There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.”
Verses 1-3 say even the world can see the effect of freedom;
Verses 4-6 declare how fun life can be that’s free.
Verses 1-3: (Verse 1) God had caused Israel/Judah to be removed from their Promised Land because of their gross sins (2 Chronicles 36:15-21), and when the promised time (70 years) was over, God caused Cyrus, king of Persia, to send them home (Jeremiah 25:1-14; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11), and it was too good to believe. (Verses 2-3) When they came around, their rejoicing was heard throughout the countries where they had ended up. They were praising God for He “has done great things for us.” How great is seen in that God had three kings who worshipped idols do His bidding: Shalmaneser king of Assyria; Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; Cyrus king of Persia!
Verses 4-6: (Verse 4) People often need the motivation given by remembering their former way and how much progress they have made from then. “Bring back our captivity” is simply saying, “Remind us of how bad our fathers were and what blessings are ours today.” When torrential rains fall, “the streams in the South” are filled to overflowing, and so it is when God blesses, like those filled banks, its often more than we can stand. (Verses 5-6) Through the pains of punishment, the harvest is joy; so the plagued consciences “sow in tears,” or don’t think their labors will find reward, only to be abundantly blessed by God with “seed for sowing.” Every harvest has the seeds of the next crop in it. To have been restored to their land after 70 years, prompted their faith to harvest the “sheaves,” once planted. Christians were taught this when Paul wrote: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’ Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:8-10).
Thought: The sinners who don’t believe God can save them have greater joy when finally humbled at the cross of Jesus Christ: Jesus on earth spoke them forgiven (Luke 7:36-50), but since He returned to Heaven, He authorizes their forgiveness upon proper obedience (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41). There is reason to rejoice when sins are forgiven: in heaven (Luke 15:7, 10, 32), and on earth (Acts 8:35-39).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted