The Melodians: Rivers of Babylon

This post presents “Rivers of Babylon,” a Rastafari song written by the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians in 1970. The lyrics, provided below and based on Psalms 19 and 137, express the devastation of the Babylonian Exile following the destruction of the First Temple. 

Rivers of Babylon

By the rivers of Babylon
Where we sat down
And there we wept
When we remembered Zion

But the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha song
In a strange land?
‘Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha song
In a strange land?

Sing it out loud!
Sing a song of freedom sister!
Sing a song of freedom brother!

We gotta sing and shout it!
We gotta jump and shout it!
Shout the song of freedom now

So let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Far I
So let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Far I

Sing it again!
We’ve got to sing it together!
We’ve got to shout it together!

By the rivers of Babylon
Where we sat down
And there we wept
When we remembered Zion

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