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By the Rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137:1–4)

By the Rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137:1–4) By the Rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137:1-4) fohn Mendez This 13 7th Psalm has become the anthem of suffering for struggling people throughout the world. This psalm of Israel was conceived and produced by the riverside during Babylonian exile. To the victims of exile, Babylon was a wasteland-a place of death, destruction, pain, alienation, and servitude . Babylon was blind, deaf, and indifferent to Israel's cries, moans, anguish, and pain. Babylon has no memory, makes no promises, and offers no hope . Babylon engages in lies and pretense. Babylon only knows the cold logic of numbers and statis­ tics. It is a place of buying and selling, of negotiating and trading, of destructive engagement. Life in Babylon is reduced to what can be used, exploited, and then tossed away. It is no wonder that when our brothers and sisters down by the riverside are asked by their captors and oppressors, "Sing us one of those songs of Zion," Israel responds with great suspicion and skepti­ cism. Was the request prompted by the joy of singing? Did their enemies wish to be entertained, or was it more ridicule and humilia­ tion? Was it another form of co-optation or seduction? Whatever http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

By the Rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137:1–4)

Black Sacred Music , Volume 7 (1) – Mar 1, 1993

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Copyright
Copyright © 1993 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-7.1.56
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

By the Rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137:1-4) fohn Mendez This 13 7th Psalm has become the anthem of suffering for struggling people throughout the world. This psalm of Israel was conceived and produced by the riverside during Babylonian exile. To the victims of exile, Babylon was a wasteland-a place of death, destruction, pain, alienation, and servitude . Babylon was blind, deaf, and indifferent to Israel's cries, moans, anguish, and pain. Babylon has no memory, makes no promises, and offers no hope . Babylon engages in lies and pretense. Babylon only knows the cold logic of numbers and statis­ tics. It is a place of buying and selling, of negotiating and trading, of destructive engagement. Life in Babylon is reduced to what can be used, exploited, and then tossed away. It is no wonder that when our brothers and sisters down by the riverside are asked by their captors and oppressors, "Sing us one of those songs of Zion," Israel responds with great suspicion and skepti­ cism. Was the request prompted by the joy of singing? Did their enemies wish to be entertained, or was it more ridicule and humilia­ tion? Was it another form of co-optation or seduction? Whatever

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 1993

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