Wednesday, February 10, 2010

By The Rivers Of Babylon

Most of you will know the song, if you don't, I'll post a video of it at the end of this post. The main phrase in the song is taken from Psalm 137:1 in the King James, which reads "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion". Interestingly, they didn't use anything from the rest of the psalm in the lyrical content, and I have suspicions that it might be because of the obscene nature of it.

Here is the whole of Psalm 137 from the NIV

 1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
       when we remembered Zion.

 2 There on the poplars
       we hung our harps,

 3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
       our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
       they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
       while in a foreign land?

 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
       may my right hand forget its skill .

 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
       if I do not remember you,
       if I do not consider Jerusalem
       my highest joy.

 7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did
       on the day Jerusalem fell.
       "Tear it down," they cried,
       "tear it down to its foundations!"

 8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
       happy is he who repays you
       for what you have done to us-

 9 he who seizes your infants
       and dashes them against the rocks.
 That last verse is rather disturbing indeed. Those are the kind of lyrics I would expect from a band like Cannibal Corpse, not from the book of psalms.

Anyway, here is a video of the song.


  1. "The child lying dead, just another gutted infant
    To satisfy his hunger, temptations of the flesh"
    Cannibal Corpse "Gutted".

  2. Cannibal Corpse have quite possibly the best lyrics ever. The reason it's okay for CC to say that, is because they don't claim they are the source of morality of the world, and they also don't intend for those things to actually happen.
    The person who wrote this psalm however was 'inspired' by God, and actually wished that his god would dash the infants of his enemies against the rocks.
    In short,
    Brutal lyrics = awesome
    Actually intending them to be carried out = not cool.

  3. I think the psalmist is spilling forth his own feelings.

    I know I'd be pretty pissed if some pricks came and messed up my home, kidnapped me, then held me captive and asked me to sing them a song cos they'd heard my songs were badass. I'd tell them to go play in traffic.

    Also, the psalmist didn't wish that his god would Geodude all the wee Babylonian babies. He wished that task to be completed by another team of humans, i.e. King Cyrus of Persia and his squad.

    On another note, I don't think 'inspired by God' means "EVERY WORD I WRITE DOWN IS WHAT GOD THINKS ON THE SUBJECT"

    I think it simply means "It is my god whom inspired me to write these thoughts of mine down". Much like you, KJ, have people who inspire you to write your blogs, e.g. Dawkins, Hovind, etc. and I, in turn, am inspired by yourself to write my comments. Doesn't necessarily mean we all endorse each other's every opinion on all things.

    Maybe some of the verses in the Bible need the "views expressed" disclaimer lol. SHOTGUN NOT.

  4. I understand completely that the psalmist is writing forth his own opinions and showing his emotions, that is the irony of the whole deal. The bible is so often referred to as "God's word", and to some extent the point of these kinds of posts is to show that it is not the work of some god, but the work of some men. Men who were ignorant fallible human beings. It is because of this fact that there are so many contradictions in the bible, and so many instances of sheer stupidity, or absurdity. To top that all off there are the instances of inhumanity which most certainly are not the work of a deity whom his followers claim him to literally BE love.
    So it is kind of ironic that you're trying to tell me that it is the work of mere mortals.