Chapter 129

1A song of ascents. Since my youth they have often assailed me, let Yisrael now declare,

אשִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת רַבַּת צְרָרוּנִי מִנְּעוּרַי יֹאמַר־נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

2since my youth they have often assailed me, but they have never overcome me.

ברַבַּת צְרָרוּנִי מִנְּעוּרָי גַּם לֹא־יָכְלוּ לִי׃

3Plowmen plowed across my back; they made long furrows.

געַל־גַּבִּי חָרְשׁוּ חֹרְשִׁים הֶאֱרִיכוּ למענותם [לְמַעֲנִיתָם׃]

4Hashem, the righteous one, has snapped the cords of the wicked.

דיְהֹוָה צַדִּיק קִצֵּץ עֲבוֹת רְשָׁעִים׃

5Let all who hate Tzion fall back in disgrace.

yay-VO-shu v'-yi-SO-gu a-KHOR KOL so-n'-AY tzi-YON

היֵבֹשׁוּ וְיִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר כֹּל שֹׂנְאֵי צִיּוֹן׃

129:5   All who hate Tzion

According to some commentators, this psalm was composed by the Babylonian exiles during their return to Tzion. Those who returned were met with great opposition from the inhabitants of the land. The psalmist prays that the haters of Tzion will be shamed and fall away, while those who support the return to Tzion will find blessing and life. Sefer Ezra records that only some forty-thousand Jews initially returned to Tzion after King Cyrus granted permission for them to do so. Over time, though, and especially after the building of the second Beit Hamikdash, the Jews of Babylonia started to return in larger numbers. They were the recipients of the great rewards of the return to Tzion and to the Beit Hamikdash.

6Let them be like grass on roofs that fades before it can be pulled up,

ויִהְיוּ כַּחֲצִיר גַּגּוֹת שֶׁקַּדְמַת שָׁלַף יָבֵשׁ׃

7that affords no handful for the reaper, no armful for the gatherer of sheaves,

זשֶׁלֹּא מִלֵּא כַפּוֹ קוֹצֵר וְחִצְנוֹ מְעַמֵּר׃

8no exchange with passersby: “The blessing of Hashem be upon you.” “We bless you by the name of Hashem.”

חוְלֹא אָמְרוּ הָעֹבְרִים בִּרְכַּת־יְהֹוָה אֲלֵיכֶם בֵּרַכְנוּ אֶתְכֶם בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה׃