"HaTikvah," Israel's national anthem, was adopted from an earlier poem called "Tikvateinu," by Naftali Herz Imber. Here is the official text of the anthem (translation and transliteration can be found on the linked WP page):
כָּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּה,
וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח קָדִימָה
עַיִן לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה,
עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ,
הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם
לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ,
אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם.
And here is the first stanza and the refrain from Imber's original 1877 poem:
כל עוד בלבב פנימה
נפש יהודי הומיה,
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה,
עין לציון צופיה;
עוד לא אבדה תקותנו,
לשוב לארץ אבותינו,
לעיר בה דוד חנה.
The official version of the anthem has changed substantially from the original poem; in the second stanza, all the lines except the first have been altered. "התקוה הנושנה" ("the ancient hope") became "הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם" ("the two-thousand year hope"); the more significant changes, though, are "לשוב לארץ אבותינו" ("to return to the land of our ancestors"), which became "לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ" ("to be a free nation in our land"); and the final line, "לעיר בה דוד חנה" ("the city where David encamped") was changed to "אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם" ("the land of Israel and Zion").
Some further research revealed that the change was made in 1905:
Tel Aviv schoolteacher Doctor I. L. Metman Hacohen altered Imber’s lyrics in 1905, making a reference to “the ancient hope” more specific: “the two-millennia-old hope.” “To return to the land of our fathers / to the city where David camped” became “To be a free nation in our land / the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”
So the second line of the second stanza was changed to be more specific, and the final line was changed for the rhyme. However, I'm not sure why the penultimate line was altered; I had originally assumed that it was changed after the founding of the State of Israel (after all, it doesn't make sense to speak of a "return" to a land in which you currently reside). If The Times of Israel is accurate, though, and that change was also made in 1905, it was 43 years prior to Israel's independence.
Why was the penultimate line of "HaTikvah" altered?