Song of Ascent: Seventh Step

Looking out from one of the west gates of the Old City, Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives. Photo by Wil Robinson 1987

A Song of Ascent. Psalm 126

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.

2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.

4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!

5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!

6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Here upon the seventh step in their ascent, the Levites look back once more to the work of G-D in their history, which is our history, too. This time we hear them sing of Israel’s rescue from exile, and return to their rightful homeland.

The setting for this song is understood from Ezra chapter one.

1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

Ezra 1: 1-4

In the first verse we are told that Zion’s fortunes were restored, which is true. Here’s another translation:

When Adoniye brings about the return of Zion, we will have been like dreamers.

Daily Tehillim

They were the returned ones. It was wondrous. They were overjoyed. There was much work to do, but they were ecstatic nonetheless.

L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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