Although the author of this psalm is not known, it is obvious that it was written by someone who had survived the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem. We read in verse 1, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” Zion is synonymous with Jerusalem. This writing is a remembrance of the 70 year captivity of Jerusalem in Babylon.

How heartbreaking it was for the Israelites to lose their homes and be placed under bondage in Babylon. It seems they would gather at the rivers of Babylon where they reminisced and wept over Zion. We see in verses 2-4 that the Israelites had stopped playing hymns to the Lord. They hung their harps upon the tree branches. When the Babylonians told them to ‘sings songs of Zion’, they replied, “How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?” In verses 5-6, they even wished a curse upon themselves if they should forget their homeland.

Let’s pay close attention to verses 7-9, “Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” Here, this psalm looks forward to the day when divine retribution will be measured out to the ‘children of Edom’ who encouraged Babylon in their destruction of Jerusalem. Also to the ‘daughter of Babylon’, when Israel’s enemies will be punished for their sins committed against His people. The language of these verses is very disturbing to most people. The author speaks of dashing the children of Babylon against the stones, thus killing them. We see that the fate of Babylon corresponds with this prayer. We read in Isaiah 13:15-16, “Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.”

If you would like to read more about Psalm 137:9, please click on this Answers From the Book link: (277.8)