|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
126:4-6 The beginnings of mercies encourage us to pray for the completion of them. And while we are in this world there will be matter for prayer, even when we are most furnished with matter for praise. Suffering saints are often in tears; they share the calamities of human life, and commonly have a greater share than others. But they sow in tears; they do the duty of an afflicted state. Weeping must not hinder sowing; we must get good from times of affliction. And they that sow, in the tears of godly sorrow, to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; and that will be a joyful harvest indeed. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be for ever comforted. When we mourn for our sins, or suffer for Christ's sake, we are sowing in tears, to reap in joy. And remember that God is not mocked; for whatever a man soweth that shall he reap, Ga 6:7-9. Here, O disciple of Jesus, behold an emblem of thy present labour and future reward; the day is coming when thou shalt reap in joy, plentiful shall be thy harvest, and great shall be thy joy in the Lord.
Verse 4. - Turn again our captivity, O Lord. The work is not half done - not half the nation has returned. We, who occupy the land, are but "a remnant" (Ezra 9:8; Nehemiah 1:3). Bring back, we pray thee, the rest of the captives. As the streams in the south. As thou bringest back, after the autumn rains, ample streams to the dry water-courses of the Negeb, or south country.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Turn again our captivity, O Lord,.... This prayer for the return of the captivity shows that it was not as yet: though some think that this is a petition of those that were returned from captivity, for those of their brethren that stayed behind; who, enjoying the sweets of their liberty, pray for their brethren to come and share with them, that so the mercy and blessing might be completed. This may very well be considered as a petition; either for the coming of the Redeemer, and redemption by him from the captivity of sin and Satan, and the law; or for the conversion of the Jews in the latter day. Either of which would be
as the streams in the south; as great and wonderful a work as causing rivers to be in dry places, and as grateful and acceptable as brooks and streams of water in southern countries: or like streams produced by the south wind, which brings rain, and melts the snow from the hills; which, running into the valleys, cause flows of water in great abundance: and so may denote the abundance of those that should share in the blessings of conversion, redemption, and salvation; as well as the wonderfulness and acceptableness of them; see Isaiah 41:18. The Targum seems to understand it of the change made upon them, like that made on the earth by those; paraphrasing the words,
"as the land is turned, when streams of water flow out in a time of drought.''
The allusion seems to be to Judea, lying south of Babylon; and to the southern parts of Judea, which were dry; see Joshua 15:19.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. All did not return at once; hence the prayer for repeated favors.
as the streams in the south—or, the torrents in the desert south of Judea, dependent on rain (Jos 15:9), reappearing after dry seasons (compare Job 6:15; Ps 68:9). The point of comparison is joy at the reappearing of what has been so painfully missed.
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