Psalm 137:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
There on the poplars we hung our harps,

New Living Translation
We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.

English Standard Version
On the willows there we hung up our lyres.

New American Standard Bible
Upon the willows in the midst of it We hung our harps.

King James Bible
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
There we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees,

International Standard Version
On the willows there we hung our harps,

NET Bible
On the poplars in her midst we hang our harps,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Upon the willows within it we hung our harps.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
We hung our lyres on willow trees.

Jubilee Bible 2000
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof;

King James 2000 Bible
We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

American King James Version
We hanged our harps on the willows in the middle thereof.

American Standard Version
Upon the willows in the midst thereof We hanged up our harps.

Douay-Rheims Bible
On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments.

Darby Bible Translation
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

English Revised Version
Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps.

Webster's Bible Translation
We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it.

World English Bible
On the willows in its midst, we hung up our harps.

Young's Literal Translation
On willows in its midst we hung our harps.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

137:1-4 Their enemies had carried the Jews captive from their own land. To complete their woes, they insulted over them; they required of them mirth and a song. This was very barbarous; also profane, for no songs would serve but the songs of Zion. Scoffers are not to be compiled with. They do not say, How shall we sing, when we are so much in sorrow? but, It is the Lord's song, therefore we dare not sing it among idolaters.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. The superfluous "harps" were "hung" up upon the trees that grew by the watercourses. These are called "willows," or, according to some, "poplars," but were probably of a different species from any of the trees that grew in Palestine. The chief Babylonian tree was the palm, which grew in the greatest luxuriance along the courses of all the streams (Herod., 1:193; Atom Man., 24:3; Zosim., 3. pp. 173-179). Tamarisks, poplars, and acacias were also common, but true "willows" hardly appear to have ever been a product of the country. The 'arabah of our author was probably either a poplar or a tamarisk.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. These were musical instruments, used in the temple service by the Levites, who seem to be the persons here speaking; who took care of them, and preserved them from the plunder of the enemy; and carried them with them to Babylon, in hope of returning with them to use them as before, or to solace themselves and others in captivity; though now they had no heart to make use of them, their sorrow was so great, and therefore hung them upon the willows as useless things: these willows grew upon the banks of the rivers where they were, as such trees usually do; hence called willows of the brook (x), and willows by water courses, Leviticus 23:40; and particularly upon the banks of the river Euphrates, which ran through the midst of Babylon, with which the phrase here agrees; and therefore Babylon itself is thought to be called "the brook", or "valley, of the willows", Isaiah 15:7. And, according to Ovid (y), not only reeds and poplars, but willows, grew on the banks of the Euphrates. Now the state of these people was an emblem of the case of the backsliding children of God; who, through the prevalence of corruption, the force of temptation, and the snares of the world, are brought into a kind of captivity to the law of sin and death, though not willingly; nor is it pleasing to them when sensible of it, Romans 7:23; who, though they are called out of the world, and are not of it; yet sometimes are so overcome with it, and immersed in the things of it, that they are as it were in Babylon. An emblem of this world, of the confusion in it, as its name signifies; of the fading glories of it, and the wickedness and idolatry it abounds with: and here they sit by the rivers of carnal pleasures in it for a while, till brought to themselves; and then they weep over their sins, and lament them; especially when they remember what opportunities they have formerly had in Zion, and what a low condition she is now in through the conduct of themselves and others: these make use of their harps when Zion is in good and prosperous circumstances, Revelation 14:1; but when there are corruptions in doctrine, neglect or abuse of ordinances, animosities and divisions prevail, declensions in the life and power of religion, and the lives of professors disagreeable; then they hang their harps on willows, and drop their notes.

(x) "Amnicolae salices", Ovid. Metamorph. l. 10. Fab. 2. v. 96. "Fluminibus salices", Virgil. Georgic. l. 2. v. 110. (y) "Venit ad Euphratem----Populus et cannae riparum summa tegebant, spemque dabant salices----". Ovid. Fasti, l. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. upon the willows—which may have grown there then, if not now; as the palm, which was once common, is now rare in Palestine.

Psalm 137:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
By the Rivers of Babylon
1By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion. 2Upon the willows in the midst of it We hung our harps. 3For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."…
Cross References
Leviticus 23:40
On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees--from palms, willows and other leafy trees--and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.

Job 30:31
My lyre is tuned to mourning, and my pipe to the sound of wailing.

Isaiah 24:8
The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent.

Isaiah 44:4
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

Ezekiel 26:13
I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more.
Treasury of Scripture

We hanged our harps on the willows in the middle thereof.

we hanged. Willows were so plentiful at Babylon on the banks of the Euphrates, that Isaiah calls it the brook or river of willows.

Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing to him with the psaltery and an instrument …

Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant harp with …

Isaiah 24:8 The mirth of tabrets ceases, the noise of them that rejoice ends, …

Ezekiel 26:13 And I will cause the noise of your songs to cease; and the sound …

Amos 8:10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into …

Revelation 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, …

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