By the Rivers of Babylon

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By the Rivers of Babylon

By the Rivers of Babylon is a psalm setting that expresses the sadness and yearnings of the Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The early lines of the psalm describe the sadness of the Israelites, mockingly asked to sing the songs of Zion. They refuse to do this, leaving their harps hanging upon the willows. "How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?" The flowing lines of the music of By the Rivers of Babylon weave through this story of grief, anger, mocking, sadness, and remembrance.

Suitable for University and advanced Church and High School choirs.


- SATB divisi, unaccompanied
- Text from Psalms 137:1-4
- Level: Advanced
- Duration: ~3:15

Published by Lane Johnson Music


Text

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?