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Psalm 137 Good News Translation (GNT)

A Lament of Israelites in Exile

137 By the rivers of Babylon we sat down;
    there we wept when we remembered Zion.
On the willows near by
    we hung up our harps.
Those who captured us told us to sing;
    they told us to entertain them:
    “Sing us a song about Zion.”

How can we sing a song to the Lord
    in a foreign land?
May I never be able to play the harp again
    if I forget you, Jerusalem!
May I never be able to sing again
    if I do not remember you,
    if I do not think of you as my greatest joy!

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    the day Jerusalem was captured.
Remember how they kept saying,
    “Tear it down to the ground!”

Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy are those who pay you back
    for what you have done to us—
    who take your babies
    and smash them against a rock.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

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 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

137 By the rivers of Bavel we sat down and wept
as we remembered Tziyon.
We had hung up our lyres
on the willows that were there,
when those who had taken us captive
asked us to sing them a song;
our tormentors demanded joy from us —
“Sing us one of the songs from Tziyon!”

How can we sing a song about Adonai
here on foreign soil?
If I forget you, Yerushalayim,
may my right hand wither away!
May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I fail to remember you,
if I fail to count Yerushalayim
the greatest of all my joys.

Remember, Adonai, against the people of Edom
the day of Yerushalayim’s fall,
how they cried, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
Raze it to the ground!”

Daughter of Bavel, you will be destroyed!
A blessing on anyone who pays you back
for the way you treated us!
A blessing on anyone who seizes your babies
and smashes them against a rock!

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Psalm 137 The Message (MSG)

137 1-3 Alongside Babylon’s rivers
    we sat on the banks; we cried and cried,
    remembering the good old days in Zion.
Alongside the quaking aspens
    we stacked our unplayed harps;
That’s where our captors demanded songs,
    sarcastic and mocking:
    “Sing us a happy Zion song!”

4-6 Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song
    in this wasteland?
If I ever forget you, Jerusalem,
    let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves.
Let my tongue swell and turn black
    if I fail to remember you,
If I fail, O dear Jerusalem,
    to honor you as my greatest.

7-9 God, remember those Edomites,
    and remember the ruin of Jerusalem,
That day they yelled out,
    “Wreck it, smash it to bits!”
And you, Babylonians—ravagers!
    A reward to whoever gets back at you
    for all you’ve done to us;
Yes, a reward to the one who grabs your babies
    and smashes their heads on the rocks!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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