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Psalm 137[a]

Sorrow and Hope in Exile


By the rivers of Babylon
    there we sat weeping
    when we remembered Zion.(A)
On the poplars in its midst
    we hung up our harps.(B)
For there our captors asked us
    for the words of a song;
Our tormentors, for joy:
    “Sing for us a song of Zion!”

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  1. Psalm 137 A singer refuses to sing the people’s sacred songs in an alien land despite demands from Babylonian captors (Ps 137:1–4). The singer swears an oath by what is most dear to a musician—hands and tongue—to exalt Jerusalem always (Ps 137:5–6). The Psalm ends with a prayer that the old enemies of Jerusalem, Edom and Babylon, be destroyed (Ps 137:7–9).