Life-Study of Psalms, by Witness Lee

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The subject of Psalm 137 is the remembrance of Zion and the non-forgetting of Jerusalem in captivity.

A. Weeping When They Remembered Zion

When they sat down by the rivers of Babylon and remembered Zion, they wept (v. 1).

B. Hanging Their Harps on the Willows

They hung their harps on the willows in the midst of it, for their captors required of them songs, and those who tormented them required of them mirth, saying, "Sing for us /One of the songs of Zion" (vv. 2-3).

C. They Asking How They Can Sing
the Song of Jehovah in a Foreign Land

They said, "How can we sing the song of Jehovah/In a foreign land?" (v. 4). Then the psalmist continued, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem,/Let my right hand forget its skill./Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,/If I do not remember you,/If I do not prefer Jerusalem/Above my chief joy" (vv. 5-6). Here we see that the psalmist could not forget Jerusalem but preferred it above his chief joy.

D. Asking Jehovah to Remember
the Evil of Edom against Jerusalem and Punish It

"Remember, O Jehovah,/Against the children of Edom/The day of Jerusalem,/How they said, Lay it bare! Lay it bare,/Down to its foundation!" (v. 7). Here the psalmist asked Jehovah to remember the evil of Edom against Jerusalem and punish it. This request was according to the principle of good and evil.

E. Cursing Babylon

"O daughter of Babylon, who are to be devastated,/Happy will he be who repays you/The recompense of what you have rendered to us. / Happy will he be who seizes your little ones /And dashes them against the rock" (vv. 8-9). This is the psalmist’s cursing of Babylon. The psalmist did not ask God to curse Babylon; rather, he himself did this directly. His cursing was also according to the principle of good and evil.

What should we do today concerning those who oppose the Lord’s recovery? We should not curse them or ask God to punish them, for in the New Testament dispensation we are not permitted to do such things. The New Testament tells us that instead of cursing others, we should bless them (Rom. 12:14). We are also charged to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Our God is righteous, and He will vindicate Himself, His recovery, and His truths. The psalmists, however, were in the dispensation of the law, and their way of dealing with others was according to the principle of good and evil.

(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 43, by Witness Lee)