Psalm 137:5

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,.... This was said by one or everyone of the Levites; or singers, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; or by the congregation of Israel, as Jarchi; by one of them, in the name of the rest; or by the composer of the psalm. The Targum is,

"the voice of the Spirit of God answered and said, "if I forget", &c.''

that is, to weep over the calamities of Jerusalem; which might be thought, if the songs of Zion were sung; or to pray for the restoration of her prosperity and peace; as the church of Christ may be said to be forgotten, when men forget to mourn over its breaches, and show no concern for the reparation of them; or at the death of principal persons, which they lay not to heart; or at the great decay of religion in those that survive; or at the sins of professors, and their disregard to the word and ordinances: also when they forget to pray for her happiness in general; for the good of her members in particular; and especially for her ministers, that they may have assistance and success; and for a blessing on the word and ordinances, and for the conversion of sinners; and when they forget the worship of the Lord in it, and forsake the assembling of themselves together;

let my right hand forget her cunning; her skill in music, particularly in playing on the harp; see 1 Samuel 16:16; the harp was held in the left hand, and struck with the right; and that more softly or hardly, as the note required, in which was the skill or cunning of using it. Or let this befall me, should I so far forget Jerusalem as to strike the harp to one of the songs of Zion in a strange land: or let it forget any of its works; let it be disabled from working at all; let it be dry and withered, which, Aben Ezra says, is the sense of the word according to some; and Schultens {d}, from the use of it in Arabic, renders it, let it be "disjointed", or the nerve loosened; see

Job 31:22. Or the sense is, let everything that is as dear as my right hand he taken from me: or, as it may be rendered, "my right hand is forgotten" {e}; that is, should I forget Jerusalem, it would; for that is as my right hand; so Arama. Some choose to translate the words thus, "may thou (O God) forget my right hand" {f}; that is, to be at my right hand; to be a present help to me in time of need; to hold me by it, and to be the shade of it.

{d} Animadv. Philol. p. 181.
{e} ynymy xkvt "oblita est nostra dextra", Castalio.
{f} "Oblivisceris (O Domine) dexterae meae", Gejerus; so some in Michaelis.