Psalm 137:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?

New Living Translation
But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land?

English Standard Version
How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?

New American Standard Bible
How can we sing the LORD'S song In a foreign land?

King James Bible
How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
How can we sing the LORD's song on foreign soil?

International Standard Version
How are we to sing the song of the LORD on foreign soil?

NET Bible
How can we sing a song to the LORD in a foreign land?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
How will we sing to you the praises of Lord Jehovah in a foreign land?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
How could we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?

Jubilee Bible 2000
How shall we sing the song of the LORD in the land of strangers?

King James 2000 Bible
How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a foreign land?

American King James Version
How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?

American Standard Version
How shall we sing Jehovah's song In a foreign land?

Douay-Rheims Bible
How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land?

Darby Bible Translation
How should we sing a song of Jehovah's upon a foreign soil?

English Revised Version
How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?

Webster's Bible Translation
How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a foreign land?

World English Bible
How can we sing Yahweh's song in a foreign land?

Young's Literal Translation
How do we sing the song of Jehovah, On the land of a stranger?
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 4. - How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? The "songs of Zion" are Jehovah's songs, used in his worship, suited only for religious occasions. It would be desecration to sing them "in a strange land," among strange people, not to call forth devotional sentiment, but to gratify curiosity.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? This is the answer returned by the Jews to the above request or demand; it may be, particularly, by the Levites, whose business it was to sing these songs: so the Targum,

"immediately the Levites said, how shall we sing the hymns of the Lord in a strange land?''

This they said, not merely on account of their unsuitable circumstances, being in distress and affliction, and so not disposed for such work; nor as if unlawful to them, being forbidden: for, though sacrifices were not to be offered but at Jerusalem, yet songs of praise might be sung elsewhere, on proper occasions, as David did, Psalm 18:49; but as wondering at their insolence, and complaining of their cruelty and inhumanity, thus to insult them and jeer at them: or rather, because it was "the Lord's song" they required, and so sacred, and not to be sung in any place, or at any time, and in any company; which would be but casting pearls before swine, and giving that which was holy to dogs, Matthew 7:6; or it may be they required this to be done in one of their temples, and to their idols, just as these songs were sung in the temple at Jerusalem, and to the honour of Jehovah; and therefore they refused to do it: for it may be rendered, or however interpreted, "in the land of a strange god" (c); as it is by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech: they required them to sing with mirth and joy, which they could not do in their present case; see Psalm 137:2.

(c) "in terra peregina, sc. Dei", Muis, Michaelis.



Psalm 137:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
By the Rivers of Babylon
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? 5If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill.…
Cross References
2 Chronicles 29:27
Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the LORD began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel.

Nehemiah 12:46
For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Treasury of Scripture

How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?

how shall

Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Isaiah 22:12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to …

Lamentations 5:14,15 The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music…

Hosea 9:4 They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they …

Amos 8:3 And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, said the …

strange land. Heb. land of a stranger

Isaiah 49:21 Then shall you say in your heart, Who has begotten me these, seeing …

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