Verse 6. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed " - The metaphor seems to be this: A poor farmer has had a very bad harvest: a very scanty portion of grain and food has been gathered from the earth.
The seed time is now come, and is very unpromising. Out of the famine a little seed has been saved to be sown, in hopes of another crop; but the badness of the present season almost precludes the entertainment of hope.
But he must sow, or else despair and perish. He carries his all, his precious seed, with him in his seed basket; and with a sorrowful heart commits it to the furrow, watering it in effect with his tears, and earnestly imploring the blessing of God upon it. God hears; the season becomes mild; he beholds successively the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear. The appointed weeks of harvest come, and the grain is very productive. He fills his arms, his carriages, with the sheaves and shocks; and returns to his large expecting family in triumph, praising God for the wonders he has wrought.
So shall it be with this handful of returning Israelites. They also are to be sown-scattered all over the land; the blessing of God shall be upon them, and their faith and numbers shall be abundantly increased. The return here referred to, Isaiah describes in very natural language: "And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord," Isa. lxvi. 20.
ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIXTH PSALM
The parts of this Psalm are three: - I. An expression of joy for their strange deliverance from captivity.
II. A prayer for the return of the remaining part.
III. A moral collected by the psalmist from it.
1. The psalmist celebrates their return, and amplifies it three ways: - 1. From the cause, Jehovah. Cyrus gave a commission for it; but it was the Lord who disposed his heart so to do: "When the Lord turned," &c.
2. From the manner of it. It was strange and wonderful; they could scarcely believe it.
3. From the joy at it, inward and external. 1. Their "mouths were filled with laughter." 2. Their "tongue with singing." A thankful tongue expressed the feelings of a thankful heart.
That God did this for them he proves by two evidences: - 1. The heathen: "Then said they among the heathen." They saw that they were permitted to return by virtue of a royal edict; that the very king who gave the commission was named by a prophet; that they had rich gifts given them, the vessels of gold and silver restored, &c. Who could do all these things but GOD? 2. The Jews. It is true, said the Jews, what you acknowledge. 1. "The Lord hath done great things for us." Beyond our merit, beyond our hope. 2. "Whereof we are glad," for we are freed from a galling yoke.
II. But there were some Jews left behind, for whom they pray.
1. "Turn their captivity also." Put it in their hearts to join their brethren. Several, no doubt, stayed behind, because they had married strange wives, &c.
2. "Turn it as the streams in the south." Or, as some read it, streams of water on a parched land. Judea has been lying waste; we need many hands to cultivate it. When all join together in this work the land will become fruitful, like the parched ground when powerful rivulets are sent through it in all directions.
III. The benefit of this will be great; for although it may cost us much hard labour and distress in the beginning, yet the maxim will hold good-"They who sow in tears shall reap in joy." Which the psalmist amplifies in the next verse.
1. "He that goeth forth and weepeth." The poor husbandman, for the reasons given above and in the notes, bearing precious seed-seed bought with a high price, which augments his grief, being so poor.
2. "He shall doubtless come again" - in harvest with joy, having a plentiful crop; for every grain sown at least one full-fed ear of corn, with at the lowest thirty-fold. Some maxims are to be gathered from the whole: Penitential sorrow shall be followed by the joy of pardoning mercy; he that bears the cross shall wear the crown; and, trials and difficulties shall be followed by peace and prosperity.