Psalm 137:3
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New International Version
for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

New Living Translation
For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: "Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!"

English Standard Version
For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

New American Standard Bible
For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

King James Bible
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
for our captors there asked us for songs, and our tormentors, for rejoicing:" Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

International Standard Version
for it was there that our captors asked us for songs and our torturers demanded joy from us, "Sing us one of the songs about Zion!"

NET Bible
for there our captors ask us to compose songs; those who mock us demand that we be happy, saying: "Sing for us a song about Zion!"

New Heart English Bible
For there, those who led us captive asked us for songs. Those who tormented us demanded songs of joy: "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because there they asked and they wanted the words of songs, and those leading us said to us, “Sing to us of the songs of Zion.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It was there that those who had captured us demanded that we sing. Those who guarded us wanted us to entertain them. [They said,] "Sing a song from Zion for us!"

JPS Tanakh 1917
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 Zion.'

New American Standard 1977
For there our captors demanded of us songs,
            And our tormentors mirth, saying,
            “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
when there, those that carried us away captive asked us for the words of the song; with our harps of joy hung upon the willows saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

King James 2000 Bible
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

American King James Version
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

American Standard Version
For there they that led us captive required of us songs, And they that wasted us required of us mirth,'saying , Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion.

Darby Bible Translation
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that made us wail [required] mirth, [saying,] Sing us [one] of the songs of Zion.

English Revised Version
For there they that led us captive required of us songs, and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

Webster's Bible Translation
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

World English Bible
For there, those who led us captive asked us for songs. Those who tormented us demanded songs of joy: "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

Young's Literal Translation
For there our captors asked us the words of a song, And our spoilers -- joy: 'Sing ye to us of a song of Zion.'
Study Bible
By the Rivers of Babylon
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." 4How can we sing the LORD'S song In a foreign land?…
Cross References
Psalm 80:6
You make us an object of contention to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh among themselves.

Isaiah 49:17
"Your builders hurry; Your destroyers and devastators Will depart from you.
Treasury of Scripture

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

for there

Psalm 123:3,4 Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us: for we are exceedingly …

Lamentations 2:15,16 All that pass by clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their …

a song. Heb. the words of a song
wasted us. Heb. laid us on heaps

Psalm 79:1 O God, the heathen are come into your inheritance; your holy temple …

Nehemiah 4:2 And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, …

Jeremiah 9:11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will …

Jeremiah 26:18 Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, …

Micah 3:12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem …

Luke 21:6 As for these things which you behold, the days will come, in the …

the song of Zion

Psalm 9:14 That I may show forth all your praise in the gates of the daughter …

Psalm 65:1 Praise waits for you, O God, in Sion: and to you shall the vow be performed.

1 Chronicles 15:27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites …

1 Chronicles 16:7 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD …

Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with …

Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing …

Jeremiah 31:12,13 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall …

Revelation 14:1-3 And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with …

(3) A song.--See margin. The expression is generally regarded as pleonastic, but may be explained as in Psalm 105:27, where see Note. Perhaps "some lyric thing" would express the original. No doubt it is a Levite who is requested to sing.

They that wasted us.--A peculiar Hebrew word which the LXX. and Vulg. take as synonymous with the verb in the first clause. The modern explanation, "they that make us howl," is far preferable. Those whose oppression had raised the wild Oriental scream of lamentation, now asked for mirth.

Songs of Zion--or, as in the next verse, songs of Jehovah, were of course the liturgical hymns. Nothing is more characteristic than this of the Hebrew feeling. The captors asked for a national song, as the Philistines asked for sport from Samson, to amuse them. The Hebrew can think only of one kind of song, that to which the genius of the race was dedicated.

Verse 3. - For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; literally, words of song. The oppressors break into the retired gathering of their captives, and "require of them a song" - demand roughly and rudely to be entertained with the foreign music, which is perhaps sweeter than their own, or at any rate more of a novelty. And they that wasted us required us mirth. Not only was "a song" wanted but a joyous song - one that would wake feelings of mirth and gladness in those who heard it. Saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion; literally, sing us frown a song of Zion. The captives had, no doubt, spoken of the joyous strains which they had been wont to pour forth in their own city upon festive occasions. Their conquerors demand a specimen, but are repulsed with the words of the next verse. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song,.... Or, "words of a song" (z). To repeat the words of one of the songs of Zion, as it is afterwards expressed: this the Babylonians did, as the Targum; who were they that carried the Jews into captivity; and this is given as a reason why they hung their harps on willows, and were so sorrowful, because such a request as this was made;

and they that wasted us required of us mirth: the Chaldeans, who plundered them of their substance, and reduced their city and temple to heaps of rubbish, as the word (a) used signifies; or who heaped reproaches upon them, as Jarchi: these insisted not only on having the words of a song repeated to them, but that they should be set to some tune and sung in a manner expressing mirth, or would provoke unto it: or "our lamentations", according to Kimchi; that is, the authors of them (b), so barbarous were they;

saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion; which used to be sung in Zion in the temple, called the songs of the temple, Amos 8:3; this demand they made either out of curiosity, that they might know something of the temple songs and music they had heard of; or rather as jeering at and insulting the poor Jews in their miserable and melancholy circumstances; as if they had said, now sing your songs if you can: or in order to make themselves sport and diversion with them, as the Philistines with Samson. The spiritual songs of Zion are the songs of electing, redeeming, calling, pardoning, and justifying grace; which natural men neither understand, nor can learn, but scoff at and despise.

(z) "verba cantici", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; "verba earminis", Cocceius. (a) "qui veluti in acervos nos redegerunt", Tigurine version, Grotius. (b) Vid. Stockium, p. 447. 3, 4. Whether the request was in curiosity or derision, the answer intimates that a compliance was incongruous with their mournful feelings (Pr 25:20).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.
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