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Psalm 126[a]

The Reversal of Zion’s Fortunes

A song of ascents.


When the Lord restored the captives of Zion,(A)
    we thought we were dreaming.
Then 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.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    Oh, how happy we were!
Restore our captives, Lord,
    like the dry stream beds of the Negeb.[b]


Those who sow in tears
    will reap with cries of joy.(C)
Those who go forth weeping,
    carrying sacks of seed,
Will return with cries of joy,
    carrying their bundled sheaves.


  1. Psalm 126 A lament probably sung shortly after Israel’s return from exile. The people rejoice that they are in Zion (Ps 126:1–3) 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 126:5–6).
  2. 126:4 Like the dry stream beds of the Negeb: the psalmist prays for rain in such abundance that the dry riverbeds will run.