א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת לְדָוִד לוּלֵי יְהוָה שֶׁהָיָה לָנוּ יֹאמַר נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל.
2 ‘If it had not been Hashem who was for us, when men rose up against us,
ב לוּלֵי יְהוָה שֶׁהָיָה לָנוּ בְּקוּם עָלֵינוּ אָדָם.
3 Then they had swallowed us up alive, when their wrath was kindled against us;
ג אֲזַי חַיִּים בְּלָעוּנוּ בַּחֲרוֹת אַפָּם בָּנוּ.
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul;
ד אֲזַי הַמַּיִם שְׁטָפוּנוּ נַחְלָה עָבַר עַל נַפְשֵׁנוּ.
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.’
ה אֲזַי עָבַר עַל נַפְשֵׁנוּ הַמַּיִם הַזֵּידוֹנִים.
6 Blessed be Hashem, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
ו בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה שֶׁלֹּא נְתָנָנוּ טֶרֶף לְשִׁנֵּיהֶם.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
naf-SHAY-nu k’-tzi-POR nim-l’-TAH mi-PAKH yo-k’-SHEEM ha-PAKH nish-BAR va-a-NAKH-nu nim-LAT-nu
ז נַפְשֵׁנוּ כְּצִפּוֹר נִמְלְטָה מִפַּח יוֹקְשִׁים הַפַּח נִשְׁבָּר וַאֲנַחְנוּ נִמְלָטְנוּ.
124:7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers
In Psalm 124, the psalmist thanks God for saving him from imminent destruction: “If it had not been the LORD who was for us, when men rose up against us” (verse 2). The metaphor of a bird escaping a trap is interesting in light of an archaeological discovery called the Taylor Prism. It contains the annals of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. In it, he describes his conquest of northern Israel and the exile of its inhabitants. When depicting the siege of Jerusalem in the times of Hezekiah, he says he confined Hezekiah and the Kingdom of Judah “as a caged bird,” similar to the language in this psalm. However, a miracle took place and the Assyrian army died mysteriously, allowing King Hezekiah and Jerusalem to be set free from the Assyrian snare (II Kings 18-19).
8 Our help is in the name of Hashem, who made heaven and earth.
ח עֶזְרֵנוּ בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ.