1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
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?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7 Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
Huh. Actually, that’s quite beautiful. A song of grief and loss, and trying to carry on in desperate circumstances.
Some of you may be old enough to remember Boney M’s version. Admit it, you started singing along with the text, above:
(And for those who aren’t old enough to remember: um, there once was this thing called disco and, er, we’re not terribly proud of that.)
Update: Hold on. Alert reader me has just pointed out that I left off a bit off at the end:
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Huh. I wonder why this part never made it into the Boney M song.