The Message

Psalm 137

11-3 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!

New International Reader's Version

Psalm 137

Psalm 137

We were sitting by the rivers of Babylon.
    We wept when we remembered what had happened to Zion.
On the nearby poplar trees
    we hung up our harps.
Those who held us as prisoners asked us to sing.
    Those who enjoyed hurting us ordered us to sing joyful songs.
    They said, “Sing one of the songs of Zion to us!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while we are in another land?
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
    may my right hand never be able to play the harp again.
If I don’t remember you,
    may my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth so I can’t sing.
May it happen if I don’t consider Jerusalem
    to be my greatest joy.

Lord, remember what the people of Edom did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down!” they cried.
    “Tear it down to the ground!”

People of Babylon, you are sentenced to be destroyed.
    Happy is the person who pays you back
    according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the person who grabs your babies
    and smashes them against the rocks.