Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The prayer and faith of the godly, Psa 123:1, Psa 123:2. They desire to be delivered from contempt, Psa 123:3, Psa 123:4.
This Psalm is probably a complaint of the captives in Babylon relative to the contempt and cruel usage they received. The author is uncertain.
Unto thee lift I up mine eyes - We have no hope but in thee; our eyes look upward; we have expectation from thy mercy alone.
As the eyes of servants - We now wait for thy commands, feeling the utmost readiness to obey them when made known to us. The words may be understood as the language of dependence also. As slaves expect their support from their masters and mistresses, so do we ours from thee, O Lord! Or, As servants look to their masters and mistresses, to see how they do their work, that they may do it in the same way; so do we, O Lord, that we may learn of thee, and do thy work in thy own Spirit, and after thy own method. Some think that there is a reference here to the chastisement of slaves by their masters, who, during the time they are receiving it, keep their eyes fixed on the hand that is inflicting punishment upon them, professing deep sorrow, and entreating for mercy. And this sense seems to be countenanced by the following words: -
Have mercy upon us, O Lord - Chastise us no more; we will no more revolt against thee.
We are exceedingly filled with contempt - We not only suffer grievously from our captivity, but are treated in the most contemptuous maner by our masters.
Those that are at ease - The Babylonians, who, having subdued all the people of the neighboring nations, lived at ease, had none to contend with them, and now became luxurious, indolent, and insolent: they were contemptuous and proud.