Psalm 126

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Psalm 126 in the Parma Psalter

Psalm 126 (Greek numbering: Psalm 125) or Shir Hama'alot (שיר המעלות) is a psalm and common piece of liturgy. It is one of the Songs of Ascents.


A song of Ascents

1 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,

we were like men who dreamed.

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,

our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."

3 The LORD has done great things for us,

and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,

like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow in tears

will reap with songs of joy.

6 He who goes out weeping,

carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

-Psalm 126, New International Version




This is a song of joy and of thanks to God. The thanks is reflected in its third verse, "The LORD has done great things for us". But this is overshadowed by the joyousness of the author. The author is gleeful to return to Zion.

In many areas the people who are going out to sow are starving. The only food they could possibly have is the seeds they kept for sowing. The people literally cry when they place their only food in the ground because they know they will receive the harvest. Vs. 5 and 6 are stating that when we give sacrificially to the point of the last portion, God will be faithful to bring in the bountiful harvest. It also shows that those who plan for the future, will be rewarded.


Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt composed a version that almost became the melody for the national anthem of Israel.[3]

The psalm was written as a motet by composers such as Jean-Philippe Rameau and Lorenzo Perosi. It was set to music in Latin by Jules Van Nuffel: In convertendo Dominus.

Verses 5 and 6 were used by Brahms in the first movement of A German Requiem.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 530
  2. ^ Jeffay, Nathan (3 April 2012). "Israelis Divided Over Changing Anthem". Jewish Daily Forward ( Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Gottesman, Ariella (31 May 2011). "Hatikvah: The Impossible Dream". Israel National News (Arutz Sheva). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 

External links[edit]