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Psalm 137 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Psalm 137

Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem

By the rivers of Babylon—
    there we sat down and there we wept
    when we remembered Zion.
On the willows[a] there
    we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
    asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song
    in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
    above my highest joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
    the day of Jerusalem’s fall,
how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
    Down to its foundations!”
O daughter Babylon, you devastator![b]
    Happy shall they be who pay you back
    what you have done to us!
Happy shall they be who take your little ones
    and dash them against the rock!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 137:2 Or poplars
  2. Psalm 137:8 Or you who are devastated
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 137 The Voice (VOICE)

Psalm 137

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.

By the rivers of Babylon,
    we sat and wept
    when we thought of Zion, our home, so far away.
On the branches of the willow trees,
    we hung our harps and hid our hearts from the enemy.
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.

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?

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.
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.
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 All rights reserved.

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