Psalm 126: Back from Captivity

What made the return of Israelites to Jerusalem so surprising?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 126:1 A song for worship.
When the Lord brought the captives back to Jerusalem, we thought we were dreaming.
King James
Psalm 126:1 <A Song of degrees.> When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

Why was the return to Jerusalem seen by outsiders as an act of God?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 126:2 When we saw it was true, we laughed and shouted for joy.
Outsiders were saying, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
King James
Psalm 126:2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.

How can we rejoice when the Lord seems not to have done wonderful things for us?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 126:3 Yes, the Lord has done wonderful things for us, and we rejoice in him.
King James
Psalm 126:3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

What captivity might Christians have a need for the Lord to bring them back from?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 126:4 Bring us back from our captivity, Lord, as the streams bring life to the desert.
King James
Psalm 126:4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.

If believers will reap an abundance of joy, why would they sow in tears?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Psalm 126:5–6 Believers who sow in tears will reap an abundance of joy.
Sowers may plant their seeds in sorrow, but they will rejoice at harvest, bringing sheaves of grain.
King James
Psalm 126:5–6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.