By the rivers of Babylon‚—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How could we sing the LORD's song
in a foreign land?
I started this post over a week ago and I had intended to talk about how Muslims might make sense of the Psalms (and the Torah and the Gospel) which are mentioned in the Quran as other examples of revelation. But I think I'll save that larger discussion for later. Instead I'll just share a few thoughts on a more specific issue.
The above passage from the Psalms is one of the most intriguing for me. Firstly, it is probably among the more ancient songs which you'll ever hear on the radio. Don McClean (more famous for the song American Pie) recorded a version of this song in the form of a round simply called Babylon. A second version with was composed by the Rastafarian group, the Melodians as Rivers of Babylon and was subsequently covered by other artists.
The second reason why the above passage interests me is because I was really impressed by how the comedy film maker Mel Brooks uses it in a famous scene from Blazing Saddles. (warning: crude language). His films have a huge amount of silly humor, but he can be deep when he wants to be.