When the promising young Hebrews were dragged into exile in Babylon, they were not kept in prisons or even camps. They were free to marry, build homes, plant crops and exchange goods. Some became quite wealthy. They were also free to assemble, elect leaders and worship. But the Hebrews had a hard time worshiping in exile because they never got over the destruction of their holy city and temple in Zion.
They were not where they wanted to be, or where they were supposed to be. So they lived with a sadness that ran down to their bones. And they refused to “sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land.”