Psalm 137:1-9

A sad song

137:1In 586 BC, Babylon's army destroyed Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah. They took the people who lived there to Babylon as prisoners. We call the time that the people of Judah were prisoners in Babylon ‘the exile.’ They were not happy there and they wanted to return to Jerusalem.

1 When we sat down beside the rivers in Babylon,

we were very upset.

We thought about Zion city that we had left behind,

and we wept.

137:1Zion was the special place in Jerusalem where God's Temple was.

2 We hung up our harps there

on the branches of the willow trees.

3 Our enemies asked us to sing songs for them there.

They laughed at us as their prisoners.

They asked for a song to make them happy.

They shouted, ‘Sing us a song about Zion!’

4 But we are in a foreign land,

so we cannot sing a song to the Lord.

5 Jerusalem, I never want to forget you.

I would rather lose my right hand!

6 I would rather my tongue could no longer move!

137:6The right hand played the harp, and the tongue sang the words.

Yes, I will always remember you, Jerusalem.

You are the most important thing that I think about,

more than anything else that makes me happy.

7 Lord, remember to punish the people of Edom.

137:7Edom was an enemy of Judah. When the Babylon army destroyed Jerusalem, the Edomites were very happy.

They were happy when Babylon's army won against Jerusalem.

On that day the Edomites said,

‘Knock down the city so that nothing still stands!’

8 People of Babylon, an army will soon destroy you!

They will punish you in the same way that you punished us.

May God bless whoever does that to you!

9 Just like you did to us,

they will hit your babies against a rock.

May God bless whoever does that to you!