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Psalm 137New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 137[a]

Sorrow and Hope in Exile


By the rivers of Babylon
    there we sat weeping
    when we remembered Zion.
On the poplars in its midst
    we hung up our harps.
For there our captors asked us
    for the words of a song;
Our tormentors, for joy:
    “Sing for us a song of Zion!”
But how could we sing a song of the Lord
    in a foreign land?


If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget.
May my tongue stick to my palate
    if I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
    beyond all my delights.


Remember, Lord, against Edom
    that day at Jerusalem.
They said: “Level it, level it
    down to its foundations!”
Desolate Daughter Babylon, you shall be destroyed,
    blessed the one who pays you back
    what you have done us!
[b]Blessed the one who seizes your children
    and smashes them against the rock.


  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).
  2. 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.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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