Psalm 137: "By the Streams of Babylon" (From Biblical Hebrew)

The Hebrew recording this time is in my own idiolect. In other words, what you hear in the recording is basically the way I hear Biblical Hebrew in my mind when I read Biblical texts. It is not intended as a representation of how Hebrew sounded at any particular time or place other than my own brain.  

By the Streams of Babylon
Psalm 137
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original in Hebrew

By the streams of Babylon,
There we sat and oh did we weep
When we recalled our Zion.
There, on the branches of the poplars
We hung up our lyres.
For there our captors asked us to sing,
Our plunderers bade us rejoice:
"Sing us one of your Zionite songs!"

But how can we sing the song of Yahweh 

On foreign soil?
If I should forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand fall paralyzed!
Let my tongue cleave up to my palate
If I do not recall you,
If I do not keep Jerusalem
At the peak of all my joys.

Recall, O Yahweh, the Edomites
On that day of Jerusalem, saying:
"Flatten it, flatten it
Down to the foundation"

O Daughter of Babylon!
Daughter destroyer!
Happy the man who deals in kind
With you as you dealt with us.
Happy the man who seizes and smashes
Your babies against the boulders.

The Original:

עַל נַהֲרוֹת, בָּבֶל
שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ, גַּם-בָּכִינוּ:
בְּזָכְרֵנוּ, אֶת-צִיּוֹן.
עַל-עֲרָבִים בְּתוֹכָהּ--
תָּלִינוּ, כִּנֹּרוֹתֵינוּ.
כִּי שָׁם שְׁאֵלוּנוּ שׁוֹבֵינוּ, דִּבְרֵי-שִׁיר
וְתוֹלָלֵינוּ שִׂמְחָה:
שִׁירוּ לָנוּ,
מִשִּׁיר צִיּוֹן.
אֵיךְ--נָשִׁיר אֶת-שִׁיר-יְהוָה:
עַל, אַדְמַת נֵכָר.
אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם
תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי.
תִּדְבַּק-לְשׁוֹנִי, לְחִכִּי-
אִם-לֹא אֶזְכְּרֵכִי:
אִם-לֹא אַעֲלֶה, אֶת-יְרוּשָׁלִַם
עַל, רֹאשׁ שִׂמְחָתִי.
זְכֹר יְהוָה, לִבְנֵי אֱדוֹם--
אֵת, יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם:
הָאֹמְרִים, עָרוּ עָרוּ
עַד, הַיְסוֹד בָּהּ.
אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ
אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ, שֶׁגָּמַלְתְּ לָנוּ
אַשְׁרֵי, שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ


  1. one of those "Christians"March 30, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    You're reading is just so AWESOME!
    I seriously could listen to it all day.

    On a side note, if they didn't pronounce biblical Hebrew like that, then it's just a shame... ;)

  2. Well, they didn't in Biblical times. But Jews in southern Palestine around the 7th century AD probably pronounced the text with something very close to what you hear me using.