The Rivers of Babylon

Artwork: Chillingham Road Primary School Pupils

The rivers in this song were the Tigris and the Euphrates, rivers of Babylon.

It is here that the Jewish captives sit and weep after their city and their whole way of life has been destroyed.

They yearn for their homeland, they long to return there, they refuse to sing holy songs, and they pray that their enemies will be destroyed.

It’s as though they are encouraging each other never to forget Jerusalem, or their real identity, now they have been brought to a foreign land against their will.

Psalm 137 has been set to music many times. The most well known one was recorded by a group called Boney M. Do you think you could choreograph a sad dance for a small group to this song?

Imagine that you have gone off to live in a foreign land with your family, make a list of the five things you would miss the most.

The illustration above was drawn on a computer, you could try one of your own based on any part of this psalm.

35 The Rivers of Babylon: Psalm 137

(to the tune ‘Here we go round the Mulberry Bush)

How could we possibly sing our songs,

sing our songs, sing our songs,

there by the rivers of Babylon,

weeping the whole day long?

There on the trees we hung our harps,

hung our harps, hung our harps,

there by the rivers of Babylon,

weeping the whole day long?

Our captors said, “Sing songs of joy,

songs of joy, songs of joy!”,

there by the rivers of Babylon,

weeping the whole day long.

But how could we possibly sing our songs,

sing our songs, sing our songs,

there by the rivers of Babylon,

weeping the whole day long?

There we cried in that foreign land.

There we remembered Jerusalem,

there by the rivers of Babylon,

weeping the whole day long.

© words Sheila Hamil 2012

www.sheilahamil.co.uk