Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 126:4

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Turn again our captivity - This is either a recital of the prayer they had used before their deliverance; or it is a prayer for those who still remained in the provinces beyond the Euphrates. The Jewish captives did not all return at once; they came back at different times, and under different leaders, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, etc.

As the streams in the south - Probably the Nile is meant. It is now pretty well known that the Nile has its origin in the kingdom of Damot; and runs from south to north through different countries, till, passing through Egypt, it empties itself into the Mediterranean Sea. It it possible, however, that they might have had in view some rapid rivers that either rose in the south, or had a southern direction; and they desired that their return might be as rapid and as abundant as the waters of those rivers. But we know that the Nile proceeds from the south, divides itself into several streams as it passes through Egypt, and falls by seven mouths into the Mediterranean.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Turn again our captivity, O Lord - literally, “Turn our captivity.” The word “again” is inserted by the translators, and conveys an idea which is not necessarily in the original. It is simply a prayer that God would “turn” their captivity; that is, looking upon the captivity as not wholly ended, or as, in some sense, still continuing, that it might please him wholly to turn it, or to end it. The language would be applicable, if there was a new “captivity” similar to the one from which they had been delivered, or if the one mainly referred to was not complete; that is, if a part of the people still remained in bondage. The latter is probably the idea, that while a considerable part of the nation had been restored, and while an order had been issued for the restoration of all the captives to their native land, it was still true that a portion of them remained in exile; and the prayer is, that God would interfere in their behalf, and complete the work. A portion of the exiles, in fact, returned under Cyrus; a part under Darius; a part under Xerxes and his successors. The return was by no means accomplished at once, but occupied a succession of years.

As the streams in the south - In the southern parts of Palestine, or in the regions bordering it on the south - Idumea and Arabia. That is, As those streams when dried up by the summer heat are swelled by autumnal and winter rains, so let the streams of the returning people, which seem now to be diminished, be swelled by augmenting numbers coming again to their own land. Let the companies of returning emigrants be kept full, like swollen streams, until all shall have been brought back.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
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