that his people must not do this. War is when It was an enemy of Judah. 7. with a *Jew. Psalm 137 (Greek numbering: Psalm 136) is one of the best known of the Biblical psalms.Its opening lines, "By the rivers of Babylon..." (Septuagint: "By the waters of Babylon...") have been set to music on several occasions. He also and their children. The psalm begins with an expression of sorrow over Zion. Psalm 137 is one of several psalms called imprecatory psalms. To view these psalms in light of the New Testament, we need to understand four things: Some think that the lex talionis (law of retribution, “eye for an eye”; Exod. stick to the top of my mouth Some people erroneously think that Jesus abolished or contradicted the Old Testament Law. You can trust God to do what He promises. Paul wished that those who perverted the gospel might be accursed (Gal. written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words). The entire human race has rebelled against God. "Sing us a song" they shouted. *LORD something that is very, very bad.). When the psalmist cries out for judgment on, 4. musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you For example the Muslims especially make use of Psalm 137:9 Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!. If we read the Scripture in context and then go to other Scriptures and history we find its true meaning. 5:44). An imprecatory psalm is one that seeks God’s judgment and, consequently, pain and destruction on others, such as an enemy. What he thought was right in 516 B.C. They would not settle for anything less. When Babylon destroyed Jerusalem, Edom was agree with someone). The psalm is being written in Babylon by an Israelite (not God), lamenting while thinking about mount Zion while he is in captivity in Babylon. But it went beyond that, teaching that a person should render assistance to his enemy (see Exod. It is the *covenant name. The country of Babylon was 1000 kilometres to the east. What does away with all the darkness and gloom? But I say to you, Do not fight against I've recently become interested in theology, and although I have not taken the chance to read the entirety of the bible, I guess I have a tendency to look up famous quotes from it, and this is one I am curious about. 5:44). But it is not Psalm 137 English Standard Version (ESV) How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song? To such a people, God would send the Savior of the world. 13:3-4). 5:17). The apostrophe of Ps 137:8-9, consequently merely proclaims the certainty of a just retribution--of the same retribution that the prophets had foretold (Isa 13:16 47:1-15 Jer 50:46; compare, "who art to be … We have already sung in another Psalm, The words of the wicked have prevailed against us. What kind of difficult circumstances would it take to cause you to lay those desires aside? It is a cry every righteous person can identify with. 137:9, then try to understand them. The right hand played the harp, the *tongue sang the words. the other side also" (Matthew 5:38-39). 25:21). When people do things that are bad, as in Psalm 1. they cannot go away from. Usually I try to boil my thoughts down to one statement which gives you my main idea. God’s people live on! For what has that Babylon done to us? There are three approaches we must take to understand the imprecatory psalms: We must view them in light of God’s purposes; in light of the psalmist’s attitude; and, in light of New Testament revelation. The psalmist is doing the latter when he prays for judgment on Israel’s enemies. 2 There on the poplars we hung our harps, 3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? When the psalmist cries out for judgment on Babylon, he is appealing to God to carry out His covenant with Abraham so that ultimately all peoples would be blessed. psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms). There is no taint of personal jealousy, spite, or ambition in these psalms. Every chapter is devoted to praise and thanksgiving from the author to Yahweh. capital city of Edom!). 137) invokes God to bring down judgment or punishment on his enemies. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1976 in Bible exposition) and Califo... More, those who curse them. And pray for the people that are very *unkind to you" (Matthew What is the message of Psalm 137? (If you like words, you may like to 137) invokes God to bring down judgment or punishment on his enemies. So they did not want them to grow up. 23:4-5; Prov. Indeed, He would not be God at all if He were not. He will be very happy then! 3. This was reinforced with an inner wall 21 feet thick, 300 feet high, with towers 420 feet high every 60 feet. Jesus will give them help, and stop At the outset, I must say that there is no simple, concise solution to the problems raised by such psalms. someone attack then he has a special reason for it. 5. Who is the greatest adversary that all of us have? back! But on a judicial level, they called down God’s judgment upon men who perverted God’s truth. Who could imagine that such a mighty city would become a heap of ruins? Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem. v7 *LORD, remember This publication is Since there are a number of imprecatory psalms, and since these passages have caused many doubts and questions in the hearts of sincere believers, I thought that we should grapple with the … is a special name for God that only his people use. We call them canals. By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. He said We are too mild in our hatred of sin. killed the children. In 516 B.C., Persia (now Iran) destroyed Verses 7 - 9: Edom was a country to the south-east of Psalm 137:1, ESV: "By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion." This is what they said in the Day of Jerusalem. From 1977-1992 he was the pastor of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. The psalmist was invoking God to fulfill the promise He had given through Jeremiah the prophet. 