New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Sorrow and Hope in Exile
1 By the rivers of Babylon
there we sat weeping
when we remembered Zion.(A)
2 On the poplars in its midst
we hung up our harps.(B)
3 For there our captors asked us
for the words of a song;
Our tormentors, for joy:
“Sing for us a song of Zion!”
4 But how could we sing a song of the Lord
in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget.(C)
6 May my tongue stick to my palate
if I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
beyond all my delights.
7 Remember, Lord, against Edom
that day at Jerusalem.
They said: “Level it, level it
down to its foundations!”(D)
8 Desolate Daughter Babylon, you shall be destroyed,
blessed the one who pays you back
what you have done us!(E)
9 [b]Blessed the one who seizes your children
and smashes them against the rock.(F)
- 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).
- 137:9 Blessed the one who seizes your children and smashes them against the rock: the children represent the future generations, and so must be destroyed if the enemy is truly to be eradicated.