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Psalm 137:1-3 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Psalm 137[a]

137 By the rivers of Babylon
we sit down and weep[b]
when we remember Zion.
On the poplars in her midst
we hang our harps,
for there our captors ask us to compose songs;[c]
those who mock us demand that we be happy, saying:[d]
“Sing for us a song about Zion!”[e]


  1. Psalm 137:1 sn Psalm 137. The Babylonian exiles lament their condition, vow to remain loyal to Jerusalem, and appeal to God for revenge on their enemies.
  2. Psalm 137:1 tn Heb “there we sit down, also we weep.”
  3. Psalm 137:3 tn Heb “ask us [for] the words of a song.”
  4. Psalm 137:3 tn Heb “our [?] joy.” The derivation and meaning of the Hebrew phrase תוֹלָלֵינוּ (tolalenu, “our [?]”) are uncertain. A derivation from תָּלַל (talal, “to mock”) fits contextually, but this root occurs only in the Hiphil stem. For a discussion of various proposals, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 236.
  5. Psalm 137:3 tn Heb “from a song of Zion.” Most modern translations read, “one of the songs of Zion,” taking the preposition מִן (min, “from”) as partitive and “song” as collective. The present translation assumes the mem (ם) is enclitic, being misunderstood later as the prefixed preposition.
New English Translation (NET)

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