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FRAMEWORKS: Psalm 137: Grief from Exile


[Preliminary Comments: Whether written in Babylon or after their return, the song remembers the anguish they felt while in Babylon, as they remembered their great city eventually destroyed while others cheered on its destruction. How terrible it had been, but now Babylon also will suffer the Lord's judgment.]



v.1-3 Exile they had wept and refused to sing songs of joy


v.1  By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
v.2  There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
v.3  for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!'


v.4-6 The exile experience brought anguishing memories of Jerusalem


v.4  How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
v.5  If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
v.6  May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.


v.7-9 Neighbours had rejoiced at Jerusalem's fall, and now Babylon will also fall


v.7  Remember, Lord , what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
‘Tear it down,' they cried,
    ‘tear it down to its foundations!'
v.8  Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
v.9  Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.



[Additional Comments: A song of memories [v.1-6] but also a psalm that acknowledges the justice of God that holds accountable those who had treated Israel so harshly.]



Continue to Psa 138