Psalm 137

Those who are glad at the calamities that sometimes in God’s providence come to His people, shall not go unpunished, for those who mock their grief shall endure eternal grief.

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

4 How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?

5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.

8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Psalm 137 – Loyalty in Adversity

   It seems as if the exiles had withdrawn from the city, with its distractions, to some natural retreat beside the Euphrates. They had brought their harps with them, but had not the heart to touch their chords. Songs were choked by sobs. Suddenly a band of insolent revelers broke in on the scene, demanding one of those Temple songs for which Hebrew minstrelsy was famed.
   But the Lord’s song was possible only in the Lord’s house. To be separated from the Temple seemed to the Jews like separation from God. When we have been led captive by our sins and have lost the sense of God’s presence, we, too, lose the spring of holy joy. Let us make not Jerusalem, but the glory and interests of Christ’s kingdom, our chief joy. The closing imprecation on Edom reminds one of Jeremiah 49:7-22; Lamentations 4:2, 22; Ezekiel 25:12-14. We can understand it, but we must remember that we belong to another covenant. See Luke 9:54; Romans 12:20. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 137:4—How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?

​   The Hebrew singers were famous far beyond the limits of Israel. It is not surprising, therefore, that their captors asked of them the songs of Zion, little weaning that there was an insuperable incongruity between those holy songs which were associated with the Temple service, and the strange surroundings of idolatrous Babylon. The Lord’s song does not befit the strange land. How true this is of the minstrelsy of the heart! Chide it though you may for its silence, it must remain dumb so long as you are carried captive by the powers of evil.
   You have ceased singing lately. The joy of your religious life has vanished. You pass through the old routine, but without the exhilaration of former days. Can you not tell the reason? It is not because your circumstances are depressed, though they may be; for Paul and Silas sang praises to God in their prison. Is not disobedience at the root of your songlessness? You have allowed some little rift to come within the lute of your life, which has been slowly widening, and now threatens to silence all. And you never will be able to resume that song until you have put away the evil of your doing, and have returned from the land of the enemy.
   The return from Babylon has its duplicate in many a life. In answer to prayer our captivity is turned again as the stream from the south. Delivered out of the land of strangers, we again take up the harp of praise. “The LORD’s song” is often more in the heart than on the lips. Remember Jonathan Edwards’ description of the lady who afterwards became his wife, whose mind was filled with exceeding sweet delight, and seemed to have some one invisible always communing with her. —Our Daily Homily