It is a clear and judicious explanation of the text, and cannot be dispensed with. Our Price: $13.99 Save: $26.00 (65%) Buy Now. The first three verses describe the situation. Could it? The Jews bewail their captivity. For what has that Babylon done to us? We have here the daughter of Zion covered with a cloud, and dwelling with the daughter of Babylon the people of God in tears, but sowing in tears. In that sense, it is reminiscent of the opening of the songs of ascents in Psalm 120, where the desire is to be delivered from a hostile foreign environment to travel to Jerusalem, as expressed in other songs of ascents, to be in fellowship with God. Bible Commentary Early Church Fathers Medieval Patristic. PSALM 137 word first as mirth and then as joy. 3. "In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them" (Obadiah 1:1:11). This Psalm records the mourning of the captive Israelites, and a prayer and prediction respecting the destruction of their enemies. Thus they made the Chaldean army more furious, who were already so enraged that they needed no spur. It was not mere secular âmirthâ khat was requested in ver, 3; but, as the parallelism shows, the sacred gladness audible in the songs of Zion, which were at the same time the sowgs of Jehovah. It is a mournful psalm, a lamentation and the Septuagint makes it one of the lamentations of Jeremiah, naming him for the author of it. II. (1.) "How shall we sing Jehovah's song in a foreign land?" How Shall We Sing the Lord âs Song? In the later verses (Ps 137:7-9), we have utterances of burning indignation against the chief adversaries of Israel, --an indignation as righteous as it was fervent. The songs of the captives would have been considered as sport or entertainment by their masters; and the very fact of their hanging their harps on the willows indicates that they unwillingly complied with such demands, muttering to themselves, perhaps, the curses upon themselves and their terrible imprecations upon the enemy. Browse Sermons on Psalm 137:1-4. She shall be paid in her own coin: "Thou shalt be served as thou hast served us, as barbarously used by the destroyers as we have been by thee," See Revelation 18:6. Psalms 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. Every thing is beautiful in its season. 137) invokes God to bring down judgment or â¦ PSALMS RESOURCES Commentaries, Sermons, Illustrations, Devotionals. The harps they used in God's worship, the Levites' harps. required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, â Issuu company … 1. Psalms 137. Do we ask, what reward? Whole Psalm.âThis Psalm is composed of two parts. How stedfastly they resolved to keep up this affection, which they express by a solemn imprecation of mischief to themselves if they should let it fall: "Let me be for ever disabled either to sing or play on the harp if I so far forget the religion of my country as to make use of my songs and harps for the pleasing of Babylon's sons or the praising of Babylon's gods. (5-9) 1-4 Their enemies had carried the Jews captive from their own land. They were the ones who clung tenaciously to the blessed memories of Jerusalem and the glory of Israel's past history. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees. Babylon is the principal, and it will come to her turn too to drink of the cup of tremblings, the very dregs of it (Psalm 137:8,9): O daughter of Babylon! It is sunk like a millstone into the sea, never to rise. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land? PSALM 137 Ps 137:1-9. 525-550.). III. The picture that emerges here is one of pity and sympathy for the oppressed. Psalm 137 is not a selfish prayer for personal revenge. (Spurgeon, C. H. Lectures to my Students: Commenting and Commentaries)Rosscup adds: This is one of the more thorough older exegetical â¦ They laid by their instruments of music (Psalm 137:2): We hung our harps upon the willows. The verse, אִם אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי , “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither,” is sung at traditional Jewish weddings. Chapter 137. Psalm 137:1 The Jews just bawled their eyes out. With so much interest, we couldn’t ignore the topic of violence in the Bible any longer. JOSEPH A ALEXANDER Psalms Commentary (1864) Spurgeon had high praise for Alexander's work writing that it "Occupies a first place among expositions. 4. It couldn’t be instruction for living in the same vein as “love thy neighbor”. 140. "By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept. These they did not throw away, hoping they might yet again have occasion to use them, but they laid them aside because they had no present use for them God had cut them out other work by turning their feasting into mourning and their songs into lamentations, Amos 8:10. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. The New Century Bible Commentary: Psalms 73-150 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972) Broyles, Craig C., New International Biblical Commentary: Psalms (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999. For there they that led us captive required of us songs. NIV Faith and Work Bible, hardcover. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. Do we ask, what reward? "Rivers of Babylon." Those that are confederate with the persecutors of good people, and stir them up, and set them on, and are pleased with what they do, shall certainly be called to an account for it against another day, and God will remember it against them. By the Rivers of Babylon — Al Naharot Bavel (Psalm 137) contains some of the Bible’s most beautiful passages. 