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).
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.
5, 6. As in husbandry the sower may cast his seed in a dry and parched soil with desponding fears, so those shall reap abundant fruit who toil in tears with the prayer of faith. (Compare the history, Ezr 6:16, 22).
6. He that goeth forth -- literally, better, |He goes -- he comes, he comes,| &c. The repetition implies there is no end of weeping here, as there shall be no end of joy hereafter (Isa 35:10).
precious seed -- rather, seed to be drawn from the seed box for sowing; literally, |seed-draught.| Compare on this Psalm, Jer 31:9, &c.