1 By Babel's streams we sat and wept,
Exiled Israel’s tender zeal for Jerusalem and Jehovah
It is only when we are denied the means of grace and the ordinances of worship that we realise the privileges given to us. So it was with God’s people in captivity. Their sins had exiled them from the homeland and temple, and they reminisced by the riverbank of the past blessings they had forfeited. The Babylonians jeered at their melancholy mood, and tried to incite them by calling, cheer up, sing us one of your psalms. But the tears of regret and lamentation prevented them opening their mouths, or taking down their harps from off the trees, where they hung unused and silent.
Sins and backsliding will have their effects in our lives. There will be a captivity of the soul and a paralysis of the tongue. But memory will not remain silent; it is God’s library of past experiences. The church and its blessings will be brought to mind, and a determination will arise to honour, defend and to return into its holy and godly environment. Babylon has nothing for the Christian, Zion is his chiefest joy. One wrote of v. 9, “Let nothing be in thee of Babylon, neither great nor little sins.”