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WHEN the lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.

Ver. 1.  Sion.  It cannot be doubted but this regards the captives of Babylon: but still David might compose it, as he was a prophet; and herein the redemption of mankind may also be described.  Bert.


--- The captives pray for the return of the rest of their brethren.  C.


--- Comforted.  Heb. "dreaming."  C.


--- They could hardly believe their own eyes, like S. Peter.  Acts xii. 9.  This extraordinary joy is felt by devout souls, when freed from sin.  W.


--- The Greek cities which the Romans declared free, could scarcely believe that they had understood the herald.  Majus gaudium fuit, &c.  Livy xxxiii.


--- Thus were the Jews affected.  C.  Ps. xiii. 2.


--- Chal. "we were like convalescents," which comes nearer to the sense of the Sept.  Bert.


The people of God rejoice at their delivery from captivity.

2 Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy. Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord hath done great things for them.

Ver. 2.  Shall.  Or "did;" (C.) though the future is here well employed.  Bert.


--- The prophet uses both tenses, shewing the certainty of the event.  W.


--- It would require some time before the Gentiles would become sufficiently acquainted with the concerns of the Jews.  Bert.


--- As soon as they did, they expressed their admiration, while the former were careful not to imitate the conduct of those who murmured at leaving Egypt.  S. Chrys.

3 The Lord hath done great things for us: we are become joyful. 4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.

Ver. 4.  South.  As the Egyptians hope for the overflowing of the Nile; (Hammond) or as the south wind melts the snow, so as to make the Jordan overflow its banks.  Theod.


--- The return of our brethren will be as agreeable to us as water to a thirsty soil.  Chal.  Muis.


--- make them come quickly, and in great numbers.  Is. lx. 3. and lxvi. 12.  C.


--- Esdras brought back some, and Nehemias others, from Babylon.  Bert.


--- The ten tribes returned from Assyria later, and by degrees, (C. Diss.) if at all.  Those who arrived first at Jerusalem pray for the rest.  Bert.


--- The prophet foreseeing this event, desireth its perfect and speedy accomplishment, (W.) though it were scarcely to be expected, no more than (H.) a copious torrent in the south.  W.

5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Ver. 5.  Joy.  This was the case of the martyrs, &c. (Lu. vi. 21.  Jo. xvi. 20.) as well as of the captives.  Jer. xxxi. 9.  Is. lxvi. 10.  Bar. v. 6.  C.


--- Tribulation commonly attends the virtuous in this life.  Their reward is reserved for the next.  S. Aug.  W.


--- Sowing, we know not whether we shall ever reap.  H.


--- This is a sort of proverb, which is applied to the captives.  Bert.

6 Going they went and wept, casting their seeds.

Ver. 6.  They.  Heb. "he," which must be taken distributively for all.  Bert.

7 But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
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