The plowers plowed on my back; they made their furrows long. Psalm 129:3 NRSV
This is painful imagery.
I can see a sharp metal blade coming across a person's uncovered back, cutting through the skin, causing blood to gush up and sounds of agony to come from that person's lips.
I see also someone tied to stakes and being whipped, each cut of the whip being like a plow across that person's back.
Either way, the scars will be there in the skin as well as in the mind of the one who suffers.
And this psalms is speaking of the land of Israel, which has been attacked by their enemies. Because it is truly land, the imagery of the plow on someones back makes the most sense. The idea that someone would come and dig up what is not theirs in order to punish and cause pain is very real. This verse brings home to us the pain of this kind of loss.
It is no wonder that the remainder of the psalm asks God to bring about the downfall of their enemies. The pain and the shame is so great that this is all the psalmist wants. The scars will probably not go away, no matter what happens to their enemies.
God, it is hard to know what to do with this request. We do feel the pain and agony here Lord and we understand wanting the enemy to be punished. Help us in our struggle with this. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims