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Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2015 June 18

By the Waters of Babylon (1852)
Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833-1898)
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Style
Tate Britain, London, England, United Kingdom
Image Source: Tate

     Explanation: In Psalm 137 the Psalmist mourns for the treatment of Israel by Babylon and by Edom at the time of the Babylonian Captivity. Today's painting is based on verse one which mentions weeping by the rivers of Babylon.

          [ THEMATICALLY AND CHRONOLOGICALLY RELATED SCRIPTURES: TYPES OF PSALMS: IMPRECATORY PSALMS: Psalm 5. Psalm 10. Psalm 17. Psalm 35. Psalm 58. Psalm 59. Psalm 69. Psalm 70. Psalm 79. Psalm 83. Psalm 109. Psalm 129. Psalm 137. Psalm 140. ]

          [ CHRONOLOGY: GENERAL. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). VARIOUS ARTISTS: Psalm 137 - #1. Psalm 137 - #2. Psalm 137 - #3. Psalm 137 - #4. Psalm 137 - #5. Psalm 137 - #6. Psalm 137 - #7. Psalm 137 - #8. Psalm 137 - #9. Psalm 137 - #10. Psalm 137 - #11. Psalm 137 - #12. Psalm 137 - #13. Psalm 137 - #14. Psalm 137 - #15. Psalm 137 - #16. Psalm 137 - #17. Psalm 137 - #18. Psalm 137 - #19. Psalm 137 - #20. Psalm 137 - #21. ]

     The Psalmist speaks for the captives in Babylon. He says that they sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion, from which they were led captive (1). They hanged their harps on the willows (2). Their captives wanted them to sing the songs of Zion (3). But they asked how they could sing the LORD's song in a strange land (4). The Psalmist asked that he might become incapacitated physically if he forgot Jerusalem or did not prefer it above his chief joy (5-6). He asked the LORD to destroy the children of Edom who attacked Israel when the Babylonians attacked (7). And he warned Babylon that it would be destroyed; and he affirmed that those who destroyed it would be happy (8). Indeed, those who dashed their children against the stones would be happy (9).



Psalms 107-150.

Psalm 137

1 By the rivers of Babylon,
there we sat down,
yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 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.
4 How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?

5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 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.

7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem;
who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed;
happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be,
that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

* NOTE: On Opening and Closing Comments in the Psalms.
[Some commentators take the Psalm in Habakkuk 3 to be a standard model for the Psalms.
Habakkuk's Psalm begins with the name of the composer (Habakkuk) and a musical notation ("upon Shigionoth").
It closes with a dedication or a "send to" notice ("To the chief singer on my stringed instruments").
I have arranged similar material, where it is found in the Psalter, in accord with the model in Habakkuk.]

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