The Victory of the Church over Her Enemies.
A song of degrees, describing the deliverances of the people of God in the past and therefore confidently asserting the overthrow of the enemies in the future as well. V. 1. Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, with severe oppressions, may Israel now say, the reference being especially to the bondage of Egypt; v. 2. many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, the thought being repeated for the sake of emphasis, with not only Egypt in mind, but also the Philistines, the Midianites, the Moabites, the Syrians, and the Babylonians; yet they have not prevailed against me, it had not been possible for the enemies to carry out their purpose of subduing Israel and exterminating it as a nation. V. 3. The plowers plowed upon my back, a figure of scourging expressing the most severe physical punishment; they made long their furrows, with relentless cruelty, for the picture is that of a strip of land which the farmer works with great thoroughness. Such had been the condition of Israel in the past. V. 4. The Lord is righteous, also in His judgment upon the wicked; He hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked, with which they tried to hold Israel in captivity. From the deliverance thus experienced the psalmist draws a conclusion regarding the future, expressed in the form of a prayer to Jehovah. V. 5. Let them all be confounded, covered with shame and disgrace, and turned back, hindered from accomplishing their wicked designs, that hate Zion (the members of the spiritual Israel), who attempt to hinder the work of the Church of all times. V. 6. Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, the grass that sprouts in the thin soil blown or carried on the flat roofs of Oriental houses, which withereth afore it groweth up, since it lacks sufficient nourishment and moisture and therefore cannot endure the heat of the sun for any length of time, v. 7. wherewith the mower filleth not his hand, since it is not worth while to pluck the few stalks, nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom, the amount being too small to carry home and the quality poor. V. 8. Neither do they which go by say, with the ancient greeting used especially by workers in the harvest, The blessing of the Lord be upon you, whereupon the workers answered, We bless you in the name of the Lord, Ruth 2, 4. For the wicked, the enemies of the Church, of the believers, there will be no joyful harvest, but they will wither and die. The righteous, however, joyfully exchanging greetings, will be able to bring in all the harvest which they have sown, to be stored in the eternal granaries of heaven.