Psalm 137 English Standard Version (ESV)
How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song?
137 By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there
we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the Lord's song
in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!
7 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!
Psalm 137 The Voice (VOICE)
Psalm 137 is a lament written either during or shortly after the exile. It provides a vivid image of what life in exile must have been like.
1 By the rivers of Babylon,
we sat and wept
when we thought of Zion, our home, so far away.
2 On the branches of the willow trees,
we hung our harps and hid our hearts from the enemy.
3 And the men that surrounded us
made demands that we clap our hands and sing—
Songs of joy from days gone by,
songs from Zion, our home.
Such cruel men taunted us—haunted our memories.
4 How could we sing a song about the Eternal
in a land so foreign, while still tormented, brokenhearted, homesick?
Please don’t make us sing this song.
5-6 O Jerusalem, even still, don’t escape my memory.
I treasure you and your songs, even as I hide my harp from the enemy.
And if I can’t remember,
may I never sing a song again—
may my hands never play well again—
For what use would it be if I don’t remember Jerusalem
as my source of joy?
7 Remember, Eternal One, how the Edomites, our brothers, the descendants of Esau,
stood by and watched as Jerusalem fell.
Gloating, they said, “Destroy it;
tear it down to the ground,” when Jerusalem was being demolished.
8 O daughter of Babylon, you are destined for destruction!
Happy are those who pay you back for how you treated us
so you will no longer walk so proud.
9 Happy are those who dash your children against the rocks
so you will know how it feels.
The Voice (VOICE)
The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society
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