Psalms

PSALM 126*

The Reversal of Zion’s Fortunes

1A song of ascents.

I

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.*

II

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 126:13) 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 126:56).

* [126:4] Like the dry stream beds of the Negeb: the psalmist prays for rain in such abundance that the dry riverbeds will run.

a. [126:1] Ps 14:7.

b. [126:2] Jb 8:21.

c. [126:5] Bar 4:23; Is 65:19.

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