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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps. 126 :

Two problems make this psalm difficult to interpret: it is unclear how to reconcile vv. 1–3 , which speak in the past, and vv. 4–6 , which speak of hopes for the future; and it is uncertain how v. 1 , restores the fortunes, should be understood. This psalm is recited before grace after meals on Sabbath and festivals.

1 :

Restores the fortunes may be a specific reference to the return from Babylonian exile (so, e.g., Rashi), or may be a general term for improvement of one's lot (see 14.7 n. ). Perhaps the dream‐like nature of this vision explains how this restoration is both realized (vv. 1–3 ) and hoped for (vv. 4–6 ).

2–3 :

These vv. are framed by laughter and rejoicing, with the Lord doing great things doubled in the middle. That expression is otherwise only found in Joel (2.20, 21), which has other affinities to this psalm (see v. 1 and Joel 4.1 ).

4 :

V. 1 is recapitulated, but as an imperative. Negeb watercourses or wadis (seasonal streams) fill suddenly and completely after winter storms.

5–6 :

Perhaps ritual weeping is alluded to, which was meant to bring about rainfall through sympathetic magic. As here, agricultural imagery is entwined with and represents the restoration of the people to their land in Amos 9.11–15 .

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