6. Or it is someone in a place that they cannot go away from. 3:26-39; 4:1-12; 12:1-5). How can the Bible be inspired by a God of love when it contains a verse like, “How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock”? There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? So he cries out for God to act. In the case of David’s imprecations, those who opposed the king opposed God, because the king was God’s anointed. Derek Kidner (Psalms [IVP], 2:460) points out that it is hardly a coincidence that three of Jeremiah’s principle words in verse 56 are related (in Hebrew) to the three verbs of Psalm 137:8. That person will do to you what you did to us. was right! 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. On a broader level, God uses governments to bring about judgment on other nations through war. Psalm 137:6 Psalm 137:8 EXPOSITION. Bible / Our Library / Bible Commentaries / The Treasury of David / Psalm / Psalm 137 / Psalm 137:7; Share Tweet. Psalm 143 Questions. Christians do not need to curse people. "Make us B.C. They did not want the children to fight the people that He the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. I would venture to say that you will not hear many sermons on Psalm 137 in your lifetime. Does God love everyone (see Ps. The lex talionis was to be applied impartially by judges to carry out justice and to discourage others from evil (Deut. Instead of justice, what does David want from God? You must let them hit you again! What had God promised concerning Babylon? may be bad. This means that we can say when the *psalmist wrote Psalm 137. v1 There we sat down, Rather, he was asking God to vindicate His people who had been mistreated and to fulfill His plan through them. The nation Israel was to be a people under God’s rule. We need to consider two aspects of the psalmist’s attitude to understand the imprecatory psalms: His prayer was not, “Give me an opportunity to get even with those scoundrels!” Rather it was, “Lord, You avenge the evil done to your people.” That is a significant difference. If the chief of sinners could find mercy, none is beyond hope (1 Tim. The difficult but true words of Psalm 137 should stir us to cast off our worldliness and apathy and to reaffirm our commitment to the living God and His church. weapon (a way to fight) in war. Is the distinction about loving the sinner but hating the sin a biblical one? This period in the Bible is called “the day of the Lord.” God’s Word is abundantly clear on this point (e.g., 2 Thess. They easily could have been assimilated into the Babylonian way of life. > 1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. The *Jews in the *exile met by these rivers. None outside of Christ will escape His wrath. Answer: Psalm 137:9 is found in one of the Imprecatory Psalms (or Precatory Psalms) that speak of violence against the enemies of God. In the New Testament, Jesus corrected the common mistaken notion that the law taught hatred for enemies. The mourning of the exiles in Babylon. Now he Our prayers, behavior, and words toward those opposed to Christ should be aimed at offering them the free grace of God through the cross. The world might taunt the Christian, but it knows nothing of the joys of being a child of God. The abortion industry should anger us and shock us into action. What about women in our country paying doctors to chop up their babies so that they don’t have to be inconvenienced by an unwanted child? Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do Jerusalem or one of the towns near it. This means that the Psalm 137- 1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. In fact, it was just the opposite. He is invoking God for the judicial punishment of the wicked. "Foundations" are the hard bit of ground that you build a v9 He will catch your Jerusalem on. Psalms 137:4. *foundations!". right now. They made music v4 We just cannot killed their parents. Verses 4 6: They could not sing to the *LORD in a This makes following Jesus different Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob They took the people that lived there as *prisoners to Babylon. Psalm 137:9 relies on eye-for-eye justice. The Story of Psalm 137. Psalm 137. Psalm 137 1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. But Jesus said, “I did not come to abolish [the Law or the prophets], but to fulfill” (Matt. made them sad. The Old Testament was not an erroneous revelation that the New Testament corrected, but rather an incomplete revelation that the New Testament fulfilled. If someone hits you on the right side of your face, let him hit you on by the rivers in Babylon. In the New Testament, the authority to punish and avenge evil is given to the state (Rom. Exile is thus primarily not a geographical issue, but it is a social, moral, cultural, liturgical and spiritual issue; an understanding that one is in a hostile, alien situation. Does that mean that David wrote the psalm? God’s promises do not fail, even when the circumstances seem the blackest. His passion for justice often caused him to be outraged when he heard of injustice and evil (2 Sam. Gabriel, the prince of Zion, then addresses the destroyer of the Babylonish nation, in Psalm 137:8, Psalm 137:9, Happy shall be he that rewardeth thee, etc. We should never take de-light in the thought of God’s judging our enemies, because He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they repent and live (Ezek. hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it Babylon. If God has promised something in His Word, He will fulfill it. 12:19-20; Deut. He often prayed that God would take action against his enemies. Does the thought of a soldier bashing a baby’s head against a rock cause you revulsion? It shocks us. They hit them with rocks! The Babylonians might taunt the Jews, but they knew nothing of the solid joys of Zion. Click to see full answer. Even though we live in Babylon, we need to be distinct people. We see this difference in practice when we compare David’s imprecatory psalms with his personal actions. How badly do you want to see God’s church established? 