Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 137:1

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

By the rivers of Babylon - The streams, the water-courses, the rivulets. There was properly only one river flowing through Babylon - the Euphrates; but the city was watered, as Damascus now is, by means of canals or water-courses cut from the main river, and conveying the water to different parts of the city. For a description of Babylon, see the introductory notes to Isaiah 13. If the reference here is to Babylon proper, or the city, the allusion would be to the Euphrates flowing through it; if to Babylonia, the allusion would be to the Euphrates, and the other rivers which watered the country, as the Tigris, the Chaboras, and the Ulai. As it is most probable that the captive Hebrews were not scattered through the empire, but were concentrated in one or a few places, it is, perhaps, not improper to understand this of Babylon itself.

There we sat down - There we were sitting. Perhaps a little company of friends; perhaps those assembled for worship; perhaps those who happened to come together on some special occasion; or, perhaps, a poetic representation of the general condition of the Hebrew captives, as sitting and meditating on the desolations of their native land.

Yea, we wept - We sat there; we meditated; we wept. Our emotions overpowered us, and we poured forth tears. So now, there is a place in Jerusalem, at the southwest corner of the area on which the temple was built, where the Jews resort on set occasions to weep over the ruins of their city and nation.

When we remembered Zion - When we thought on our native land; its former glory; the wrongs done to it; the desolations there; when we thought of the temple in ruins, and our homes as devastated; when we thought of the happy days which we had spent there, and when we contrasted them with our condition now.