Psalm 137:8
(8) Daughter of Babylon--i.e., Babylon itself. (See Psalm 9:14, Note.)

Who art to be destroyed.--Considerable doubt attaches to the meaning of the Hebrew word here. Our version is that of Theodotion. Aquila and Jerome have "wasted" (comp. Prayer Book version); Symmachus, "robber;" the LXX. and Vulg., "wretched."

As pointed, the word is a passive participle, and must be rendered as by Aquila, "wasted" or "destroyed," but with the recollection that a Hebrew would thus speak proleptically of a doom foreseen though not accomplished. Delitzsch quotes an Arab saying: "Pursue the caught one "--i.e., sure to be caught.

The "luxury of revenge" is well expressed in this beatitude, pronounced on him who can carry out to all its bitter end the lex talionis. Commentators have in turn tried to disguise and justify the expression of passion. Happily the Bible allows us to see men as they were without taking their rules of feeling and conduct as ours. "The psalm is beautiful as a poem--the Christian must seek his inspiration elsewhere."

Verse 8. - O daughter of Babylon; i.e. O nation of the Babylonians (comp. Isaiah 47:1, 5; Psalm 9:14, etc.). Who art to be destroyed; literally, thou desolated one. The desolation of Babylon began with its capture by Cyrus, but was not completed for many centuries. In the Archaemenian period it was one of the chief cities of the empire. Even under the Parthians it was still a flourishing town. But from the time of Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 13:1-22) it was a doomed city, and in the eyes of a devout Jew already "desolate." Happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us; i.e. happy shall he be that completes thy destruction, and the destruction of thy people. He will be the instrument for carrying out God's vengeance.

137:5-9 What we love, we love to think of. Those that rejoice in God, for his sake make Jerusalem their joy. They stedfastly resolved to keep up this affection. When suffering, we should recollect with godly sorrow our forfeited mercies, and our sins by which we lost them. If temporal advantages ever render a profession, the worst calamity has befallen him. Far be it from us to avenge ourselves; we will leave it to Him who has said, Vengeance is mine. Those that are glad at calamities, especially at the calamities of Jerusalem, shall not go unpunished. We cannot pray for promised success to the church of God without looking to, though we do not utter a prayer for, the ruin of her enemies. But let us call to mind to whose grace and finished salvation alone it is, that we have any hopes of being brought home to the heavenly Jerusalem.O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed,.... By the determinate counsel and decree of God, and according to divine predictions; see Jeremiah 50:1; so mystical Babylon, antichrist, and the man of sin, who therefore is called the son of perdition, 2 Thessalonians 2:3; because appointed to destruction, and shall certainly go into it, Revelation 17:8; or "O thou destroyer", as the Targum, which paraphrases it thus,

"Gabriel, the prince of Zion, said to the Babylonish nation that spoileth or destroyeth;''

which is true of literal Babylon, called the destroying mountain, Jeremiah 51:25; and of mystical Babylon, the destroyer both of the bodies and souls of men, Revelation 11:18;

happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us; meaning Darius the Mede, as Kimchi; or rather, or however who must be added, Cyrus the Persian, as R. Obadiah; who were ordered by the Lord to retaliate her, and do as she had done to others, Jeremiah 50:15; and in so doing pronounced happy, being the Lord's shepherd, raised up in righteousness to perform his pleasure, Isaiah 44:28; and here wished success by the godly Jews. In like manner the Christian princes will reward mystical Babylon, and be the happy instruments of her ruin, Revelation 18:6.

Psalm 137:7
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