When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion
Or returned the Jews from their captivity in Babylon; who are called Zion, from the city of David, built on Mount Zion, which was in Judea, and adjoined to Jerusalem, the metropolis of the kingdom; and because they were the godly who were concerned for Zion in a spiritual sense, or the church of God, and the interest of religion, whose spirits the Lord stirred up to come out of Babylon, upon the proclamation by Cyrus, when those that were more worldly and carnal stayed behind; as also because the chief mercy in returning the captives was the rebuilding the temple on Mount Zion, and the restoration of religious worship; which gave the religious captives in Babylon great concern, ( Psalms 137:1-3 ) . This deliverance of the captives, though it was by Cyrus as an instrument, yet it was the Lord's work; which he employed him in, and stirred him up to do, and therefore is ascribed to him. And though this is expressed in the past tense, yet it may be put for the future; and be considered as a prophecy of it, and which the following word seems to confirm; and especially the prayer, ( Psalms 126:4 ) ; for the return of the captivity seems to require it should: and may not only literally respect the return of the captives in Babylon, but the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, and their deliverance from their present captivity; which is expressed sometimes by the Lord's bringing again Zion, and returning the captivity of the Jews, and their being turned to the Lord, ( Isaiah 52:8 ) ( Jeremiah 30:3 Jeremiah 30:18 ) ( 2 Corinthians 3:16 ) ; and may be applied to spiritual and eternal redemption by Christ, of which the deliverance from Babylon was a type; and is sometimes expressed in the same language, ( Psalms 14:7 ) ( Jeremiah 31:22 Jeremiah 31:23 ) ; and the people redeemed are often signified by Zion, and are by nature captives to sin, Satan, and the law; from whence they are redeemed by Christ, whose work alone it is, ( Isaiah 1:27 ) ( 59:20 ) ;
we were like them that dream;
or "shall be" F16; that is, as persons that know not whether they are asleep or awake; and whether what they see and enjoy is in reality or only a vision, as Peter's deliverance from prison was to him, ( Acts 12:9 ) ; When the proclamation by Cyrus was first heard of by the Jews, and they had their liberty upon it, they could hardly tell whether it was a real thing or a vision, and could scarcely believe it for joy; it seemed too good news to be true, as the news of Joseph's being alive was to Jacob, ( Genesis 45:26 ) ; and so the appearance of Christ, his resurrection, and redemption by him, were to the disciples, ( Luke 24:11 Luke 24:21 Luke 24:41 ) . The Targum is,
``we were like the sick that are recovered;''which sense the word has in ( Job 39:4 ) ( Isaiah 38:16 ) ; and will be the case of the Jews, when they are converted; who will be recovered out of the sick state and condition in which they now are, and have all their diseases healed, and sins forgiven; yea, their conversion will be as life from the dead, a resurrection of them from their graves, ( Romans 11:15 ) ( Ezekiel 37:11 Ezekiel 37:12 ) . The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it, "as those that are comforted"; and the Syriac version, "as those that rejoice"; each of the seasons mentioned being times of comfort and joy: Joseph Kimchi interprets it of the passing away and forgetfulness of affliction and trouble at the time of redemption, like a dream that flies away upon awaking.
F16 (wnyyh) "erimus", Musculus, Gejerus, Schmidt; so the Targum, Syr. Arab.