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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Psalms 137

Verse 1

Babylon. The Psalm is anonymous, and probably by Hezekiah. No need to refer it to post-exilic times. The Psalm reads as though it were a reminiscence of past experience in Babylon, and a contrast with previous joys in Zion; not, as during or after the seventy years, or an experience of a then present exile in Babylon. The writer is in Jerusalem after an absence not of long duration; and is full of joy. The post-exilic captives were full of sorrow on their return (Ezra 3:12 .Haggai 2:3; Haggai 2:3 ). These exiles had obeyed Isaiah ' s call (Isaiah 48:20 . Compare Psa 43:14-21 ).

Verse 3

they that carried us away: i.e. the captives of Judah, as those of Israel had been by Shalmaneser and Sargon. The latter took away only 27,280 from Samaria. See note on 1 Chronicles 5:6 ; and App-67 .

Verse 4

the LORD'S. Hebrew. Jehovah. s. App-4 .

strange = foreigner's.

Verse 5

If I forget . . . do not remember. The writer's then present personal declaration.

Let my right hand forget. Supply "me" for the Ellipsis. Some codices, with Septuagint and Vulgate, read "let my right hand be forgotten".

Verse 7

children = sons.

Edom. Genesis 27:39 , Genesis 27:40 was not fulfilled until the reign of Joram (2 Kings 8:20-23 . 2 Chronicles 21:8-10 (compare 1 Kings 22:47 ). From that time they were implacable enemies.

day. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct) for what happened at the time ( App-6 ). Compare Job 18:20 . Hosea 1:11 .Joel 1:15 .Luke 17:22 , Luke 17:26 ; Luke 19:42 . 1 Corinthians 4:3 .

Who said. The reference is to what they said , not to what they did ; to the encouragement given to Sennacherib, not to the help given to Nebuchadnezzar. That is what Obadiah, a later prophet, refers to. Isaiah (Hezekiah's contemporary) refers to the earlier words. See Isaiah 34:6 . Here Edom does not go beyond words.

Rase it, rase it. Figure of speech Epizeuxis ( App-6 ) for emphasis. This was said , not done, at that time.

Verse 8

to be destroyed. Hezekiah must have been familiar with Isaiah's prophecies, who employs the very words of verses: Psalms 137:8 , Psalms 137:9 . (Isaiah 13:6 , Isaiah 13:16-18 ; Isaiah 21:9 ; Isaiah 47:14 , Isaiah 47:15 . Compare Nahum 3:10 .)

Happy. See App-63 . for the Beatitudes of the Psalms.

rewardeth. See notes above, which show that the "post-exilic" assumption involves insuperable difficulties if this Psalm is sundered from the contemporary prophecies of Isaiah (especially Psa 13:1-14 ; Psa 13:27 ), and from a Babylon under Assyrian rule.

Verse 9

little ones. The reference is to Isaiah 13:16-18 , which belongs to a Dispensation of Law and Judgment, and is not to be interpreted of the present Dispensation of Grace.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 137". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.