4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land? I. In singing this psalm we must be much affected with the concernments of the church, especially that part of it that is in affliction, laying the sorrows of God's people near our hearts, comforting ourselves in the prospect of the deliverance of the church and the ruin of its enemies, in due time, but carefully avoiding all personal animosities, and not mixing the leaven of malice with our sacrifices. Psalms is divided into five books : Psalms 1-41, which witness to David's life and faith; Psalms 42-72, a group of historical writings; Psalms 73-99, ritual psalms; Psalms 90-106, reflecting pre-captivity sentiment and history; and Psalms 107-150, dealing with the captivity and return to Jerusalem. Join. 7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. They had carried them away captive from their own land and then wasted them in the land of their captivity, took what little they had from them. The Psalms: 137: The Mourning of the Exiles in Babylon: 1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. âHow shall we singâ: A rhetorical question â¦ Their heads were full of it. 137) invokes God to bring down judgment or punishment on his enemies. It reflects the sorrows and thoughts of one of the captives, either during the captivity itself, or shortly afterward when the memories of â¦ "Babylon ... thou art to be destroyed" (Psalms 137:8). O daughter of Babylon — By which he understands the city and empire of Babylon, and the people thereof, who art to be destroyed — Who by God’s righteous and irrevocable sentence, art devoted to certain destruction, and whose destruction is particularly and circumstantially foretold by God’s holy prophets. We have already sung in another Psalm, The words of the wicked have prevailed against us. 137. (See Vol. Far be it from us to avenge ourselves, if ever it should be in our power, but we will leave it to him who has said, Vengeance is mine. Psalms 137 Commentary, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary is one of the most respected interdenominational commentaries ever written. Jeremiah had taught them under this yoke to sit alone, and keep silence, and put their mouths in the dust, Lamentations 3:28,29. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. These are curses upon themselves, applicable in case of their forgetting Jerusalem, or preferring not Jerusalem above their chief joy. An imprecation of this type invoked against innocent and helpless little children is contrary to the word of Christ and the holy apostles; yet this is an accurate statement of the attitude that was common among the warring peoples of antiquity. we hung up our lyres. The picture that emerges here is one of extreme dejection, sorrow and bitterness. 137. Young's Compare all. There are divers psalms which are thought to have been penned in the latter days of the Jewish church, when prophecy was near expiring and the canon of the Old Testament ready to be closed up, but none of them appears so plainly to be of a late date as this, which was penned when the people of God were captives in Babylon, and there insulted over by these proud oppressors probably it was towards the latter end of their captivity for now they saw the destruction of Babylon hastening on apace (Psalm 137:8), which would be their discharge. Observe. Psalms 137:3 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. 3. 2. Kidner stated that, "`Tormentors' here is as likely a meaning as most of the others that have been proposed or substituted for this expression, which is found only here in the Bible.". Josephus gave the total number of the returnees as, "Forty-two thousand four hundred and sixty two; yet did many of them stay at Babylon, as not willing to leave their possessions.". Psalm 137. None escape if these little ones perish. In the words here, the Israelites, even in the circumstances of their captivity, still cherished their hatred of the Edomites, calling for God's judgment against them, even along with his judgment of the Babylonians. The Edomites seem to have been almost totally a wicked people. The bitterness of Israel against their enemies who had vented their sadistic cruelties upon them is understandable enough, however foreign to the spirit of Christianity they must appear to us who follow Christ. This was very barbarous; also profane, for no songs would serve but the songs of Zion. Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary Psalms 137:6. They remembered Zion's present desolations, and favoured the dust thereof, which was a good sign that the time for God to favour it was not far off, Psalm 102:13,14. The other is an heavy imprecation and a prophetical denunciation against the enemies of the church, unto the end of the psalm (Psa 137:7-9). The country of Babylon was 1000 kilometres to the east. It argues a base and sordid spirit to upbraid those that are in distress either with their former joys or with their present griefs, or to challenge those to be merry who, we know, are out of tune for it. In these psalms, the author (usually David, although not in Ps. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/psalms-137.html. See my full comment on the prophecy of Babylon's destruction in the fourth year of Zedekiah, at the very climax of Babylonian authority and power in the whole world of that era. It reflects the sorrows and thoughts of one of the captives, either during the captivity itself, or shortly afterward when the memories of the terrible experience were still fresh in the psalmist's mind. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: âSing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!