Book Review: By The Waters of Babylon

19 Nov

When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through his prophets, the captives’ bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives’ Psalm:

“[By the rivers of Babylon] we sat as exiles, mourning our captivity, and wept with great love for Zion. Our music and mirth were no longer heard, only sadness. We hung up our harps on the willow trees.” (Psalm 137:1-2, The Passion Translation)

A young Israelite woman is among them, captured by a mercenary Scythian prince. Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.

But will he be there when she reaches Babylon? Will the prince risk the Scythian throne — and his life — to believe in the Hebrew God? Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet Ezekial. . . by the rivers of Babylon?

Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter and has received numerous accolades for her other novels including Love Amid the Ashes, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and Miriam. Her deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Many of her faithful readers are members of her street team—Mesu’s Biblical Fiction Fans (BFFs)—and offer their time and service to promote God’s word through story. Andrews lives in North Carolina with her husband Roy and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren. For more information, visit


My Impressions:

When I heard that Mesu Andrews, a novelist that always delivers well-researched Biblical fiction, had written a novel based on Psalm 137 and there was an accompanying Bible study, I knew that I had to choose it for my Faith And Fiction Bible Study/Book Club. By The Waters of Babylon depicts the sorrow-filled days of the siege of Jerusalem, its ultimate fall, and the captives painful march to exile in Babylon as depicted in the books of Jeremiah and Daniel, among others. This short novel brings the heartbreak of a people who have lost not only their city and identity, but they believe, also their God. The story is told in two first person accounts — a young Jewish widow and a mercenary Scythian captain. I admit you have to suspend some disbelief as the narrative goes along. I think the attitudes are a bit modern for the time period in which the book is set. But I loved the fierce faith example of one who should have been sunk in despair. Biblical characters are included in the story, giving the book authenticity. An author’s afterword tells just what is fact and what is fiction. But my favorite part of the book is the accompanying Bible study. Reading God’s word along with the fictional account brought a new understanding of God’s anger, His justice, and His mercy.

My Bible study used By The Waters of Babylon for a one night discussion of scripture and the novel. Everyone enjoyed the book, and the discussion we had was very meaningful.


Audience: adults.

(I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


%d bloggers like this: