Yahweh should devastate Babylon (Ps 137:7-137:9)

“Yahweh!

Remember against the Edomites.

Remember the day of Jerusalem’s fall.

How they said.

‘Tear it down!

Tear it down!

Tear it down to its foundations!’

O daughter Babylon!

You devastator!

Happy shall they be

Those who pay you back

What you have done to us!

Happy shall they be

Those who take your little ones.

They shall dash them against the rock.”

This psalm ends by asking for the destruction of Babylon and its young people. The psalmist wanted to recall the day that the Edomites attacked Jerusalem. They tore down the walls in Jerusalem to its foundations. Now they were wishing evil to the devastated daughters of Babylon, the Babylonian people. They would be happy people when they paid them back for what they had done. In fact, in one of the cruelest curses, this psalmist wanted them to take the Babylonian little children and dash their heads against the rocks. With that somber image, this captivity psalm ends.

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Let me never forget Jerusalem (Ps 137:4-137:6)

“How could we sing Yahweh’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you,

O Jerusalem!

Let my right hand wither!

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,

If I do not remember you,

If I do not set Jerusalem

Above my highest joy.”

The psalmist asked how he could sing a song about Yahweh when he was in a foreign land. If he had forgotten Jerusalem, his right hand should wither. His tongue should stick to the roof of his mouth. He was always going to remember Jerusalem as his greatest joy. He would never forget that wonderful place.

Remembering Zion in Babylon (Ps 137:1-137:3)

“By the rivers of Babylon,

There we sat down.

We wept,

When we remembered Zion.

On the willows there,

We hung up our lyres.

There our captors

Asked us for songs.

Our tormentors asked for mirth.

They said.

‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’”

Psalm 137, although untitled, is a psalm of captivity since they are sitting at the rivers in Babylon. They were weeping as they remembered Zion. They had hung up their lyres on the willow trees. However, their captors wanted to hear joyful songs. Their tormentors wanted them to sing the songs of Zion.