Psalm 126:1
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New International Version
A song of ascents. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.

King James Bible
A Song of degrees. When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

Darby Bible Translation
{A Song of degrees.} When Jehovah turned the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

World English Bible
When Yahweh brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream.

Young's Literal Translation
A Song of the Ascents. In Jehovah's turning back to the captivity of Zion, We have been as dreamers.

Psalm 126:1 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

When the Lord turned again the captivity - When Cyrus published his decree in favor of the Jews, giving them liberty to return to their own land, and rebuild their city and temple.

We were like them that dream - The news was so unexpected that we doubted for a time the truth of it. We believed it was too good news to be true, and thought ourselves in a dream or illusion. When the Romans had vanquished Philip, king of Macedon, they restored liberty to the Grecian cities by proclamation. It was done at the time of the Isthmian games, and by the crier, who went into the circus to proclaim them; none but the Roman general T. Quintius knowing what was to be done. Multitudes from all Greece were there assembled; and the tidings produced nearly the same effect upon them, according to Livy, that the publication of the decree of Cyrus did on the Jews, according to what is here related by the psalmist. I shall give the substance of this account from the Roman historian. When the Romans had sat down to behold the games, the herald with his trumpet went into the arena according to custom, to proclaim the several games. Silence being obtained, he solemnly pronounced the following words: -

Senatus romanus et t. Quincius imperator, philippo rege macedonibusque devictis; liberos, immunes, suis legibus esse jubet corinthios, phocenses, locrensesque omnes, et insulam euboeam, et magnetas, thessalos, perrhaebos, achaeos, phthiotas.

"The Roman Senate, and T. Quintius the general, having vanquished king Philip and the Macedonians, do ordain that the Corinthians, Phocensians, all the Locrensians, the island of EubOea, the Magnesians, Thessalians, Perrhaebians, Acheans, and Phthiotians, shall be free, be delivered from all taxes, and live according to their own laws."

The effect that this produced on the astonished Grecians who were present, is related by this able historian in a very natural and affecting manner; and some parts of it nearly in the words of the psalmist.

Audita voce praeconis, majus gaudium fuit, quam quod universum homines caperent. Vix satis se credere se quisque audisse: alii alios intueri mirabundi velut somnii vanam speciem: guod ad guemque pertineret, suarum aurium fidei minimum credentes, proximos interrogabant. Revocatur praeco, cum unusquisque non audire, sed videre libertatis suae nuncium averit, iterum pronunciaret eadem. Tum ab certo jam gaudio tantus cum clamore plausus est ortus, totiesque repetitus, ut facile appareret, nihil omnium bonorum multitudini gratius quam Libertatem esse.

T. 54: Hist., lib. xxiii., c. 32.

This proclamation of the herald being heard, there was such joy, that the people in general could not comprehend it. Scarcely could any person believe what he had heard. They gazed on each other, wondering as if it had been some illusion, similar to a dream; and although all were interested in what was spoken, none could trust his own ears, but inquired each from him who stood next to him what it was that was proclaimed. The herald was again called, as each expressed the strongest desire not only to hear, but see the messenger of his own liberty: the herald, therefore, repeated the proclamation. When by this repetition the glad tidings were confirmed, there arose such a shout, accompanied with repeated clapping of hands, as plainly showed that of all good things none is so dear to the multitude as Liberty.

O that God may raise up some other deliverer to save these same cities with their inhabitants, from a worse yoke than ever was imposed upon them by the king of Macedon; and from a servitude which has now lasted three hundred years longer than the captivity of the Israelites in the empire of Babylon!

Constantinople was taken by the Turks in 1453; and since that time till the present, (October, 1822), three hundred and sixty-nine years have elapsed. Why do the Christian powers of Europe stand by, and see the ark of their God in captivity; the holy name by which they are called despised and execrated; the vilest indignities offered to those who are called Christians, by barbarians the most cruel, ferocious, and abominable that ever disgraced the name of man? Great God, vindicate the cause of the distressed Greeks as summarily, as effectually, as permanently, as thou once didst that of thy oppressed people the Jews! Let the crescent never more fill its horns with a victory, nor with the spoils of any who are called by the sacred name of Jesus: but let it wane back into total darkness; and know no change for the better, till illuminated by the orient splendor of the Sun of righteousness! Amen! Amen!

How signally has this prayer been thus far answered! Three great Christian powers, the British, the French, and the Russian, have taken up the cause of the oppressed Greeks. The Turkish fleet has been attacked in the Bay of Navarino by the combined fleets of the above powers in October, 1827, under the command of the British Admiral, Sir Edward Codrington, and totally annihilated. After which, the Mohammedan troops were driven out of Greece and the Morea; so that the whole of Greece is cleared of its oppressors, and is now under its own government, protected by the above powers - March, 1829.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

A Song of Degrees. This Psalm evidently appears to have been composed in consequence of the proclamation of Cyrus in favour of the Jews, giving them leave to return to their own land, and rebuild their city and temple.

Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried to the LORD, and he heard me.

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help.

Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Psalm 123:1 To you lift I up my eyes, O you that dwell in the heavens.

Psalm 124:1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;

Psalm 125:1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but stays for ever.

turned again, etc. Heb. returned the returning of Zion

Psalm 53:6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice...

Psalm 85:1 Lord, you have been favorable to your land: you have brought back the captivity of Jacob.

Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled...

Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Jeremiah 31:8-10 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame...

Hosea 6:11 Also, O Judah, he has set an harvest for you, when I returned the captivity of my people.

Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

we were like

Job 9:16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had listened to my voice.

Mark 16:11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Luke 24:11,41 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not...

Acts 12:9,14-16 And he went out, and followed him; and knew not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision...

The Lost Silver Piece
But, my dear friends, the three parables recorded in this chapter are not repetitions; they all declare the same main truth, but each one reveals a different phase of it. The three parables are three sides of a vast pyramid of gospel doctrine, but there is a distinct inscription upon each. Not only in the similitude, but also in the teaching covered by the similitude, there is variety, progress, enlargement, discrimination. We have only need to read attentively to discover that in this trinity of
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

The Comforts Belonging to Mourners
Having already presented to your view the dark side of the text, I shall now show you the light side, They shall be comforted'. Where observe: 1 Mourning goes before comfort as the lancing of a wound precedes the cure. The Antinomian talks of comfort, but cries down mourning for sin. He is like a foolish patient who, having a pill prescribed him, licks the sugar but throws away the pill. The libertine is all for joy and comfort. He licks the sugar but throws away the bitter pill of repentance. If
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Cross References
Acts 12:9
Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.

Deuteronomy 30:3
then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.

Job 8:21
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Job 42:10
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

Psalm 80:3
Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

Psalm 85:1
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. You, LORD, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

Isaiah 14:7
All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.

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