Lament During the Babylonian Exile
1By the rivers of Babylon,
there we sat, yes, we wept,
when we remembered Zion.
2On the willows#Species of tree uncertain in her midst,
we hung up our lyres.
3For there our captors asked of us
words of a song,
and our tormentors#Only occurring once in the MT, this interpretation is uncertain. The LXX’s “carried us captive” is a guess. If related to the Hebrew root yll it might have the idea of “mockers/yammerers” asked of us jubilation,
“Sing for us from a song of Zion.”
4How could we sing the song of Yahweh
in a foreign land?#Literally “a land of a foreigner”
5If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget.#That is, how to play a musical instrument
6Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if do not I exalt Jerusalem
above my highest joy.
7Remember, O Yahweh, against the sons of Edom
the day of Jerusalem,
the ones who said, “Lay it bare! Lay it bare
to its foundation!”
8O daughter of Babylon, about to be devastated,
happy shall be he who pays back to you
what you paid out to us.#Literally “with what you treated us”
9Happy shall be he who seizes
and smashes your children
against the rock.