â But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land? Those are the seed of another generation so that, if they be cut off, the ruin will be not only total, as Jerusalem's was, but final. These they laid aside, both because it was their judgment that they ought not to use them now that God called to weeping and mourning (Isaiah 22:12), and their spirits were so sad that they had no hearts to use them they brought their harps with them, designing perhaps to use them for the alleviating of their grief, but it proved so great that it would not admit the experiment. This is the repayment. Chapter 137. Psalm 118 repeated that affirmation five times. It was not mere secular “mirth” khat was requested in ver, 3; but, as the parallelism shows, the sacred gladness audible in the songs of Zion, which were at the same time the sowgs of Jehovah. View More Titles. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. And all this was a fruit of the old enmity of Esau against Jacob, because he got the birthright and the blessing, and a branch of that more ancient enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent: Lord, remember them, says the psalmist, which is an appeal to his justice against them. How these pious captives stood affected to Jerusalem. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required […] (Psalms 137:4). They preferred it above their chief joy, and therefore they remembered it and could not forget it. They cannot humour their proud oppressors, Psalm 137:3,4. Finding the new version too difficult to understand? This is the same as before, to forget, repeated for the confirmation of it. "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. IV. We must not serve common mirth, much less profane mirth, with any thing that is appropriated to God, who is sometimes to be honoured by a religious silence as well as by religious speaking. 2. There was not even a hope of going back to what they remembered. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the phrase has somewhat of a liturgical sense to it, as if the assembled people of Israel said or sung this in response to the direction of the Levites leading singing and worship. Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Psalms 137 â Back to Matthew Henry's Bio & Resources. This plaintive ode is one of the most charming compositions in the whole Book of Psalms for its poetic power. All other rights reserved. As a just destruction. But this was not enough to complete their woes they insulted over them: They required of us mirth and a song. PSALM 137 OVERVIEW. The very little ones of Babylon, when it is taken by storm, and all in it are put to the sword, shall be dashed to pieces by the enraged and merciless conqueror. The Jews in exile were then told to “sing us one of the songs of Zion!” (Psalm 137:1), adding further humiliation and frustration to a defeated people. The reason they gave is very mild and pious: How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? Psalm 137 is the 137th psalm of the Book of Psalms, and as such it is included in the Hebrew Bible. They had laid by their harps, and would not resume them, no, not to ingratiate themselves with those at whose mercy they lay they would not answer those fools according to their folly. The psalmist penned this poem while â¦ 1. rivers of Babylonâthe name of the city used for the whole country. Note, Those that are glad at calamities, especially the calamities of Jerusalem, shall not go unpunished. This is the repayment. proud and secure as thou art, we know well, by the scriptures of truth, thou art to be destroyed, or (as Dr. Hammond reads it) who art the destroyer. Yet perhaps they were faulty in doing this for praising God is never out of season it is his will that we should in every thing give thanks, Isaiah 24:15,16. It is a plea for God to intervene in the affairs of men to keep His covenant and right all wrongs. They were posted by the rivers of Babylon, in a strange land, a great way from their own country, whence they were brought as prisoners of war. N.A.S.B. “The hymnic nature of the first eighteen verses seems to support the claims of Hermann Gunkel and Claus Westermann” (915). Their affection to God's house swallowed up their concern for their own houses. II. Though their enemies banter them for talking so much of Jerusalem, and even doting upon it, their love to it is not in the least abated it is what they may be jeered for, but will never be jeered out of, Psalm 137:5,6. ", "Let my right hand forget her skill ... my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth", "Remember ... against the children of Edom", "Happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us", "Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the rock", Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged, Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible, Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures. The Religion team sees Psalm 137: 7-9 appear in virtually any conversation on an article that mentions the Bible or one of our many pieces of scriptural commentary. The psalmist here had evidently read and believed the prophecy of Jeremiah in that tremendous fiftieth chapter describing the utter destruction of Babylon. Their conquerors quartered them by the rivers, with design to employ them there, and keep them to work in their galleys or perhaps they chose it as the most melancholy place, and therefore most suitable to their sorrowful spirits. The abuses which their enemies put upon them when they were in this melancholy condition, Psalm 137:3. As vinegar upon nitre, so is he that sings songs to a heavy heart. Psalms 137 - By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.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 … Her he calls unhappy, but him happy who pays her as she has served us. Psalm 137 is one of several psalms called imprecatory psalms. "Commentary on Psalms 137:4". Christ prophesied that the same atrocities would be executed upon Israel herself in the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:44). 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