Psalm 126:2
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD has done great things for them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Singing.—As frequently of the restoration in Isaiah—42:11, 44:23, 54:1, &c.

Hath done.—See margin, and comp. Joel 2:21.

Psalm 126:2. Then was our mouth filled with laughter — We thought ourselves in a new world, and the surprise of it put us into such an ecstasy and transport of joy, that we could scarcely contain ourselves within the bounds of decency in the expressions of it; and our mouth with singing — We gave vent to our joy, by singing hymns and songs of praise to God, and thus gave notice to all about us, what wonders God had wrought for us. Then said they among the heathen — Who had observed our calamity and triumphed in it, Jeremiah 22:8-9; Psalm 137:7. The Lord Jehovah, the God of Israel, hath done great things for them — This truly is Jehovah’s work, who hath magnified his power in the strange deliverance of this nation. Well might they wonder, that a heathen emperor should, of his own mere motion, show so much kindness to a people so hated and despised as the Jews were.126:1-3 It is good to observe how God's deliverances of the church are for us, that we may rejoice in them. And how ought redemption from the wrath to come, from the power of sin and of Satan, to be valued! The sinner convinced of his guilt and danger, when by looking to a crucified Saviour he receives peace to his conscience, and power to break off his sins, often can scarcely believe that the prospect which opens to him is a reality.Then was our mouth filled with laughter - Then were we happy; completely happy. See Job 8:21.

And our tongue with singing - We expressed our joy in songs - the natural expression of joy. Young converts - those "turned" from sin to God - sing. Their feelings find expression in the songs of Zion. This is natural; this is proper; this will occur when sinners are converted. An assemblage of young converts is always a happy assemblage; a place where there is a "revival" of religion is always a happy place - full of songs and singing.

Then said they among the heathen - The nations; the people among whom they dwelt.

The Lord hath done great things for them - In causing their return to their own land; in ordering the arrangements for it; in bringing their captivity to an end; in securing such interposition from the civil rulers as to facilitate their return. This would indicate that the surrounding people had not an unfriendly feeling toward them, but that they pitied them in exile, and were disposed to acknowledge the hand of God in what was done. Their deliverance, in the circumstances, was such as evidently to have been the work of God. This will agree well with the account of the return of the exiles from Babylon, and with all that had been done for them by Cyrus. Compare Ezra 1:1-4.

PSALM 126

Ps 126:1-6. To praise for God's favor to His people is added a prayer for its continued manifestation.

1-3. When the Lord, &c.—The joy of those returned from Babylon was ecstatic, and elicited the admiration even of the heathen, as illustrating God's great power and goodness.

turned again the captivity—that is, restored from it (Job 39:12; Ps 14:7; Pr 12:14). Hengstenberg translates: "When the Lord turned Himself to the turning of Zion" (see Margin), God returns to His people when they return to Him (De 30:2, 3).

They did and well might wonder at it, that a heathen emperor should of his own mere motion show so much kindness to so hateful and despicable a people as the Jews were. Then was our mouth filled with laughter,.... Who before mourned, and hung their harps on the willows, and could not sing the Lord's song in a strange land; but now, as their hearts were filled, with joy, this was externally and visibly seen in their countenances, and expressed with their mouths and by outward gestures; it was so great, they could not contain it, to which respect is had, Isaiah 35:10. It may be rendered, "then shall our mouth be filled with laughter" (q); that is, when we awake, says Arama; or rather when the captivity is returned, either in a literal or in a spiritual sense, both being matter of great joy: the Midrash says, this will be in the world to come, and not in this;

and our tongue with singing; the praises of God, and the songs of Zion;

then said they among the Heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them; it was taken notice of by the Chaldeans, among whom they had been captives, and by all the nations round about: and it was wonderful to them, that Cyrus, an Heathen prince, of his own motion and will, should at once, and without any price or reward, let them go, and send them into their own country to rebuild their temple; and with them the vessels of the Lord's house, that had been taken away by the king of Babylon; and order men to help them, with gold and silver, and goods and cattle, Ezra 1:1. Likewise the conversion of the Jews, and the restoration of them to their own and in the latter day, will be observed by the Gentiles with wonder, and as the work of God, Ezekiel 36:35.

(q) "replebitur", Musculus, Gejerus; "implebitur", Schmidt; so the Targum, Syr. Arab.

Then was our mouth {b} filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the {c} heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.

(b) He shows how the godly should rejoice when God gathers his Church or delivers it.

(c) If the infidels confess God's wonderful work, the faithful can never show themselves sufficiently thankful.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Then was our mouth filled with laughter] Cp. Job 8:21.

singing] Or, shouts of joy, a word characteristic of the second Isaiah (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 54:1; Isaiah 55:12). The Psalms of the Return (93–100) were the expression of this joy.

then said they among the nations] Even heathen nations recognised the marvel of Israel’s deliverance. Cf. Isaiah 52:10; Psalm 98:2, &c.

hath done great things for them] Cp. Joel 2:21, and with the preceding line cp. Joel 2:17.Verse 2. - Then was our mouth filled with laughter. The Orientals weep when they are disappointed, and, when they are pleased, laugh (Genesis 21:6; Job 8:21) and shout for joy (Herod., 8:99). And our tongue with singing; rather, with a cry of joy. Then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them; literally, hath magnified to do with them. The heathen, among whom the Israelites had dwelt, marveled at their deliverance. It was an event without a parallel. The stedfastness which those who trust in Jahve prove in the midst of every kind of temptation and assault is likened to Mount Zion, because the God to whom they believingly cling is He who sits enthroned on Zion. The future ישׁב signifies: He sits and will sit, that is to say, He continues to sit, cf. Psalm 9:8; Psalm 122:5. Older expositors are of opinion that the heavenly Zion must be understood on account of the Chaldaean and the Roman catastrophes; but these, in fact, only came upon the buildings on the mountain, not upon the mountain itself, which in itself and according to its appointed destiny (vid., Micah 3:12; Micah 4:1) remained unshaken. in Psalm 125:2 also it is none other than the earthly Jerusalem that is meant. The holy city has a natural circumvallation of mountains, and the holy nation that dwells and worships therein has a still infinitely higher defence in Jahve, who encompasses it round (vid., on Psalm 34:8), as perhaps a wall of fire (Zechariah 2:5), or an impassably broad and mighty river (Isaiah 33:21); a statement which is also now confirmed, for, etc. Instead of inferring from the clause Psalm 125:2 that which is to be expected with לכן, the poet confirms it with כי by that which is surely to be expected.
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