First - the text again for remembering (my translation)
Three voices - plural first person, singular oath first person, second and third person report as prayer
|By the torrents of Babel|
there we sat
yea we wept
in remembering Zion
on willows in the midst of her
we hung our strings
for there our captors asked us the words of a song
and our tormentors mirth
"Sing to us a song of Zion"
how will we sing such a song of יְהוָה
on strange ground?
|If I forget you Jerusalem|
let my right hand forget
let my tongue cleave to my palate
if I do not remember you
if I do not take you Jerusalem
as my chief mirth
|Remember יְהוָה of the children of Edom|
in the day of Jerusalem
expose her to the foundations
Devastating daughter of Babel
happy the one who makes peace with you
even weans you as you have weaned us
happy the one who takes and dashes
your unweaned against the rock.
Lyons begins with Origen's analogy - My unreported notes read: "the allegories are awful. Origen - Christian readings have lost their material reality." Here is a citation of Origen. He has allegorized the children away:
The infants of Babylon, which means confusion, are the confused thoughts caused by evil which have just been implanted and are growing up in the soul. The man who takes hold of them, so that he breaks their heads by the firmness and solidarity of the Word, is dashing the infants of Babylon against the rock; and on this account he becomes blessed (Contra Celsum, VII.22).
C.S. Lewis is quoted next further informing our present with Origen's analogyReferences (1) William John Lyons, ‘A Man of Honour, A Man of Strength, A Man of Will? A Canonical Approach to Psalm 137’, Didaskalia 16 (2005), pp. 41-68.
I know things in the inner life, which are like babies; the infantile beginnings of small indulgences, small resentments, which may one day become dipsomania or settled hatred… Knock the little bastards’ brains out, And “blessed” is he who can, for it’s easier said than done.I recommend the rest of the article - it is a good summary of the history which Lyons is critical of as hiding the reality of the psalm. The film applications are quite striking.
The psalmist sees the inflicting of shame on his enemies as a way of negating the ongoing loss of honour which had been inflicted on him. Since Babylon had already fallen, this was to be achieved rhetorically, by the constant repetition of the psalm within the ongoing life of Israel. Babylon’s destruction was to be made obvious to all Israel by the open recitation of an Israelite desire which could never have been voiced openly within the living Babylonian Empire.I wonder if there is more to say.