The Psalms 21
1. The book of Psalms is a collection of 150 poems, songs, and prayers composed by a number of people
over a long period of time.
2. This lesson is a study of Psalm 126, "A Song of degrees."
3. The writer of this psalm is not identified; however, internal evidence suggests it was written after the
Jews were released from captivity in Babylon.
4. To properly understand this psalm we must be mindful of . . .
I. THE HISTORICAL SETTING
A. In 606 BC, the Babylonians took control of Judah, the southern kingdom.
B. Some of the details relating to the Babylonian captivity are revealed in 2 Chronicles 36.
1. (vs.5-8) Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiakim to Babylon.
2. (vs.9-10) Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon.
3. (vs.11-19) The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.
4. (vs.20-21) The Jews who escaped death were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon, and they would
remain in Babylon until the 70-year captivity was over.
C. Psalm 137 shows how the Jews felt while they were in Babylon.
1. (vs.1-4) They were unable to praise God because the Babylonians had insulted them.
2. (vs.5-6) They looked forward to returning to Jerusalem.
3. (vs.7-9) They trusted God to take vengeance on their enemies.
D. (2 Chronicles 36:22-23) The Persians conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews who so desired to
return to Jerusalem.
E. Several psalms were written after the captivity ended (ex.: Psalm 85).
F. Psalm 126 expresses the feelings of the Jews after they were released from captivity.
II. PSALM 126
A. (vs.1-3) The Jews reflected upon their release from captivity.
1. (vs.1a) The time element is revealed -- "when the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion."
2. How the Jews felt:
a. (vs.1b) "We were like them that dream."
b. (vs.2a) They laughed.
c. (vs.2b) They sang.
d. (vs.3b) They were glad.
3. God was praised for what He had done.
a. (vs.3a) The Jews said, "The Lord hath done great things for us."
b. (vs.2c) Heathens said, "The Lord hath done great things for them."
4. Years earlier,:
a. Solomon had made a request of God on behalf of his people when he dedicated the temple
(2 Chronicles 6:24-31)
b. God granted Solomon's request (2 Chronicles 7:12-14).
5. As the Jews reflected upon their release from captivity, they acknowledged God's greatness, and they
experienced great joy.
B. (vs.4-6) The Jews made an additional request of God.
1. (vs.4a) The request: "Turn again our captivity, O Lord."
a. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem, they found devastation, the land needed to be planted, and
the land needed rain.
b. (vs.4b) They asked God to return their captivity "as the streams in the south."
2. (vs.5-6) The Jews expected to rejoice again.
a. They might have to sow in tears (vs.5a, 6a).
b. However, they were confident they would reap in joy (vs.5b, 6b).
3. As the Jews asked God to bless their land, they were confident He would do so.