Psalms 137:4

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?

Psalms 137:4 in Other Translations

4 How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?
4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?
4 But how can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a pagan land?
4 Oh, how could we ever sing God's song in this wasteland?
4 How can we sing the Lord's song on foreign soil?

Psalms 137:4 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 137:4

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, ( Psalms 18:49 ) ( Psalms 57:4 Psalms 57:8 ) ( 63:1-3 ) ; 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 ( Psalms 137:2 ) .


F3 (rkn tmda le) "in terra peregina, sc. Dei", Muis, Michaelis.

Psalms 137:4 In-Context

2 There on the poplars we hung our harps,
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!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.
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.

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Nehemiah 12:46
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