Psalm 124


This psalm appears to follow the previous psalm, Psalm 123, where the psalmist cries out to God for help because of the ridicule and contempt they were experiencing at the hands of those who were arrogant and proud. In this psalm, God answers their pleas.


‘A song of ascents. Of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this is a song of ascents written by David. Psalms 120-135 all have the same heading.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. ‘It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.’

‘If the LORD had not been on our side—let Israel say—if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ Psalm 124:1-8

David begins this plasm by reminding Israel twice I the LORD wasn’t on their side, they would have failed against their enemies. In other words, God was working among His people and they would never have been able to overcome their enemies without God’s help, 2 Samuel 5:17-25.

Notice how David describes their enemies, they would have swallowed them up, Numbers 16:32-33 / Psalm 106:17, they were angry, really angry, and he describes them as a flood which would have engulfed them, torrents and raging waters which would have swept them away.

These are metaphors which speak of destruction, Psalm 18:16 / Psalm 42:7 / Psalm 69:1-2 / Isaiah 8:7-8 / Lamentations 3:54. In other words, David is emphasising that Israel would have had no chance against them if God didn’t intervene to rescue them.

No wonder David praises the LORD because He hasn’t let them be torn by their enemies’ teeth, that is Israel weren’t devoured by their enemies because God rescued them. David again uses the metaphor of a bird which escapes from the fowler’s snare.

A fowler’s snare is a trap specifically designed to trap birds. Sometimes it is something thrown at or around the legs of birds, to keep them from flying. David again acknowledges that it is God who broke the snares and helped them escape.

Israel’s help was in the Name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, Genesis 1-2. Israel knew the same God who created all things, Colossians 1:13-17, was powerful enough to help them.


David says throughout this short Psalm that if it wasn’t for God’s intervention, Israel would have been wiped out.

As Christians, we too must totally rely on God for all things. As Christians, we must learn what it means for Jesus to be truly our, all in all, 1 Corinthians 15:28 / Colossians 3:11.

We are totally reliant upon Christ for everything because it’s in Christ we both live and move and have our being, Acts 17:28.

Christ is the source of our joy and our movement and it’s important to remain in Him, John 15:4-5, and go to Him for strength to go through all things we experience in this life, Philippians 4:13.

Go To Psalm 125


"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."