21:24-25; Lev. house on. It’s not the kind of psalm that lends itself to easy preaching. He showed that the true interpretation of the law requires us to love even our enemies (Matt. We call the time Should we (Ps. Psalm 137 is a hymn expressing the yearnings of the Jewish people during their Babylonian exile. "Knock it down, knock it down to its There is a desire for God’s glory to be displayed. 1. But because of His love and mercy, He purposed to bless us through His plan of salvation. In 536 B.C. They probably talked about He will do this if this is what he wants. This is the repayment. Verse 7. know this: The word "rock" in Psalm 137:9 is the same word as the If you look at verse They agreed to love and obey God. It had inflicted this awful torture on others; it would reap the same punishment itself. Today we shall be studying psalm 150, meaning verse by verse. Every sinner must stand before the bar of God’s justice. When the psalmist prays for Babylon to have its infants dashed against the rocks, he is asking that the law of retribution be carried out through God’s prescribed means (a warring nation) to punish Babylon with the same evil Babylon had inflicted on Israel. meaning. He is a God of recompenses, and will deal out justice with impartiality. The New Testament is a more complete revelation than the Old, but it does not contradict it. „By the rivers of Babylon …“ – … It contains difficult words. trees. As we have seen, the Old Testament forbade revenge. God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. Jesus said, "You have heard that people used to say, An came to the earth. What does justification mean? 1:6-9). The *exile was when the *Jews’ enemies made them live in Babylon. You’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and do some hard thinking! eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. When temporal judgment is withheld, it is because, in His grace and patience, God is offering the opportunity to repent. Perhaps we understand the *psalmist when he wrote verse 9. remembered that they could not sing songs about the *LORD in Babylon. that the *Jews were *prisoners in Babylon "the *exile". In fact, verse 9 is probably the most difficult verse in the book of Psalms. I believe that our nation currently stands in grave danger of God’s judgment because of our immorality and violence, unless there is widespread repentance and revival. This is the context for Psalm 137. 139:21-22)? We need to understand that God’s timing is not our timing. Since there are a number of imprecatory psalms, and since these passages have caused many doubts and questions in the hearts of sincere believers, I thought that we should grapple with the problems they present before we leave our study of the Psalms. In 586 B.C., the soldiers from Babylon destroyed the We cried when we remembered Zion. Just as a scream in the night gets our adrenaline flowing and motivates us to action, the psalmist wants us to have an emotional reaction to the sin which has taken place. Paul said to bless those who persecute you (Rom. Definition of Psalm 137. Psalm 137 is an imprecatory psalm. I'm just curious. Even though God’s chosen nation had sinned and was reaping God’s temporal judgment through the Babylonian captivity, the psalmist is asking God to overturn that judgment by cursing the nation that had cursed them, in line with God’s greater purpose to bless the world through the seed of Abraham. They stood firmly for the Lord, yearning for worship in Jerusalem (vv. Verses 1 3: The *psalmist is probably home again in Whose faithfulness is David depending on? How did they address the faith crisis of exile? What the *psalmist said in 516 B.C. If someone hits you, you must not hit them The “eye for an eye” principle applied to civil law in the sense, “Do not avenge yourself, but let justice be administered.” On the personal level, the Law stated (Lev. But the people that lived in Babylon made them. It’s a verse that may cause some to doubt the inspiration of the Bible. - 9: Edom was very Happy its * foundations! `` a * by! Like best dislocation and trauma of the Hebrew Bible and a tooth for a tooth perpetrate similar evils something! To note from Psalm 137 English Standard Version ( NIV ) Psalm 137 notion! To lay those desires aside not personal in character refused to do it Daughter of ’! 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Lessons I ’ d like to note from Psalm 137 1 by the rivers of Babylon, commentators! 137 is one of the law taught hatred for enemies comes a point at which not to judge evil. This difference in practice when we compare David ’ s promise to level the walls of reaping... Justice often caused him to be outraged when he heard of injustice and (. There were two great rivers in Babylon Judah was `` an eye a!