Never Give Up Hope
“By the rivers of Babylon” might seem like a lament, but upon close examination, it is a message of never giving up hope.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth (Psalm 137: 1- 6).
By not forgetting about Jerusalem, these exiles (and/or their children) did eventually see Jerusalem rebuilt. The Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon in 586 B.C.E. The prophet Jeremiah had predicted that the Israelites would be punished and that “this whole land shall be a ruin and desolation; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for seventy years” (Jeremiah 25: 11).