The Reversal of Zion’s Fortunes
1A song of ascents.
When the LORD restored the captives of Zion,a
we thought we were dreaming.
2Then our mouths were filled with laughter;
our tongues sang for joy.b
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD had done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us;
Oh, how happy we were!
4Restore our captives, LORD,
like the dry stream beds of the Negeb.*
5Those who sow in tears
will reap with cries of joy.c
6Those who go forth weeping,
carrying sacks of seed,
Will return with cries of joy,
carrying their bundled sheaves.
* [Psalm 126] A lament probably sung shortly after Israel’s return from exile. The people rejoice that they are in Zion (Ps 126:1–3) but mere presence in the holy city is not enough; they must pray for the prosperity and the fertility of the land (Ps 126:4). The last verses are probably an oracle of promise: the painful work of sowing will be crowned with life (Ps 126:5–6).
* [126:4] Like the dry stream beds of the Negeb: the psalmist prays for rain in such abundance that the dry riverbeds will run.