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Psalms 126:5-6


126:5 Those who shed tears as they plant

will shout for joy when they reap the harvest. 1 

126:6 The one who weeps as he walks along, carrying his bag 2  of seed,

will certainly come in with a shout of joy, carrying his sheaves of grain. 3 

1 sn O. Borowski says regarding this passage: “The dependence on rain for watering plants, the uncertainty of the quantity and timing of the rains, and the possibility of crop failure due to pests and diseases appear to have kept the farmer in a gloomy mood during sowing” (Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 54). Perhaps the people were experiencing a literal drought, the effects of which cause them to lament their plight as they plant their seed in hopes that the rain would come. However, most take the language as metaphorical. Like a farmer sowing his seed, the covenant community was enduring hardship as they waited for a new outpouring of divine blessing. Yet they are confident that a time of restoration will come and relieve their anxiety, just as the harvest brings relief and joy to the farmer.

2 tn The noun occurs only here and in Job 28:18 in the OT. See HALOT 646 s.v. I מֶשֶׁךְ which gives “leather pouch” as the meaning.

3 tn The Hebrew noun אֲלֻמָּה (’alummah, “sheaf”) occurs only here and in Gen 37:7 in the OT.

sn Verse 6 expands the image of v. 5. See the note on the word “harvest” there.

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