and large, they are written in poetic language. The author of this psalm is uncertain. The heading 'A song of ascents' indicates it was used by pilgrims travelling to and from Jerusalem. Zion, which is mentioned in verse 5, can refer to different places. It can be taken to mean the hill on which the ancient city of Jerusalem stood, Jerusalem itself, or the dwelling place of God.

The psalmist uses graphic language to describe the serious injuries inflicted on him by his enemies: "The ploughers ploughed on my back; they made their furrows long." (v. 3) In verses 6 and 7 the psalmist hopes that his enemies would turn out to be as shameful and worthless as grass that withers and is of no use to reapers.

This psalm can be viewed as a petition to God and an expression of confidence in God’s ability to deliver God's people from their enemies. The meaning of blessing in verse 8 is to divine favour. God’s blessing is a sign of divine favour, which will not be upon those who hate Zion.

Psalm 129 is a good example of the honesty of the Psalms. It is not unusual for psalmists to wish punishment on their enemies. However, the psalmist does not suggest that the people take revenge, but rather that judgment is up to God.


To Ponder:

  • Attacks by an enemy may not just be physical. Have you felt attacked by others and, if so, does this psalm speak to you?
  • How could this psalm have relevance for the besieged people of Ukraine?

Bible notes author

The Revd Lynita Conradie

Lynita Conradie was ordained in 2005 in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and worked part-time as a minister and also as a human rights lawyer and editor of the Namibian Law Reports, in Namibia. Lynita came to Britain in September 2013 and served as a presbyter in the Nottingham (North) Circuit until August 2018. She is currently in the Harrow and Hillingdon Circuit. In 2021 she was awarded a Professional Doctorate in practical theology by Chester University. In her spare time, Lynita follows cricket and rugby and likes reading and travelling.

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