Psalms 137
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1  By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Tzion.

א  עַל נַהֲרוֹת בָּבֶל שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ גַּם בָּכִינוּ בְּזָכְרֵנוּ אֶת צִיּוֹן.

2  Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps.

ב  עַל עֲרָבִים בְּתוֹכָהּ תָּלִינוּ כִּנֹּרוֹתֵינוּ.

3  For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song, and our tormentors asked of us mirth: ‘Sing us one of the songs of Tzion.’

ג  כִּי שָׁם שְׁאֵלוּנוּ שׁוֹבֵינוּ דִּבְרֵי שִׁיר וְתוֹלָלֵינוּ שִׂמְחָה שִׁירוּ לָנוּ מִשִּׁיר צִיּוֹן.

4  How shall we sing Hashem’S song in a foreign land?

ד  אֵיךְ נָשִׁיר אֶת שִׁיר יְהוָה עַל אַדְמַת נֵכָר.

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

im esh-ka-KHAYKH y’-ru-sha-LA-yim tish-KAKH y’-mee-NEE

ה  אִם אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי.

137:5   If I forget thee, O Jerusalem

Psalm 137 was written by the rivers of Babylon, where the exiled Jews wailed and lamented the destruction of the Temple. They wondered how they would continue to endure on foreign land. How would they sing the songs of God, which were supposed to be sung in the Temple? The answer was an oath not to forget Jerusalem. This psalm makes an oblique reference to Deuteronomy 8:19, “if thou shalt forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I forewarn you this day that ye shall surely perish.” Israel’s exile came when they forgot God in their land. In Babylon, they promised themselves to never make that same mistake again, and to never forget Jerusalem.

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6  Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Yerushalayim above my chiefest joy.

ו  תִּדְבַּק לְשׁוֹנִי לְחִכִּי אִם לֹא אֶזְכְּרֵכִי אִם לֹא אַעֲלֶה אֶת יְרוּשָׁלִַם עַל רֹאשׁ שִׂמְחָתִי.

7  Remember, O Hashem, against the children of Edom the day of Yerushalayim; who said: ‘Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.’

ז  זְכֹר יְהוָה לִבְנֵי אֱדוֹם אֵת יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָאֹמְרִים עָרוּ עָרוּ עַד הַיְסוֹד בָּהּ.

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

ח  בַּת בָּבֶל הַשְּׁדוּדָה אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם לָךְ אֶת גְּמוּלֵךְ שֶׁגָּמַלְתְּ לָנוּ.

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

ט  אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת עֹלָלַיִךְ אֶל הַסָּלַע.

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Psalms 136
Psalms 138

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Psalms 137