They have greatly oppressed me from my youth (Psalm 129)

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Psalm 129 is a part of songs of ascents, traditionally recited by Israelites during pilgrimages to Jerusalem. This psalm reflects on the persistent oppression of Israel by its enemies and acknowledges divine deliverance.

The psalm begins with the psalmist recalling Israel's long history of suffering at the hands of oppressors, starting from their youth. Despite the severity of their afflictions (צְרָרוּנִי [ṣᵊrārûnî]), Israel has not been destroyed. The psalmist uses vivid agricultural imagery, likening the oppressors' acts to furrows being plowed (חָרְשׁוּ [ḥāršû]) on a back (גַּבִּי [gabî]). The divine deliverance is then highlighted, stating that the cords of the wicked have been cut (קִצֵּץ [qiṣṣēṣ]) by the lord, freeing Israel from their oppression.

The second part of the psalm shifts to a plea for divine retribution against Israel's enemies. It includes a wish that all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward. The imagery of grass growing on rooftops (גַּגּוֹת [gagôṯ]), which withers before it can grow, symbolizes the futile efforts and ultimate failure of the enemies.

The psalm underscores the themes of endurance, divine justice, and the ultimate triumph of god's people despite enduring long periods of hardship. It reassures the faithful of god's protective presence and the certainty of divine justice against their adversaries.


Word Meaning
שִׁיר chanson
הַ l'article défini
מַעֲלָה montée, marche, escalier
רַב grand, nombreux
צרר envelopper, attacher; être étroit, rare, angoissant
אֲנִי je
מִן de, depuis
נְעוּרִים jeunesse
אמר dire
נָא s'il te plaît, fais (entre), écoute (juste)

Biblical text

129:1שִׁ֗יר הַֽמַּ֫עֲל֥וֹת רַ֭בַּת צְרָר֣וּנִי מִנְּעוּרַ֑י יֹֽאמַר־נָ֝א יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃2רַ֭בַּת צְרָר֣וּנִי מִנְּעוּרָ֑י גַּ֝ם לֹא־יָ֥כְלוּ לִֽי׃3עַל־גַּ֭בִּי חָרְשׁ֣וּ חֹרְשִׁ֑ים הֶ֝אֱרִ֗יכוּ למענותם׃4יְהוָ֥ה צַדִּ֑יק קִ֝צֵּ֗ץ עֲב֣וֹת רְשָׁעִֽים׃5יֵ֭בֹשׁוּ וְיִסֹּ֣גוּ אָח֑וֹר כֹּ֝֗ל שֹׂנְאֵ֥י צִיּֽוֹן׃6יִ֭הְיוּ כַּחֲצִ֣יר גַּגּ֑וֹת שֶׁקַּדְמַ֖ת שָׁלַ֣ף יָבֵֽשׁ׃7שֶׁלֹּ֤א מִלֵּ֖א כַפּ֥וֹ קוֹצֵ֗ר וְחִצְנ֥וֹ מְעַמֵּֽר׃8וְלֹ֤א אָֽמְר֨וּ ׀ הָעֹבְרִ֗ים בִּרְכַּֽת־יְהוָ֥ה אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם בֵּרַ֥כְנוּ אֶ֝תְכֶ֗ם בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהוָֽה׃