Psalm 137:3

3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

Read Psalm 137:3 Using Other Translations

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 our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”

What does Psalm 137:3 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Psalms 137:3

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a
Or, "words of a song" F26. 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 F1 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 F2, 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.


F26 (ryv yrbd) "verba cantici", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; "verba earminis", Cocceius.
F1 (wnyllwt) "qui veluti in acervos nos redegerunt", Tigurine version, Grotius.
F2 Vid. Stockium, p. 447.
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