Down, But Not Out!

Psalm 129

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 129

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains all the words that have a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Jesus said, "They will kill (me), but on the third day (I) will come back to life" (Luke 18:33).

Psalm 129

  (This is) a song for climbing.

v1   My enemies have often hurt me since I was a child.
  Israel can now say this.

v2   They have often hurt me since I was a child,
  but they have not beaten me.

v3   They ploughed on my back
  like a farmer ploughing long *furrows.

v4   The *LORD is *righteous.
  He has cut me free from my enemies.

v5   Everybody that hates Zion will be ashamed.
  So they will turn away.

v6   They will become like a green plant on a roof.
  It dies before it starts to grow!

v7   A gardener cannot fill his hand (with it)
  or a farmer (fill) his pocket.

v8   People that go past will not say,
  "We want the *LORD to be kind to you!"
  (They will not say)
  "We want good things to happen to you in the name of the *LORD!"

What Psalm 129 means

Verses 1 - 2: At the beginning of the psalm, one person is talking. But then everybody is talking. "Since I was a child" means all the story of Israel. Enemies had tried to beat Israel, but God had always given help to Israel.

Verse 3: A furrow is a line in the earth. A farmer makes it when he ploughs the ground. Here, furrows are a picture of the marks on someone after you have hit them with a stick.

Verse 4: "*LORD" is a special name for God. It is his *covenant name. A *covenant is when people agree to do something. Here, God agrees to give his people help. His people agree to love and obey him. "*Righteous" means "very, very good". Only God is really *righteous.

Verse 6: The green plant dies because there is no earth on the roof! The plant cannot live.

Verse 7: "Fill hand (or pocket)" means pick the fruit that grows on the plant. Because the plant cannot grow (verse 6), there will be no fruit. So the gardener and farmer have nothing!

Something to do

You may have a *New Testament. If so, read the story of the man that planted seeds. It is in Matthew 13:1-9; Mark 4:1-13; and Luke 8:4-10. It might make you think of a part of Psalm 129.

Down, but not out!

This is an English way to say, "Hurt, but not destroyed". Someone has hit you. He has knocked you down and hurt you. But he has not killed you. It perhaps came from the sport called boxing. Someone knocks you down, but he does not knock you out. When someone knocks you out, it is as if you were asleep.

Word List

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.

furrows ~ a line in the ground; a farmer makes it when he ploughs the earth.

LORD ~ the covenant name of God. A covenant is when people agree to do something. Here, God agrees to send help to his people; his people agree to love and obey him.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught. It is also about what Christians believe and do.

righteous ~ very, very good; only God is really righteous.

Zion ~ Jerusalem was on a mountain called Zion.


1997-2004, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

January 2004

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