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Psalm 137:1–6

How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song?

137 By the waters of Babylon,

there we sat down and wept,

when we remembered Zion.

On the willows1 there

we hung up our lyres.

For there our captors

required of us songs,

and our tormentors, mirth, saying,

“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

sHow shall we sing the Lord’s song

in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

tlet my right hand forget its skill!

Let my utongue stick to the roof of my mouth,

if I do not remember you,

if I do not set Jerusalem

above my highest joy!

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Psalm 137:1–6 — The New International Version (NIV)

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept

when we remembered Zion.

There on the poplars

we hung our harps,

for there our captors asked us for songs,

our tormentors demanded songs of joy;

they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord

while in a foreign land?

If I forget you, Jerusalem,

may my right hand forget its skill.

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.

Psalm 137:1–6 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept,

When we remembered Zion.

We hanged our harps

Upon the willows in the midst thereof.

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.

How shall we sing the Lord’s song

In a strange land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget her cunning.

If I do not remember thee,

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;

If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — New Living Translation (NLT)

Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept

as we thought of Jerusalem.

We put away our harps,

hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.

For our captors demanded a song from us.

Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn:

“Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”

But how can we sing the songs of the Lord

while in a pagan land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

let my right hand forget how to play the harp.

May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth

if I fail to remember you,

if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

By the rivers of Babylon,

There we sat down, yea, we wept

When we remembered Zion.

We hung our harps

Upon the willows in the midst of it.

For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,

And those who plundered us requested mirth,

Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget its skill!

If I do not remember you,

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—

If I do not exalt Jerusalem

Above my chief joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — New Century Version (NCV)

By the rivers in Babylon we sat and cried

when we remembered Jerusalem.

On the poplar trees nearby

we hung our harps.

Those who captured us asked us to sing;

our enemies wanted happy songs.

They said, “Sing us a song about Jerusalem!”

But we cannot sing songs about the Lord

while we are in this foreign country!

Jerusalem, if I forget you,

let my right hand lose its skill.

Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth

if I do not remember you,

if I do not think about Jerusalem

as my greatest joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

By the rivers of Babylon,

There we sat down, yea, we wept,

When we remembered Zion.

Upon the willows in the midst thereof

We hanged up our harps.

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.

How shall we sing Jehovah’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget her skill.

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,

If I remember thee not;

If I prefer not Jerusalem

Above my chief joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 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. How should we sing a song of Jehovah’s upon a foreign soil? If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill; If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to my palate: if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and cried 

as we remembered Zion. 

We hung our lyres on willow trees. 

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!” 

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? 

If I forget you, Jerusalem, 

let my right hand forget ⸤how to play the lyre⸥. 

Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth 

if I don’t remember you, 

if I don’t consider Jerusalem my highest joy. 

Psalm 137:1–6 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

By the rivers of Babylon—

there we sat down and wept

when we remembered Zion.

There we hung up our lyres

on the poplar trees,

for our captors there asked us for songs,

and our tormentors, for rejoicing:

“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

How can we sing the Lord’s song

on foreign soil?

If I forget you, Jerusalem,

may my right hand forget its skill.

May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth

if I do not remember you,

if I do not exalt Jerusalem as my greatest joy!

Psalm 137:1–6 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

By the rivers of Babylon—

there we sat down and there we wept

when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there

we hung up our harps.

For there our captors

asked us for songs,

and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,

“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song

in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

let my right hand wither!

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,

if I do not remember you,

if I do not set Jerusalem

above my highest joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

By the rivers of Babylon,

there we sat, yes, we wept,

when we remembered Zion.

On the willows in her midst,

we hung up our lyres.

For there our captors asked of us

words of a song,

and our tormentors asked of us jubilation,

“Sing for us from a song of Zion.”

How could we sing the song of Yahweh

in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

let my right hand forget.

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,

if I do not remember you,

if do not I exalt Jerusalem

above my highest joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — New International Reader’s Version, 1998 ed. (NIrV) (NIrV)

We were sitting by the rivers of Babylon.

We cried when we remembered what had happened to Zion.

On the nearby poplar trees

we hung up our harps.

Those who held us as prisoners asked us to sing.

Those who enjoyed hurting us ordered us to sing joyful songs.

They said, “Sing one of the songs of Zion to us!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord

while we are in another land?

Jerusalem, if I forget you,

may my right hand never be able to play the harp again.

If I don’t remember you,

may my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth so I can’t sing.

May it happen if I don’t consider Jerusalem

to be my greatest joy.

Psalm 137:1–6 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

By the rivers of Babylon,

There we sat down and wept,

When we remembered Zion.

Upon the willows in the midst of it

We hung our harps.

For there our captors demanded of us songs,

And our tormentors mirth, saying,

Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

How can we sing the Lord’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

May my right hand forget her skill.

May 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.