By Jeremiah to David, on captivity
1 By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.
2 We hung our instruments on the willows,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs, and our abductors asked for mirth, saying,
‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion’.
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither.
6 May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
This psalm deals with the Israelites who were captives in Babylon about the year 587 B.C. The Israelites were no strangers to captivity, having been taken prisoners at times by the Egyptians , the Assyrians or the Babylonians, and always as a result of their disobedience to God and estrangement from him. In these instances, the captive population suffered harsh conditions of slavery and cruel behavior on the part of their captors. We’re…