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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 126

When the two tribes will be restored in the land, both the remnant that fled from Jerusalem and the remnant in the city that is redeemed, the people will not yet be complete. The ten tribes must be back in the land. Twelve tribes must be restored in the land. This is presented again in the next three psalms, Psalms 126-128.

God makes the captives return to the land (Deu 30:3). Those who return will experience it as a dream come true (Psa 126:1). Tears have flowed because of the fate of the two and the ten tribes. Now God is bringing a turn in the captivity of the ten tribes. Then the new covenant is established. New life is sown. Now they can finally laugh and rejoice.

This is possible because the Lord Jesus has wept tears (Psa 126:6), He has sown the grain of wheat and returns with a shout of joy, bringing His twelve sheaves with Him. He is gathering His people into one. That is the basis for the return of the ten tribes.

Verses 1-3

Song of Thanksgiving After the Exile

In this “Song of Ascents”, the seventh, the psalmist, and in him the elect who were scattered outside the land, sings of the return of “the captive ones of Zion” (Psa 126:1). The captivity was a bitter time for all whose heart remained connected to Jerusalem. They solely can blame themselves for the thousands of years of exile (Deu 28:15-19); they owed their restoration solely to the LORD (Deu 30:4-10).

It was too good to be true, it seemed like a beautiful dream. Slowly reality dawns on them: it is not a dream, it is true. They pinch themselves in the arm, as it were, to make sure they are not dreaming, but it is really true: they are back in the land. They are free! They are so happy that they can no longer stop laughing … When they come to themselves, as it were, and realize that they are not dreaming, but that they are really free, their mouth is “filled with laughter” and their “tongue with joyful shouting” (Psa 126:2; cf. Job 8:21).

Gone is the shadow of night, gone is all suffering. Instead of mourning and sorrow there is laughter, and instead of lamentation there is joyful shouting. The people who have returned are full of joy.

Their return to the land is a testimony to the power of the LORD over the nations. They acknowledge with undisguised reverence and awe: “The LORD has done great things for them.”

This testimony is immediately taken up by the remnant (Psa 126:3). They say: “The LORD has done great things for us, we are glad” (cf. Joel 2:21). The God-fearing can find joy in nothing else but in God and in His works. We also have every reason to rejoice because God gave His Son for us to do for us what we could not do: to bring about reconciliation between God and us.

Verses 4-6

Sowing In Tears, Reaping With Joy

The psalmist asks the LORD if He will change their lot from the danger of the enemy to deliverance by the LORD, which he compares to a change from drought to running water (Psa 126:4). He asks for a change from tears and weeping to rejoicing (Psa 126:5-6).

Their prayer is that the LORD will give to those who are going back with so few, the comfort that others will join them. They do not ask to “restore their captivity’, the captivity of those others, but to “restore our captivity”, that is, their own captivity, for their own restoration is not yet the restoration of all. It is prophetically about the great restoration and return of all twelve tribes to Israel.

The remnant asks that the LORD changes their fate, a change so great that they compare it to the wilderness of Sinai with its wadis. These are the wadis in the Negev (=the south) wilderness, south of Israel. Wadis are dry river beds, and in the Negev – unlike other places – they are many hundreds of meters wide and come from a very large area. When it rains in the Negev, these dry riverbeds can suddenly turn into a flood of water that wets the entire wilderness and turns it into a beautiful sea of flowers.

This great result of the return of all the tribes to the land is not the return from the Babylonian exile. That return consists of only a handful of Jews. Therefore, with the joy of that return, there is also the sorrow of the poverty of the situation (Ezra 3:10-13).

Full joy will soon replace the sorrow that the God-fearing has because of the evil of the world in which he lives (Mt 5:4). During the great tribulation, he will experience it in fullness, which will cause tears of sorrow. But after that, God will turn their fortunes and bring them into the blessing of the realm of peace where they will enjoy the blessing full of joy.

There is now still sowing in tears (Psa 126:5) because of opposition and enmity from the surrounding nations. All this sowing is done in anticipation of a result that causes joyful shouting. There is rejoicing when the LORD has fulfilled His promises according to His Word, according to His covenant. It proves the truth of the word of the Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes that the end of a matter is better than its beginning (Ecc 7:8). Prophetically we see this in what Isaiah describes. He portrays the return of God’s people as an act of the nations bringing God’s people as a grain offering to the LORD (Isa 66:20).

Psa 126:6 does have a special application to the Lord Jesus. He is the Sower Who carried the good seed, that is the Word of the kingdom, and sowed that seed (Mt 13:1-9; 18-23). This He has done while weeping, for it has been a hard work (cf. Lk 19:41). But He will “indeed” come again to earth “with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves [with him]”. With sowing, we may think of new life based on the first coming of Christ. With reaping, we may think of His second coming, when He comes in majesty and glory to accept His earthly kingdom.

The sheaves are all His own who belong to the twelve tribes. They are sheaves as a result of the seed of the Word which He sowed in them and which has germinated in them, which is the new life, the life which He has given them. This is because He Himself also became the seed. He is the grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died, resulting in tremendously rich fruit (Jn 12:24). When He returns, He will be surrounded by the fruit that is the “result of the anguish of His soul” and “He will see [it and] be satisfied” (Isa 53:11a).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 126". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.