1 A Song of Ascents. ‘Much have they afflicted me from my youth up’, let Yisrael now say;
א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת רַבַּת צְרָרוּנִי מִנְּעוּרַי יֹאמַר נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל.
2 ‘Much have they afflicted me from my youth up; but they have not prevailed against me.
ב רַבַּת צְרָרוּנִי מִנְּעוּרָי גַּם לֹא יָכְלוּ לִי.
3 The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.
ג עַל גַּבִּי חָרְשׁוּ חֹרְשִׁים הֶאֱרִיכוּ למענותם (לְמַעֲנִיתָם).
4 Hashem is righteous; He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.’
ד יְהוָה צַדִּיק קִצֵּץ עֲבוֹת רְשָׁעִים.
5 Let them be ashamed and turned backward, all they that hate Tzion.
yay-VO-shu v’-yi-SO-gu a-KHOR kol so-n’-AY tzi-YON
ה יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר כֹּל שֹׂנְאֵי צִיּוֹן.
129:5 All they that hate Zion
According to some commentators, this psalm was composed by the Babylonian exiles during their return to Zion. Detractors to the great return to Zion existed from both inside and outside of the nation. The psalmist prays that those haters of Zion will be shamed and fall away, while those who support the return to Zion will find blessing and life. The Book of Ezra records that only some 30,000 Jews initially returned to Zion after King Cyrus granted permission for them to do so. Over time, though, and especially after the building of the second Temple, the Jews of Babylon started to return in large numbers. They were the recipients of the great rewards of God’s return to Zion and to the Temple.
6 Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it springeth up;
ו יִהְיוּ כַּחֲצִיר גַּגּוֹת שֶׁקַּדְמַת שָׁלַף יָבֵשׁ.
7 Wherewith the reaper filleth not his hand, nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
ז שֶׁלֹּא מִלֵּא כַפּוֹ קוֹצֵר וְחִצְנוֹ מְעַמֵּר.
8 Neither do they that go by say: ‘The blessing of Hashem be upon you; we bless you in the name of Hashem.’
ח וְלֹא אָמְרוּ הָעֹבְרִים בִּרְכַּת יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם בֵּרַכְנוּ אֶתְכֶם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה.