Psalm 126


In this psalm, the psalmist appears to be speaking about the time when Israel returned from Babylonian captivity. Israel had been taken into captivity because of their idolatry, 2 Chronicles 36:6-21, but after they repented, God allowed them to return to the land.


‘A song of ascents.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this is a song of ascents. Psalms 120-134 all have the same heading.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Several theories of why this group of psalms is so named are available. The Jewish explanation is that there were fifteen steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Men in the Temple, and that each of these psalms was sung in succession on those steps. Another view is that these songs were sung in successive phases of the Jews’ return from captivity. Apparently the true explanation is that these psalms were written for the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. ‘It seems most probable that these songs form a collection for the use of pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem at the great feasts.’

‘When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.’ Psalm 126:1-6

The psalmist begins by speaking about the time when Israel returned to the land from captivity, this was the time the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion.

Israel only dreamed of this happening, they could hardly believe that God would use a foreign king to make this happen, but when it did, Genesis 45:26 / Luke 24:11 / Acts 12:9, it was a time of laughter and singing songs of joy, Job 8:21.

When Israel returned to the land it really was a great thing which God had done, and the nations around knew it was all God’s doing, it really was a time when the Jews were filled with joy, Ezra 1:1-4.

The psalmist once again asks the LORD to restore their fortunes, which implies that there is still work to be done, the city needed rebuilding, and the temple needed to be rebuilt.

The psalmist asks God to move quickly, like streams in the Negev to help them complete the work which needed to be done in rebuilding the city and the temple. The Negev was a desert region south of Palestine and so, when the rain fell, rivers would flow quickly and flood the land.

The time of sowing is a time of labour and toil and harvest time is a time of joy when the labourer receives the reward of their patient labours. In other words, when Israel went into captivity it was a time of tears, but when they returned, it was a time of singing songs of joy, Isaiah 9:3, they will carry the sheathes with joy in their hearts.


The psalmist tells us that to Israel, returning to the land was like a daydream, something they never believed would ever happen.

When we think of the promise of heaven for Christians, Matthew 25:23, we must also think about the promise of destruction for those who aren’t Christians, Matthew 13:42.

And it’s possible that some Christians and those who aren’t don’t think their eternal destination will ever happen.

Jesus spoke to a young man one day and told him, he wasn’t far from the kingdom, Mark 12:34. The young man wasn’t in the kingdom but very close, and so, we could say, he was near to salvation and yet lost.

What will it be like if you don’t enter into the kingdom?

How can we explain when we are to stand before the judge and be divided between the sheep and the goats?

What is going to be like for those who aren’t Christians today, who are close to the kingdom but won’t go in?

To hear the songs of the righteous and the others going off wailing!

To know the brightness of His glory and yet to go into utter darkness!

To be with Him into heaven, and for some to go to hell!

To have living water at your feet and for some to be parched!

To see the bread and yet be dying of hunger!

Go To Psalm 127


"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."