By the Rivers of Babylon

By the Rivers of Babylon

Having read psalm 137 I was greatly moved. Psalm 137 is certainly one of the most troubling of the psalms: the exiles of Babylon are so hurt that they weep and pray for deliverance.

In setting this psalm, I have written music for the final infanticidal verse. For churches who deem this verse unsuitable, I have provided an alternative ending.

Sheet music is available here.

By the rivers of Babylon – there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there we hung up our harps.

For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem’s fall, how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down! Down to its foundations!”

O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us!

Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!

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