World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord
A Song of Ascents.
1When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
4Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
5Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Ps 126:1-6. To praise for God's favor to His people is added a prayer for its continued manifestation.
1-3. When the Lord, &c.—The joy of those returned from Babylon was ecstatic, and elicited the admiration even of the heathen, as illustrating God's great power and goodness.
turned again the captivity—that is, restored from it (Job 39:12; Ps 14:7; Pr 12:14). Hengstenberg translates: "When the Lord turned Himself to the turning of Zion" (see Margin), God returns to His people when they return to Him (De 30:2, 3).
4. All did not return at once; hence the prayer for repeated favors.
as the streams in the south—or, the torrents in the desert south of Judea, dependent on rain (Jos 15:9), reappearing after dry seasons (compare Job 6:15; Ps 68:9). The point of comparison is joy at the reappearing of what has been so painfully missed.
5, 6. As in husbandry the sower may cast his seed in a dry and parched soil with desponding fears, so those shall reap abundant fruit who toil in tears with the prayer of faith. (Compare the history, Ezr 6:16, 22).
6. He that goeth forth—literally, better, "He goes—he comes, he comes," &c. The repetition implies there is no end of weeping here, as there shall be no end of joy hereafter (Isa 35:10).
precious seed—rather, seed to be drawn from the seed box for sowing; literally, "seed-draught." Compare on this Psalm, Jer 31:9, &c.