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Psalm 137

Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem

1

By the rivers of Babylon—

there we sat down and there we wept

when we remembered Zion.

2

On the willows there

we hung up our harps.

3

For there our captors

asked us for songs,

and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,

“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

 

4

How could we sing the Lord’s song

in a foreign land?

5

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

let my right hand wither!

6

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,

if I do not remember you,

if I do not set Jerusalem

above my highest joy.

 


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Ps 137:1-9. This Psalm records the mourning of the captive Israelites, and a prayer and prediction respecting the destruction of their enemies.

1. rivers of Babylon—the name of the city used for the whole country.

remembered Zion—or, Jerusalem, as in Ps 132:13.

2. upon the willows—which may have grown there then, if not now; as the palm, which was once common, is now rare in Palestine.

3, 4. Whether the request was in curiosity or derision, the answer intimates that a compliance was incongruous with their mournful feelings (Pr 25:20).

5, 6. For joyful songs would imply forgetfulness of their desolated homes and fallen Church. The solemn imprecations on the hand and tongue, if thus forgetful, relate to the cunning or skill in playing, and the power of singing.




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