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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 126

Verses 1-3

1. Praise for the return 126:1-3

The psalmist recalled initial impressions following return to the land, which God had effected. The returned captives felt as though they were only dreaming that they were back in their homeland. They evidently did not expect to see it. They were happy and praised God for His goodness to them as they spoke with non-Israelites.

Verses 1-6

Psalms 126

This community lament psalm of ascent appears to date from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah when the Israelites returned from Babylonian captivity. The writer rejoiced in the Israelites’ return to the land (sometime after 538 B.C.) but prayed for a complete restoration.

Verse 4

2. Petition for complete restoration 126:4

The streams in the south of Israel, the Negev, dry up in the parched summer months-but they become raging torrents during the rainy season. The psalmist used these streams as a figure of what the highways from Babylon could become with God’s further blessing. They could become flooded with travelers moving back into the land that God wanted His chosen people to occupy.

Verses 5-6

3. Prospect for future richness 126:5-6

For the returned exiles, farming was a painful pursuit since the ground had become hard and wild, because no one had cultivated it. However, the farmer who worked hard could expect a rich harvest in the future. Future joy would replace present weeping. Undoubtedly the psalmist used this terminology to represent the restoration of the nation as well as its crops. This seems clear from the preceding verses. His point was that even though the Jews who had returned had a hard time reestablishing the life and institutions of Judaism, they could anticipate that God would reward their labor. It was as certain as reaping follows sowing (cf. Galatians 6:7).

The initial flush of enthusiasm and success that those who seek to honor God experience, must continue, even if the work is slow, hard, and discouraging. God’s people can look forward with hope to a rewarding harvest in the future if they faithfully persevere in carrying out the work He has ordained (cf. Matthew 13:1-8; Matthew 13:18-23; Galatians 6:9).

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 126". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.