Psalm 137:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.

New Living Translation
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp.

English Standard Version
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!

New American Standard Bible
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill.

King James Bible
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.

International Standard Version
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand cease to function.

NET Bible
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand be crippled!

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
If I forget you, oh, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget me!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [how to play the lyre].

Jubilee Bible 2000
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, my right hand shall be forgotten.

King James 2000 Bible
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning.

American King James Version
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

American Standard Version
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget her skill .

Douay-Rheims Bible
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten.

Darby Bible Translation
If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [its skill];

English Revised Version
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

Webster's Bible Translation
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her skill.

World English Bible
If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.

Young's Literal Translation
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, my right hand forgetteth!
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

137:5-9 What we love, we love to think of. Those that rejoice in God, for his sake make Jerusalem their joy. They stedfastly resolved to keep up this affection. When suffering, we should recollect with godly sorrow our forfeited mercies, and our sins by which we lost them. If temporal advantages ever render a profession, the worst calamity has befallen him. Far be it from us to avenge ourselves; we will leave it to Him who has said, Vengeance is mine. Those that are glad at calamities, especially at the calamities of Jerusalem, shall not go unpunished. We cannot pray for promised success to the church of God without looking to, though we do not utter a prayer for, the ruin of her enemies. But let us call to mind to whose grace and finished salvation alone it is, that we have any hopes of being brought home to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning; literally, let my right hand forget; but the words supplied in the Authorized Version are necessary to bring out the sense, which is, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, so far as to desecrate thy sacred songs by making them an entertainment for the heathen, may I never have power to strike a note again!"

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,.... This was said by one or everyone of the Levites; or singers, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; or by the congregation of Israel, as Jarchi; by one of them, in the name of the rest; or by the composer of the psalm. The Targum is,

"the voice of the Spirit of God answered and said, "if I forget", &c.''

that is, to weep over the calamities of Jerusalem; which might be thought, if the songs of Zion were sung; or to pray for the restoration of her prosperity and peace; as the church of Christ may be said to be forgotten, when men forget to mourn over its breaches, and show no concern for the reparation of them; or at the death of principal persons, which they lay not to heart; or at the great decay of religion in those that survive; or at the sins of professors, and their disregard to the word and ordinances: also when they forget to pray for her happiness in general; for the good of her members in particular; and especially for her ministers, that they may have assistance and success; and for a blessing on the word and ordinances, and for the conversion of sinners; and when they forget the worship of the Lord in it, and forsake the assembling of themselves together;

let my right hand forget her cunning; her skill in music, particularly in playing on the harp; see 1 Samuel 16:16; the harp was held in the left hand, and struck with the right; and that more softly or hardly, as the note required, in which was the skill or cunning of using it. Or let this befall me, should I so far forget Jerusalem as to strike the harp to one of the songs of Zion in a strange land: or let it forget any of its works; let it be disabled from working at all; let it be dry and withered, which, Aben Ezra says, is the sense of the word according to some; and Schultens (d), from the use of it in Arabic, renders it, let it be "disjointed", or the nerve loosened; see Job 31:22. Or the sense is, let everything that is as dear as my right hand he taken from me: or, as it may be rendered, "my right hand is forgotten" (e); that is, should I forget Jerusalem, it would; for that is as my right hand; so Arama. Some choose to translate the words thus, "may thou (O God) forget my right hand" (f); that is, to be at my right hand; to be a present help to me in time of need; to hold me by it, and to be the shade of it.

(d) Animadv. Philol. p. 181. (e) "oblita est nostra dextra", Castalio. (f) "Oblivisceris (O Domine) dexterae meae", Gejerus; so some in Michaelis.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5, 6. For joyful songs would imply forgetfulness of their desolated homes and fallen Church. The solemn imprecations on the hand and tongue, if thus forgetful, relate to the cunning or skill in playing, and the power of singing.

Psalm 137:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
By the Rivers of Babylon
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. 6May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.…
Cross References
Isaiah 65:11
"But as for you who forsake the LORD and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,

Psalm 137:6
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.
Treasury of Scripture

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

I forget

Psalm 84:1,2,10 How amiable are your tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!…

Psalm 102:13,14 You shall arise, and have mercy on Zion: for the time to favor her, …

Psalm 122:5-9 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David…

Nehemiah 1:2-4 That Hanani, one of my brothers, came, he and certain men of Judah; …

Nehemiah 2:2,3 Why the king said to me, Why is your countenance sad, seeing you …

Isaiah 62:1,6,7 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake …

Jeremiah 51:50 You that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember …

Daniel 6:10,11 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his …

let my right

Zechariah 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaves the flock! the sword shall be …

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